Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 vs Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm f/0.95
I've seen a lot of talk between people wondering what the differences were between these two lenses and how they compare. So when I did a lookbook shoot for a new project that I helped start called Imua Supply Co. (be sure to check it out!) I decided to put these two lenses to the test. During the entire shoot I used only these two lenses exclusively.
Full disclosure: I only recently got the Mitakon and this is my first time really getting to use it heavily. So this section is more of a "first impressions" than anything.
The Mitakon is a completely manual lens. That means no electronics at all, no autofocus, nothing. When I used this lens I relied on focus peaking to make sure my shots were all sharp. Having used and being very comfortable with the Rokinon 12mm lens (which is also completely manual) this wasn't very hard for me to adjust to.
The lens itself has a clickless aperture ring. It seems to be a fairly divisive feature. Some people hate it while others loathe it. Personally, I like it. It doesn't bother me at all. Though to be fair, my background is in video.
There was also some noticeable vignetting when shooting at f0.95. It didn't really bother me, just something I noticed.
When shooting very contrasty photos, the chromatic abberation is pretty bad. Not dealbreaking bad. Not even bad enough that you would notice it at first glance or without zooming in a bit. But it's still pretty bad.
In retrospect, I realize that I didn't take a ton of photos with the Mitakon at f0.95! In fact, about half of the photos were shot stopped down to f16, oddly enough. I'll be sure to rectify that during my next shoot.
The aperture ring and the focus ring are swapped. By that I mean, the aperture ring is placed where the focus ring normally is on a lens, and the focus ring is placed where the aperture ring normally is on a lens. I thought this would bother me a lot, but to be honest, over the course of the shoot, which only lasted about three hours, I got used to it. In fact, not only would I say that I got used to it, I'd say it became second nature to me to the point where I didn't even think about it. I even almost forgot to mention it in this post.
The Fujifilm 56mm is not known as a fast focusing lens. In fact, it's probably one of Fuji's slower lenses. But paired with the X-T2 and continuous focus, it nailed 80%-90% of shots of our model as she ran down a path. Obviously this isn't under very harsh conditions, but I was still pretty impressed, especially considering I was shooting at f1.2 the entire time.
Take this with a grain of salt, but I feel like the images from the Mitakon were a little more contrasty and vibrant, while the images from the Fuji were a little more even and natural. This is just something I noticed while shooting RAW+JPG though. It's very possible that this was just my imagination as I only noticed this while reviewing images on the LCD of the camera and not while editing the images.
So which lens would I recommend? Like most gear purchases, I think it comes down to your needs. If you need autofocus, like I did when I did the running shots, then the answer is obvious. But if you don't mind using manual focus, despite its shortcomings, I really like the 35mm f0.95 Mitakon, especially for the price. Sure there's chromatic abberation, but that's a fixable issue. And there's definitely some vignetting at f0.95, but that's kind of to be expected and for me, definitely not a dealbreaker.
Let me know if you have any questions and check out the galleries below to view the rest of the images in order to judge for yourself.