It’s always a little bit of a mixed bag as to which of these cheap lenses will be good at and will they have a good build quality to go along with it.
There are so many compromises that come with these lenses that it’s almost like the stars have to align perfectly to make a really good lens – I think the stars may have aligned here.
Fujifilm, Nikon, Canon, etc., can all do it because they have 100 years of experience and they can just throw money at problems, but with these little lens companies, they don’t have the millions in R&D and years to throw at lens design. This is probably why we are seeing so many little variations to these designs from all these different brands and there are of course known formulas that just work. This is why you see Viltrox and Tokina sharing optical designs.
The Pergear 50mm f1.8 might be one of those unicorn lenses, like my favorite cheap Chinese lens, the Meike 35mm f1.7.
Pergear 50mm f1.8 – Amazon
Like with the other Pergear lenses, I’ll do a full review of the Pergear 50mm f1.8 very soon and these are just my first impressions.
Pergear 50mm f1.8 First Impressions
Of all the Pergear lenses that I’ve been posting samples of for the last few days, this is the one that stands out the most. The other lenses are fine, the 25mm has nice build quality, but that sharpness just falls off at the midframe, then the 35mm f1.6 is just ok. It’s not doing anything the Meike 35mm f1.7 is doing better and seems a little less sharp as well, but the Pergear has a better build with a nice lens hood.
Then there is this 50mm f1.8 – it’s just sharp. Surprisingly sharp.
I go out almost every night and shoot with the Nikon Z 35mm f1.8 or the Z 85mm f1.8, so that kind of keeps me grounded as to what real high-quality lenses should look like in terms of technical performance, and usually, these cheap lenses get close but don’t compare. This 50mm f1.8 on the other hand had me doing double-takes. Is it really that sharp? – Seems like it.
It’s very odd. Maybe I got lucky with a perfect copy. If you guys have ever read Rogers lens reviews from lens rentals, he’ll post sharpness tables after testing like 20 different copies of the same lenses, and usually with the third-party lenses the copy-to-copy variation is all over the place. So it’s possible I got one of the lucky super sharp copies? But if lenses this sharp for under $100 are out there with this build, I think it’s worth the effort to see if you can get one.
Lens Flare Samples
Like with a lot of these third-party lenses, you get some pretty cool lens flares with this 50mm Pergear.
This one mostly blooms when wide open which is nice. I’m not seeing too many orbs or anything when wide open, you would probably have to stop down if you want orbs.
The colors are nice, greens, reds, and oranges.
Problems with the 50mm f1.8
There is always something – right? We can’t just have our cake and eat it too. That is seriously the dumbest expression there is. But it kind of makes sense, wedding cakes look pretty and they are awesome but also taste delicious, but you can’t eat it or it’s gone. Is that right? Is that what that stupid expression is getting at?
I worry about the build quality of this lens. It feels a little loose like I’m going to break it. The focus is a little sandy feeling and kind of loose.
I abuse these lenses over the months intentionally for my reviews and I have a sneaky suspicion this one will not survive . . . We’ll see.
So just to update you guys, I live in Japan but I’ve been stuck in California waiting on a passport that’s expired. All the passport offices are closed or delayed. I sent my passport in for renewal to the Texas office and they are open and processing but it’s still been 3 months. I’ve decided to get an apartment here and will lock into some projects at the agency I work at until late September. Hopefully, I can go back home Oct if the passport comes. Sucks I missed an entire Spring / Summer in Japan. I bought a house there and have only lived in it for three months.
But hopefully having my apartment will allow me to sort of get this site back on track. I have some cool Luminar tutorials I want to share on YouTube as well as a million more Lightroom tricks.
I still won’t be able to shoot much street photography as San Clemente is just a small little beach town with not much going on, and I’m not too comfortable being the creepy guy stalking around the pier with all the high school girls in their bikinis everywhere. I’ll be the creepy guy in any other situation though. 🙂
So far my favorite cheap Chinese lenses are these:
Meike 35mm f1.7 – A gem
Pergear 50mm f1.8 – A sharpness monster
I also thought the Brighton star 50mm f1.4 was a decent lens as well, I think this might be sharper wide open but that’s partly because the Brighton Star is an f1.4.
So far none of the other 50mm or 55mm lenses have excited me except for the more expensive lenses like the Kalman 50mm f1.1 mark II see my review, that lens is so much fun, but incredibly humbling.
For the 23-28mm I still haven’t found a lens that gets me excited either. The 7Artisans 25mm f1.8 had a cool rendering, but the build quality was terrible. The Pergear 25mm f1.8 might be the best I’ve tried so far, but I’ll also order the Meike. Then we can see. I think there are only a few different optical designs of the 25mm floating around out there. Pergear has its 5-element design and I think Meike and 7Artisans share the same 7-element design. Often Meike is similar to 7artisans they just use fewer aperture blades, so you can get a little geometry in your bokeh when stopped down.
Pergear 50mm f1.8 Samples
These are all shot with the X-T2.
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