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You’ll Really Love These Manual Focus Lenses!


Very few things excite this staff like manual focus lenses. They help us feel connected to the fact that we’re taking a photo. But they also force us to work harder to get a better image. Some folks think manual focus lenses are a waste of time. But, they force you to take the time to compose an image in a different way. Check out these fantastic manual focus lenses.

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Pro Tips on Using Manual Focus Lenses

New to manual focus lenses? Here are some essential tips for you:

  • Know that we’ve tested all of these Manual Focus Lenses. The product images and sample photos were all shot by our staff. Further, there are links to our full reviews of each product.
  • Manual focus lenses are designed to be used in a completely different way than autofocus lenses. They can sometimes even focus faster.
  • The manual focus lenses in this roundup are pretty unique. The Laowa lens has bokeh that’s out of this world. So too does the Meyer Optik. And finally, the Mitakon lens is capable of something no native GF mount lens can do as of publishing.
  • Use focus magnification and focus peaking together for the best accuracy.
  • Tripods are seriously recommended when using longer manual focus lenses.

Laowa 105mm f2 Smooth Trans Focus

Pros

  • Incredible colors
  • Fantastic sharpness when in focus and using a flash
  • Great for skin tones
  • Excellent build quality overall
  • Feels great in the hand

Cons

  • Considering this isn’t an electronically connected lens, I’ve got no major issues overall.

Is There Nice Bokeh?

In our review, we state:

“Quite obviously, the closer you are to a subject, the better the bokeh will be. A lens like this is designed for portraiture, so you’re going to get fantastic bokeh no matter what. Wide open at f2 it’s very nice and, even when stopped down a bit to somewhere along the lines of f5.6, you’re still getting great output from this lens.”

Is It Worth the Price?

This lens is only a few hundred bucks. It’s tougher to use, but it’s incredibly rewarding. Those rewarding photos are very much worth this price.

Meyer Optik 58mm f1.9 II

Pros

  • Beautiful bokeh
  • The sharpest Meyer Optik lens I’ve used
  • Just a bit too sharp for portraits, but that’s fine in many cases
  • Smooth focusing
  • Large focusing range
  • I love manual focus lenses because they slow you down.
  • Beautiful colors on the Sony a7r III

Cons

  • Lacks weather sealing
  • Lacks contacts for AF/AE communication
  • Really only sharp around the four points of the rule of thirds intersection

Is There Nice Bokeh?

In our review, we state:

“The Meyer Optik 58mm f1.9 II doesn’t have the soap bubble look, but its swirly bokeh is pretty beautiful. This is pretty fascinating, actually. I found that the in-focus areas aren’t swirly, but the out-of-focus areas have swirly bokeh. With many other lenses, they’ll just make the outer area go swirly and only keep the center sharp. That’s not the case here.”

Is It Worth the Price?

This lens has a classic render that’s almost impossible to find in modern manual focus lenses. The Japanese lenses largely try to engineer out the traditional flaws and leave optics feeling soulless. That makes this lens very worth the price.

Mitakon Speedmaster 65mm f1.4

Pros

  • Build Quality
  • Metal Housing
  • Lens character
  • Spectacular sharpness from f5.6 on
  • A great cost-effective lens for the Fujifilm GFX series, coming at much less than $1,000

Cons

  • Quite large and heavy for a prime 65mm medium format lens
  • Not for beginners
  • Thin depth of field
  • Clickless aperture ring
  • No lens contacts

Is There Nice Bokeh?

In our review, we state:

“The bokeh produced by the Mitakon 65mm f1.4 is stunning when you nail focus at f1.4. It becomes more painterly, and some elements of the image look more like brush strokes when stopped down. At times, the bokeh looks like it could have been created in post-production when there is a lot of separation from the background.”

Is It Worth the Price?

This lens was said to be relatively inexpensive for the Fujifilm GF mount in our review. Considering it’s also one of the fastest aperture lenses for the mount, this is very worth the price.

The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.







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