NEW Released -- TTArtisan 7.5mm f/2 APS-C Fisheye Lens
Technical specifications and price
Pergear was kind enough to send me a sample of the 7Artisans 55mm F/1.4 II photo lens for Fujifilm X mount. This is perfect as I am a photographer who exclusively uses fujifilm cameras. I already have a Fujifilm 56mm F/1.2 lens in my possession and I was very curious to be able to review the 7Artisans to find out if the price difference was really justified (7 times more expensive, no kidding!)... In general, I was very pleasantly surprised by what this small manual lens could offer, and I will give you the reasons which could justify, for you, the acquisition of this jewel. I'm not a pixel peeper, I'm primarily interested in the quality of a lens in the field. So here is my review:
9 blades aperture
Minimal focusing distance: 42cm
Clickless aperture ring
Style, Build quality and Ergonomics
I have rarely had a lens in hand that gives such a good impression in terms of build quality. It's made of metal, which gives it a reassuring weight when mounted on your camera. We are very far from a toy lens. Its vintage style goes perfectly with fujifilm cameras. This lens being manual, it shows certain information which is rare on modern lenses: a distance ring as well as markers which indicate the focal distance according to the chosen aperture. For those who have read my article on street photography tips, you know that I use hyperfocal in a lot of situations. Strange thing though: the aperture ring sits in front of the lens, which changes habits.
It will take some time to get used to this change and not turn the aperture ring rather than the focus ring. Especially since the aperture ring is clickless, which can be a disadvantage for some and an asset for our videographer friends. So I don't have an opinion on this, and I don't see it as a problem. I regularly check the position of my aperture ring in any case, those from fujifilm are generally very soft and turn easily. Regarding the focus ring, it is pleasant to use. Its radius is short, which allows you to focus quickly with a little practice.
What I particularly appreciate is the compactness of this lens, which allows for a discreet style, especially when it is in its black version. This allows you not to have to think about when it comes to taking it in your bag, unlike the 56mm fuji for example... The lens is supplied with a protective cap that slides easily. I fear losing it very easily, which is why I recommend, as with all lenses, to position a 52mm UV filter in order to don't have to worry about the protection of the lens and to be able to shoot as quickly as possible.
I was impressed with the image quality provided by this little gem. So that you can have a precise idea of the rendering of this lens, all the images that you will find in this test are taken straight out of camera (SOOC).
There is no post-processing so that you can know precisely the quality that you can have with your fujifilm out of the box. No cheating here! I am not a professional pixel peeper and this type of approach does not bring anything interesting when you are an artist unless you are shooting in a studio for commercial purposes.
Then I doubt that you are looking mainly towards this lens but rather towards much more expensive solutions. For those of you who however wish to have a more precise idea of the technical rendering of this lens, here are some elements:
As you will be able to see it on this comparison, the sharpness is rather homogeneous with all the apertures. It is obviously set back on the largest apertures but that in no way detracts from the quality that you can get from this lens. No lens is perfect at its widest aperture, it is also never the priority at F/1.4.
It is almost at this aperture that I have used it all the time. On the other hand, if you want to get the most out of this lens in terms of sharpness, in my opinion the sweet spot is around F/5.6, both at the center and at the corners. You have to take into account that up to F/4 there is a little vignetting which can be easily corrected in post production. There is a bit of distortion as well as chromatic aberration which is, for my style of photography, far from disturbing.
The bokeh is both soft and nervous depending on the situation. The Subject stands out well from the background. This lens, in terms of image quality, meets all the expectations of advanced photographers.
The problem with modern lenses is that they offer surgical precision that erases the distortions created by the camera. All images can then appear bland, standard, soulless. This is the opposite offered by the 55mm F/1.4 from 7Artisans: an image identity all of its own, and its flaws become qualities that give the image a very specific artistic rendering. It is for this reason that many people like to use vintage lenses. I make this comparison because I enjoy using this lens as much as a vintage lens. Manual focus connects us more with the camera and our surroundings.
Failures and blurs are reminiscent of the magic of film photography, for which imperfections have come to give substance to the message we wanted to convey. The images are organic and that's what I particularly like about this type of lens that I call "character lens".
The 55mm is not my focal length of choice for street photography lens but it works perfectly as a combination with a wide angle in all conditions (portrait and documentary). It is also possible to take product photos with this lens thanks to its minimum focus distance and incredible bokeh. You will find JPEG photos again straight out of the camera as samples:
This lens is a must have, especially considering its very affordable price. It will please any photographer: the amateur looking for a luminous fixed focal length to take a portrait, at a lower cost but looking for professional quality.
The professional looking for a compact lens and who wants to rediscover the fun of film photography, by giving a singular character to his photos. I like to take it everywhere with me, to capture family memories, while I hesitate to take my fujifilm 56mm 1.2 which is much bigger. You can acquire it with your eyes closed, you will never be disappointed!
About the Author:
My name is Dylan Siragusano (@scopic.drive) and I am a French street and documentary photographer based in Nice, in the south of France. I started street photography in 2006, then I became a wedding photographer in 2009. I was exhibited at the rectorate of Rome as part of the commemoration of 150 years of the unification of Italy in 2011. I am also graduated in psychology. These two areas are intimately linked and nourish each other. To me, photography is a way to question our relationship to our environment but also to ourselves.