Zhongyi releases the Speedmaster 20mm f/0.95mm ASP-C
Mitakon Zhongyi optics (ZY optics) just revealed the Chuichi Kogaku Speedmaster 20mm f/0.95mm—the fastest 20mm lens for APS-C (¥63,460). It’s a manual focus lens for Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, and Sony mirrorless cameras. But here’s the thing: the lens isn’t new. Well, it sort of isn’t.
The fastest 20mm APS-C lens on the market
With an aperture of f/0.95, the Chuichi is ridiculously fast for a 20mm lens. Mitakon is currently the only lens manufacturer offering a lens like this for APS-C. Sure, a company like Voigtlander might have wider f/0.95 lenses for MFT, but MFT and APS-C are different one from another. Crop sensors are bigger and the bigger the sensor, the harder it is to make a fast and wide lens. The closest lens Voigtlander currently has, which fits APS-C, may be the Voigtlander Nokton 23mm f/1.2.
The Speedmaster 20mm f/0.95 is the fastest, except…
The thing is, this new lens isn’t actually “new”. Last year, Mitakon released a set of three Zhongyi Speedmaster Cine t/1.0 lenses for APS-C ($1,299). Notably, the Speedmaster Cine 20mm t/1.0 ($499) which is suspiciously similar to the new Chuichi 20mm f/0.95.
The Chuichi Speedmaster and the Zhongyi Speedmaster Cine utilize the same 13 elements optical design, with eight groups: one aspherical lens, one extra-low dispersion lens (ED), and four ultra-high refractive index optics. Mitakon claims this design effectively minimizes flare, aberrations, and barrel distortion.
With the same design, the two lenses share the same minimum focus distance of 0.3 meters. The only field in which the two lenses differ is the housing of the lens. The Speedmaster Cine is designed as a cinema lens, and its housing shows it. The Chuichi, on the other hand, is designed as a more traditional Mitakon lens.
So why is Mitakon re-releasing the same lens? The reason hides in the name -Chuichi Kogaku, or 中一光学 in Japanese. Kogaku (光学) translates to optics, so you can read Chuichi Kogaku as Chuichi optics. 中一 is more interesting. The meaning and pronunciation of 中一 are different between Japanese and Chinese, so while in Japanese you get Chuichi, In Chinese 中一 is pronounced Zhongyi. In other words, Chuichi Kogaku is a Japanese translation of Zhongyi optics.
Mitakon is reusing the lens design on a product with a Japanese name to better position themselves in the Japanese market.
Chuichi Kogaku Speedmaster 20mm f/0.95 samples
Price and availability
The Chuichi is currently available at Amazon Japan for ¥63,460. If you are interested in a super fast lens like this but prefer cine housing, the Speedmaster Cine 20mm t/1.0 is still available for $499 at B&H.