5 frames with...

5 Frames with the New 7artisans 28mm f/5.6 Lens – By Clive Shepherd

June 5, 2022

My new lens arrived today! I was looking forward to trying this new lens from 7artisans – the 28mm f5.6 – that I was the first to order from their online store.

The lens arrived beautifully boxed and extremely well packaged for shipping. My first impression was that I held a quality lens, well made, with smooth functioning controls, and a lovely finish. The red Wen symbol looks much nicer in person than in the photos I’ve seen and adds to the personality of this little lens. The lens hood fits very snugly and inspires confidence that it will not fall off. The aperture blades do form a “tulip” between full stops. At full stops the blades form a smooth circle. The lens mount engages smoothly. The markings on the lens are clear and don’t require my reading glasses, a feature I appreciate.

Why would anyone buy such a diminutive slow lens? Like all lens, it depends upon the experience one wishes to have, as a good friend of mine often says. One of the things which drew me to Leica was the collapsible lenses that are available. I have lugged large cameras. I wanted smaller, compact equipment. This lens is small. As for the relatively slow f/5.6 maximum aperture, I plan to use the lens primarily out of doors. When shooting film, I will likely be using ISO 200 or 400 so there will be little need for a tripod. Digital has the advantage in very low light situations between high ISOs and image stabilization. If I choose to use the lens in low light I will likely adapt it to my mirrorless Sony. I am aware that 7artisans make a fast 28 but I don’t want any big luggable lens for my rangefinder. My full compliment of 4 lenses, and the camera, fit into a very small gadget bag.

I also do not subscribe to the super-shallow depth of field for every lens I own approach which seems to be popular, nor do I see a 28mm lens as a “portrait” lens. I like the aesthetic of 35mm for full length shots, 50mm for waist up, and 90mm for portraits. Whenever possible, I use the longest focal length that will do the job. It gives a more flattering result. The 28 will be for landscapes, quick snaps, and possibly group shots the 35 can’t get. The reason I chose the 7artisans lens came down to their published MTF graph. Most companies use 10 and 30 lines for analysis. Leica use 10, 20, and 40; 7artisans used the same as Leica for this lens. They were definitely aiming high and I just had to see for myself.

One other reason for getting a 28 to use on a Leica M2 is that the lens can be used with the viewfinder’s full view. There will be no frame lines nor parallax correction but it will be close enough for the purpose.

The results below were shot with a Sony A7ii with a K&F Concept Leica M to Sony E adapter. I left the lens hood at home just to see what would happen. Images were shot and posted as unedited jpegs.

Sometimes small really gets the job done well.

Try reading the motorbike’s serial number!

Straight into the Sun!

Someone always says photograph a brick wall. So… (number 6)

And lastly, Maggie, my patient photography companion with her, “Another lens?” look.

In short: worth the wait, quality construction, great handling (if one is used to rangefinder lens locks), definitely recommended!

Best wishes,

Clive Shepherd

PS Only Maggie was cropped.

Clive is a retired educator and musician who has been actively involved in photography for more than 50 years in sales, education, freelancing, and practice.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Gary
    June 6, 2022 at 9:17 am

    It would be more helpful to us readers to have a review written after at least a few months of using the lens. Quick reviews of new products (“I just got it and wow it’s great!) are a too frequent on the internet.

    • Reply
      Clive Shepherd
      June 7, 2022 at 1:58 pm

      Gary, thank you for your feedback. Perhaps I could save you some time trolling the net by pointing out that the article started by stating that the lens was just released and had just arrived. Perhaps you should have stopped reading at that point, but thank you for continuing and investing your time. After decades of experience with dozens of lenses it does not take me months of contemplation to determine that a new lens is a quality product and to enjoy my purchase. Some, such as yourself, may need to brood and allow the negativity to steep to acrid purity, then from a point of buyers remorse condemn a product as beneath contempt. If that is the experience you with to have, enjoy. Thankfully, you represent a diminutive, negative portion of small “us readers”. Thank you again for your time.

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