Over the past few years, Zhongyi Optics have introduced several lenses in their Mitakon “Speedmaster” series of reasonably-priced, well-constructed, super-fast manual focus lenses. The 35mm f/0.95 Mark II lens falls straight into that category. We’ll be looking at the Fujifilm mount version, but this lens is also available for EOS-M and Sony E cameras. So, let’s get into it and look at sharpness, build quality, and, of course, bokeh.
I picked up this lens a little over a month ago and was initially a little disappointed with it. It didn’t seem to fit the Fujifilm system all that well and it certainly didn’t fit my style of shooting. That would all change over time as I got used to the way it was designed and learned to work with it for certain types of shooting. It’s certainly not an all-rounder, but it is a beautiful lens and one worth considering if you like to shoot wide open a lot.
Build Quality and Handling
The all-metal-and-glass construction of the ZY Mitakon 35mm f/0.95 makes for an “old-school” feeling lens. When I first picked it up, I found it reminiscent of the Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 I used to use on my old Nikon FM. The resistance in the focus ring and the weight were the first things that stood out to me.
At 460 grams and just 63x60mm in size, it is a stocky lens that feels very solid in the hand. It’s almost too heavy on the smaller Fujifilm bodies and I found that it felt best on the X-Pro2. On the X-T2, or especially with the smaller bodies, it tips the center of balance too far forward and I felt like I was constantly supporting the lens and not the body. Compared to Fujifilm’s 35mm offerings it is much larger and heavier and you will instantly notice the difference.
The aperture ring is positioned at the front of the lens and is declicked. Both of these things feel rather strange on a Fujifilm body at first and take some getting used to. The aperture ring is far too easy to knock in the position it is in. Perhaps a lock switch would help to stop it from rotating with everything it touches. I have found that keeping it at f/0.95 (and let’s face it, that’s why you buy the lens) is quite difficult in the field. I’m constantly having to check the ring before I raise the camera to my eye. This declicked design may be useful for video shooters, but to be honest, I’d prefer a clicked aperture for stills.
The front element of the lens also sits disconcertingly close to the end of the lens barrel and the package doesn’t come with a lens hood. This is disappointing in a $500-plus lens and I would hope that ZhongYi includes hoods with their future lenses. There are a few options out there from third-party manufacturers, so you can certainly get one to fit.