Meike Cinema Prime Lenses for Micro Four Thirds & Super 35 Fill the Chasm Left by the Demise of Veydra Mini Primes

The sudden closure of Ryan Avery’s Veydra cinema prime lens design and manufacturing enterprise several years ago created a huge gap in the affordable ciné lens market and many self-funded independent moviemakers were dismayed if not devastated by the ending of the line. 

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Meike Cinema Prime Set in 12mm, 16mm, 25mm, 35mm and 50mm T2.2 lenses with Micro Four Thirds mounts. Meike Cinema Primes in 65mm and 85mm focal lengths are coming later this year, 2020. Image courtesy of Duclos Lenses.

Luckily, HongKong Meike Digital Technology Co., Ltd has ramped up its lens division to the point where the company appears to be rivalling if not outstripping Mr Avery’s noble efforts.

Veydra, thwarted

Duclos Lenses came up with a Fujifilm X-Mount option for Veydra’s Mini Primes that can cover the APS-C format. Image courtesy of Veydra LLC.

I had been planning on obtaining my own set of Veydra Mini Prime lenses for native use in documentary production on Panasonic and Blackmagic Design cameras, spurred on by Duclos Lens’ creation of its interchangeable mount to enable using a subset of the Veydra lenses on Fujifilm X-mount Super 35mm/APS-C cameras.

Two things dampened my enthusiasm, however.

First was the sheer cost of a complete set of Veydra lenses in M43 mount along with the Duclos X-mount kits needed when adapting them for Fujifilm X-mount cameras.

Compare the cost of the Meike primes with the now discontinued Veydra primes by looking at the Duclos Lens product pages for proof of the radical price differences between lens lines.

Compare the Meike lenses’ USD400.00 average price and reported superior quality to the Veydra lenses’ USD1200.00 average price and the conclusion is clear – consider investing in a set of Meike cinema primes.

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Meike 4 Lens Cinema Prime Set 12mm, 16mm, 25mm, 35mm T2.2 for Micro4/3 MFT at Revar Cine website. Image courtesy of Revar Cine.

The current price of the four-lens set for Micro Four Thirds as above at Ryan Avery’s Revar Cine website is USD1595.00, about one Meike lens above the cost of just one Veydra lens.

At time of writing, seven focal lengths are available as Meike Cinema Primes in M43 mount :

  • 12mm = 24mm in the 35mm sensor format
  • 16mm = 32mm
  • 25mm = 50mm
  • 35mm = 70mm
  • 50mm = 100mm
  • 65mm = 130mm
  • 85mm = 170mm

A subset of the Meike Cinema Primes is available for Super 35/APS-C cameras in Sony E-mount and Fujifilm X-mount:

  • 25mm = 37.5mm in the APS-C/Super35 sensor format
  • 35mm = 52.5mm
  • 50mm = 75mm
  • 65mm = 97.5mm
  • 85mm = 127.5mm
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Meike 65mm and 85mm T2.2 Cinema Primes, listed by Meike as coming later in 2020. Image courtesy of Meike.

Whether for  M43 or Super 35 cameras, the Meike Cinema Primes provide a well-spaced and feature-matched set of focal lengths that should meet most cinematographers’ daily needs.

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The Voigtlaender Nokton f/0.95 Micro Four Thirds lens set, minus the matching and more recently released Voigtlaender Nokton 60mm f/0.95 M43 lens. Left to right: 10.5mm, 17.5mm, 25mm and 42.5mm focal lengths. Duclos Lenses offers ciné-modded versions of these stills lenses, making them more suitable for video production. Meike needs to offer a wider lens than its current 12mm.

I would very much like to see Meike release a super wide angle in the 10mm to 10.5mm range, and an 18mm moderate wide angle lens with coverage enough for M43 and Super 35.

I have written before about the need for a professional-quality 18mm lens for stills photography with Fujifilm X-mount cameras, as an alternative to Fujifilm’s quirky and semi-pancake Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R.

Meike’s current cinema prime lens offering for Super 35 goes no wider than 25mm and a complete lens set needs, nay, demands, a medium wide and an ultra wide lens in the equivalent of 28mm and 21mm.

That is, an 18mm and a 14mm.

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Veydra 50mm and 25mm Mini Prime Cinema manual focus lenses with imperial or metric markings, made by Veydra LLC.

Ryan Avery had been pursuing an 8.5mm ultra wide-angle Veydra M43 lens design but eventually ruled it out due to cost and size considerations.

And then disaster struck with a break-in at the company’s lens storage facility, followed by a court case with Mr Avery’s Veydra business partner.

Matthew Duclos of Duclos Lenses recently shared all he knows about Veydra’s demise at his personal blog.

Meike Cinema Lenses with Ryan Avery

Meanwhile, Ryan Avery is retailing Meike Cinema Primes at his Revar Cine website.

“Meike Cinema Prime lenses are designed specifically for mirrorless cameras. Available for MFT, Sony E, and Fuji X Mount cameras from Micro4/3 to APS-C size sensors. Compact, lightweight and perfect for a true cinematography experience on most mirrorless cameras.”

Meike Cinema Primes on Fujifilm and Panasonic hybrid and Blackmagic Design cinema cameras

Meike’s cinema lens lineup for Micro Four Thirds, Sony E-mount and Fujifilm X-mount are welcome indeed given their affordability and the absence of OEM cinema prime lenses by brands such as Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony.

After the end of Veydra, I was contemplating the direction to take with video-capable prime lenses for Super 35/APS-C and Super 16/M43.

I grew up relying on prime lenses for filmmaking and still feel most comfortable with cinema primes for video production over the reportedly excellent zoom lenses in several lens mounts made by Fujifilm in its Fujinon MK pairing for X-mount, E-mount and M43.

With Olympus’ recent announcement that it had sold its camera and lens division, and the possible outcome of its excellent M.Zuiko Pro zoom and prime lenses going the way of Veydra, I have been wondering if my beloved Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro should plan on welcoming some M.Zuiko Pro siblings if there was a sudden sell-off of the lineup.

But the M.Zuiko Pro lineup does not answer the need for X-mount cinema lenses whereas Meike appears to be on the right track not only with its current Meike Cinema Prime offerings and possible additional focal lengths but also its coming so-called “full frame” aka 35mm sensor format cinema prime lenses.

More power to Meike’s arm, though I do hope the company will see fit to loaning cinema primes to a range of well-qualified stills photography and video production reviewers so we can get the full measure of these exciting new lenses.

Now to find out if there is a way of converting their M43 mounts to Fujifilm X-mounts when needed.

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