The Meike 50mm f/1.2 RF lens for Canon EOS RP mount allows for more handheld low-light images, and also offers a very creamy bokeh (blurred background) that you can only get with a low aperture lens. Why is bokeh important to your photography? Bokeh adds a very professional look to portraits, and can add a creative boost to any image regardless of subject matter.
I took my Meike 50mm f/1.2 attached to my EOS RP out on a cloudy, overcast day for a drive around rural Indiana. While I love a good evening sunset or beautiful golden hour images, when it's a dull, dreary day you can still have fun with a lens like this by getting close up, and making that f/1.2 work for you with excellent sharpness on the subject, and a nice, soft background.
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2. Solid Feel, Build and Quality
The feel and build of this lens is very solid, and has some heft to it. It doesn't not feel cheap, and does not look cheap (like the Canon 50mm does). Weighing in at 620g (1.3 lbs) and 72mm in length (2.8 inches), it's longer and heavier than the smaller, less expensive Meike 50mm f/1.7, which comes in at just under $100 on Amazon.
The lens is constructed with 12 elements in 7 groups w/multi-layer coatings. This helps give the bokeh referred to above a more circular shape, as opposed to an octagon-type look that results from less expensive lenses with fewer elements and blades.
After spending an afternoon on the road with this lens, I was anxious to get back to the computer and start editing these images. I was even more pleased once the editing process began in Lightroom.
The images taken with this lens came out very sharp, very clear, and did not need much post sharpening or clarity at all. A little added contrast did the trick for most of the images. I did not have an issue with soft focus, and don't believe that any of the images missed the focus mark. In other words, my manual focus skills seemed to work just fine.
It's such a treat to use the focus-peaking feature on the EOS RP with manual lenses, and in my opinion is the ONLY way to guarantee an in-focus image. Even the best auto-focus lenses can misfire, focus on something other than your focal point, etc. With a manual lens, you see not only what will be in focus with the red peaking outline, but you also get a very good sense of what your depth of field will look like as well.
It's a more organic way of shooting, and takes one back to the days of manual film cameras with manual lenses. Some of my favorite photos were taken this way many years ago. I find the focus process of a manual lens very therapeutic and enjoyable. I also find myself more compelled to go out and shoot when I have to 'work' the equipment, and not rely on auto focus.
4. Nice resistance from the aperture and focus ring. Grip is firm, not cheap.
The grip on the aperture and focus ring turns with enough resistance that it is comfortable to use. They're not loose at all, and rotate with enough friction that adds to the quality feel of the lens. The aperture ring is clickless, meaning it's great for changing on the fly while shooting video.
Some people are in the camp that prefers a 'click' for each f-stop, while others prefer the quiet smoothness of no click. I can say that at least when new, wherever you leave the aperture, it stays. It will not turn on it's own. And while it would be easy to grab the wrong ring when trying to focus instead of changing aperture or vice-versa, it's really not a problem for me. When I shoot manual, I'm slowing down anyway and spending more time adjusting focus, etc, and it's obvious when you do move the aperture ring, and I'm usually giving it a last adjustment before taking the shot anyway.
5. It's a fully Manual lens.
Simple fact that it's a Manual lens that requires you to not only take the time to frame the scene, but also forces you to 'see' the scene with each shot. This gives the feel that you are doing all the creative work yourself. How much bokeh do you want? How much depth of field would you like? These are all decision you make manually, forcing you to put more thought into each shot.
Be sure to check out my youtube video on how use a manual lens on your Canon R series camera, as well as how to set up and use the incredibly helpful Focus Peaking mode.