Today I’m writing a review for quite interesting compact 50mm lens – TTArtisan 50mm F1.2 . This sample is just received from one of TTArtisan dealers – bestar.foto on Amazon (thank you!), so I’m also including non-affiliated links to their listed TTArtisan products .
DISCLAIMER: You could see in most other articles that I’m typically interested in lens maintenance exploration and sharing knowledge on repair aspects. Usually that lens are purchased for personal use, and sometimes for comparing them with other lens. Occasionally I’m also receiving offers to review some new lens, provided free of charge. Since it’s not my job but a favorite hobby, I keep this blog non-profitable, and also paying for commercials-free version. Hopefully that helps to keep my articles unbiased to a particular lens brands, and focused more on important details about each lens.
One of my friend owns TTArtisan 50mm F1.2 lens for Fuji X mount, so I had a chance already to have a closer look at it, though didn’t have time for taking pictures. It’s very interesting every time to see what new design ideas are used in recent lens and how do they perform in general, and that first look set some initial expectations.
As usual I’ll do unboxing and mechanical review first, then will find time over weekend to take some field pictures. After that I’ll perform lens disassembly to analyze it’s mechanical build quality.
TTArtisan 50mm F1.2 is coming in a nice compact box sealed with protective stickers.
It reminds me about Fuji X earlier models cameras sealing, once you remove sticker there will be “void” word on sticker and box surface. There is a nice user-friendly touch of making non-sticking red edge there for easy grab an peel off.
There is quite interesting design of paperwork I didn’t see before – the manual booklet pages are accurately connected by sewing string and have warm tone color.
I like to see there the MTF chart and optical formula – the second is helping to understand how the optical assembly is constructed. The serial number on manual picture (850300016) is probably sample N16, and my sample has SN 850360190, which is likely sample N60190. It’s hard to say if there is such a huge quantity of TTArtisan 50mm F1.2 lens already produced, though I’d not be surprised taking into account affordable price of this lens.
Lens had flat metal screw-in cap. I’m personally counting all lens caps as a fancy storing solution, since it takes time to remove them, especially screw-in type. But it looks nice for sure. Typically I’m replacing cap with brass framed B+W protective filter to eliminate that extra step before taking a shot and keep lens ready for action all the time.
Lens is quite small as for ultrafast 50mm F1.2. I have Rokinon 50mm F1.2 lens in Fuji X mount, which has similar front glass diameter but much larger body frame. Smaller size is good for portability and I enjoy it more, especially if focus and aperture rings are properly designed.
I already knew that TTArtisan 50mm F1.2 lens has aperture click-stops – it’s a very positive design solution in modern affordable manual focus lens, most other lens have click-less rings. I appreciate that – aperture clicks of this lens are nicely done and also pleasantly audible.
I used to shoot with numerous Carl Zeiss lens, and remember that ZM 50mm F1.5 lens for Leica M mount has a small textured knob on the focusing ring. Looks like TTArtisan engineers decided to use such knobs for the aperture ring, which is good idea because the ring is quite thin. I’ll see how it works during real shooting experience.
TTartisan 50mm has wide and nicely textured focusing ring. Looks like focusing is implemented through classic helicoid mechanics with two parallel brass guiders. Lens focusing is pleasantly smooth and has good range of precision.
One of the first thing I did after mounting lens on camera – checking the actual focusing distance. My sample had about 3mm offset for infinity distance. Fortunately this TTArtisan 50mm lens has external focusing ring secured with tree bolts, which allows very quick and easy focusing distance calibration.
Lens mount is machined precisely, and I tried mounting it on Fuji X-E4, Fuji X-E2s and Fuji X-T1. Each camera mount accepts this lens with fine precision and it doesn’t rotate when mount is locked.
I’ve took few macro shots of mount surface, the mount lettering is laser engraved.
It’s nice to see higher quality bolts and also precise paint application on the mount position marking.
TTartisan 50mm F1.2 lens has 10 aperture blades which are not rounded but producing a star shape. It reminds me the aperture shape of SLR Magic 50mm F0.95 lens. OOF circles at closed aperture may look not as natural, but I’m not concerned about that, since ultra fast lens primary purlose is to use them wide open most of the time.
Here’s visual size comparison of TTartisan 50mm F1.2 versus two other manual ultrafast primes: SLR Magic Hypeprime 50mm F0.95 and Rokinon 50mm F1.2. Clearly the compact size of TTArtisan makes it more attractive for a daily use as to my personal taste.
Lens manufacturers are often rounding up actual aperture value to the closest commonly used number. I’ve checked physical aperture size comparing to two other lens, and looks like TTArtisan 50mm F1.2 has very close aperture diameter to Rokinon 50mm F1.2. If you use ruler and measure diameter and divide it by 50mm focal length – that will be exact aperture value.
All lens markings are laser engraved. Letters and numbers are not perfectly centered, but that is totally fine. I like to see the DOF scale which is very useful to have for hyperfocal distance pre-focusing. Just look how accurate is the aperture marking red dot paint application – this is surprisingly high attention to details especially for manufacturing so affordable lens.
Even the aperture ring knobs have nicely smoothened edges, which makes this lens peasant to hold and operate.
Looks like now I have very nicely built companion to one of my favorite Voigtlander lens – 40mm F1.2 Nokton, which has very similar weight and size when mounted on Fuji X camera with LM-XF adapter.
Few indoor test shots look promising – TTArtisan 50mm F1.2 has pleasant image rendering with smooth looking OOF background. There are some longitudinal aberrations noticeable during focusing, but that is very common for ultrafast lens at F1.2.
Here’s the OOF look difference at F1.2 and (I think) F2.8
I’m going to try this lens outside this weekend and post more pictures…
Most taken at F1.2, and some at F2.8.
TTArtisan 50mm F1.2 lens reminds me Carl Zeiss 50mm F1.5 – it has classic rendering of older lens at wide open aperture and shows high level of details when stopped down a bit. It should work great as a portrait, and general purpose lens if you like that angle of view on APS-C sensor.
Focusing is quick and easy with pleasant dumps at the focusing ends (I’m using focus zoom assist on Fuji X cameras). Personally I’d prefer focusing ring to be little closer to the mount, but thanks to the wide texture it is easy to quickly grab it. Changing aperture is comfortable enough, it took a bit to get used to double knobs instead of textured ring, though you can clearly say what ring you are rotating without looking at it.
I’ll keep actively using TTArtisan 50mm F1.2 and keep exploring its weak and strong sides, since generally I like how it performs. If you prefer more optically advanced corrected image – Rokinon 50mm F1.2 has more complex optical formula to deliver higher level of sharpness wide open, but for few times higher price. TTArtisan is smaller and has all metal body (I’ll check in next article how well it’s built inside), it feels durable and very well machined. Lens weight is nicely balanced on Fuji X cameras.