Panasonic’s 12-35mm f/2.8 is my go-to native GH5 lens for every day shooting. It features a 35mm equivalent range of 24-70mm, and is fast enough to provide nice bokeh when needed. Yet, sometimes you need an even faster option, and for those cases, the Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster f/0.95 25mm prime is an excellent budget lens.
The popular choice in the Micro Four-Thirds world is to go with the tried and true Metabones Speedbooster + Sigma 18-35 when in search of delicious-looking bokeh. While that’s certainly an awesome option, you’re looking at close to $1,500 when factoring in the cost of both the adapter and the lens.
But the Metabones + Sigma combo isn’t the only way to achieve that super shallow depth of field. For those on a budget, the Zhongyi Speedmaster is a solid option.
No, it won’t be able to achieve the same sharpness as the Sigma lens while wide open, but for $400, it’s a lens that I think every GH5 owner should have in their repertoire.
The first thing that you’ll notice about the Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster is that it comes in a very neat pseudo-leather box. The box has a very vintage feel about it, and snaps closed with a button clasp.
The lens itself is found nestled tightly inside a foam insert, which is reassuring to know that it didn’t get tossed about during the shipping process.
The Speedmaster is a prime Micro Four-Thirds lens, but even so, I was taken aback by how utterly tiny it is. My 12-35 f/2.8 is already relatively tiny considering its range, and this lens is outright dwarfed by that.
The majority of the lens is comprised of metal, including the lens mount. The lens feels solid in the hand, and features a substantial weight.
For video shooters, the 25mm Mitakon is especially nice, as it has a smooth focus ring, and a click-less aperture ring. Those of you who are used to using auto focus should know that the Speedmaster is completely manual, and features no contacts for camera communication. Thanks to its super-smooth focusing ring, however, manual focus is a breeze and actually fun to use.
If you’re a GH5 shooter, or if you use any other MFT camera with in-body image stabilization, then this lens pairs nicely for handheld escapades. Just be aware that there is no in-lens stabilization, so you’ll need to account for that if the camera body lacks stabilization.
The lens features an f/0.95 to f/16 aperture, but I’d recommend keeping it wide open, and use an ND filter when in bright settings. Although it’s not the sharpest at f/0.95, the sheer amount of bokeh obtainable when wide open is pretty much the main reason to own this lens. When you’re looking for a shot with extremely shallow depth of field, then this is a excellent go-to-budget option that’s half the price of something like the Voigtlander Nokton 25mm f/0.95.
What are your thoughts on the Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster? Do you think it’s a must-have for Micro Four-Thirds shooters?
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