Meike Neewer 32mm F1.6 E-mount lens review by Miranda F
|Miranda F#44318 date: Jun-15-2019|
flare control: 4
|ownership:||I own this lens|
|compared to:||Various small PK-fit or M42 primes on dumb adapters;|
A-mount lenses (Min 28f2.8, DT30, DT35mm) on LA-EA1;
Lots of A-mount stuff
|price paid:||£20 s/h eBay|
|positive:||Fairly small, cheap, and lightweight.|
Nice focus ring
old-fashioned performance (if you like that)
Smooth transition bokeh
Fast for such a small lens
Very useable wide open in close-up (if you like narrow-DOF close-ups)
Little geometric distortion or CA
|negative:||poor quality control|
reverse-action aperture ring is inaccurately labelled, and with no click is a nuisance
Not as slim as it could be.
occasional donut bokeh in OOF backgrounds
Corners poor below f8, so not the best choice for views & architecture.
Not that sharp
|comment:||My Neewer copy was bought s/h on eBay with a known fault, unable to focus beyond two yards or so, and with no obvious screws to dismantle it, needed some fairly brutal hand torque to push the endstop around to regain infinity focus. It has a pretty flat focus plane but is angled forward on the left, obvious when using focus peaking on a grassy view, and close things will be sharper on the right and distant things on the left. Not usually a problem if you compensate, but don't use full aperture at infinity.|
The Neewer 32mm is a convenient size and shape - longer than the 28mm Meike and the SELP1650, though shorter than the Sigma 30mm f2.8 DN, and not conical like the Meike 28mm. It has a normal focus action and an oddly reversed aperture with no click stop.
Checking exposures shows the reason for the lack of clicks - the iris mechanism is non-linear and the actual aperture is way out from the indicated value (f8 is more like f4). Light collection ability fully openis similar to the DT 35mm f1.8 set between f2 and f2.2, so I don't believe the f1.6 claim either.
What’s it like optically? Basically, old fashioned, as you’d expect from a cheap low-element medium-angle lens. It isn’t the sharpest lens on the block, even at f8-11, but fully open the central area is quite sharp enough if you nail the focus, as anywhere near wide open the narrow DOF will be the limit. I tend to do a lot of flower close-ups and though this lens won’t match a decent macro for bite, results are usually lovely with a smooth transition to OOF and the smooth bokeh that you tend to get with older lens designs undercompensated for SA. However if you focus close at wide aperture, distant light points can show almost a donut bokeh with some swirl to it that’s not always so pleasant. No real onion rings though like you get from some aspherical lens elements.
The SOny 35mm f1.8 DT (on LA-EA1) is quite sharp over the whole visual field fully open - this isn't by a long way.
I bought it to try out a small native E-mount prime for convenience, having got a bit browned off with the SEL1650 (which is sharp, it just operates like a compact). I have several MF primes I can adapt with converters, but a short native mount lens has benefits. Ergonomically the lens is good in parts, with a nice focus ring a reasonable distance from the camera body, but the aperture ring is thin, close to the lens and the lack of a click stop is irritating as you can’t count the clicks and have to take it away from your face to check the aperture (or, given how inaccurate the markings are, just guess).
It’s cheap (even new), a convenient size, and the ability to get some seriously thin DOF on close-ups with smooth OOF transitions, even with a standard-angle lens is useful. It focuses very close for a non-macro, maybe six inches from the front, and doesn’t get hideously soft in the process. Suffers some flare, oddly worse at medium aperture than wide open, so use your hand to shield the sun.
In due course I hope to post some comparison pics with the Cosina 28mm f2.8 pk-mount, Pentacon 50mm f1.8 M42 on Pixco FL reducer, the DT 35mm f1.8 on LA-EA1, and maybe a few others. I can tell you right now that the Pixco reducer does widen the FL as expected, doesn’t gain you much light gathering power and does soften the sides and corners badly, and that none of the MF lenses are as sharp as the Sony DT, but some are much smaller; especially the Cosina and Miranda PK-mount ones which are quite dinky and my old-fashioned favourites, with proper click-stop aperture and smooth long-travel focus ring labelled in feet & metres. It’s just a pity you can’t get better than f2.8 at 28-35mm in the dinky PK-fit range.