Over the next few months, I’m going to be taking a look at the Pergear lenses for the APS-C camera systems. One of my favorite cheap lenses of all time is the Meike 35m f1.7 so I’m curious to see what else out there is similar, and can we do better.
This brings us to the Pergear 35mm f1.6 – A pretty dang cool lens so far.
Here it is on Amazon. They say shipping might take weeks, but it arrived for me in less than a week from China.
Pergear 35mm f1.6 – Amazon
Pergear 35mm f1.6 First Impressions
This is not a full review of the Pergear 35mm f1.6, but just my first impressions with a bunch of sample photos.
I believe all these cheap lenses come from the same manufacturing plant with some modifications to optical formulas and physical design. From what I’ve seen, this doesn’t mean they are all the same quality or have the same level of quality control.
I’m starting to see after using these lenses for months/years, that some of the builds are more durable and reliable than others.
The Pergear lenses look like they are using a construction similar to the 7Artisans 35mm f1.2. This is good, as I’ve beaten the hell out of that lens and it’s still ticking, plus it is my favorite build style of all these lenses because they are very fun to use and feel good in the hand.
The Pergear 35mm f1.6 uses 6 elements in 4 groups with 12 aperture blades. The Meike however uses 6 elements in 5 groups with 8 aperture blades. So they are different designs.
The Pergear 35mm f1.6 should give you better-looking bokeh when stopped down because of that 12 aperture blade design. It also includes a lens hood.
So far, this Pergear 35mm f1.6, and their other three lenses that I have are also showing to have good build quality.
The aperture rings are tight and smooth, the focus barrel is tight and smooth.
I’ve seen other Youtube reviewers compare these lenses to Voigtlander, with their “smooth precision” but common, let’s be real here.
These Pergear lenses when I first got them would grind just a touch when I would adjust the focus. After playing around with it for a while it eventually smoothed out. So likely whatever lubricant was in the lens needed to just spread, or maybe there was some dust that just needed to work out of the gears. Now it’s fine, so no worries, but still not as smooth as my Voigtlander. This is actually pretty common with these manual lenses and I consider this normal.
Also, my Voigtlander lenses are not as stiff as these lenses are when it comes to focusing or adjusting the aperture. I actually think the Voigtlander aperture is a little too loose, but at least it has clicks. The Voigtlander lenses are just butter.
Also, while inspecting the inner elements, there are quite a bit of microscopic little tiny dust pieces scattered around. Nothing serious, and nothing I would worry about, but it’s there. You would never get that with a Voigtlander lens.
I’m not here to say that another Youtuber was wrong or anything, but it’s a good opportunity to tell you guys how these lenses compare to something like Voigtlander.
Most people I think will be pretty happy with the build and construction of this lens. But you might feel little granules in that focus. At least I do. I kind of hate de-click apertures too which this lens has because it forces you to look down at your aperture to adjust it. You can’t just adjust it while looking through the EVF by counting clicks.
I’ll continue to test this lens for the new few weeks/months to get a real barring on durability and image quality.
I will say this lens does have more micro-contrast than my Voigtlander 35mm f1.7, but the Voigtlander rendering is just magic. It’s still one of my favorite 35mm lenses but that Nikkor Z 35mm f1.8 is coming in hot! Of course, those are full-frame lenses, so that’s kind of a different game.
Image quality is looking to be about on par with the Meike 35mm f1.7 so far from what I can tell, maybe a touch softer. I can’t tell yet, I’m building a new resolution chart. The old one that I had here in California has faded for some reason. Canon ink? When that’s ready I’ll shoot charts of all these lenses.
There is a lot of copy to copy variations with these lenses. Sometimes you’ll even get a bad copy, so if you think that’s happening with your lens, you can compare to these sample images.
Things like sharpness will be almost random from copy to copy when comparing two similar lenses like these, but you do need to just make sure your lens isn’t bad. It should be fairly sharp. Mine is performing well.
Compared to the Meike 35mm f1.7 this lens is looking pretty good. But like I said, I’m thinking that the Meike 35mm f1.7 was a touch sharper. I kind of remember it pulling in a touch more detail than this lens when wide open. Which maybe makes sense, this is an f1.6, the Meike is f1.7.
I don’t have my Meike here with me so I can’t compare.
I will say, just looking at this lens alone, not comparing it to anything else, it’s looking good, and I’m really liking the results of the rendering.
It has TONS of micro-contrast, and there are no big issues jumping out at me in terms of distortion, vignetting or CA. Color and Contrast is also very good for these cheap lenses.
I do also like the physical construction, build, and design of this lens more than the Meike plus it comes with a lens hood.
I don’t really use UV filters with these lenses or with any lenses unless I’m in a harsh environment, and I really like that these Pergear lenses come with lens hoods since this usually offers all the protection you need for that front element.
As mentioned earlier, these Pergear lenses do all come with lens hood – a really nice touch I think. You’ll still get some flaring with the hoods on, but it will eliminate most of the veiling flares that come from when the sun is out of the frame.
The lens flares do look cool. Nice uniform orange arches that fade into a blue that reduces the contrast and clarity for that cool retro flare look.
I’ll work through doing an overview of the two other Pergear lenses and see if they can survive the next few weeks of complete and absolute abuse. Then I’ll do all that super fun technical tedious work that takes days of shooting and compiling test charts for the full review.
Meike 35mm f1.7 Review – A very well balanced lens. Similar to this one.
Meike 35mm f1.4 Review – Just a little too crazy with IQ.
Voigtlander 35mm f1.7 – Amazing lens, less micro-contrast, but beautiful rendering, very soft focus falloff. Expensive though.
I like this lens more than the Meike 35mm f1.4.
Pergear 35mm f1.6 Sample Photos
These samples are all taken with the Fujifilm X-T2. Processed in Lightroom using my color presets.