Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm f0.95 II Review & Sample Photos

The Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 35mm  f0.95 II is a relatively small but incredibly fast APS-C prime lens for mirrorless cameras.

It’s built of an all metal body with a declick aperture and an incredibly fast f0.95 aperture. The lens excels in low light conditions but also functions as a very beautiful art lens for incredible bokeh and shallow depth of field.

Performance is all around good for a lens this fast and it will perform well in most situations.

 

What’s Good: Incredible performance at fast apertures, good color, good contrast, great bokeh, better center sharpness than Fujinon 35mm lenses until f4.

What’s Bad: Soft corners, some chromatic aberrations and vignetting at fast apertures, distortion.

Overview: Performance is very good at fast apertures making the lens great in low light or for shooting with very shallow depth of field. Sharpness, contrast and color are all very good, and chromatic aberrations and flaring are both well controlled. The main flaw with this lens is the soft corners.

 

Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 35mm f0.95 Mark II Lens Stats

Focal Length: 55mm (APS-C 52.5mm)
Aperture Blades: 9
Aperture Ring: De-Click
Minimum Focus Distance: 1.15′ (35 cm)
Front Element Filter Threads: ø55mm
Element Count: 11 elements 8 groups
CPU Contacts: No

 

Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm f0.95 II Fujifilm X – Amazon / AdoramaBHphoto

Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm f0.95 II Sony E (APS-C)Amazon / Adorama / BHphoto

B+W 55mm XS-Pro Nano Coating (010M)Amazon / AdoramaBHphoto

Also comes in silver.

All Fujifilm Lenses

All Sony APS-C E-Mount Lenses

 

Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 35mm f0.95 Review

 

 

I’ve seen a lot of people talking about these lenses but I’ve never really seen any great reviews. Everyone just said the Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm is great and that always about it.

Is it great? 

Yes, it is. But what makes this lens good is how it performs wide open. You just don’t typically see lenses this fast that also perform this well especially at this price especially made in China.

Is the lens the sharpest lens in the world? No, but the center it’s very sharp at fast apertures and it has overall good contrast, and even performs well in the corners. It’s great for portraits, shooting around the house, or even street photography. I like to characterize it as an art lens because of its beautiful rendering, contrast and bokeh.

 

 

For the technical shooter such as the landscape or architecture photographer looking for pristine performance at higher apertures, there are better options, like the Handevision 35mm f2.4, or even any of the Fujifilm 35mm lenses. That’s not because this lens isn’t sharp, it is, it just doesn’t have the same corner performance as a few other 35mm lenses out there.

However, corner to corner sharpness isn’t the point of this lens, nor was it the intent of design. It’s built to have incredible performance at fast apertures and that’s where this lens shines.

The Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm f0.95 lens is a must have for APS-C mirrorless shooters looking to take their portraits, weddings or artistic photography to the next level.

 

First Impressions

 

I really like this lens but a few things bother me. For one, the aperture ring is front loaded with the fast apertures. Meaning, most of the aperture ring turns between f0.95 and f4. Then between f4 and f16, it’s only a very slight turn. In fact, there is no marker for f5.6 or f11. They really designed this lens for fast apertures. Which is cool, but sometimes when shooting street photography I want to throw my lens to f5.6 or f8 without looking, and that is difficult to do on this lens since there are only a few degrees different between f5.6 and f8. I just can’t get use to where the numbers on the aperture are and have to look every time. Really not a big deal but it does make using the lens a little less comfortable.

 

 

In terms of build quality, this lens is awesome. Chinese lenses typically have a bad rep but I’ve been testing a lot of them this last year and I can say Mitakon is one of the good ones. They make very high quality gear.

Precision is incredible, adjusting the focus is smooth as is the aperture ring.

Overall, image quality is great if you were to pixel peep. It’s not that sharp in the corners, but what really stands out is the rendering. Oh my goodness does it makes some incredibly magical images at f0.95. It’s just stunning. Nothing else like it.

 

 

The f0.95 aperture really changes the way I shoot because it creates this awesome background separation that you can get from slower primes. This allows you to pull off shots that you wouldn’t typically be able to get because the ultra shallow depth allows you to separate your subject from just about any background.

 

 

 

Quality And Performance

 

I always see a lot of people judge fast lenses very hard, usually complaining about sharpness or corner sharpness compared to their slower counterparts. For example the Canon 50mm f1.2, vs the Canon 50mm f1.4. Or the Fujinon 35mm f1.4, vs the Fujinon 35mm f2. Faster more expensive lenses don’t always perform as well in terms of sharpness and corner sharpness when stopped down compared to their slower cousins. This is because designing lenses is a battle of compromises and lens formulas are always crafted to serve different purposes. The Mitakon 35mm f0.95 was designed for incredibly performance wide open, especially in the center. That is the whole point. 

I say this because you won’t see this lens break and records in performance when at f5.6, but considering it’s an f0.95, you’ll find that what it does do when wide open, or even slightly stopped down, is pretty mind-blowing.

And I’m by no means implying that it’s not a sharp lens. It’s still plenty sharp. It’s actually sharper than both the 35mm lenses until about f4 except in the corners and edges.

 

 

There is some distortion, but chromatic aberrations and flaring are very well controlled. Vignetting is also very reasonable. 

It’s easy to say this is one of the best ultra fast lenses you can buy for the APS-C mirrorless camera, especially for the price.

 

Build Quality

Build quality with the Mitakon Zhongyi is outstanding. All metal construction with very nice precision. Focus and aperture are buttery smooth with the perfect amount of resistance. No sound when shaking the lens and no serious problems with bad copies like so many other Chinese companies.

It also comes in this cool box.

 

 

Durability

I’ve had this lens for several months and shoot with it often in the rain and snow.

The lens functions well in very cold and hot temperatures with no sticky focus or aperture. 

So far, I’ve yet to experience any issues.

 

 

Sharpness Chart

Overall  sharpness is good but not great with this lens.

At f0.95 the lens is fairly soft in the center but cleans up as you stop down to about f2. At f5.6 the lens is much sharper.

Corners are also very smeary and soft at f0.95. By f5.6, they clean up a little but never fully recover. This is were the Fujinon primes excel.

 

 

Sharpness compared @ f2

I’ve put together a nice comparison between a few popular 35mm for the APS-C mirrorless cameras.

When comparing the Fujinon 35mm f1.4, the Fujinon 35mm f2 and the 7Artisans 35mm f2, the Mitakon is actually the sharpest at f2.

 

Sharpness comparison @ f4

Stop down to f4 and the Fujinon primes pick up their performance. The Mitakon 35mm has about the same sharpness as the Fujinon 35mm f1.4, but the 35mm f2 is a touch sharper.

 

 

Diffraction & Spherical Aberrations

Wide open the lens is a bit soft, but by f2.8 it’s really good and the best performance in terms of sharpness is between f4 and f8.

 

 

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic Aberrations are very well controlled with this lens. You can see some longitudinal chromatic aberrations at f0.95 in extreme conditions. In real world shooting conditions you typically won’t see it like you do in this sample. 

At f5.6 this longitudinal chromatic aberrations clears up. This is actually great especially since CA is very easy to clean up and you probably won’t be buying this lens to shoot backlit tree branches.

 

 

Chromatic Aberrations at f5.6

Not much to look at here at f5.6.

 

 

Vignetting

Vignetting is a little bit of a problem at f0.95, by f1.4 it eases up a bit. By f2 it’s mostly controlled.

 

 

Distortion

There is some noticeable distortion with the Mitakon 35mm f0.95. It’s not terrible but you may see it if you’re shooting brick walls or straight lines.

This chart was shot at about 5 feet.

 

 

Flaring

The Zhongyi Speedmaster 35mm has some really nice flare resistance. The coatings are fantastic and you almost never see very severe loss of contrast and color from bright lights, reflections or sunflares in daily use.

 

 

 

Art And Character

Art and character can sometimes vary from person to person and you see this in a lot of reviews online. Some people like different types of bokeh and some people like really tight foreground to background separation. I personally like different characteristics for different things, for example I don’t mind busy Bokeh on a landscape lens and I don’t really like swirling bokeh unless it’s very swirly.

 

 

 

Color Rendering

Colors are very rich when wide open even in the bokeh. I was actually impressed how well the image held together in terms of color and contrast at wide apertures. I’ve become a little bit of a flower nerd because of this lens.

 

 

Foreground to Background Separation

 

 

The Mitakon 35mm f0.95 can really cut out the foreground from the background even at some distance. The subject separation is not as abrupt as some other lenses I own since the falloff creates a very smooth blend between the foreground and background. Personally I like the harsh look 3d look given by some longer lenses, but I also don’t mind the soft falloff of this lens either. You can see what I’m talking about with the Handevision 75mm f2.4 review. Of course it’s a longer lenses so the comparison is apples to oranges. 

What’s really cool about shooting at f0.95, is the subject will stay fairly detailed if you nail focus, but a very busy and distracting background will be completely smoothed out.

 

 

Contrast & Micro Contrast

Good micro contrast will render very high quality detail and clarity, while good contrast allows for those very deep blacks and nice tonal gradients across the image.

Wide open contrast underperforms slightly but improves as stopped down. To be expected of any lens this fast and I consider this very normal.

The Fujifilm lenses like the 35mm f2 and even the 35mm f1.4 have better contrast and fidelity, but not by a lot.

 

 

Bokeh

Bokeh is a very smooth and very rich. There aren’t any issues with swirling bokeh and it never really feels busy or nervous. It’s always pleasant and calm even when stopped down.

 

 

 

Mitakon Zhongyi 35mm f0.95 II Review | Bottom Line

 

For someone who is looking for a landscape or architecture lens, this isn’t for you. You’ll find the corners to under perform and the lens overall never gets as sharp as some of the competition such as the Fujinon 35mm f2, even at f8.

For portrait, floral, wedding or just making art, this lens is outstanding. You won’t find many lenses that perform this well that are also this fast, especially for this price.

There is not a lot out there like it when you look at how well it performs wide open. Bokeh is buttery smooth and the colors are rich with overall nice contrast and micro contrast, which only gets better at the higher apertures.

The point of this lens is the performance at fast apertures. Stopped down to f5.6 or f8, this lens will under perform compared to either of the two Fujifilm 35mm primes.

Build quality is outstanding and this is without a doubt the best Chinese lens I’ve ever owned. I would even say it almost up there with Voigtlander in terms of overall feel . . . Almost.

 

This lens is a keeper and a must have for photographers looking to add some creative flare to their portfolio. It will make you smile and I highly recommend it.

 

 

Mitakon Zhongyi 35mm f0.95 II Sample Photos