7Artisans 28mm f1.4 vs Leica Q + YouTube
Looking for a Leica Q alternative? If you use Leica M or SL series cameras I might have the answer! The affordable 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 M lens.
Leica Q Alternative?
When I say Leica Q alternative I need to point out the obvious. This lens will not give you autofocus, macro mode or a leaf shutter with 1/500 flash sync speed. It will however give you a similar field of view and maximum aperture.
Leica M and Leica SL users
If you already own a Leica M camera or Leica SL series camera and love the idea of a fast 28mm lens (fast maximum aperture) this might be for you. The Leica Q gives a relatively unique look as most full frame lenses 28mm lens start at perhaps f2.8. Having a wide field of view and shallow DOF can give a very pleasing perhaps cinematic look to your images.
28mm is the new 50mm
The popularity of the Leica Q cameras (Q, Q2, Q2M) is evidence that there is a demand for this wide shallow look. As we now all view the world through the 28mm lens of our smartphones 28mm is becoming the new normal. There are only 4 fast 28mm lenses in Leica M mount currently. Let’s recap.
Fast 28mm lenses for Leica M
When it comes to fast maximum aperture 28mm lenses for the Leica M system there is not a huge choice. Unless I am forgetting any I think there are only 4 fast 28mm production lenses for Leica M mount as at July 2022. 2 Leica lenses, 1 Voigtlander and 1 7Artisans lens.
Leica Summilux-M 28mm f1.4 ASPH
If you are a Leica fan you’ll know that Leica make the amazing Leica Summilux-M 28mm f1.4 ASPH lens. If you have a cool £6K lying around perhaps you might want to get one! It’s worth noting that those that have used the Leica 28mm f1.4 lens confirm that it’s even sharper than the Leica Summilux 28mm f1.7 fixed lens found on the Leica Q cameras.
Leica Summicron-M 28mm f2 ASPH
If you are happy with a maximum aperture of f2 then you could get the Leica Summicron 28mm f2 APSH lens. I used to own the mark 1 version of this lens for my wedding photography but later replaced it with a Voigtlander lens. (See below)
Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron VM II
After testing the new version 2 Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron VM lens I was so impressed that I sold the above mentioned Leica Summicron 28mm f2. The Ultron is sharper shot wide open and costs a fraction of the Leica price.
7Artisans 28mm f1.4
Then we have the new comer. The Chinese 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 Leica M mount lens. At only £419 this lens is by far the cheapest of the group. Let’s look at the lens in more detail.
Chinese 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 for Leica M
The Chinese 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 lens is designed to look like Leica M lenses. Black paint finish, white and yellow font and even the little red Leica dot. It’s a big heavy lens for an M mount optic but then so is the 28mm f1.4 Leica Summilux. Focus throw is smooth and dampened. Aperture scale is not evenly spaced and with 1 stop clicks. Optical performance? Coming up!
- f1.4-f16 Aperture
- 52mm filter thread
- 0.7m MFD (Minimum focus distance)
- 488g / 17.2oz
- 11 Elements in 9 Groups
- 13 rounded aperture blades
My expectations for this lens were moderate-good (as they say on the shipping forecast!). Some of my loyal Patreons told me that the 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 lens was big but quite sharp even shot wide open.
I own the 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 M lens and want pleasantly surprised with that. I also own the 7Artisans 28mm f5.6 lens and that was a little disappointing compared to the TTArtisan 28mm f5.6. How will the 28mm f1.4 compare? Let’s get into some example photos.
But is it a Leica Q alternative?
The big question for me was can the 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 lens give a similar look to my Leica Q camera. It’s f1.4 vs f1.7 so not exactly the same but close enough. It’s worth noting that the Leica Q is said to be closer to 26mm in width rather than true 28mm. When I tried to take a similar photo with both lenses the Leica Q shots look wider.
7Artisans 28mm f1.4 vs Leica Q test
To test the 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 lens verses the Leica Q I took a trip to London. All photos are shot handheld and close to f1.7 on both lenses. It’s not the perfect test but it’s close enough to let me see if I like the 7Artisans lens.
Photos were captured at the same ISO and shutter speed in RAW format. I applied the same MrLeica Preset to all RAW files from both cameras to get a comparable look. I used my new Leica Q B&W preset from the full pack which will be available from next month.
Leica Q comparison test
Photos: Left (7Artisans 28mm f1.4) Right (Leica Q)
Use the slider to swipe left or right to compare the similar images with both cameras. I was particularly looking at sharpness and contrast.
Leica Q comparison results
It’s probably hard to conclude from these small images whether the 7Artisans lens is as good as the Leica. Shot wide open the Leica Q is slightly sharper with more micro contrast/ pop to my eyes. In real world testing however I’d probably struggle to see the difference in most instances.
Image with and without preset applied
Here is a 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 photo unedited and with preset applied
Photos: Left (RAW+MrLeica Preset) Right (Unedited RAW)
Non-real world pixel peeping test
When I first received the 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 lens and shot test image to magnify to 1000%+ I was a little disappointed. It didn’t look as sharp as others had perhaps suggested. The lens gets slightly sharp by f1.7 (if you set the aperture between the 2 f-stops) and sharper again at f2. This is to be expected with most lenses.
Real world testing
Perhaps luckily for me, I am a creative as well as a camera nerd. As someone that used to paint from an early age, once I forget the brush the real images start. This is true with my photography too. My inner gear-head like to do lots of initial comparisons tests (I used to have a job demanding detailed analysis so it’s normal for me) but when I start using the lens I’m more than happy shooting the lens at or close to wide open for everything.
7Artisans 28mm f1.4 portraits
As a model photographer/ portrait photographer I was keen to suit some portraits. Here are a few samples with 2 different Leica cameras. Leica SL and Leica CL.
Leica SL + 7Artisans 28mm f1.4
Photos shot in RAW + MrLeica Leica SL preset pack applied.
Leica CL + 7Artisans 28mm f1.4
I also used the 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 lens on my APS-C crop sensor Leica CL camera. With a 1.5x crop factor that gives almost a 40mm equivalent which is a nice focal length for portraits. (Better than 28mm as less distortion).
A series of quick Lightroom edits from my trip to Poland. Again RAW + preset applied. (I still need to develop the film from this trip!)
Good enough lens for client work?
Absolutely! Here is a shoot I was asked to do for 2 girls in London. All photos were taken with the 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 lens on the Leica SL camera. (I did use other lenses too but the 28mm was especially useful for the balcony shots and love the overhead angle photo). All photos are quick Lightroom edits – RAW + preset.
7Artisans 28mm f1.4 colours
To get a better idea of how the colours look from this lens lets look at 3 images, with and without preset applied. From my limited testing the colours from this lens are below average and perhaps a bit muted. Applying my MrLeica preset certain improves them for my taste so it wont be an issue if you edit your files.
Photos: Left (RAW+MrLeica Preset) Right (Unedited RAW)
Want to speed up your editing with my Leica Lightroom presets?
In the first photo I focused on the writing of the Leica lens on my little Lumix G camera. (Great little cameras! I still need to share a blog post using the Lumix GX80 and GX880). Photo shot with the Leica CL camera.
Second photo: focus is on the red dot Leica logo. Shot with the Leica SL.
7Artisans 28mm 1.4 vignetting
As you can see from the above image you will see vignetting from this lens but as with most lenses it disappears as you stop the lens down.
28mm f1.4 bokeh
This outside portrait shows the 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 bokeh rendering.
Top tip for Leica SL users
Do you plan to use this lens on the Leica SL or any L mount camera (Lumix S5, Leica CL etc)? I highly recommend mounting the M mount 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 lens to the 7Artisans M-L close focus helicoid adapter. You can then focus closer than the 0.7m MFT which will allow you to create more impressive bokeh shots.
- 7Artisans Leica L-M Close Focus Adapter – https://geni.us/WOYBKcr
7Artisans 28mm f1.4 lens flare
Is the 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 lens flare a problem? When comparing this lens to the Leica Q you can get more flare if pointing towards the sun without a lens hood. Here you see 2 similar photos showing the impact of the flare vs without. Not identical image but I use a slider so you can compare the overall contrast, colour etc.
Call me strange or perhaps just creative but I was loving the lens flare. Instantly more cinematic! I was experiencing veiling flare (and loss of contrast) close to the light source and a thin crescent of flare in the lower part of the image (in this example).
So do I like the 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 lens? I do actually. Like the TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 and 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 lens it surprised me. It’s not silly sharp wide open but can be an really capable creative tool for real world use. The size and weight make it too big to be ideal for Leica M shooters (and Leica CL users) but it’s fine on the SL.
YouTube: 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 Review
Affordable 28mm f1.4 lens for Leica
If you want that wide but shallow Leica Q look for occasional use this lens is an affordable option. Check the latest prices here –
- 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 – https://geni.us/lyRI3n
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Want autofocus? Try the Sigma 24mm f4 DG DN
Some say the Leica Q has more of a 24mm field of view but i’ve not tested it. If you like 24mm and want autofocus there is a simply solution. Get the Sigma 24mm f2 DG DN lens for L mount. I used that lens on my Leica SL, CL and Lumix S5 cameras and it is a great performer. It will focus closer than 0.7m (more like 0.3m) and isn’t over priced. See my detailed Sigma 24mm f2 DG DN review for images.
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