How do I know that this lens has the best bokeh? Well, I tend to use social media as a testing bed. I’ve got a lot of friends who aren’t photographers, and they’re a great set of folks from which to gauge reactions. If you’re reading this post, then you’re a photographer. But what’s important to know is what people who aren’t photographers think of your images. The Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II exhibits a special bokeh that makes everyone fall in love with photos from it. Combine that with great colors and just the right amount of sharpness and you’ve got a winner.
When someone tells me, “Hey Chris, bring that lens,” then I know I’ve got something special. And indeed, Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II has made a unique lens that many Japanese manufacturers would charge an arm and a leg for.
The Big Picture
The Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II is a wonderful lens in so many different ways. It boasts metal build quality, and produces swirly bokeh, vivid colors, unique image quality, and a level sharpness that camera systems can more easily pick up what it’s focusing on via focus peaking. This happens even despite it not having electronic communication. There’s a lot to love about this lens. But it pains me to say I wouldn’t keep it my camera on all the time. The lack of weather sealing means that if you get caught out in the rain, you camera will malfunction. I learned that the hard way, as this was one of the very few times I shielded my Leica SL2-s.
We’re giving the Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II five out of five stars, as long as you’re careful. Want one? Check out Adorama for the latest prices.
- Nice bokeh
- Beautiful colors
- Sharp but still has character
- Smooth feeling
- Nice metal body
- Focus peaking works well because of the optics
- No weather resistance at all. We tested it despite them saying different
- No AF confirmation contacts
The Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II lens we received we’re allowed to keep. We tested it with the Leica SL2-s, which is a unit we purchased a while back.
Technically, the Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II doesn’t have much innovation. A variant of some sort has been around for many years. But what’s different here is that Meyer Optik found a way to balance sharpness, color, and bokeh quality. For a lot of photographers, this might be enough. And it’s a stark contrast to what most of the industry does with creating as smooth and plain a bokeh as they possibly can.
Here’s a look at the front of the Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II. It includes a small lens hood that can also hold the lens cap. I’m pretty sure it can also hold a lens filter if you wanted it to.
Here are the only controls for the lens. It’s got the aperture ring up front and the focusing ring towards the center area. You’ll move the rings accordingly and perhaps use zone focusing distances while if doing street photography.
The Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II boasts a fully metal body. Lots of photographers will like this. However, please note that it’s not weather resistant. You might say you don’t care about this, but when using my Leica SL2s, it became paramount. The Leica SL2s is IP-durability rated, so it’s very durable. But when I took the combo into the rain, the combo couldn’t stand up to it. That’s because the Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II isn’t even weather resistant. Our reps told us that, due to the design of the lens, it’s impossible for dust and debris to get in. For the most part, that seems true. But moisture is a different story.
When I walked around in the rain, the Leica SL2s started to malfunction because of the lens. It wouldn’t do that with Leica’s own SL glass. So, Meyer Optik, it’s time to weather-seal your lenses.
All this aside, the lens is a long and thin optic with traditional rings where they’re needed. It doesn’t feel like a Leica, but it does feel like something with classic and retro ergonomics.
Ease of Use
By all means, this isn’t an easy lens to use. You have to manually focus and the lens aperture information isn’t translated to the camera. Even though it doesn’t have autofocus confirmation contacts, it’s still sharp and contrasty enough that focus peaking with a Leica camera can work.
Also, keep in mind that this is obviously a manual focus lens with a manual aperture ring. If you’re not into aperture rings, you won’t understand this lens. Unfortunately, I know too many photographers who haven’t adapted.
This is a manual focus lens. There aren’t any focusing contacts, but they surely have to add them eventually. In my talks with Meyer Optik’s reps, it seems they’re going to work on this in future iterations.
The image quality from the Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II is well worth the purchase by itself. It’s sharp without being so sharp that you need to retouch pores. It’s for gorgeous bokeh. Couple that with the colors it delivers when paired with Leica’s sensors and you’ve got something worth drooling over. Truly, this is a special lens.
Come on! How is this fair? The bokeh from the Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II is swirly when shot wide open. Once you stop down, it starts to go away. But for what it’s worth, you’re buying this lens for the bokeh and the special effects.
Color rendition from this lens is vivid and beautiful. If you’re looking for those really gem-like colors from bokeh balls, you’ll get them here.
This is a 58mm lens so I don’t think anyone will expect distortion from this lens. If you’re buying the Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II, I don’t think you’ll care. You’ll probably care more about the swirly bokeh look.
Lastly, the sharpness from the Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II is pleasant without being overly Sony-level sharp. It’s also not Leica-level sharp; it reminds me of old Zeiss glass. You’ll like it. I surely did!
Extra Image Samples
From day one, The Phoblographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. They’re not showing what the lens can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.
Who Should Buy the Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II?
The Meyer Optik 58mm f1.5 II is a lens advanced photographers will love. If you’re sick of clinically perfect bokeh and a lack of character, this will be your favorite lens. Not only is 58mm a fun focal length, it’s a fairly versatile length too. Couple that with build quality, sharpness, bokeh, and the colors this lens exhibits and you’ve got yourself a winner. The advanced photographer who does slower work will adore this lens. Alternatively, if you can zone focus, then give it a try with this lens.
These specs are taken from the Adorama listing of the lens.
- Offers excellent imaging characteristics
- Draws highlights in the blurred plane as a whirlpool of light balls
- Swirling, dreamy or soft bokeh
- Capture mood, emotion and the magic of special moments
- Very high sharpness over the entire image
- Create a bokeh gradient in the shape of a butterfly
- It also shines in difficult light situations
- Lens Format: Full Frame
- Fixed Focal Length: Focal Length: 58mm
- Lens Type: Standard Lens
- Image Stabilization: Image Stabilization: No
- Special Features: Bokeh Effect