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.
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 : )
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 : )
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.
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.
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.
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