Is it too good to be true? A cheap M-mount lens that reaches up to f / 1.1? Does the 7artisans 50mm lens (1: 369 $) belong in the bargain basket or on your camera?
What I have read in forums and reviews is either the lens brilliant or the most expensive paper weight that you can buy. Especially Leica snobs have no idea that anything less than $ 2,000 worth could be a decent lens. I'm not a snob and I do not have $ 2,000 to spend on a Summicron. That's why I bought it – as an affordable alternative.
Should I have kept my receipt? As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the food, so let's test it!
Anna and I took it for a walk to the night markets in Taipei. I only used the ambient light of the street and an LED box attached to my Leica MD (Type 262). All footage was taken with either f / 1.1 or f / 1.4 to really see what they can do:
After reviewing all the footage in Lightroom, I'm really surprised how good this lens is. At f / 1.1, the picture is definitely not as sharp as it used to be, but it looks really beautiful and distinctive. There is a figure in this lens that reminds me of an old Russian Helios or a Petzval, and the swirling bokeh that it produces is very pleasing to me. It is reminiscent of a handcrafted lens full of character, not only in the pictures, but also in the construction with smooth sharpness and not clicked aperture.
Another pleasant surprise was how much I prefer the rubber toe strap to the metal. I find it not only more convenient, but also because I can fix it wherever I want it to be placed on the right side of my lens, so I can almost focus with one hand! Something impossible with the Summicron 35 for me.
In daylight or afternoon light, when you pause, it will gain in sharpness. At f / 16 or f / 8, it's great for focusing on road zones:
So do not believe the Netsets: If you own a Leica or even a Sony with An adapter makes this an excellent choice for an affordable budget. Even if you already have a Summicron, the 7artisans for this price is a useful tool for shooting in low light. Compared to Noctilux, it is much easier, much smaller, and does not cause any emotional collapse if you drop or lose it.
P.S.. This is the second time I have performed this test because I did not properly calibrate my lens focus the first time and all shots were completely adjusted. To make sure that this is not the case, make sure that you use the Focus Checker immediately and set it exactly. This is not difficult, unless you have a movie camera. So make sure you can borrow a digital M if you want to record 35mm with it. Otherwise, your impressions could actually be like a cat flap in an elephant house.
About the Author : James Cater is a digital and analog photographer, a film lab operator, and a model. The opinions expressed in this article are specific to the author. More works by Cater can be found on his website and on Instagram. This article has also been published here.