5 frames with...

5 Wider-Open Frames with the 7Artisans 75mm f/1.25 & a Leica M10-P

August 28, 2019

Last week, the first of the 7Artisans 75mm f/1.25 lenses landed with me in the UK. The first thing I did was mount one onto my M10-P and take some shots wide open. Since then, I must admit, I have been a little bit suckered in by the novelty of shooting such a fast short-tele. I’m not sure how long this novelty will last, but for now, I am really enjoying the look of the results!

Since posting a little bit about the 7Artisans 75mm f/1.25 on social media, I’ve had a good deal of interest from people wanting to know how it shoots wider-open. I suppose if you’re going to buy a 75mm f/1.25 lens, one of the main things you might be interested in is how it performs at it’s extreme – this certainly seems to be the primary interest people are expressing in my direction – so I thought I’d share a few brief early thoughts.

For me, as I say, there is a novelty value here – but I must also say, compared to ultra-fast normal lenses I have shot, I do like the slightly longer-lens look. The fall-off to out of focus is very fast indeed. It also has a nice glowy/gooey (for want of some slightly less subjective words) transition zone. Compared to the 50mm f/1.1 lens from 7Artisans the bokeh seems to be a lot more stable – though it does look like foliage can trip it up a little. It suffers a from “cats-eyes” too – but that’s to be expected, I think.

In terms of contrast and resolution, it does seem to also be a little higher contrast than the 50mm f/1.1 wide open which tends to wash out with spherical aberrations and veiling flare. I’d be sugar coating things if I said it was “sharp” – wide open, the resolution just isn’t all there. But, given normal viewing distances (ie. not pixel peeping) the contrast seems to give enough “pop” to allow this slightly nuts lens to be shot wide open and give aesthetically pleasing images.

Here’s a few early tests for you to judge for yourself – if you click through to flickr on each image you can view the images larger too.

7Artisans 75mm 1.25 tests

7Artisans 75mm 1.25 tests

Cat’s eyes

7Artisans 75mm 1.25 tests

…cat’s eyes

7Artisans 75mm 1.25 tests

7Artisans 75mm 1.25 tests

The 7Artisans 75mm f/1.25 is big, and quite heavy, but I guess that’s the price you must pay for such a chunk of glass with this sort of on-paper spec. A sacrifice those who want this sort of look, or those who want to shoot in lower light, will no doubt be happy to make – especially at this price point!

It’s also worth noting that I had to calibrate my 7Artisans 75mm f/1.25 out of the box – wide open it was back focusing a fair bit out of the box. These lenses come with the tool needed to adjust the focus calibration, but it’s worth noting that the process is a lot easier with a digital rangefinder to hand than with a film rangefinder.

Finally, I should point out that I sell these lenses through the 35mmc shop here. Regardless, I try to be 100% transparent about my opinions on the 7Artisans kit, and will be following up with more thoughts in due course. If you have any questions in the meanwhile, please ask in the comments below so others can see my answers.

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Stefan
    August 28, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Would be interesting to see how this competes with the new Voigtländer 75mm f1.5 Nokton and the classic Mandler 75mm f1.4 Summilux.

  • Reply
    Scott Edwards
    August 28, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    Interesting look… have to confess though that as a Kickstarter Biotar loser via the failed OpremaJena (Meyers Optik) 75 1.5 Biotar project, I have a hard time looking very closely.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      September 2, 2019 at 9:13 am

      Yeah, that’s gotta sting

  • Reply
    Philip Lewis Lambert
    August 28, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    Nice pictures but not sure how sharp….
    I bought a used 75mm Leica f2.5 Summarit recently for £550 that worked well on an M240 for a month until the iris jammed at f5.6. Not a lot of depth of field at f5.6 so I don’t know how you manage at f2 or wider. I sent the lens back to Wetzlar (via Leica off Oxford Street, London) and got it back 6 weeks later serviced free of charge. I wonder where I can get a black M10-P at a sensible (!) price and trade my 240 in.
    I recommend the 75mm Summarit as it suits the M240 but I use the 40mm f2 Summicron mostly, or wide-angle glass indoors.
    As a result of reading your posts about film I am looking for a 120 film reflex. Do you have any suggestions? I once had a Pentacon Six but the subsequent Mamiyaflex 330 was better built and gave better results, but two such bodies and three lenses weighed enough to replace my holdall with a Minivan,
    Best regards
    Phil

    Thanks

    Phil

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      September 2, 2019 at 9:17 am

      Hi Phil,
      The m10-p is well worth the upgrade I think – the only issue with the newer camera being the reduced battery life… That said, it still lasts me a day shooting with it so…
      The Pentax 67 might be worth looking at – bit of a beast, but everyone raves about them these days. Else my favourite – if you’re and RF kinda guy – is the Makina 67

  • Reply
    Mark
    August 28, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    Very impressive for the price! Another home-run for 7Artisans…I think it should do very nicely.

  • Reply
    Kevin Saruwatari
    August 29, 2019 at 4:07 am

    Thanks for the samples Hamish! Those look pretty ok at wide open.

    I’d be interested to see a similar close up portrait shot like the first shot at say f1.7 or 2.0 (even 2.8) where a little extra depth of field would be fine and see if the lens smartens up a bit. It’s hard to say if it’s not sharp at that distance or just not enough is in focus that close.

    Wide open looks pretty darn sharp at the distance of the shot with the girl in plastic tub. But I will say the swirly bokeh in the grass is not my thing. Curious if it ever gets critically sharp across the frame and what aperture it does it at. Also at what aperture the swirl goes away.

    I’ve been looking at images from the new Voigtlander 75mm/f1.5 and hoping this lens compares favorably from f2.0 and smaller as it is quite a bit less expensive and this is not a focal length I expect to use on my camera a lot.

    Seems like a good ol’ fashioned lens where I’d have to learn what conditions to avoid certain apertures. I don’t mind that for this focal length.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      September 2, 2019 at 9:19 am

      I suspect that’s field curvature you can see in the foreground – though I need to play a bit more…
      As for your last sentiment, I think you might be right – a lesson to learn

  • Reply
    eric
    August 29, 2019 at 9:38 am

    Impressive lens and wonderful samples and photos.
    Very sharp and great rendering. Bokeh is perfect for me here.
    Voigtlander …. the great pretender at human prices 😉

  • Reply
    Ashley Carr
    August 29, 2019 at 9:59 am

    If this was a 90mm I’d be very interested but alas, no 75mm frame lines in my M2 and 75mm is perhaps a touch too close to 50mm for my liking.

    Saying that, my £80 Leitz Elmar 90/4 is superb for the price I paid and the focal length still gets me good isolation when I need it.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      September 2, 2019 at 9:19 am

      A fair bit smaller too!

  • Reply
    Brian
    August 29, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    The shots look great to me- I have one on the way, should be here next week. I’ve read several people state that the lens back-focused out of the box. I’ll be interested on how it does on the M9. For the price and the speed, it’s hard to pass this lens up. I plan on comparing it with the Canon 85/1.5, which I picked up for about the same price.

  • Reply
    Ondrej Kratochvil
    August 29, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    I’d be interested in focusing accuracy when focused via rangefinder. Even Leica’s own Summilux 75/1.4 and Noctilux 50/0.95 are FAR behind technical limitations of a rangefinder (flange base — accuracy in measuring distance, magnification of finder — accuracy in seeing a tiny difference in overlap), which has been noticed by many Leica enthusiasts in the past. You can have perfectly calibrated lens+camera together by sending it to Leica Germany, but even with that and perfect vision you’d still miss focus in about one third or more of your shots. Problem is that due to the technical limits it is not consistent whether it will be back or front focus. And then there’s the problem that rangefinder mechanism can get knocked out of calibration very easily, so you’d have to send your combo for calibration to Germany almost regularly. That’s the reason why, despite loving the results from them, I’ve never really shot this Nocti and Summi with my M9, and used them mostly on other bodies via adapters, focusing via sensor.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      September 2, 2019 at 9:21 am

      I honestly found focusing it quite easy – it surprised me. The ability to adjust these lenses is a bog selling point in my mind. A real innovation in m-mount lens design!

  • Reply
    James Johnson
    September 4, 2019 at 4:56 am

    Have you tried putting it on any of your Sony bodies? It sounds like a nice alternative to their 85mm f/1.8 especially since I often find 85mm a little too tight.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      September 6, 2019 at 10:12 pm

      Not yet… I’ll try and do a review at some point, and might well for that

  • Reply
    Huss
    September 7, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    Hmm not sure if this never got through when I tried to post the first time but.. my observation with the 7A lenses ( I like them so much I have the 50 1.1 in silver and black, the 35 f2 and the 28 1.4) is that they all needed the focus corrected. This was easy enough with my digital M. But after doing that they all focused past infinity which meant it was much harder to scale focus with as the scale no longer was correct, and you could not use the hard infinity stop as with other Leica M mount lenses.
    Focus was still accurate as long as you used the RF to focus, so I don’t really care (as I have other M lenses too) but it is something to note.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      September 9, 2019 at 10:17 pm

      Yeah, I’ve found this too … A little frustrating, but as you say, workable…
      The 75mm is the same, it seems

  • Reply
    Huss Hardan
    September 11, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Ok, so it’s not just me! I found a mention on line that once you set your focus correctly, you can then loosen the screws that hold on the focus ring, rotate the ring so that infinity is at the hard stop (making sure not to rotate the actual focus underneath the ring), then tighten everything back down.
    Personally I’m not going to go through that as I am happy focusing accurately using my RF patch and so don’t want to mess around with anything. But it does suggest that one reason the price on these lenses is so good is because in essence final assembly/tuning is left to the end user!
    Right now I’m using the 35mm f2 lens on my ‘beater’ M4-2, taking it places where I’m too scared to take my pricey Leica glass.. kinda enjoying getting excellent results w/o worry! But the 28 1.4 is my current stand out. Awesome glass and gets me shots my way more expensive Leica 28 2.8 Asph cannot.

    Thanks for the reply Hamish

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      September 12, 2019 at 9:13 pm

      I might try that… It would be very easy!
      you’re right though – that final stage is definitely a cost save for them. Fine by me really

  • Reply
    Brian
    September 18, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    Mine arrived, things have been busy- so only enough time to check on walks in the neighborhood.

    https://cameraderie.org/threads/7artisans-75mm-f1-25.49525/

    Focus is perfect out-of-the-box throughout range at F1.25 on my M9. I would have to adjust it slightly for use on the M Monochrom with a Yellow-3 and deeper filter. I use a 1.25x magnifier on the M9. I’ll get out with this lens and the Canon 85/1.5 within the next few weeks for a decent comparison. I paid about as much for the Canon lens.

    Focus is smooth after a few turns from max to min distance, had one little “bump” in the action that smoothed out, not uncommon with a new lens. I’m happy with the sharpness, there is a good bit of spherical aberration BUT the “gradient” is computed to give smooth transitions in the out-of-focus areas. This is similar to the 50/1.1 Nokton. The glass and finish on my lens is perfect out of the box. I’ve been coding it as a 75/1.4, do not notice vignetting on my CCD based M9. I’ll have to turn off lend coding and see if there is a difference.

  • Reply
    Bruno Chalifour
    June 14, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    Just came across this post now. I got my 7Artisans 75 mm f 1.25 last fall as I thought at that price I could afford a portrait lens for my Leica without having to sell my car. I immediately it tested against my Nikon 85 mm f 1.8. No need to say the Nikon is far sharper and shows less vignetting at equivalent wide apertures… but it does not open at f 1.25 and I will not use it on a Leica. Now the images presented above show no vignetting which was not my experience at all, so I guess corrections had been made. In the same way as the 7Artisans 50 mm f 1.1, does, this lens displays a lot of vignetting at full aperture as well as softness in the corners—something to be expected and which is not so much of a problem for portraits (which is what these lenses (15-105 mm) are designed for. On the whole not a bad lens to use, results are correct, not great (from f 1.8 to f 4 it is easy to differentiate the Nikon and the 7Artisans so I guess the same goes for any Sony/Zeiss or Canon lens) but totally usable.

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