Lenses

7artisans 12mm F2.8 lens review (Fuji Mount) – by Iurii Zvonar

7ARTISANS 12MM F2.8

I have just received 7artisans 12mm F2.8 lens (FX Mount). This sample got generously provided by Hamish Gill (thank you!) in purpose of independent testing it on Fujifilm X mount camera and evaluating shooting results.

I’ve just recently started closely explore emerging 7artisans brand products. This review is a great opportunity for me to try theirs ultra-wide angle APS-C 7artisans 12mm F2.8 lens before making decision on purchasing one for personal use.

Unboxing 7artisans 12mm F2.8

7artisans 12mm F2.8 is securely packed in high dense foam compartment, which is nicely protecting it during the shipment.

The first interesting thing about this lens I’d like to talk about – is the front cap. The shape is quite unique and cap borders are repeating contours of lens built in petal hood. Though it took little time to understand how to safely remove the cap. Basically you have to spend some effort to pull it out, and there are no releasing buttons like it’s done on Samyang/Rokinon caps. The 7artisans cap just firmly sits on its place by grabbing two slots inside the metal hood. Fortunately the cap is made of plastic and can be removed without damaging the hood or glass, although I’d be careful and not touching the glass while removing the cap.

The lens itself is much smaller than I expected by observing the pictures online. Typically I estimate the size by the filter diameter. 7artisans 12mm F2.8 is ultra-wide angle lens designed in a way that standard thread filters can not be used. It is not equipped with filter thread due to front glass element is very large and protruding quite far to the front. It’s quite common approach for ultra-wide angles.

Whole lens body is made of black anodized aluminum, there are lettering on the hood as well. Focus and aperture rings are nicely designed and provide comfort grip and very smooth operation. My sample sits on camera with little mount play, which is not too bad but noticeable when switching focus direction. It can be esily fixed by applying thin layer of adhesive film on the mount ring surface.

Aperture ring is click-less, and it holds the position well thankfully to close location to the lens mount, so accidental rotation is very unlikely.

Like with 7artisans 35mm F1.2 I’ve reviewed and disassembled recently , this 7artisans 12mm F2.8 has three Torx bolts in the lens mount. One of that bolt is positioned closer to the mount surface preventing Fujifilm mount lock entering the bolt slot. This lens sample has good position of that bolt, and lens can be easily dismounted from camera without additional effort.

7artisans 12mm F2.8 lens has very large range of focusing that starts at 20cm, which is awesome! I like making ultra-wide angle close shots. The front element is not moving during focusing, but the rear one is moving inside. I’ve also noticed slight angle of view changing during focusing, which is expected.

The lens has 7 blades aperture. Closer look exposes that even at F2.8 the blades don’t form perfect circle like it’s done on most lens but already forming slight 7 angles. The shot below shows the aperture shape at F5.6.

7artisans 12mm F2.8 lens focused to its minimal 0.2m distance, aperture is set to F5.6

Lens mounted on Fuji X-E2s camera

The size of 7artisans 12mm F2.8 is noticeably smaller comparing to Rokinon 12mm F2.0 NSC SC I’ve used few years back on X-E2. Of course this lens has smaller aperture. It feels much more solid and very well balanced on X-E2s like it’s built for this camera. What I like to see is the built-in metal hood still allows to put camera on flat surface directed straight, which is very convenient for landscape shots from lower positions. Also this 7artisans 12mm F2.8 is much easier to mount/dismount without rotating focus by holding its metal hood.

Focus ring position is very convenient and it has nice grip and comfortable width. Argh, I still need to put vinyl film on the mount to get rid of slight radial lens mount movement during focusing. I’ve tested lens in closer to freezing point temperature and both focus and aperture rings rotation are smooth and well dampened.

7artisans 12mm F2.8 – in the field

It was cold today (about freezing point) so I didn’t spend much time outside.The shot below is taken through the window : )

Shot through the window

Here are few vertical shots with 7artisans 12mm F2.8 + X-E2s at F2.8. Such ultra-wide angle of view is a bit tricky to use, it’s often important to check that frame borders are properly aligned to stright lines of environment. I had to make few attempts for first dozen shots taken : )

Advertisement

This lens catches a lot into frame! On the Fuji X shots (X-E2s used) this lens shows great sharpness in the all central area starting at F2.8 (sharpening is set to 0, and NR to -2).

Two 7artisans 12mm F2.8 + X-E2s shots at F2.8 and F4

More shots at F2.8

I don’t see any obvious image distortions, the straight lines remain straigt even on extreme borders, which means optical corrections are nicely made. Sample shot to confirm that distortions are very well corrected by optics design.

Optical formula

There are 10 elements in 8 groups – that’s quite complex optical design expected for so wide angle of view. 1st and 2nd elements are securely mounted into lens body, while other 8 elements are moving as single unit during focusing. This 7artisans lens has 7 blades aperture located between 6th and 7th elements. I like the lens design that keeps focusing moving parts inside – it significantly reduces dust collections comparign to the approach where front part is moving (like 7artisans 35mm F1.2).

According to 7artisans 12mm F2.8 lens specs there are no ED or Aspherical glass elements (like it’s done in well known Korean lens Rokinon/Samyang 12mm F2). Adding that would surely improve already good optical results, but would signicifantly increase the lens cost.

Brief conclusions

Sample images on 7artisans site are quite descriptive, so image results completely fit my expectations. This 7artisans 12mm F2.8 performs great on Fuji X APS-C sensor, with good sharpness in the central area wide open, and more weak results in corners/borders until stopped down.

Strong points of this lens: very compact size, low price, decent all metal build, smooth focusing, great image performance in the central area. It’s good and relatively inexpensive choice to get involved into the worls of ultra-wide angle shots.

More demanding shooters may feel uncomfortable due to absence of filter thread, not very convenient front cap, soft borders on wide apertures, and coma/aberration influence due to absence of ED/Asph glass. Two times more expensive Rokinon 12mm F2 or four times more pricy Fujinon XF 14mm F2.8 will definitly deliver significantly beter image results.

I think this 7artisans 12mm F2.8 is a great lens if properly learn and get used to its limitations. I enjoy using it so far, and plan to shoot with 12mm more once the weather is warmer and more sunny.

More live shots samples

There are two public Flickr groups where you can find (and also contribute) more shots taken using different cameras and:

You also can find more lens reviews and articles on my website here where I shall continue to publish my thoughts about this lens in due course.


This lens can be bought from the 35mmc shop here, Amazon here or ebay here – buy from any of these links, and you will be supporting the growth of this website.

Do you enjoy reading 35mmc?

For as little as $1 a month, you can help support the upkeep of this website. The more people chuck me a small amount of cash each month, the more time I can spend building and improving upon it - simple as that!
Or, for $2 a month you can get access to my behind the scenes micro-blog over on Patreon!

Either way, want to help out, become a patron of 35mmc here:

Become a Patron!

Alternatively, if you just enjoyed this post, or like the odd post here and there, please feel free to chuck a few pennies in the tip jar via Ko fi here:


Write for 35mmc: read more here, about how you can help build upon this ever growing resource
Subscribe/Follow: click here, to discover all the ways you can follow 35mmc

You Might Also Like

15 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Rob MacKillop
    March 2, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    Iurii, that was a useful review for me, as I have a Fuji XT20, and can’t afford their wide-angle lenses, even the Rokinon. I could probably stretch to purchasing this. But what did you mean by “Argh, I still need to put vinyl film on the mount to get rid of slight radial lens mount movement during focusing.” Vinyl film on the mount? Please give more details.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    yukosteel
    March 2, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Rob, thank you for feedback and good question.
    Most of the lens I put on my current X-E2s sample are sitting firm. But often there is some level of radial movement when you try to rotate the lens body without unlocking the mount.
    I had that experience with different lens including Rokinon, Samyang, 7artisans, and even few Fujinon XF zooms. It varied on different Fuji X cameras I had: X-E1, X-M1, X-T1, X-E2.
    Typically I don’t care if the play is very light, especially on lens with very light focus rotation. But Samyang and 7artisans lens focus takes more effort, and lens mount play is a bit disturbing.
    The solution is simple – I’m cutting accurate circle of very thin adhesive film, and attach it to the lens mount. It’s revertible solution, and all my lens then fit nice to the same camera body.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Nigel
    March 3, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Hi Iurii

    I too recently picked up a copy of this lens & like you I haven’t used it much as yet but I’m very pleased with the results that I have got so far. It was amazing value at 130quid + shipping direct from China. I couldn’t find it anywhere here in Europe. I’ve only got two critisms so far, firstly the weight. It comes in about 60grms heavier than the claimed weight in the specs. secondly I’m with you re the mount its far too loose I’ll try your solution if I can find some adhesive film. Thanks for your review Cheers, Nigel

    • Avatar
      Reply
      yukosteel
      March 3, 2018 at 6:54 pm

      Hi Nigel,
      Thanks for interesting feedback and details. Could you please clarify which mount do you use?
      My Fuji X mount sample of 7artisans 12mm F2.8 weights 296g with caps and 271g just lens itself. That is quite close to what I see on the 7artisans site specs:
      http://www.7artisans.com/en/h-col-178.html
      You can try to use any adhesive tape that can be relatively easily removed later, like package transparent tape, etc. Just try single layer, and if that doesn’t help enough – 2 layers or more.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Nigel
    March 3, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Iurii
    Mines Fuji X mount too. When it arrived I thought it was heavier than I expected so I stuck it on the scales & it came in above 300g with caps about 310g I think but maybe our scales are out. I’ll give the tape trick a try very soon but going to be away for the next week or so so it’ll have to wait a while. 👍

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Chris
    March 4, 2018 at 5:17 am

    Expedia, Bellevue.. 👍

  • Reply
    7artisans 12mm F2.8 lens – partial disassembly – yukosteel's blog
    March 15, 2018 at 2:56 am

    […] recently reviewed 7artisans 12mm F2.8 on 35MMC , and during that review noticed that aperture blades are not completely opened at F2.8. Another […]

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Greg Antikian
    March 25, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Interesting review !!! I’m being involved lately on indoor shooting , taking photographs of estates and it looks like it will be “permanent” , at least for now. So I’m on the look for am affordable wide angle lens for interior shots. One thing I will have to do with this lens if I get it right by the pictures of the lens itself , is scale focus it to get as much of the interior in focus as possible. What I noicd is that the focus scale just after the 2m mark goes to infinity …. so , if I use f8 for example and focus at the 2m mark, seems like I will have a dof starting from 1m to infinity …. do I get it right ?????

    • Avatar
      Reply
      yukosteel
      March 25, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      Thanks for the good question Greg. Yes, it will be all in focus for interior shots, the scale is quite precise there. I’ve just made few shots from the corner of 8M long room to confirm that, all from 1m to infinity is in focus, showing very good sharpness at F8. Though you may need good amount of light or tripod for longer exposure, my X-E2s aked for ISO3200 to use : )

      • Avatar
        Reply
        Greg Antikian
        March 26, 2018 at 6:51 am

        Thanks mate !! Tripod is a must for indoor shooting so that’s not a problem. The important thing is that the scale focusing is accurate.

        Thumbs up !!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    GRANT LAWSON
    June 20, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    can you send a link to the type of Adhesive film you use on the back of the lens to make it a firmer fit…. I have the same issue with my 12mm and Fuji X-T1.

    Thanks

    • Avatar
      Reply
      yukosteel
      June 20, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      Just checked particular film I’m using – it is “Oracal Exhibition Cal 631 Orafol”. I purchased it in local hobby shop 12×18″ for about $5.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    alyantz
    October 22, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    hello yuko,what filter holder can we use for this lens ,i own this lens its a great lens but difficult to find a filder holder.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      yukosteel
      October 23, 2018 at 6:33 am

      I didn’t use filter adapter personally, but there is one available on 7Artisans factory eBay shop. Just search for: “7artisans Filter adapter FOR 7artisans 12mm F2.8 LENS”, last time I saw it was there for $18 with free shipment.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Pin It on Pinterest

    Share This

    Thank you for commenting

    ...now share the post with your friends?