Mitakon 24mm f/1.7 lens for Fuji X – First Impressions Review

DSCF5955

Good thing they decided on Freewalker rather than Streetwalker

The Mitakon (Zhongyi) 24mm f1.7 lens is made by a Chinese company ZY Optics, which was founded in 1984. Already producing a range of fast aperture lenses for Sony, Nikon, Pentax and Canon, at Photokina earlier this year they announced  new 24mm f1.7 and 42.5mm f1.2 lenses for micro 4/3 and Fuji X mounts.

I already have a fantastic 23mm Fujinon lens on my X100s and though I have borrowed, used and lusted after the Fujinon XF 23mm f1.4 for my X-T1 it costs nearly NZ$1400 and I really can’t justify that when I have the X100s. So when I saw the Mitakon 24mm in Fuji X mount for an introductory price of less then NZ$400 I decided that it was worth a try. Having pre-ordered on the ZY Optics website it was simply a matter of waiting.

I wish I could show the unboxing experience:

DSCF5943

DSCF5945

However the lens arrived in a padded envelope and comes with a soft material lens bag with a plastic clip for attaching to your belt or camera bag (I don’t think so…).

Specifications

From the ZY Optics site:

Zhongyi Mitakon 24mm f/1.7 Lens
Lens type Manual lens
Max Format size APS-C
Focal length 24 mm
Lens mount Sony E / M43 / Fuji X
Aperture
Maximum aperture F1.7
Minimum aperture F22.0
Aperture ring Yes
Number of diaphragm blades 12
Optics
Elements 9
Groups 8
Focus
Minimum focus 0.15 m
Distance scale Yes
Physical
Weight 246 g
Diameter 61.5 mm
Length 55 mm
Colour Black / Silver
Zoom method Rotary
Filter thread 49 mm

Build

DSCF5949

The lens body has an all metal construction and a good solid feel. There’s no lens hood and the lens cap is the worst sort of plasticky. The aperture ring is fairly narrow, click less and located close to the mount. The focussing ring is broader and has distance scales in meters and feet and a small depth of field scale. The front of the lens extends on closer focussing but does not rotate.

Handling

The red dot on the lens to align the mount with the camera body is small and hard to see. The mount itself though feels good and tight. As you can see from the photo above the distance between the f8 and f22 marks on the lens is virtually nonexistent. This, together with the lack of click stops on the aperture ring mean that setting a precise aperture is pretty difficult.

Of course the lens displays no aperture setting in the camera EVF (or aperture data in the image file metadata), but that’s not too much of a problem with the excellent X-T1 EVF displaying a WYSIWYG image. I have medium sized fingers and found the closeness of the aperture ring to the X-T1 body no real issue – might be different if you have large hands. The aperture ring moves smoothly as does the focus and both have just the right level of resistance, with the aperture ring being about twice as firm as the focus ring.

The distance scale on the lens is usable but the depth of field scale is too small to be much use at a quick glance, which diminishes the lens usefulness as a street photography tool, though not a fatal flaw.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the feel of the lens in practical use, the solidity and manual approach are a good match for the X-T1, at least as far as I’m concerned.

Optical performance

[All images are OOC jpg’s -Ns or By film simulations- with no post processing]

Colour rendition is very good. No complaints there.

271114_0003

DSCF3536

DSCF3520

Centre sharpness is good but not great at the widest apertures, needing at least f5.6. Edge sharpness is soft at all apertures but quite acceptable for most uses from f8. There is minor vignetting evident, but again not unacceptable.

The main issue is quite marked barrel distortion, though this could easily be fixed in post processing. The series below, mostly taken at f5.6 to f8 should give an idea of the sharpness and distortion:

DSCF3540

DSCF3543

DSCF3547

DSCF3548

DSCF3549

DSCF3552

Bokeh with the lens wide open are pleasing if nowhere near the Fujinon lenses:

DSCF3514Even allowing for the absence of a lens hood flare when shooting into the light is ugly, though could be used creatively in black and white images:

DSCF3556

Close focus is one of the surprising strengths of the Mitakon. With a minimum focus distance of just 15cm. I can see myself using this feature quite a lot.

DSCF3553

Overall impressions

At the price I wasn’t expecting too much but on the whole I’ve been pleasantly surprised. If you already have an X100 series camera or just want a 35mm equivalent lens for occasional use then the Mitakon 24mm is worth your consideration. Otherwise I would have to advise on saving up for the superb Fujinon XF 23mm.

Pros

  • Price
  • Solid build
  • Good color rendition
  • Close focus
  • Wide aperture and bokeh
  • Excellent ‘feel’ with the X-T1

Cons

  • Clickless aperture ring
  • Hard to read depth of field scale
  • Barrel distortion
  • Edge softness
  • Flare

All images © Simon Shaw 2014

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Mitakon 24mm f/1.7 lens for Fuji X – First Impressions Review

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s