Is it good to be true? An inexpensive M mounting lens that goes to f / 1.1? Do you have $ 369 7artisan's 50mm f / 1.1 lens in your box or on your camera?
From what I've read on forums and reviews, people think this lens is brilliant OR the most expensive paperweight can buy. In particular, Leica Snobber has no concept that something worth less than $ 2000 dollars can be a decent lens. I'm not a snob and I do not have $ 2000 dollars to spend on a Summicron, so I bought this – as a reasonable option.
So should I have kept my receipt? As they say, the proof of pudding is in eating, so let's test!
Anna and I took it out for a walk to the night market in Taipei. By using only the surrounding light on the street and a heat sink mounted LED box on my Leica MD (Type 262) I shot all of them on either f / 1.1 or f / 1.4 to really see what it could do:
19659003] After checking all the photos in Lightroom, I'm really surprised at the quality of this lens. At f / 1.1 the picture is definitely not as sharp as what I usually have, but it has a very beautiful and clear look. It is a sign of this lens that reminds me of an old Russian Helios or a Petzval, and the neat bokeh it does is very comfortable for my eyes. Not only in the pictures, but the construction, with smooth focus and unclicked aperture, reminds of a handmade lens full of character.
Another nice surprise was how much I prefer the rubber focusing tab to metal. Not only do I find it more comfortable, but by keeping it where I wanted, I've managed to put this on the right side of the lens, so I can almost focus single! Something that's impossible for me with Summicron 35.
The day or afternoon light gets sharpness when you stop. Shooting on f / 16 or f / 8, it's excellent for the street zone that focuses:
So do not believe naysayers: if you own a Leica or a Sony with an adapter , this is an excellent choice for a reasonable nifty fifty. Even if you already have a Summicron, for this price, 7artisans is a useful tool for shooting a little light. Compared to a Noctilux, it is much easier, much smaller, and will not cause an emotional breakdown if you lose or lose it.
P.S. This is the second time I've done this test, as at first attempt I had not calibrated my lens focus properly and all my shooting focus was completely off. To ensure this does not happen, make sure you use the focus control from the box and adjust it accurately. This is not hard to do unless you have a movie camera, so make sure you can borrow a digital M if you plan to shoot 35mm with it. Otherwise, your impression may be that it's really about as useful as a cat in an elephant house.
About the Author : James Cater is a digital and analog photographer, film lab and model. The opinions expressed in this article are only the author's. You will find more of Cat's work on his website and Instagram. This article was also published here.