Review of Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm F/0.95 mkII (x-mount)
F/0.95. I could almost leave it at that. Most likely that is what caught your eye, but this lens excels beyond the f-stop.
The Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm F/0.95 mkII (50mm equivalent on APS-C) is a fantastic lens. Optical quality wide open is great in the center with the edges becoming soft. Stopping down beyond f 5 you'll notice any blurriness clears up. Color and contrast render well with the X-T3, and the all metal construction makes handling this lens delightful. Drawbacks? No lens hood which exacerbates the heavy flaring / ghosting this lens displays. Did I mention no lens hood?
I enjoy manual lenses for their tactile experience and the Mitakon delivers in spades. Dampening on the focus and aperture rings feels great. You won’t need to twist your arm around in order to change focus quickly, but there is enough throw to allow for fine tuning. That translates into nailing focus more often at F/0.95 - especially if you are closer to the minimum distance of approximately thirteen inches. One minor complaint: I bump the aperture ring often enough to be annoyed. I also have sausage fingers which certainly plays a role.
As a 50mm equivalent you'll find environmental portraiture / street photography are a natural fit. And getting closer to your subject won't produce major distortions. Night photography benefits greatly from the max aperture, but photos will display chromatic aberration and vignetting, both of which are manageable in post.
At $500 it presents itself as a premium manual focus lens, which it is (I’ll let the photos speak for themselves). On a recent visit to Guatemala this lens stayed on my camera most of the time and I loved every moment. Final verdict? The character of this lens is unique (flares can be fun), but it is fantastic in almost every other way. Except for no lens hood of course.
I mean come on.
See picture below. Notice flaring in the photo where we are sitting on the balcony and the chromatic aberration on the first.