Two major parts of my style are shallow depth of field & the 50mm equivalent focal length.
On the Fujifilm X series system that means 35mm primes due to the 1.5x conversion. I own Fuji’s XF35 1.4 R, XF35 2 R WR, and now Mitakon’s Zhongyi Speedmaster 35mm f/0.95 mark ii. This lens recently went on sale at B&H for $479 and as a result I pulled the trigger.
Mitakon In the field
Right after the lens arrived I had a chance to use it in the field. I absolutely lucked out with wonderful light during this engagement session in Detroit. I believe most or all of these sample shots were wide-open.
Battle of the 35’s
The Speedmaster 35 is slightly longer than Fuji’s 35 1.4 hoodless or approximately the same outer dimensions as the Fuji 35 1.4 with it’s hood on. Getting an f/0.95 aperture requires a lot of glass and as a result the Mitakon weighs in at a hefty 1.01 lb (460 g) vs 6.60 oz (187 g) for the Fuji f1.4 or 6.00 oz (170 g) for the Fuji f2. Especially relevant is the solid build quality and smooth focusing. I wish the aperture ring and focus ring were positioned like all the native Fuji glass. I also wish the aperture ring had stops you can feel instead of being De-Clicked.
The Speedmaster 35mm f/0.95 mark ii certainly succeeds in the bokeh department. Wide-open the depth of field is extremely shallow and seems like it is similar to that of a 50mm f/1.4 lens on a full frame camera.
Manual Focus Only
Due to the Speedmaster 35mm having no electronic communication with the camera you’ll only have manual focus. Fuji X bodies do have a setting called “shoot without lens”. You’ll need to find this setting and change it to ON if you haven’t already. Thankfully manual focusing on Mirrorless cameras is so easy with focus zoom-in and highlight peaking.
All three 35mm lenses are rather sharp at f/2. To my eyes the Speedmaster is the sharpest when stopped down to f/2.0… at least in the center. They all have their own unique distortion. I think the Mitakon has slightly more distortion and the color is warmer than the two Fuji lenses. Both could be due to the camera not knowing what’s attached to it and consequently can’t apply a lens profile.
I believe each of these lenses has value and a use case. Fuji’s XF35 2 R WR is the lowest cost, is weather sealed and has FAST, accurate, silent AF-C. Therefore the f/2 is the best of these 3 for af in video. Fuji XF35 1.4 R has adequate AF performance, even though it hunts occasionally, and has 2x the low light & DOF performance of the f/2 version. The Mitakon 35mm is clearly the bokeh king of this focal length on the X system. It’s creamy bokeh even rivals the wonderful XF 56mm f/1.2 R. For now I’ll be packing both the Mitakon and the Fuji f/1.4 for work in case I want/need auto focus. I love this new f/0.95 35mm and think it’s essential if you are using Fuji X for work. I ordered mine from B&H.
Also… If you are hunting for a daily carry camera, prefer the 50mm (ff equivalent, 35mm in Fuji lenses) focal length, don’t mind MF, and LOVE shallow DOF this lens + a fuji X body (your choice) might be the answer. However, if you happen to find 35mm (ff equivalent, 23mm in Fuji lenses) focal length more versatile for vacation or daily carry, like I do, consider the X100F.