In this video, photographer, Christopher Frost, takes a look at the new Zhongyi Mitakon 85mm f/2.8 1-5x Super Macro lens designed for most existing mounts (including Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A and E, Pentax K, M43, Fuji X and EOS-M).
There are not too many super macro lenses on the market and so for those looking for one, every new option is certainly welcome. In recent years companies like Venus Optics (with their 60mm super macro) and Zhongyi (with their previous 20mm super macro lens) have developed super macro offers and a while before that we have reviewed the Nanoha 5X lens
which has been an interesting lens to work with although it is an APS-C only lens, unlike the Zhongyi which covers an FF sensor (this has advantages and disadvantages given the shallower depth of field of an FF sensor from the same distance making working with a FF lens more difficult).
Talking about difficulties, unless you have prior experience with super macro you will need to go through a learning curve to see just how demanding it is to work with a super macro lens. Tripod is usually a must, strong lighting close up (which do not cast a shadow or let the lens cast one), you will need to deal with that super shallow depth of field, find a way to freeze action if you are shooting insects (using flashes typically) and getting an interesting background as well as many other high ly technical aspects.
If you do have experience with super macro you might be interested to learn that this lens isn’t very sharp wide open and its sweet spot is around f/5.6-f/8 (it also isn’t very sharp at f/11 so you won’t really be able to close the aperture to get more depth of field if you want to keep the sharpness high).
Other than that the build quality of the lens seems very good, it has an all-metal design with a focus and aperture rings as well as a foot with Arca Swiss base which is a nice touch. The lens does extend but from the looks of it less than the Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro
The lens currently sells for about $500 (a bit more with the screw-type LED).