I love this lens. Full stop. No caveats. No excuses.
Prior 7Artisans lenses I have purchased had varying levels of character.
The 50mm f/1.1 is a great laugh. It can behave itself when you stop it down, but for me, that is not the point of this lens. Open the thing up and let it rip. Sometimes it will behave itself.
And sometimes hilarity will ensue.
In addition to Knock-Off-Tilux I have dubbed it Costello.
The 35mm f/2 is very well behaved, but can also bring some interesting elements here and there. A straight man to the 50mm.
In addition to Semicron I have dubbed it Abbot.
But there are no such caveats when it comes to the 28mm f/1.4. I have found it to be impeccable and comparable to my experiences with the few Leica lenses I have purchased (old) and borrowed (newer) as well as Voigtlander lenses that I have legitimately enjoyed. After trying this lens I get what Li Qing was on about in this great interview. In the interview, he lays out 7Artisan’s intention to raise their game with this lens. To this end, they created a lens for Leica film and digital cameras as well as a lens specifically for Sony in the FE Plus model. I have purchased the latter from Adorama. Why two lens models? Why an M Mount designed for Sony? Read the article. Simple genius.
The rig used is the same one I have been using. M Mount Autofocus courtesy the Sony A7 III combined with the TECHART LM-EA7. And as before it performed flawlessly. Will merge advantages of this set up along with the lens’ qualities. As much as I have enjoyed 7Artisans other lenses this is my new favorite. Also reminded of a lofty setup I recently let go of, but more on that later.
- Excellent flare control. Will likely pick up a 7Artisans lens hood. Not because I need it based on experience. Because it is relatively inexpensive and looks cool. Honesty is the best policy. Have heard that early run lenses have a minor flare issue totally wide open, but that has since been addressed. Flare is possible when you really push it, but it only appeared on one shot so far. And I actually found it quite pleasing.
- I love the colors this lens produces.
- Build quality. Much better than I would expect for such a reasonable sum.
- Sharp wide open like the 35mm f/2, but at f/1.4.
- Close focus capabilities are quite impressive. Left at infinity I was impressed, but focus the lens more closely and it becomes even more impressive.
- Fun. While no 50mm f/1.1 shenanigans are to be had this lens is still fun. Such wonderful versatility. Here is a two shot sequence I took back to back in the first few moments with this lens wide open that immediately let me know that this lens and I will get on quite well.
- Value. Everything stated above for little more than 7Artisans earlier offerings.
I could go on, but I will cut this off by saying that I have found no faults with this lens so far. Any shortcomings are not specific to this lens.
Further, this is so much better than most any other 28mm lens I have used. I like it much better than a previous favorite, the Contax G 28mm Zeiss.
I can only think of one 28mm lens that I liked as much. This is the setup I alluded to earlier. The Leica Q.
That lens has a soul. And it came with a sensor and AF for much less than the price of the Summilux standalone Manual Focus lens. Created images I really loved with it.
Sold it. So if I loved the lens why did I sell it? I loved the lens, but not the camera it was attached to. My main issues were personal preference:
- Dials look and sound good, but in practice, switching between shooting modes requires multiple touches and accessing the menu.
- A great sensor, but I like the A7 III sensor better.
- Face detect is a focus mode rather than kicking in automagically regardless of focus mode like the Sony.
- No back screen articulation for low and high angle shots.
Liked the camera, but the price required love of both.
In theory, I could buy a Summilux for the A7 III/TECHART rig for Autofocus 28mm f/1.4 goodness, but my budget indicates that this is not an option absent a lottery windfall. For the same reasons stated above for the Q and the price point and no manual focus excludes a digital M body as well…
Though with three M mount lenses in house another film M mount is inevitable and soon to come. Not another M3 though.
Loved that camera, and it was used to take one of my favorite shots of my better half..
…but at that price point inbuilt metering is a requirement. And the Bessa R2 I had looked the part,…
…and was quite capable…
…but just did not feel quality enough in the end.
Cannot convince myself on the sort of homely, but still pricey M5 and an M6 costs more than my A7 III. Think I have found a compromise that combines the best of those listed, and you may be able to guess what that is, but more on that later.
And back to our program in 3, 2, 1…
7Artisans to the rescue!
Am I saying the 7Artisans is better? No. That would be irresponsible and would likely invoke Leica adherent backlash. I am sure a back to back comparison would confirm Summilux superiority. But I can say that, having previously owned a Summilux, that I no longer miss that Summilux. For that reason there will be no tongue in cheek Leica-ish nicknames here. No Semilux or anything like that. This lens is so good that it stands on its own without having to reference any other lens.
Well done 7Artisans.
Here is an ongoing gallery and below are a few samples.