Ooooh, test driving the Mitakon Zhongyi f/0.95 Mark II was a mistake. How can something as mundane as a quick portrait snap at the camera shop look so nice?! At least to my eyes…Wow! It has this natural vignette at f/0.95 I’m loving. I added a little more just because I love vignetting but it really didn’t need much.
Remember when I mentioned going 1 camera 1 lens a few weeks back? That’s still very much on my radar, though I find myself leaning towards the last option: pairing my 35mm f/2 with a Mitakon Zhongyi 35mm f/0.95 Mark II. 1 Camera 1.5 lenses; same focal length so I’d still be sharpening my vision! The Fuji 35mm f/2 autofocuses
and is sharper while those extra 2 stops of light and full-frame portrait style of the Mitakon are really nice!
So I went shopping around to see if I could find one and managed to succeed at Map Camera in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The price wasn’t great but wasn’t bad, either. $460 for one in “good condition” and $515 for “very good,” which looked almost new. Ehhh…
I owned the Mitakon Mark I version years past and wasn’t completely sold so I got rid of it. The Mark I version was also heavier and not as sharp wide open. Now that I’m better with manual focusing I have to say I’m…Definitely curious.
Even with focus peaking f/0.95 is hard to nail but I’m no longer allergic to it since a lot of my street photography is done with manual and zone focusing. I’m shooting 35mm enough that I’m starting to shoot from the hip now without looking! Training your vision with primes really works!
Also, even when I miss focus, like in the image below, it has a definite character to it, similar to my 23mm f/2 and 16mm f/1.4. Very forgiving rendering. Just a dude on a computer but so, so pretty…
Also, if you decide to give into G.A.S. next time you’re in Japan, the retail outlets actually have lenses just sitting attached to platforms where you can use either their camera bodies or your own to test drive them. As expected of one of the world’s electronics hubs.
I got to play with a number of lenses for the first time, including the 18mm f/2, the new 16-80mm f/4 (not as impressive as I hoped), my old friend the 56mm f/1.2, and even some random Chinese lenses like the Kamlan 50mm f/1.1. That Mitakon, tho…
Edit: By request, here are the JPEGs at full-resolution imported from RAW via Capture One. Provia, no adjustments whatsoever. I prefer a moodier image so I generally underexpose slightly. To my eyes, the Mitakon has a warmer cast than the Fuji f/2, which is quite pleasing!