Lens review – 7artisans 35mm F1.2

Once the 7artisans 35mm F1.2 got announced on Fujirumors I started watching their lens and exploring more details online waiting for release.

The sales started on December 28 2017, but I didn’t find any good review of this lens, so decided to purchase and try it myself.

This noon I’ve received free sample directly from 7artisans factory which they generously gifted as a result of our recent cooperation ( thank you 7artisans Team! )

Random image samples (at Fuji X-E2s / X-Pro2)

Unboxing

The parcel arrived fully wrapped in white film with 7artisans logo. Inside I’ve found carefully bubble-film packed lens black box that looks cool.

The box is sealed with two factory stickers. You may check for “FX” extra sticker in the top right corner before unpacking to make sure the correct mount is delivered. It’s the first lens box I got with QR code, will check it later : )

 

First interesting thing you will see in the box is the “Salute to shutterby” shiny phrase, warranty card and manual.

The lens is wrapped in plastic bag and secured inside high density foam (reminds me about early Fuji XF lens packaging). Lens much smaller than I expected and looks very cute. It comes with metal front cap and plastic rear cap.

 

The glass looks very clean, I didnt notice any visible dust. My sample has SN: A6351608 , and I see SN: A635003 on the 7artisans site, so it seems to be 1608th sample produced. Lens glass is definitely multicoated which I can see form reflections. The focus and aperture rings are rotating very smooth and not too loose.

My sample weights only 5 1/2 Oz (157g). It was a surprise to find the Torx head screws in the mount – quite unusual for budget lens. Mount also has “FX-Mount” sign for your convenience. I’d mention that screw holes and “red dot” marker have quite sharp and rough edges, which I’d like to make smooth later like they should be.

IMPORTANT NOTE: you may see that Torx screws heads are sitting quite deep – it is causing an issue when unmounting lens from the camera. Typically I just briefly press lens-lock button on Fuji camera and release it during rotating the lens clockwise. It soesn’t work with 7artisans s5mm F1.2 – you have to keep lens-lock button pressed thill the end, otherwise lock pin will be catched by the closest Torx screw location.

 

Engraving of 7artisans 35mm F1.2 is not very deep, but it has all white color which is good for low light shooting conditions.

You can see that aperture ring is very close to the mount, which is convenient for shooting but it is not handy when mounting lens on camera.

To prevent focus + aperture ring rotation, simply hold whole body while mounting/unmounting lens.

My sample doesn’t sit tight enough on Fuji X-E2s, but it’s firm enough to feel comfortable and is not moving during the focus or aperture ring rotation.

I’ve noticed three Allen screws on the focus ring, and assuming they may be used to fine tune infinity focus point of the lens. However my sample is perfectly focusing on infinity with X-E2s, so I’d not worry about that, looks like “Inspection: Qualified” on the warranty card means that thing got tested.

UPDATE (Jan 22): here is the gude how to calibrate infinity focus on 7artisans 35mm F1.2 lens

sXIZ74006

The lens is greatly balanced on X-E2s, my fingers locate the focus ring instantly. I think it’s nice idea to use such ring shape – it reminds the Leica type knob, and you can focus using single finger as well. I like that aperture ring is far so I can’t accidentaly rotate it together with focus, and it’s texture is very different so easy to separate.

UPDATE (May 22). I’ve decided to modify 7artisans 35mm F1.2 aperture ring to work in click-stop mode.

This small lens beautifully emphasizes vintage look of X-E2s.

 

It’s really light and small lens, just like 35mm F2.5 should be. I’d compare the size with adapted Voigtlander 35mm F2.5 which I often shoot with on X-E2s.

But it’s cropped glass, so 7artisans made it lighter and faster up to F1.2 in such small size. That’s impressive. I often use Mitakon 35mm F0.95 MK-II for indoor or low light shooting, but that lens is heavy and two times larger. This 7artisans 35mm F1.2 is a joy to use, it really feels like I forgot to mount the lens on camera : )

More Image Samples

UPDATE: check more Images on 7artisans 35mm F1.2 Flickr Group

Made few shots today to check how the lens performs in general. I kind of knew what to expect after observing samples on 7artisans site.

sXIZ74012
@F1.2 – focus on the Dragon eye
sXIZ74015
@F1.2 – focus on the card

This 35mm F1.2 is definitely made to be used for objects in the center of frame and manipulating background. 9 aperture blades form nice round shape on all fast aperture range up to F2.8. It’s moderately soft at F1.2 even in the center, and perfroms in quite similar way Voigtlander 35mm F1.4 classic starting from F1.4. I’ve also noticed axial aberrations when focusing at close objects. Out of focus light sources form beautiful rings in the center but comatic aberration appears quite fast in close border areas.

Sharpness samples:

7artisans_35mm_Fcomparison_01

7artisans_35mm_Fcomparison_02

Upper half of the frame to show coma influence when focused, and same image part out of focus

 

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I’ve ran simple sharpness test to see how it performs at different apertures, you can check results in: 7artisans 35mm F1.2 lens – field sharpness

I’d also recommend to read great and very detailed review of 7artisans 35mm F1.2
performed by 35mmc. It’s done with Sony camera which has thinner sensor filter comparing to Fuji, so border/corners IQ should be slighly better there.

Optical Formula

6 elements in 5 groups – it looks very close to Sonnar design C Sonnar T* which has 6 elements in 4 groups. 7artisans located 6th element in a separate group slightly changing the optical formula. I used to shoot with Zeiss ZM 50mm F1.5 C Sonnar T* on Fuji X bodies, and it was pleasant experience. Another difference of lens construction is that 7artisans 35mm F1.2 has 9 curved blades (Zeiss lens has 10 blades that are more straight).

7artisans_35mm_F1.2_vector_02

 

Brief conclusions

I need more time to spend with this lens, though already enjoying the ergonomics and resulting shots. If you learn how to master this lens properly it will reward you by producing great results for that very affordable price. I like the mechanics, ability to precisely adjust infinity focus, and it’s light and compact build. It nicely fits any Fuji X camera and adds extra vintahge look to the equipment and images as well.

Alternatively, if you need lens for general shots with great sharpness over all frame wide open and ready to pay 3x times more, then Fuji XF 35mm F2 or Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 will fit your needs better – they are very sharp lens. If you are looking for extra low light performance, still true manul focus and great sharpness in the center, and don’t mind 3 times heavier lens, then F0.95 35mm Mitakon Zhongui Mark II is unbeatable option, though still 4x times more expensive.

I’d recommend this 7artisans 35mm F1.2 to anyone who like to work with objects in the frame center, play with DOF and looking for more pleasant portraits skin rendering without too much unnecessary details. It’s also great option for every day use due to light weight, and unusually fast F1.2 aperture for that small lens size.

I also like to pair 35mm lens with some compact 50mm option for closer shots. You may also be interested to check my review of 7artisans 50mm F1.8 lens. Currently it’s one of the most compact 50mm F1.8 lens I’ve ever tried on Fuji X.

7artisans 35mm F1.2 lens related articles

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8 thoughts on “Lens review – 7artisans 35mm F1.2

    1. They are two very different lens. Mitakon 35mm F0.95 MK-II is better if you like center sharpness with more modern rendering and really need low light performance. 7artisans 35mm F1.2 provides more vintage rendering and softer details which is great for portraits, and its tiny size is more joy to use daily. Personally I’ll keep both actively used, but should I choose only one it will be the Mitakon just because it better fits my shooting.

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    1. Hi Marco, thanks for the good question.
      I didn’t have experience with 7artisans 25mm and 35mm F2, so I think the best way to make some conclusions is by just looking at the live shot samples. There are related Flickr groups I found:
      https://www.flickr.com/groups/3999468@N20/
      https://www.flickr.com/groups/4123358@N22/
      From the technical side the 7artisans 32mm F2 lens has slower aperture and designed for the full frame. I would logically expect higher sharpness and better border/corners performance at same aperture values comparing to the 7artisans 35mm F1.2 . It’s also 2 times heavier lens, though still quite compact.
      I used to shoot with Zeiss ZM 35mm F2 and Fuji XF 35mm F2 on Fuji X – both lens are very sharp, compact, relatively light and great performers on APS-C. The 7artisans 35mm F2 is 3-4 times less expensive option, so I’d not expect Zeiss/Fuji-like results, but for that price it should be great alternative I think.

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