Review of MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

The MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM (for Sony E-mount/FE-mount), shown in this review, was provided by by Meike.

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM. increase.

Navigation

  1. In short
  2. History
  3. Main Specifications
  4. Assembly
  5. Focusing
  6. Firmware Upgrade
  7. Image quality
  8. Sample photos (full frame, crop)
  9. Price
  10. My experience
  11. Video review
  12. Results
  13. User Comments
  14. Add your review or question on the lens

In this review I will abbreviate the MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM as 'Meike 85/1.8 STM'.

It's important: This review shows the Meike 85/1.8 STM version for Sony mirrorless cameras with bayonet mount Sony E / FE and with firmware version 2.2. In the same time there are modifications of this lens for mirrorless camera systems Nikon ZCanon RF и fujifilm x.

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

In short

Meike 85/1.8 STM is a modern short fixed telephoto with high aperture for full frame mirrorless cameras. In terms of its parameters, Meike 85/1.8 STM is a very attractive solution. First of all, Meike 85/1.8 STM is intended for portrait shooting. Automatic focusing using a stepper motor. The image quality is not bad, but there are some serious shortcomings.

In general, the Meike 85/1.8 STM is an alternative to the original autofocus lens Sony FE 1.8 / 85. Also, Meike 85/1.8 STM can be a replacement for similar autofocus solutions for bayonet mount Sony E / FE: Astrhori 85/1.8, Tokina 85 / 1.8, Yongnuo 85 / 1.8, Yongnuo 85 / 1.8 II, Zeiss Sonnar Batis 85/1.8, Viltrox PFU 85/1.8, Viltrox 85/1.8II, Samyang 75 / 1.8.

The price for a brand new Meike 85/1.8 STM is very low, it is about $ 180.

It's important: when searching and choosing autofocus optics for Sony E / FE Use these very useful links:

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

History

Very important: Most likely all versions of Meike 85/1.8 lenses use the same optical design. Initially, this scheme was designed to work with SLR cameras, but later migrated to mirrorless versions of the Meike 85/1.8. This is a normal phenomenon, for example, this is what the company did Sigma, which converted many of its lenses for the series SLR cameras DG ART for mirrorless mounts Sony E и Leica l.

It's also worth noting that mirrorless autofocus options use an STM focusing stepper motor. Older SLR versions used a conventional whirring micromotor for focusing.

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

Main technical characteristics of MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

Review Instance Name On the lens barrel: MEIKE 85mmF1.8 FF STM.

Near the front lens: MEIKE AUTO FOCUS LENS 85mm 1: 1.8 3ft / 0.85m Ø67mm

On the box: MEIKE 85mm F/1.8 AUTO FOCUS FULL-FRAME LENS Multi Coated Prime Lens

On the bayonet side, engraving: E-mount S202823030384

Basic properties
  • FF (Full Frame) – the lens is designed for full-frame cameras
  • STM (STepper Motor) – stepper motor or focusing stepper motor
  • Electromagnetic diaphragm
  • AF / MF (Auto Focus - Mannual Focus) - the lens is equipped with a focus mode switch
  • Internal focus
  • Constant manual control of the focus ring
  • Electronic focus ring
  • Multi Coated - multi-coated optics (type and quality of coating are unknown)
  • Metal mount
  • USB-port for firmware update
  • E mount
  • Important: lens from a third-party manufacturer, which imposes some restrictions on its practical use
Front Filter Diameter 67 mm, plastic thread for filters
Focal length 85 mm, EGF for cameras Sony E APS-C is 127.5 mm
Zoom ratio 1 X (this is a fixed lens, it does not have a zoom)
Designed by for full frame mirrorless digital cameras. Theoretically, the lens is suitable for all digital mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses and mount SONY E.

There are also versions for mounts:

Number of aperture blades 9 rounded petals
Tags
  • bayonet mount mark
  • hood attachment mark
Diaphragm from F/1.8 to F/22 without aperture control ring
MDF 0.85 meters, maximum magnification ratio 1:7.7
The weight
  • 386 grams according to the official website
  • 356 grams without covers according to my measurements (Sony E-mount version)
  • 414 grams with two caps and a lens hood according to my measurements
Optical design 9 elements in 6 groups. Pattern drawing not found.

Most likely, lenses use the same optical design Meike 85/1.8 Canon EF, Meike 85/1.8 Nikon FMeike 85/1.8 MF.

Diagram drawing from lens-club website incorrect (for the Meike 85/1.8 lens the diagram from Sony FE 1.8 / 85)

Lens hood Bayonet-type lens hood, included in delivery, Meike LH85-P73 marker
Manufacturer country MADE IN CHINA (Made in China)
Period Since 23 June 2022 years
Instructions not included in the package
Price

The actual aperture values ​​(T-stop) are quite large, and are at the T / 2.0 level.

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

Assembly

The lens came to the review new in an original box. The cardboard of the box is made with embossed “snakeskin” type and feels very pleasant in the hands.

The package does not include a USB cable for updating the firmware.

Meike 85/1.8 STM has metal mount. The focus ring is plastic, with veins, not rubberized. The weight of Meike 85/1.8 STM is about 400 grams (about the same as Sony FE 1.8 / 85). The lens body is made of plastic. The part of the body that is closer to the bayonet mount has a dark gray color and a matte, slightly rough surface, a bit reminiscent of the velvet coating on old Sigma lenses. The front part (where the lens hood mounting petals are located) is glossy.

The assembly is of high quality, however, the focusing ring has a transverse microplay, which is almost invisible and does not cause any discomfort. The lens feels good in your hands. But the large size and not very heavy weight create the feeling that you are holding not an “optics” in your hands, but a “toy”.

The design of the case is very similar to the manual and older one Meike 85mm 1:1.8 Manual Focus Lens (except for the presence of a distance scale and an AF/MF switch).

A durable plastic lens hood is included in the package. Bayonet type lens hood, snap-on tight and not very comfortable. The lens hood can be installed in the opposite direction (in transport mode), but in this case access to the focus ring is completely lost.

The front and rear protective covers are plastic, massive, and easy to use.

The diaphragm consists of 9 blades. At values ​​F/1.8-F/4 the hole takes on a fairly round shape (view of the hole at F/2.8). At values ​​F/8-F/22, the aperture opening takes the shape of an irregular hexagon. The diaphragm works quickly, does not stick, but creates excessive noise from frequent opening/closing.

Meike 85/1.8 STM optical design with a very large flange, allowing it to be used on SLR cameras. This is due to the fact that the lens lenses are located only in the front part of the body frame; the part of the body frame on the bayonet side is simply a hollow tube that increases the working distance. If the engineers had tried, they would have created a much more compact lens, with an optical design specifically for mirrorless cameras, with a small flange distance and, accordingly, a shorter lens body.

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

Focusing

Very important: Meike 85/1.8 STM will only work correctly with modern cameras with a Sony E mount. Compatibility table. With older models, certain difficulties may arise. For example, on a Sony NEX-F3 camera it is impossible to use Meike 85/1.8 STM (when installing the lens, here is a message). Also, for example, on a camera Sony a3500 Auto focus works very poorly. Most likely, for the Meike 85/1.8 STM to work correctly, you need a camera with phase focusing sensors. For example, on the old model Sony NEX-6 (which is not in compatibility list) the lens works correctly.

The lens has a built-in focusing stepper motor STM. There is a slight noise/hum from its operation.

Auto focus speed average, closer to high. The focusing speed is sufficient for comfortable work in most photo tasks.

The focus ring is plastic, with veins. Electronic focusing ring, rotates a little hard, has no extreme positions. During manual focusing you can hear 'plastic rubbing against plastic or metal'. Due to the fact that the lens is very plump, focusing manually is sufficient conveniently. There is virtually no lag in the electronic focusing ring. The focus ring has a slight lateral play.

There is a 'AF-MF' (auto focus / manual focus) mode switch on the lens body.

During auto focus focus ring remains stationary.

Lens has internal focus, the front and rear lenses remain stationary during focusing. It is possible to use various filters without any problems.

The minimum focusing distance is 85 cm and the maximum magnification ratio is 1: 7.7 (0.13 X magnification).

Focus Features:

  1. Important: The focusing quality of the Meike 85/1.8 STM greatly depends on the camera used.
  2. Meike 85/1.8 STM has a strong 'Focus Breathing' effect (changing the viewing angle while focusing). When focusing towards the MDF, the viewing angle decreases.
  3. Focus Shift (focus shift, changing focus distance due to iris)
  4. Meike 85/1.8 STM does not have a hard stop (hard infinity mechanical stop), which allows you to accurately and quickly focus the lens to infinity under any external temperature conditions. To accurately aim at infinity, you cannot simply bring the focusing ring to its extreme position. This is a common problem with lenses with an electronic focus ring.
  5. Unknown compatibility with teleconverters.
MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

Firmware Upgrade

The lens is equipped with a port USB Micro-B 2.0 (a common port that many older smartphones and other devices use). When connected to a computer, the lens is recognized as a 8518 KB '480FF-E' drive. The drive carries two files:

  1. README.HTML – web page describing the firmware update method
  2. a text file whose name indicates the current firmware version, for example, 'ver1.20.txt'

Я updated the firmware of this lens from version 1.2 to version 2.2. To update you should download the firmware file from the official website and copy it to the '8518FF-E' drive, wait 20 seconds, then make sure that the text file shows the new firmware version. You may need to update information about your drive and/or connected devices.

I would like to note that for some reason the firmware file is downloaded differently by different browsers. It should be in a '.zip' archive, which should be unzipped before copying to the '8518FF-E' drive. The firmware file name was “8518FFSTM-E_APPv2.2.UDA”.

I also want to note that on the official website It’s difficult to find the right firmware file for the right lens model, and there’s no way to “roll back” the old firmware.

It's important: on the official website no firmware for lenses for mounts Nikon ZCanon RF и fujifilm x. In this case, on sale Meike 85/1.8 STM is already available for all four declared mounts.

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

Image quality

In general, the image quality of the Meike 85/1.8 STM is at a good level, but there are several serious shortcomings.

Sharpness

  • in the center of the frame at F/1.8 the lens is not bad in terms of resolution
  • there is a drop in sharpness to the edges of the frame at f / 1.8
  • at the edges of the frame, sharpness becomes acceptable after f / 4
  • good / excellent resolution in the center of the frame on covered apertures after F / 2.5
  • there is a small coma

Distortion

  • small pincushion distortion
  • the overall level of distortion is at a level typical for such lenses
  • the nature of distortion is unified, easily corrected in the editor

Vignetting

  • the overall level of vignetting is at a level typical for such lenses
  • noticeable vignetting is observed only at F / 1.8-F / 2.5
  • vignetting almost disappears at F / 2.8-F / 4
  • vignetting is easily fixable in the editor

Aberration

  • open apertures have a lot of chromatic aberration
  • the strongest chromatic aberration visible at the edges and corners of the image
  • Yes strong milling (HA in the blur zone example)
  • aperture down to f / 4 significantly reduces the amount of HA

Rest

  • the aperture opening at F / 1.8-F / 4 is quite round and even, at F / 8-F / 22 it is poorly rounded and is an incorrect nine-headed
  • the lens is very afraid of side and back lightand (example). May be tangible drop in contrast in side light. Backlighting can produce halos
  • in many scenes, the lens can create a pleasant / neutral bokeh

There is no lens profile for the lens in popular RAW converters, but most likely the profile will appear shortly or you can create it yourself.

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

Examples of photos on Full Frame (Sony a7m3)

Camera used sony a7 III (24 MP Full Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor). All photos in this review are shown without processing, according to the principles ZEROJPEG. With a camera sony a7 III I used exclusively automatic focus everywhere. The standard snapshot management method is unchanged (0,0,0).

Original photos c sony a7 III in JPEG/RAW format ('.ARW' with compression) you can view / download this link (30+ files, Google Drive gallery).

Examples of photos on APS-C (Sony a3500)

Camera used Sony a3500 (20 MP Sony Exmor APS-C HD CMOS sensor). All photos in this review are shown without processing, according to the principles ZEROJPEG. With a camera Sony a3500 I used exclusively manual focusing throughout.

Original photos from Sony a3500 in JPEG format you can view / download this link (25+ files, Google Drive gallery). EGF Such a lens on cameras with an APS-C sensor corresponds to approximately 130 mm, which is close to the classic focal length of 135 mm for portrait photography. And the equivalent aperture in terms of depth of field is approximately F/2.7. As a result, on cameras with an APS-C sensor with Meike 85/1.8 STM, you get something like a 135/2.8 class lens.

Electronic front curtain shutter Sony a3500 severely spoiled bokeh at open apertures and shutter speeds shorter than 1/1000 of a second, the causes of this problem are described here... The lens is not to blame, purely a shutter feature Sony a3500.

Prices

Prices for Meike 85/1.8 STM on Aliexpress from the official Meike seller can be look at this link.

 

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

My experience

The price-quality ratio of the Meike 85/1.8 STM lens is at a very high level. True, similar Yongnuo 85 / 1.8 I liked it much more, it’s a pity that it costs almost 2 times more.

Meike 85/1.8 STM – the most budget “real” 85/1.8 class autofocus portrait lens for mirrorless mounts Sony E/Nikon Z/Canon RF/fujifilm x. As a result, it is optically the weakest of similar budget solutions. This does not mean that it is bad, it just means that the user gets exactly what the Meike 85/1.8 STM costs.

Are you undecided about your choice? Check out more model reviews Meike 85/1.8 for Canon EF и Meike 85/1.8 for Nikon F, which are built on the same optical design and produce almost identical image quality/picture. In review Meike 85/1.8 for Nikon F there are a large number of examples.

The Meike 85/1.8 STM delivers performance that is similar to similar lenses for previous generations of SLR cameras, by type Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm 1: 1.8D (1994) and Canon LENS EF 85mm 1: 1.8 ULTRASONIC USM (1992)

For inexpensive options, be sure to consider other similar models for the bayonet mount Sony E / FE:

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

Video review

Appearance

Results

Meike 85/1.8 STM is a simple and clear classic portrait 85, and has a very attractive price. The image quality is at a good level, but there are serious shortcomings. It's a pity that there are compatibility issues with some Sony cameras with a mount E/FE.

main advantages

  1. low cost, only about 180 $ (one of the cheapest autofocus portrait 85mm lenses for Sony E / FE)
  2. internal focus
  3. stepper focus motor
  4. AF/MF focus mode switch (for example, ZEISS Sonnar 1.8/85 T* Batis there is no such switch)
  5. tenacious automatic focusing (on latest camera models)
  6. good build quality: metal bayonet, reliable and convenient covers, bayonet-type hood
  7. There is a USB port for firmware upgrade, easy firmware upgrade method
  8. nine-petal diaphragm, smooth aperture in the range of F / 1.8-F / 4.0
  9. nice / neutral drawing, which can be used as a good artistic technique during portraiture
  10. sharpness in the center of the frame already at F/1.8 is sufficient for many areas of portraiture

main disadvantages

  1. limited set of cameras with full compatibility (list). Also, with some older camera models, taking photos and/or videos becomes completely impossible. Updating the firmware does not change the situation.
  2. lack of new firmware for mounts Nikon ZCanon RF и fujifilm x
  3. the optical design from older models, developed for SLR cameras. This leads, first of all, to an increase in lens size
  4. there are no indicators similar to the focusing distance scale (there are, for example, ZEISS Sonnar 1.8/85 T* Batis)
  5. The focus ring is a little tight and gives an unpleasant effect of “plastic on plastic” friction, has a lateral micro-play
  6. lack of basic dust and moisture protection
  7. slight noise from frequent operation of the diaphragm
  8. strong chromatic aberration
  9. significant deterioration in resolution at the edges and corners of the image at open apertures
  10. I would like to highlight separately the weak resistance to back and side light

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. Many different photographic equipment can be found on AliExpress.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

Add a comment:

 

 

Comments: 11, on the topic: Review of MEIKE 85mm 1:1.8 Auto Focus Lens FF STM

  • Alexandi

    Thanks for the review, I note that with the Sony a7 the focusing sometimes also flies away

  • Natalia

    Overall a good lens. It so happened that I was filming with it in the studio, it’s a little awkward to leave. But the picture he gives, I was just imagining what kind of shots could be taken in nature and people on the street.
    Also the aperture is 1.8f, for me the faster the lens, the better)

  • i is glorious

    In my opinion, Meike 85/1,8 belongs to the category “better than no portraiture at all, but worse than any competitor.” The most noticeable shortcomings are, first of all, the loss of contrast when working in the background, and secondly, a very large amount of CA in the blur zone. But the sharpness is in place, and the blurring of the out-of-focus zone is very soft.
    Reviewer Richard Wong on YouTube recently posted a comparison of the Meike AF 85/1,4 and this Meike AF 85/1,8 - all the shortcomings are visible there. (I advise you to ignore the sharpness test; there is no certainty that it is correct).

  • Paul

    It’s kind of cloudy he’s filming...

    • B. R. P.

      In cloudy weather - cloudy, in sunny weather - sunny... No, bad lens, no highlight)

  • Nikita

    I can’t find the firmware for the RF version of the lens, the official website has all the firmware except RF, I accidentally deleted the original one and now my lens is bricked, please help ((

    • Arkady Shapoval

      It is unlikely that the firmware will help here

  • Corduroy

    Hello Arkady,
    thanks for the fine review.
    Can't find the firmware 2.2 for the STM 85/1.8 E – there is only a 1.9c and a 2.7 that is not working with my A7 II.
    Could you send me your version 2.2 please.
    Thank You.
    Corduroy

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Hi. Try V1.2

      • Corduroy

        Hi. V.1.2 is ok and working – also V1.9c is ok and working (now running). V2.7 is flashable – but the A7 II seems not to see the lense.
        So – if you have a V2.2 (or was this a typo?) – a test here would be fine – maybe these step via 1.9c – 2.2 – 2.7 is required?
        Do you have tested the V 2.7?
        Regards,

        Corduroy

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Nope (

Add a comment

Copyright © Radojuva.com. Blog author - Photographer in Kiev Arkady Shapoval. 2009-2023

English-version of this article https://radojuva.com/en/2023/10/meike-85mm-1-8-auto-focus-lens-ff-stm-exz-rf-review/

Versión en español de este artículo https://radojuva.com/es/2023/10/meike-85mm-1-8-auto-focus-lens-ff-stm-exz-rf-review/