Lens Review: Mitakon 35mm F0.95 II (Fujifilm X Mount)

 

In the world of portraiture and photography these days it seems that two lens characteristics reign supreme above all else, bokeh and sharpness. As well, Fujifilm has two really solid 35mm lens offerings currently with their F1.4 and F2 options – so one might wonder why a lens like the [amazon_textlink asin=’B074RVKNS5′ text=’Mitakon 35mm F0.95 II’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c21b16ad-a239-11e7-8409-9758b581d48a’] is even a consideration. But after using the lens, it is pretty safe to say that it very much should be a consideration for all Fujifilm photographers.

35mm is a really popular focal length in the Fujifilm X-Series, given its ~50mm ff equivalent look. However, for those who really wanted a lens in the Fuji system with bokeh to drool over, one really had to look to the 56mm F1.2, a great lens, but one that is very limiting in tight spaces. This Mitakon makes that super dreamy bokeh and depth of field available at a more versatile focal length, and thanks to Fujifilm’s stellar manual focusing aides it’s still incredibly easy to work with.

Also major shout out to Kevin Kleitches for introducing me to this lens (check out his review) and getting me on the path to discovering this lens’s insane capabilities.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Ultrafast F0.95 aperture
  • Balances well with Fujifilm cameras
  • Adds a nice weight to Fuji cameras
  • Smooth accurate focusing ring

Cons

  • No Autofocus
  • Aperture ring is clickless, easy to move by accident
  • No electronic communication with the cameras

Gear Used

The [amazon_textlink asin=’B074RVKNS5′ text=’Mitakon 35mm F0.95 II’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c21b16ad-a239-11e7-8409-9758b581d48a’] lens was tested with the [amazon_textlink asin=’B01A8DUR74′ text=’Fujifilm X-Pro2′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’daf3b677-a239-11e7-85f1-c176541f3471′] with the latest firmware updates as of September 2017.

Tech Specs

Specs are taken from the ZY Optics Mitakon 35mm F0.95 Product Page:

Lens type Manual lens
Max Format size APS-C
Focal length 35mm
Lens mount Sony E / Fuji X / EOS-M
Aperture
Maximum aperture F0.95
Minimum aperture F16
Aperture ring Yes
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Optics
Elements 11
Groups 8
Focus
Minimum focus 0.35m
Distance scale Yes
Angle of View 43.5 degrees (APS-C)
Physical
Weight 460g
Diameter 63 mm
Length 60 mm
Colour Black
Zoom method Rotary
Filter thread 55 mm

 

Ergonomics

The Mitakon 35mm F0.95 II is a lens that fits well with the hands. When it is attached to the X-Pro2 it’s focusing ring is in a good spot to be easily turned without feeling like your fingers are overextended or scrunched. For being an F0.95 lens though, it is much smaller and lighter weight than I had been expecting.

One annoyance for me personally was that the aperture ring was located at the front of the lens. All other Fujifilm lenses have the aperture rings in the back, so having this one in the front was an adjustment. I got used to it, but it was quite annoying at first.

Build Quality

In terms of its build quality, the Mitakon 35mm F0.95 is all metal and all glass. You really can’t complain about the build of this lens at all, even when put up against the X-Pro2 itself the lens looks great and feels as if it is built every bit as good as the camera is.

It does not make use of a rubber focusing ring like many lenses are doing these days, instead opting to stick to the more traditional teethed metal ring approach – which I honestly prefer anyway.

Ease of Use

 

Being a manually focused lens, the [amazon_textlink asin=’B074RVKNS5′ text=’Mitakon 35mm F0.95 II’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c21b16ad-a239-11e7-8409-9758b581d48a’] is an absolute joy to use with one major exception. The lens focuses clearly and smoothly, but since the aperture ring is clickless and not very tight it is incredibly easy to accidentally move it and change your aperture during the shoot without realizing it right away.

Beyond that one annoyance, which you can work around by using a rubber band to hold the focusing ring in place, this lens really is about as great of a manual focus experience as one can have.

Focusing

As noted above, the focusing ring is smooth and accurate, making repeated focus pulls easily repeatable. There is some focus shift when the aperture changes, so take that into account if you need to adjust your aperture while shooting. As well, take care not to accidentally turn the aperture ring while you are trying to focus, they feel really similar in terms of tension, so it can be easy to turn the wrong one accidentally.

Image Quality

The [amazon_textlink asin=’B074RVKNS5′ text=’Mitakon 35mm F0.95 II’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c21b16ad-a239-11e7-8409-9758b581d48a’] is an excellent performer. Wide open, as most lenses are, it exhibits a little softness, but just a tad – it is easily compensated for with added sharpening in Lightroom or Capture One. Additionally, the lens’s distortion is not crazy – most probably wouldn’t notice it right off the bat, but it is also easily compensated for in post-production if it does bother you.

The best spot for this lens in terms of sharpness in my experience is probably somewhere around the F2.8-F4 range, depending on the lighting and such. But that is not to say it’s not great from F/1.4-F2 either, it is probably just at its peak between F2.8 to F4.

Bokeh

No doubt, many of you are looking at that F0.95 number and are drooling at the idea of some insane bokeh. But if you are coming from a full frame world I have to tell you that you will be disappointed. However, if you have been with Fujifilm for a while now, this will be some bokeh that will blow your mind. The F0.95 bokeh on this lens is something that I would equate to roughly equal the look of F/1.4 or so on a full frame system – which isn’t bad at all because you have to remember you are getting this lens for significantly cheaper and in a significantly smaller package than a full frame setup.


 

Color Rendition

In terms of color rendition, this lens produces a really nice look. It’s not too warm and it’s not too cool, as well the contrast and such is pretty good throughout the range. The one exception to that being the contrast when completely wide open, it is a little dull there, but it’s totally fine at F1.4, and even that dullness is easily compensated for in post-processing.

Sharpness

As noted previously, this lens is really sharp – assuming you get your focus correct. Since it is a manual focus lens you can’t blame the AF for missing if your shot is soft or focus is just off you only have yourself to blame.

But when you nail the sharpness where you want it, especially if you are stopped down to F1.4 or slower, you will not have any qualms about the sharpness of this lens. It’s scary sharp.

 

Extra Image Samples










Conclusions

Likes

  • Sharpness
  • F0.95 Aperture
  • Good weight and companion to the X-Pro2
  • Great manual focus experience
  • Solid build quality

Dislikes

  • Annoying clickless aperture ring
  • Sharpness/Contrast wide open could be better
  • No AF

The [amazon_textlink asin=’B074RVKNS5′ text=’Mitakon 35mm F0.95 II’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c21b16ad-a239-11e7-8409-9758b581d48a’] is a great lens, especially when you consider the price tag of just $599. That is only a little more than the Fujifilm lens offerings and you are getting a lens that gives you a lot more versatility in low light and in playing with your depth of field.

The Mitakon 35mm F0.95 II for Fujifilm receives four out of five stars. Want one? Check them out [amazon_textlink asin=’B074RVKNS5′ text=’on Amazon’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b1b4c896-a239-11e7-ac1d-97d481692bf1′].

Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a Portland, Oregon based Boudoir Photographer specializing in a dark, moody style that promotes female body positivity, empowerment, and sexuality. Besides The Phoblographer, he also reviews gear and produces his own educational content on his website.