5 frames with...

5 Frames with my Leica M2 and 7 Artisans 50mm f/1.1 – by Tim Dobbs

November 9, 2018

My main lens for my M2 is my Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f/1.7, which is on the camera probably 80% of the time. A while back though, a twitter friend was selling his 7Artisans 50mm f/1.1, and asked if I was interested… which obviously I was!

I had been using my Jupiter 8 50mm before buying the Ultron, so the 7Artisans was quite an upgrade. The thought of an f/1.1 lens was very appealing for low light shooting. The build quality of the lens was very good indeed with quite a weight to it but it was very well balanced on the M2.

The performance after shooting a few different rolls was very good too – it was nowhere near the overall sharpness of the Ultron when wide open, or even at f2.8, but the centre sharpness was still good with lovely out of focus areas.

For me this is a great 2nd lens for my M2, especially for the price. And as my favourite focal length is 35mm, I am happy to use this lens now and again when I need the extra stop of light, or if I want to do something arty… 😉

These 5 frames were shot on Rollei RPX100 developed in Rodinal and scanned using an Epson v500.

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  • Reply
    Dan Castelli
    November 9, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    We live in a wonderful time lens-wise. I’ve got an M2 and was interested in the Artsian lens. Now I find out there is a 40mm f/1,2 Nokton in an M mount, and there is a 50mm Notkon due out in 2019. What to do, what to do?
    You have nice pics, glad to see high quality images from the lens.

  • Reply
    Karl Valentin
    November 9, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    I ask myself again and again why people use a Leica M body
    and refuse to use the famous Leica lenses with it ?
    A long time this was the only reason for me to take pictures
    with a system with so many disarvantages !
    Sorry but yes – I just was getting mad reading people even using old
    Soviet trash glass with it to get some „special effect“ which you can
    get much cheaper with oriental bodies digital bodies or old Russian
    analoge crap………

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      November 9, 2018 at 5:30 pm

      Reliable camera. Lens that creates images that suit the photographer for their personal reasons. I ask myself why people don’t understand this…?

    • Reply
      Nick Chase
      November 10, 2018 at 4:09 pm

      Well, I’d venture to guess it’s because photography, like all art forms, is a subjective endeavor. While many people might prefer the look of a brand new 28mm Summilux, many others are interested in a different aesthetic. Additionally, and this is the more obvious point, Leica lenses are exceptionally expensive. And why get mad that people use old Soviet lenses? Surely you have other, more pressing concerns.

    • Reply
      Des McSweeney
      November 11, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      bit of a rant really with no noticeable facts … and I suspect you may not have used the wide range of modern alternatives that provide quality and real value. I have had pretty much all of the Leica lenses and their alternatives, it is just horses for courses and about a five grand saving over a new Nocti…

  • Reply
    Dominique Pierre-Nina
    November 9, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    I’ve heard a lot about this 50mm 1.1 at some point I will need to add it to my arsenal. I like the contrast on the photographs.

  • Reply
    George Appletree
    November 10, 2018 at 2:27 am

    I had a Summicron 50 but I kept the Nokton 40. I don’t believe in character. If a cheap lens make you happy, just keep on playing

  • Reply
    Andy Soydt
    November 10, 2018 at 7:16 am

    What also interest me is the fact that you, Tim, are also using a Jupiter 8 and I really would like to know which lense is doing a better job. It might be hard to tell since both lenses are no comparison to a Leica lense but still I’d like to know if I should switch from a Jupiter 8 (which I use usually) to an 7artisans 50mm f1.1.

    Many thanks in advance

    • Reply
      November 10, 2018 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Andy … I found that the Jupiter 8 had the dreaded focussing problem which meant that if I shot wide or close to wide open it seemed to back focus.
      To prevent this to some extent I ended up shooting at f5.6 and up, I loved the look that the lens gave though 🙂

      • Reply
        Brian Sweeney
        November 12, 2018 at 1:10 pm

        This is easy to fix- usually adding 0.2mm to the shim does the trick. Some require more, others slightly less. The hard part is “re-indexing” the aperture ring, meaning undoing the set screws and often having to make new taps for them. With the later Black J-8’s, you can get away without having to drill out new holes- just use something sharp to make an indent for the screws.

    • Reply
      Damir Anic
      January 25, 2019 at 3:33 am

      Hi Andy,
      I have both lenses. The Jupiter is a smaller & lighter lens it’s more handy. Picture quality wide open I prefer the 7Art. At f/ 5.6 or above they are all good. I like them both, so I keep them both.

  • Reply
    Francesco Melis
    November 10, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    Very interesting review about a beautiful lens I’d like to try. I have a question for you: did you calibrate your lens for focus (I know it’s adjustable by a screw following the instructions provided with the lens) and, in case you did it, what process did you follow for fine-tuning the calibration, considering that with a film camera pictures or display images aren’t immediately available? Thank you

    • Reply
      November 10, 2018 at 9:31 pm

      I was lucky and the lens seems spot on to me

  • Reply
    November 10, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Does it do for you what you want it to do for you? Sold…. Yar boo sucks to anyone else. If one is photographing for oneself, and one is happy/pleased with what one produces, then why worry about anyone else’s opinion? Works for me, your mileage may vary.

  • Reply
    Brian Sweeney
    November 12, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    The beauty of using a Leica camera is being able to use a variety of lenses from the past 85 years in the manner that they were designed to be used: with an RF. I have a lot of Leica lenses, and even more from Zeiss, Zenit, KMZ, ZOMZ, Valdai, Minolta, Voigtlander, Canon, Nikon, Tanack, Steinheil, Schacht, and now – 7artisans.

    The first lens used on my M Monochrom was the 1950 KMZ Jupiter-3.

  • Reply
    Daniel Castelli
    November 13, 2018 at 12:47 am

    “I ask myself again and again why people use a Leica M body and refuse to use the famous Leica lenses with it ?”
    Because a young (16 yr old) drug user broke into our house in 2014. She trashed the living room, stole cash & bits and baubles and my 35mm f/2.0 Summicron. I bought the ‘cron in 2001 when I was still working. It was insured for 2001 value and the $600.00 I got from the insurance company (not replacement value, they wouldn’t cover that) did not come close to the $1800+ used lenses were going for. I’m retired, and I could not justify spending a portion of my monthly retirement check on a lens. But, I could get a Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 on the pre-owned market. Not all of us can afford $4000.00+ Leica bodies and equally expensive lenses. My photography is my creative outlet. My Leica M2 is one of the tools.
    That is another reason to use non-Leica lenses. So, get off your high horse, Karl.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2018 at 7:31 am

    These are really beautiful photos and I love the look of the RPX100 developed with Rodinal. The 7Artisans lens and M2 combination is interesting, but kudos the photgrapher. Cameras don’t take pictures. People do, and yours are great!

  • Reply
    Ryan HK
    December 11, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    Great write-up. I have a similar combo – the M4-2 and the 7Artisans 50mm 1.1. My Nokton 35mm 1.2 lives on that body probably 90% of the time, but I fell into the 7Artisans for super cheap. Funny enough, I tested it on my Sony body and HATED it… I couldn’t wait to sell it. And I mean, like 2 days of using it and I wanted it gone. That being said, we were on a road trip and it was on the body, so I kept shooting it. The more it stayed on there, the more I actually enjoyed it. All the quirky flaring and smearing grew to be kind of fun to shoot with. It had character… but a little too much to use on paid work, so I’ve since replaced it with the new 50mm Nokton 1.2.
    The 7Artisans will always be a fun little character lens that I’ll still recommend to people looking for fun, cheap fast glass.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2019 at 9:30 am

    It does not matter what camera and lens you use. If you wish to put a Russian lens on a Leica do so. This review is excellent and demonstrates the versatility of the M mount. In fact, the range of M mount alternatives offers a compelling reason to buy an M series Leica. I have an M2 50mm summicron and 35mm summerit and love it, although, my preferred camera is a Pentax SV and 50mm eight element + 35mm f2.0! – And for all of this the best lens I own is a M42 Voigtlander Ultron. My feeling is: use anything, mix bodies and lenses, share your feelings and take pictures. Al you have to do is look at Jane Brown’s images taken with an OM1 and 85mm Zukio to know the camera is of no importance. Do as you like !

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