Meike 7.5mm APS-C F72.8 Multicoated Prime Diagonal Fisheye Lens
I received this new mirrorless lens on trial and used it on several photographic occasions. Being a lens for APS-C format, I used it on both Nikon Z50 and Nikon Z fc but also on Nikon Z9, this in fact in DX mode still shoots 19 megapixel images that are perfectly usable.
Starting from the characteristics, this lens has an optical scheme composed of 9 groups and 11 elements. The maximum aperture is f/2.8 and the minimum f/16. The focus is manual and the lens has no electrical contacts. The minimum focusing distance is 0.15m and is ideal if we like to insert elements in the foreground into the frame. The angle of view is even 190° and the dimensions are very small: 65x60mm and the weight is 265g.
First of all I start by saying that the price, which according to the Meike Global website, is € 142.69, very little if we think about the cost of other fisheyes with the same opening. Honestly, I don’t know any cheaper than Meike.
Despite the very low price, the construction of the optics seems really well done. It is completely made of metal and glass and appears very sturdy. Both the focus and aperture rings are knurled and have a smooth, manageable movement. The focus ring has an excursion of about 40° and that of the diaphragm has a soft clicking.
The package is without infamy and without praise and has a polyethylene coating inside but made with rough cutouts that move easily when you go to store or remove the lens.
The caps are standard plastic, the front one also has a soft inner lining but it is not precise and easily comes off on its own. I solved the problem by inserting a piece of black electrician tape inside.
Fisheye is a very creative lens that I often like to use. Physically it has a strong bubble deformation but can be used in various situations. Indeed, it is precisely this deformation that gives space to creativity. I also really like using it at night, especially to capture the entire Milky Way.
The sharpness is very good, only at f/2.8 it is a little softer and less contrasted and has slight halos around the subjects. The diffraction resistance is very good up to f/11, as well as starting to be evident but still usable. I would have liked that you could close the diaphragm more and as on many fisheyes there is no support for the filters and the hood is not removable.
Taking long day exposures with this lens won’t be easy as I don’t know any filter kits for this type of lens at the moment. Other fisheyes such as Nikkor 8-15mm can use the rear filters. However, keep in mind that the Nikon is much less bright being an f/3.5-4 and that it costs about ten times as much.
I would have liked a depth of field scale next to the aperture ring, but in practice you just need to position the focus at 0.23m to photograph in hyperfocal at f/11 and have everything sharp from close-up to infinity.
The optics have some focus breathing but the only real flaw of this lens is the management of the backlight. When the sun enters the frame, it presents a rather invasive star with different fraying and flare more or less evident depending on the situation. Even with the presence of strong artificial lights we have to be careful of halos and flares. However, a problem common to many wide-angle and fisheye lenses. However, there are also those looking for this type of effect, especially in video.
The lens is also suitable as it is all manual to be used with the refocusing technique.
Below you will find a photo of a butterfly with the Milky Way in the background made with this technique with a single exposure.
All in all, despite some flaws, I believe that this Meike 7.5mm f / 2.8 is really a “must have”.
First of all it’s really cheap; second, it has the widest angle of view I have ever seen, it exceeds by several degrees all the fisheyes I have ever tried; third, being a 7.5mm, the depth of field is impressive and getting “everything in focus” from the foreground to infinity is very easy. With this objective, focus stacking is practically useless and this simplifies everything and not a little.
Sure it’s a lens for APSC but I also use it safely on my Z9 or Z7. In fact, having a very high resolution sensor, they can work in DX mode while maintaining 19 megapixels, not far from the 20 of Nikon’s APSC mirrorless cameras such as the Z50 and Z fc for which this Meike is a really good choice at a low price.