Crazy Magnification: A Review of the Zhongyi Mitakon 85mm f/2.8 1-5x Super Macro Lens

Most macro lenses offer 1:1 magnification, which is more than enough for most work. However, when you really want to push the limits, there are lenses that can offer higher levels of magnification. This helpful video review takes a look at such a lens, the Zhongyi Mitakon 85mm f/2.8 1-5x Super Macro lens.

Coming to you from Christopher Frost Photography, this great video review takes a look at the Zhongyi Mitakon 85mm f/2.8 1-5x Super Macro lens. The Super Macro is quite an interesting lens. Canon offers the MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro lens, but that costs over twice as much as the Zhongyi, and of course, it only comes in the EF mount. One thing to note is that this lens only works at macro distances. You will not be able to have it double as something like a portrait lens like many people do with more traditional 1:1 macro lenses. It is also manual focus only, but when you are working with the extremely thin depth of field characteristic of high-magnification macro work, you will want full control over focus anyway. It looks to be an intriguing lens at a very affordable price. Check out the video above for Frost's full thoughts. 

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At some point you gotta be wondering whether you shouldn't just get a microscope.

Mario Elenes's picture

Just the adapter might run you as much as this lens will.

You can mount a Mitutoyo Plan APO objective to a Canon FD 200mm F/4 lens with a 52mm - M26 thread adapter for $30 ($15 for the lens and $15 for the adapter). A 5x objective will cost you $400 on eBay, bringing the total bill of parts to less than the cost of this lens achieving incredibly more detail than any other option.

Sure, using a microscope objective isn't as easy (nearly impossible for field work), but it has it's advantages.

I recently did a test that included all high-magnification options available to photographers and this Mitakon 85mm lens came dead last. Zhong Yi Optics has issued a statement that they are looking into performance issues and have halted the sale of the lens for the time being.

Mario Elenes's picture

That APO objective is $900. Plus a $120 FD lens. Plus the $30 adapter. And unless you're running the EOS R/Nikon Z, you might run into issues with focusing correctly if you want a full-frame image.

This lens is $500.

Now, the quality of the lens might be a dealbreaker. I don't own it, and the review didn't seem very keen on its quality wide open, but if it has the issues you say, then yeah, steer clear.

Not sure where you're looking Mario, but I found many, many objectives for under $400 and I purchased my 200mm FD lens for $13 - I paid more for shipping!. I own the Mitakon lens and I posted my own review of it and how it compares to everything else over on PetaPixel.

This Mitakon 85mm lens is by FAR the worst macro lens I have ever used, even when compared to bellows lenses over 40 years old.