Meike 85mm F1.8 Nikon Z Mount Review : This is stunning.

meike 85mm f1.8 Review fro Nikon Z mount.

The Meike 85mm F1.8 Review and is this lens a diamond or a disaster?

Before I even start this Meike 85mm F1.8 review for the Nikon Z mount I have to say I wasn’t terribly optomistic of a positive outcome, please let me explain why I was so very wrong (well kind of anyway)….

When Meike said they would send me out a Meike 85mm f1.8 Nikon Z mount lens for review I immediately said “that’s great, thank you so very much” it was only when I googled the lens and saw the price was under $200.-, £200.- or €250.- I found myself thinking how could this possibly be anything but a pig in a bag?

With the equivilent Nikon Z Series 85mm F1.8 being almost four times the price this was going to be a hard one to review and it was surely going to be even harder to find any positives about it other than the price of course.

So, I formed a plan… Record it, do what you normally do and keep it honest and just say what you think… Good plan Kieran, what could possibly go wrong there only everything.

So check out my 85mm F1.8 STM review video below where I unbox the lens and give my first impressions and how I got on with it. Or read on below if you prefer…

I also have a Neewer Q4 Review here where I try out this 400 watt high powered battery strobe if you’re interested?

Meike 85mm F1.8 review close up and details

The unboxing went a good bit better then I expected and the first feel of this 85mm lens was surprisingly good. I suddenly found myself thinking… Could this be a positive sign or a tiny little glimmer of light in the distance ahead.

Or, was it simply just a train’s headlight shining on me as it raced down the track towards me at full speed? Well, let’s get into it and I will talk you through the rollercoaster of a ride I went on with this lens and why this could just be perfectly imperfect.

BTW you can buy the Meike 85mm F1.8 worldwide on Amazon here

Please note this is an affiliate link so if you purchase via that link I may make a slight commission from it but that helps me create videos like this and run thise website so thank you.
meike 85mm f1.8 Review fro Nikon Z mount.

Meike 85mm F1.8 Tech Specs.

  • This lens has a maximum Aperture of F1.8 and a minimum Aperture of F22
  • It has a minmum focusing distance of 0.85m
  • The Lens is constructed of 9 individual elements in 6 different groups and it has a 9 blade Diaphragm to help give you super round and smooth Bokeh or background blur.
  • This lens has a 67mm Filter thread so if you need to add ND filters for (very bright daylight portraits) or diffusion filters (skin smoothing and Halation) that’s handy. 

My Meike 85mm F1.8 STM review Conclusion preview

This is not my final review conclusion (that’s further down the page) but I thought it was only fair that after an opening few paragraphs filled with doubt and concern about this lens review, that I should give you some insight on how it finally faired out before you abandon all hope on the Meike 85mm F1.8 review.

I won’t give too much away as of yet but let’s just say I now have a lot of respect for this lens and I can genuinely see myself using it from time to time going forward. I honestly never thought I would say about a new lens costing less than $200. 

Stick with me as I explain why I think this lens is just that little bit special and also why I believe it works better on the Nikon Z mount then on other camera system mounts. Let’s have a look at who this lens is aimed at next.

Meike 85mm F1.8 STM Review : Is it for Professional Use?
Meike 85mm F1.8 STM Review : Is it for Professional Use?

Is this lens aimed at profesional photographers?

Obviously not, funnily enough though one of its quirks could very well see me using it from time to time (still can’t believe I am saying that), yes, I am a professional photographer (that doesn’t make me better than anyone else though) and I earn my living from photography, so I take my camera gear and lenses very seriously.

When this lens was being designed I can almost guarantee you they weren’t think of me or people like me, I am assuming this was aimed more at the hobbyist or the enthuasist market which in all fairness it’s more than good enough for. If you are looking for a fairly good quality 85mm F1.8 prime lens then you won’t get much better bang for your buck than the Meike. 

There is nothing out there that comes close to this lens in my mind or at least that I have used as of yet.

Before anyone starts shouting at me, yes, I know there is a lot more to a “Pro” lens then how it behaves, reliability and build quality have a massive bearing on what pro photographers use, then again results also speak volumes. 

I can’t say anything about the long term reliability of this lens as of yet but I will be updating this blog post regularly with new images and insights. 

The one area where you would clerarly know it’s not a pro lens though is in its build quality, so let’s have a serious look at that now.

Meike 85mm F1.8 build quality

Meike 85mm F 1.8 Build Quality

First thoughts… As I mentioned in my Meike 85mm F1.8 review video above my initital thoughts were very positive. Yes, it does feel a bit cheap but I was expecting that as after all it’s an incredibly cheap lens.

The focus ring feels fairly smooth, the AF/MF switch does feel a small bit light, the lens is not weather sealed but it has a good strong metal mount which surprisingly glides beautifully onto my Z7ii and Z8. My Nikon Z8 is one of the ones with the lens mount issue (still hasn’t gone in for a recall) so having this slide on so easily is a real positive.

The lens hood is plastic and like all lens hoods it’s light and serves it’s purpose, now it is a bit more flimsy than the Nikon alternative, again that’s to be expected. 

With more use I found the lens hood to be a bit more annoying especially after a good few uses as the plastic hood left white (plastic) residue or marks on the twist on mounting point on the lens. After I cleaned this off though it went on smoother again. This may just be an initial teething problem as they get used to knitting together (I will give you an update on this in a few weeks again).

The more I used this lens the more I forgot it’s price and as a result the more I compared it to my pro lenses and that’s when you start to notice how hollow the plastic around the lens body feels and even sounds.

This hollow effect I believe helps to amplify the Auto Focus STM motor noise which is not too loud but very noticable. Also as your hand slides across the surface you can here a slight bit of noise. I am just being super picky now….

I should mention here that Meike say this lens has a full metal body (internal) for durability so the feel just might not be important from a build quality side of things.

Again none of that will effect its performance and in all honesty I would prefer the money was spent on the optics rather than the build quality, so let’s check the optical quality now. 

Meike 85mm F1.8 review depth of field.

Meike 85mm F1.8 Review: Optical performance.

After taking the very first shots with this lens I was surprised by how good the optics were, I was expecting a very soft result but even at F1.8 the images were farily sharp, apart from the corners of course which were a bit  soft. I have a more detailed section on corner sharpness below. 

At F2.8 I found this lens to be more than sharp enough and it produced some very nice detail in my test images. I will be adding a lot more test shots over the coming days and weeks.

From the photos above in my quick outdoor test you can see how the background melts away at F1.8, at F2.8 I personally found that this lens starts to get really sharp and you still get some amazing separation from your background. So from the point of view of sharpeness this lens does very well.

Corner Sharpness

In the photographs below you can see the corner sharpness of this lens. These 3 different shots are zoomed in at 100% to the top left corner of the image and the focus was set to the centre of the image which is out of frame in all shots.

You can see the apertures they were taken at clearly labelled on each section and how the corner sharpness is off at F1.8 (to be expected) and start to pulls in from F2.8 to F4.0.

At F2.8 the corner sharpness is already looking good but to get it nearly perfect I found you would want to be at F4.0 then again for lens most people will use for portraiture corner sharpness isn’t exactly the holy grail.

Poor corner sharpness wide open is a common issue on a lot of lenses so it’s nothing wrong with this lens but just something to to be aware of if corner sharpness is your king.

Corner Sharpness
Corner Sharpness


This was surprising for me personally as I found this lens to have very little vignetting, you can see from the image below that there is litte to no vignetting even at F1.8 so that’s a huge positive for the Meike 85mm F1.8.

I would have expected there to be a reasonable amount of vignetting in a budget lens but this 85mm lens seems to controll it incredibly well. From my experience even the Nikon 85mm F1.8 has more vignetting than this lens.

So Nikon you could learn something here from the Meike.



The distortion as you can see in the image above was minimal and very acceptable in my mind, again the Meike 85mm F1.8 did well here. In fairness so far optically this lens has proved to be very surprising.

I was expecting there to be a high level of distortion as let’s face it the Auto Focus is good (I will get to AF below), distortion is OK, Lack of Vignetting is great, Sharpness is good so none of this add up to it being a cheaper lens. There surely has to ba catch to it?

How can a really cheap lens be this good? has it a fault at all? Well lets have a look at the two issues (if you could call them that) below.   

Chromatic aberration

Now, this is where we start to hit issues and the first one is Chromatic aberration and let’s just say this lens has it.

Just look at the photo below and you can clearly see that purple and green fringe all around the subject.

So how serious is this and is this a total fail for the Meike 85mm F1.8 lens?

Firstly, this is an extreme case where you have a very bright background and a very dark subject in the foreground. I purposefully did this to give us the perfect conditions for Chromatic Aberration

Continue on down below to see if there is a solution…

Chromatic Aberration Original
Chromatic Aberration Original

Is it possible to remove this and how serious exactly is it? 

Well, it’s not that serious and it’s simple enough to remove Chromatic aberration, I simply popped the shot into lightroom and adjusted the Chromatic Aberration controls and it was gone.

The Lightroom corected image is directly below.

So let’s talk about the big… err issue with this lens….

Chromatic Aberration Corrected
Chromatic Aberration Corrected

Light leak.

This lens doesn’t have light leak it has light flood and as soon as I discovered it I just knew I had found the chink in this lens… It was all too good up until now and it just couldn’t last.

Then I started experimenting and suddenly I found myself kind of liking this err… flaw.

So what is light leak and should you be worried?

Light leak is when a lens let’s light that’s just out of frame bleed across the picture causing brighter/lower contrast sections in your image. Well that’s a simple way to describe it anyway.

If you have a look at the GIF below you can see it as the camera slowly pivots away from the light and when the light gets just out of frame this stray light reflects in the optics and leaks across the picture.

Having the lens hood on does help this a bit and again please remember this is an extreme case I am showing you here now. You would normally not be filming a video light with a black background directly behind it.

Meike 85mm F1.8 Review : Light Leak GIF
Meike 85mm F1.8 Review : Light Leak GIF

Spending sometime playing with this got me thinking though… how would this look for portrait shoots at sunset? You know the ones with that lovely soft light leak flowing into frame to give you that dreamy sunset look.

Ya, I know their are fake ones everywhere now…  Most of them even have the light leak coming from the wrong direction… Tbh that really bugs me 🙂

So could or would this work? Would it just look stupid? What colour would the leaks take on?

The answer is yes, this does work and I used it for a sunset shoot for a client before this bad weather came in and while I can’t share the photos with ye, I thought it did a really good job.

Once this bad weather clears up I will go back out and get some shots to show you exactly what I mean and update this blog post then.

Let’s have a look at why I think this lens works better with the z series than other camera bodies.

Why is the Meike 85mm F1.8 better on the Nikon Lens Mount?

I think it’s better on the Nikon Z mount because some of the issues that have been reported on the other mounts could have been cleared up before the Z mount version was released. 

Like it having a slightly rough focus ring, the focus ring on this lens was smooth enough and I wouldn’t complain about it.

A few people have complained about the AF performance, I personally found the AF to be good, I am going to get into that next…. 

So, it seems these issues have been solved on the Z series model already. Maybe it’s just me or maybe I have a very good lens… how have you found it on a z series camera?

Meike 85mm F1.8 Review : Auto Focus Performance

The Meike 85mm F1.8 lens has an STM (stepper Motor) AF focus system and while Meike say this is near silent I have to say I found it to be a bit noisy, in all honesty it’s one of the reasons why I would say this 85mm is not very suitable for video use.

I did find the focus to be very quick and positive on my Z8 and while it might hunt the very odd time it locked on very quickly afterwards, which again is really impressive.

The AF speed is a bit slower than the Nikon 85mm F1.8 though but that shouldn’t shock anyone.

The other slight pet pieve I have with this lens is the manual focus control and yes while shooting you can grab the focus ring and adjust the focus manually with focus peaking popping up immediately on my Z8 and Z7ii.

What bugs me is you need to rotate the focus ring nearly 360 degrees to go from macro to infinity which is a bit much.

Then again it does give you very fine focus control so it’s up to you if think that’s a good thing or bad thing. That could just be me being very picky now and being set in my ways.

Overall the AF of the Meike 85mm F1.8 was very impressive, this genuinely surprised me as I was expecting the AF to be a let down, normally you would expect an 85mm F1.8 lens at this price to be fully manual so how could the AF have been any good was my thinking before I tried it.

Star Bursts

Star Bursts on the Meike 85mm lens are simply awesome and the added benifit of being able to stop down to F22 only helps them further. Most 85mm prime lenses only go as far as F16 so that’s another nice little touch.

Meike 85mm F1.8 Review: Final Conclusion

While reviewing this lens I constantly went from one emotion to the next, this is something I never really felt with a lens before. Even writing this conclusion now I am comparing it in my head to the Nikon 85mm F1.8 and I think you just can’t do that.

It’s like having a drag race with mini and a Tesla Plaid, they are both great cars but one is 4 times the price of the other one so there are bound to be massive differences between them.

If you were to directly compare them, then the Nikon 85mm F1.8 would win sharpness (Meike is 85% of the way there), distortion control (Meike is 90% of the way there), chromatic abbration (Meike is 50% of the way there), colour accuracy (Meike is 75% of the way there), AF speed (Meike is 90% of the way there) and build quality or feel(Meike is 45% of the way there) .

To judge this lens at it’s price range though I would have to say it’s staggeringly good and if you haven’t the budget for a Nikon Z series lens this Meike lens is cetainly one you should be very seriously looking at.

You can get the Meike 85mm F1.8 worldwide on Amazon here.

I haven’t seen a budget lens perform this well in a very long time so congratulations on an amazing job Meike.

To sum it all up… If you are on a tight budget and you want a prime 85mm lens then this lens is going to be amazing for you, yes, it’s not perfect but in ways that’s what makes it fun to use also.

This lens has charachter and it’s one of the reasons I enjoyed using it.

I will be adding the original files here for downloading soon if you want to have a play around with them and see them in high resolution and of course make up your own mind on just how good this lens is.

See you out there,