7Artisans 35mm f0.95 for Fujifilm X

Categoria: Prova sul campo obiettivi Pubblicato: Sabato, 24 Luglio 2021 Scritto da Max Angeloni

Translated by Pietro Todaro

Recently, a type of lens has hit the market which has aroused a lot of interest both within dedicated forums and among photography enthusiasts.
I'm talking about the various brands (mainly Chinese) that offer very luminous prime lenses, at very competitive prices.

I started reading some comments on the net, and I tried to study some reviews to get an idea if these lenses could really represent a new opportunity for photography lovers.
But as usual (except for a few, indeed very few, articles written with knowledge of the facts), the bleak and improvised world of web reviewers has done nothing but generate in me a total lack of interest in this type of product.
Disinterest that lasted until an offer of a lens from a site based in China arrived, which rekindled my imagination.
A wonderful 7artisans 35mm f 0.95 at 178 Euro including shipping and customs. Fujifilm bayonet of course.
And that's how, for the first time in my life, I bought a lens on the internet.
I have always preferred to make my purchases in physical stores, or at most, buy online from them. In any case... the die was now cast.

After about 20 days, my lens arrived. I had actually forgotten about the purchase. Perhaps this is due to the habit of always physically touching all my photographic acquisitions.
Receiving it three weeks after payment was a new experience.
I don't think I'll ever repeat it ... but in all honesty, the package arrived perfectly intact and perfectly packaged.

The initial visual impact with the 7artisans 35 f0.95 was very positive. Nice packaging and pleasing to the touch. Everything recalls the world of rangefinder lenses. It's not a coincidence that the notoriety of these lenses was born with models destined for the Leica M system.


Fujifilm X-T3, 7Artisans 35mm f/0.95 - Iso 1000, tra f/0.95 e f/1.4, 1/125

The 7artisans 35 f0.95, aesthetically, vaguely (quite vaguely) recalls the Summicron 50.
In any case, the construction looks solid and the focus ring is smooth and precise.
On the other hand, I find the idea of not providing a locking system on the selection of apertures very bad.
The official justification for this absence is the possibility of using this lens for video purposes as well. This is certainly a justification of convenience as the lens clearly and markedly suffers from focus breathing (a change in focal length as the focus distance varies).
So it is certainly not the absence of an aperture lock that will magically make this lens suitable for video shooting.
Let's try to understand each other. Many lenses born for photography suffer from focus breathing.
For the most part, they are however, zoom lenses. In high-end prime lenses, this phenomenon is (usually) very limited which makes them usable also for video making. Obviously, if you want to be sure that the lenses are flawless in this regard then you must turn to lenses designed specifically for video.


Fujifilm X-T3, 7Artisans 35mm f/0.95 - Iso 250, tra f/0.95 e f/1.4, 1/125

But let's move on.
As always when I try photographic equipment, my interest gets monopolized for weeks. This happens in both professional and “just for fun” photographic situations.
I find it depressing to limit a review to a few photos of bookcases, bottles, puppets, and close-ups to enhance the blur.
So, with my Fujifilm X-T3 set to manual focus with digital microprism selected and ... off to shoot.

On the field
I need to immediately point out that I had a really hard time trying to constantly shoot with a wide-open diaphragm. I find it an unnatural act. A senseless stretching that finds a following among improvised photographers and poor-quality video makers.
The choice of the diaphragm must always be functional to the type of photography we want to achieve, and this ability is not the result of chance but of a precise photographic cultural journey.

But seeing that the interest (even mine) in this very bright lens was mainly about the performance using large apertures, I had no choice.


Fujifilm X-T3, 7Artisans 35mm f/0.95 - Iso 160, tra f/0.95 e f/1.4, 1/5000


Fujifilm X-T3, 7Artisans 35mm f/0.95 - Iso 160, tra f/0.95 e f/1.4, 1/210

Right from the first shots, I realize that something is not right.
While the sharpness, even at full aperture, appears noteworthy in the center of the frame, something at f / 0.95 doesn't convince me. This doubt takes shape as soon as I start studying the depth of field and the blur with varying apertures.
I notice that between f / 0.95 and f / 1.4 I don't detect a substantial difference in blur and depth of field. Yes, there is something, but not as obvious as, for example, between f / 1.4 and f / 2.
I check the shooting data and I realize that even the exposure does not vary by one-stop but, basically, by a third of a stop.
What does this all mean?
I'm not certain but its surely either a clever commercial strategy or some calculation that went wrong during the design phase.
From a lens with such a bright focal length, I would have expected larger volumes due, for example, to an asymmetrical or retrofocus optical scheme, if you prefer.
The 7artisans 35 f0.95, on the other hand, is small and perhaps the search for optical solutions that would allow this miniaturization is the cause of this anomalous behavior.
But so be it.
The 7artisans 35 f0.95 does not deliver, in practice, the brightness of an f / 0.95 ... and neither the blur.
While we are at it, let's continue with the various small and large defects present in real photography.
In reality, there are only two aspects that have particularly struck me negatively: the almost zero resistance to chromatic aberrations and the marked distortion.
Let's start with the distortion. I have never seen a 35mm distort like this. To this respect, it seems that one is using a low-end zoom. I have nothing else to add.
Turning to the chromatic aberrations, it was a long while back since I found myself struggling with this annoying phenomenon.
I got the feeling of going back in time to the early days of digital when experimenting with the various optics designed for analog as to understand which were the ones that best suited the new photographic technology.
This deja vu also recurs in the minor defects of this lens such as coma, flare, and vignetting.
Defects that I consider minor since, in real photography, they do not affect the final result that much, given the intended use of this lens.


Fujifilm X-T3, 7Artisans 35mm f/0.95 - Iso 160, tra f/0.95 e f/1.4, 1/18000


Fujifilm X-T3, 7Artisans 35mm f/0.95 - Iso 1250, tra f/0.95 e f/1.4, 1/125

At this point, many will be convinced that my opinion of 7artisans 35 f0.95 is negative.
Absolutely not.
And to better explain the concept, I will refer to another anecdote related to the early years in which digital has helped to swell the ranks of new amateurs.
We are talking about 15-16 years ago.
Year after year the owners of digital cameras with interchangeable lenses increased exponentially as well as forums and virtual places where discussions of photographic equipment took place.
At a certain point, the myth of the AF NIKKOR 50 mm F1.8 D began to spread like wildfire among Nikon users.
A lens that went for about 200 Euros of which suddenly one could hear, from everywhere, extolling amazing photographic rendering abilities.
I actually had two AF NIKKOR 50mm F1.8. I bought a used one (AF NIKKOR 50 mm F1.8 D) and returned it the next day. The second was in the kit with the Nikon Df (AF-S NIKKOR 50 mm f/1.8G) which remained intact inside the box until I resold the camera.
Therefore, I did not understand the reason for so much euphoria behind this lens, that at the end of the day was economic and modest.
The reason was rather quite simple to pinpoint. In fact, in general, most of the kits of these new amateurs were mainly composed of cheap and not very bright zooms. Naturally, once one tried a bright prime lens, a new way of interpreting photography would open up like magic.

The Nikon AF NIKKOR 50 mm F1.8 D was certainly an honest lens but nonetheless in the economic range with all the limitations that this entailed.
There, the story of the Nikon AF NIKKOR 50mm F1.8 D reminds me a little of that of the 7artisans 35mm f0.95.

An honest lens that can offer many photographic options at a very low cost.
In fact, if we think about it, in real photography, some defects of the lenses are, in certain photographic situations, negligible and can even be used in our favor.


Fujifilm X-T3, 7Artisans 35mm f/0.95 - Iso 160, tra f/0.95 e f/1.4, 1/850


Fujifilm X-T3, 7Artisans 35mm f/0.95 - Iso 160, tra f/0.95 e f/1.4, 1/7500

After some of the first shots that I took with this lens came out on the web, many persons have asked me for an opinion on this 35mm.
Therefore... would I recommend Fujifilm users to buy the 7artisans 35mm f0.95?
I don't have a definitive answer.
The 7artisans 35mm f0.95 has some very interesting features related to both the technical characteristics and how it forces us to approach photography.
While not a true f / 0.95 (perhaps f / 1.2) and while exhibiting obvious technical limitations, this lens is, in any case, well built and is enjoyable to use. It delivers clear shots already at open apertures and returns a sufficiently pleasant blur that is capable of giving three-dimensionality to the images. Furthermore, the fact of being forced to focus manually forces us to face and resolve technical aspects such as those related to the ideal depth of field to use.
On the other hand, Fujifilm users, unlike other brands, have at their disposal a huge choice of lenses dedicated to the APSc system.
In the price range in which the 7artisans 35mm f0.95 (180-270 Euro) is ranked, Fujifilm offers the Fujifilm FUJINON XC35mmF2.
A lens with an economic construction but that is optically identical to the more expensive FUJIFILM 35mm F / 2 XF R WR model.
So the choice is this...
if you want to experiment with photography with bright lenses, manual focus, and with a rendering that is characterized by a set of strengths and weaknesses, consider the 7artisans 35mm f0.95.
If, on the other hand, you want an all-around 35mm that, while not offering sci-fi brightness, returns a refined and modern rendering, go straight to the Fujifilm FUJINON XC35mmF2.


Fujifilm X-T3, 7Artisans 35mm f/0.95 - Iso 160, tra f/0.95 e f/1.4, 1/250


Fujifilm X-T3, 7Artisans 35mm f/0.95 - Iso 160, tra f/0.95 e f/1.4, 1/420


Fujifilm X-T3, 7Artisans 35mm f/0.95 - Iso 160, tra f/0.95 e f/1.4, 1/180

In summary
The 7artisans 35mm f0.95 is an interesting lens while showing obvious limitations.
Its value is aligned with its cost... nothing more... nothing less.
If we keep this aspect in mind, we will not hail to the miracle but at the same time, we will not be disappointed by what this lens is able to offer us.