Review: Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Lens

Amin Sabet

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The Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Lens is a new, ultra-fast normal focal length manual focus prime lens for the Micro Four Thirds system.* It is the second native 25mm f/0.95 lens for our system, the first being from Voigtlander (2 versions).

*Not compatible with Olympus E-PL6, E-PL5, E-PM2, EM5 (version I)

In contrast to the Voigtlander, the Mitakon is remarkably small (45mm long without caps), light (230g), and inexpensive ($399) for a 25mm f/0.95 lens.

Key specifications:
Focal Length: 25mm
Aperture Maximum: f/0.95
Minimum: f/16
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.25 m
Elements/Groups: 11/9
Diaphragm Blades: 11
Image Stabilization: No
Autofocus: No
Filter Thread Front: 43 mm
Dimensions (DxL): Approx. 60mm x 45mm (55mm with caps)
Weight: 230g

Link to pre-order directly from Zhong Yi Optics: Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Lens - Mitakon - ZY Optics (Shenyang Zhongyi Optics )

See the brief video below for my impressions of lens build quality, features, and performance:



You can click through any of the images in this review to see full-resolution captures from the E-M5 II.

Of course the Mitakon was to shoot it wide open. All of these were taken at f/0.95:

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The minimum focus distance of 0.25m lets you get up close, and I'm happy to report that the lens maintains great sharpness wide open with near subjects. All of these are also at f/0.95:

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Overall, I'd say this lens easily met my expectations for wide open sharpness at f/0.95.

Here are a couple sample images at f/2.0:

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Some purple fringing evident. Nothing unusual.


Several images taken at f/2.8:

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A few at f/4.0:

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Overall it seems to be a good enough performer for general use. It doesn't have the edge sharpness of the Olympus 25mm f/1.8, but I have no complaints given the fact that it's such a compact and light f/0.95 lens.

One definite weakness of the Mitakon is its propensity to flare:

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Taken from the same spot using the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 II:

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Distortion is mild but complex (mustache type):

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Here is a comparison against the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 at f/5.6 and f/8.0.

Mitakon at f/5.6:

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Voigtlander at f/5.6:

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Mitakon at f/8.0:

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Voigtlander at f/8.0:

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Stopped down, both lenses show excellent center sharpness as one would expect. The Voigtlander has better edge sharpness, though the Mitakon is stronger in the extreme corners.

Now for a bokeh series, Mitakon and Voigtlander.


Mitakon at f/0.95:

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Voigtlander at f/0.95:

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Mitakon at f/1.4:

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Voigtlander at f/1.4:

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Mitakon at f/2.0:

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Voigtlander at f/2.0:

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Mitakon at f/2.8:

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Voigtlander at f/2.8:

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Second bokeh series, Mitakon and Voigtlander.


Mitakon at f/0.95:

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Voigtlander at f/0.95:

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Mitakon at f/1.4:

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Voigtlander at f/1.4:

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Mitakon at f/2.0:

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Voigtlander at f/2.0:

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Mitakon at f/2.8:

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Voigtlander at f/2.8:

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Of course every lens is a compromise, and something had to give with a small, light, f/0.95 lens. Edge sharpness is not great, there is a bit of complex distortion, coma is evident in many of the samples, you can see some color fringing, and it's a flare monster.

Overall however, I found the Mitakon 25mm f/0.95 lens to be a surprisingly good performer and can highly recommend it for the asking price. Despite coming in at a much lower size, weight, and price, the little Mitakon holds its own against the Voigtlander 25/0.95.

Current pricing and availability: Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Lens - Mitakon - ZY Optics (Shenyang Zhongyi Optics )

Download all the raw files from this review (665MB): Mitakon 25.zip
 
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eteless

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I've been looking at various samples (from different sources) and I suspect much of the flaring issue is a problem with the coating on the aperture blades as it seems to become worse when stopped down. Does this track in your usage of the lens?

Generally it performs pretty well, especially given the price and size.
 

Klorenzo

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Thanks for the review. How much difficult is to focus at 0.95? Is the "throw" enough? Did you use peaking? What was your impression using the click-less aperture ring?
 

Amin Sabet

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Thanks for the review. How much difficult is to focus at 0.95? Is the "throw" enough? Did you use peaking? What was your impression using the click-less aperture ring?
I mostly used the focus magnification aid. With that, no problem at all nailing focus. Did not use peaking. With a very close up subject, I could often see the plane of focus without magnification or other aid.

The clickless aperture ring was okay, but I did bump it a few times inadvertently. It's close to the focus ring so easy to turn by mistake.
 

Turbofrog

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Thanks for this review, Amin! Very nice comparison.

The extra sharpness, contrast, and lack of veiling on the Mitakon compared to the Voigtlander at large apertures is really quite striking. Impressive performance, indeed!

Have you done any test of the lens' transmission compared to the Voigtlander to get a sense of if the Mitakon is as fast as advertised (i.e. do they have the same shutter speed metering wide open in low light)? Apparently the old Mitakon 35mm/0.95 was an f1-something.

But regardless, this lens really does look like a winner. I'm on the fence with respect to the quality of the bokeh, but if I'm honest I don't really like the Voigtlander's bokeh any more, it's just nervous in a slightly different way, so this Mitakon now looks like a clear step up when I take into account the rest of the package, and would be competing strictly with the system's AF 25mm lenses for me.
 
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Amin Sabet

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Have you done any test of the lens' transmission compared to the Voigtlander to get a sense of it the Mitakon is as fast as advertised (i.e. do they have the same shutter speed metering wide open in low light)?
The light was a little too variable to draw any conclusions. I'll do some indoor testing and add the results to this thread later today.
 

Amin Sabet

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I've been looking at various samples (from different sources) and I suspect much of the flaring issue is a problem with the coating on the aperture blades as it seems to become worse when stopped down. Does this track in your usage of the lens?
I didn't notice. When the sun was in the frame, I got flare spots. Could be that I was always stopped down in those cases.
 
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Hmm the bokeh is actually okay compared to the Nokton.
The two bokehs were more similar than not.

For me, 25mm is more of indoor or portrait lens, so the flaring is not as much of a concern.
Yeah, that surprised me. In those early samples Amin showed the bokeh appeared to be really distracting with a busy background. These are not so much.
 

BrundleFly

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Amin, thanks for the really detailed impressions. I am actually really impressed with the lens, your samples are way more appealing then the official ones! Lens really shows the promise of the m43 system. I really hope Olympus and Panasonic take note.
 

Amin Sabet

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Yeah, that surprised me. In those early samples Amin showed the bokeh appeared to be really distracting with a busy background. These are not so much.
As always, depends on the background. Some backgrounds will make any lens' bokeh look harsh. I think the only way to eval bokeh is to do controlled comparisons with another known lens. That or look at tons of samples. But looking at tons of samples without controlled comparisons often opens the door to bias. Companies like Leica get the benefit of the doubt, while others like Voigtlander and Mitakon don't.
 

SojiOkita

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Hmm the bokeh is actually okay compared to the Nokton.
On the first samples, I find the Mitakon bokeh okay, but the Nokton bokeh smoother.
In fact if I didn't know that the samples are taken at the same aperture, I would say the aperture is higher on the Nokton.
(that's probably due to the fact that even the "in focus" area seems out of focus with the Nokton)

However, on the second samples, I find the Mikaton smoother (and still a lot sharper).

As always, depends on the background. Some backgrounds will make any lens' bokeh look harsh. I think the only way to eval bokeh is to do controlled comparisons with another known lens. That or look at tons of samples. But looking at tons of samples without controlled comparisons often opens the door to bias. Companies like Leica get the benefit of the doubt, while others like Voigtlander and Mitakon don't.
I totally agree with you on this...
That was one of the main unanswered questions in the "40-150 f/2.8 bokeh bug thread".

For example, I would like to see how your second sample (with the little girl and the computers) would render with a lens that is known for the quality of its bokeh.
 
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