Tag Archives: lens review

7Artisans 35mm f1.4 Smashes Nokton 35mm f1.4

7Artisans 35mm f1.4 Smashes Voigtlander Nokton 35mm 1.4 (Leica M)

Comparing the Chinese 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 Leica M mount lens verses the trusty Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 VM lens. Written blog with full res images to accompany the YouTube video. Full details below.

7Artisans 35mm f1.4 Leica M mount lens

The guys at 7Artisans were kind enough to reach out to me and send their 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 Leica M mount lens to test. As mentioned in my reviews of the TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 and TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 lenses I am still new to Chinese lenses so expectation is always low. When I’m proved otherwise it’s then a nice surprise!

7artisans 35mm f1.4 review

Build quality

If I compare the 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 Leica lens to the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 the Nokton wins for build quality. Voigtlander is closer to Leica M mount lenses in terms of great build quality in my experience of using both brands. The aperture ring of the Chinese lens feels less precise and cheap. That said, the 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 lens has a built in lens hood. The Voigtlander doesn’t.

7artisans 35mm f1.4 leica m
Size guide: 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 (right) vs Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 v3 (Left)
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7Artisans Leica lens calibration

If you’ve enjoyed rangefinder lenses before they normally arrive pre-calibrated ready to use straight out the box. 7Artisans like TTArtisan cut costs by selling their lenses not calibrated meaning they can sell them at a lower price point. You receive a tool in the box and you’ll need to turn the 3 grub screws on the rear lens mount to calibrate the lens to your camera. Instructions are included.

Perfect for mirrorless

If you use digital mirrorless cameras like me you can ignore the calibration step. I used the 7Artisans 35mm 1.4 lens mostly on my mirrorless Leica SL camera for ease. (Via a Leica M-L adapter*). You don’t need a Leica camera of course. I also use the lens on my Panasonic Lumix S5 body. (See the L-M mount adapters fitted to both cameras in the video thumbnail below).

Not ideal for Leica M film camera users

The best case scenario is use the 35mm 1.4 7Artisans lens on mirrorless bodies. Following that, the next best option is to use a digital Leica M mount camera such as my Leica M240. (I cheated and used my digital M camera with EVF attached to bypass the need to calibrate the lens accurately. See video linked below as a visual).

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With a digital rangefinder camera at least you can check to see if you have calibrated the lenses accurately before taking any important photos.

If you use a Leica M film camera like the Leica M4-P you will need to wait to develop your film roll of film before seeing if you nailed focus wide open at f1.4. This is why I don’t recommend the 7Artisans 35mm 1.4 lens to film shooters (except the diehard fans that will happily tinker with the calibration until it’s perfect).

Not the smallest 35mm lens

Unlike the beautifully compact Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 lens, the 7Artisans 35mm lens is larger. The Nokton balances really nicely on Leica M cameras whereas for me the Chinese lens sits better on a larger camera body such as the Leica SL. Below is a photo showing how smaller the Voigtlander lens is. Half the size (length) of the 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 lens pictured above.

voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 vs Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f2
(Left) Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f2 (Right) Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4

The 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 lens is at the big end for an M mount lens (excluding the ultra fast 50mm f1 lenses and perhaps the Leica Summicron 90mm f2 pre-ASPH). It is close in size to the Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH lens as a reference point.

Lens characteristics

See in full on YouTube as linked below but in brief:

Vignetting

The 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 shows heavy fall off and vignetting shot wide open and this reduces as you stop the lens down. Personally I don’t mind this but you can also correct it in post if you wish.

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Sunstars

From my testing the 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 Leica lens can give nice sunstars once stopped down. If you like sunstars at wider apertures (f2.8 onwards) see the mentioned Voigtlander Ultron lenses below).

7artisans 35mm f1.4 sunstars
Lens flare

I shoot at the sun quite often and yes you can get lens flare but not easily. Overall I would say the lens coatings and lens hood combined work well against flare. Here is a photo showing me trying to flare the lens with a model.

7artisans 35mm f1.4 portrait
Halation

One of my favourite features of this 7Artisans lens is the halation around points of light. It reminds me of shooting Cinestill 800 film at night!

7artisans 35mm f1.4 leica m
Bokeh

Being a fast f1.4 maximum aperture lens you can get some nice bokeh. To get extra bokeh use the lens mounted on a 7Artisans close focus M-L adapter (if using a L mount camera such as my Leica CL, Leica SL or Lumix S5). Getting closer than the standard minimum focus distance of 0.7m will give you a greater shallow DOF and more bokeh magic.

7artisans 35mm f1.4 bokeh
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Bokeh test: 7Artisans 35mm 1.4 vs Nokton 35mm 1.4

As part of the YouTube review I also tested bokeh. When comparing the 7Artisans 35mm 1.4 vs Nokton 35mm 1.4 you can see that the Chinese lens gives a smoother look. The Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 bokeh is more pronounced with the onion-ring style bokeh balls. Both lenses give misshaped non-circular bokeh balls which I prefer to the clinically circular bokeh of most modern lenses.

7Artisans 35mm f1.4 (Left), Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 (Right)

7Artisans 35mm f1.4 photos

As with any lens, the most important factor is the image quality. Here are a few full res 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 photos shot on the Leica M240. I really like how this lens renders a scene. The colours in these photos are as shot rather than a colour filter added after.

7Artisans 35mm f1.4
7Artisans 35mm f1.4 M (#2)
7Artisans 35mm f1.4 M
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Sharpness test sample photos

In the YouTube video (linked below) I do some geeky side by side testing for my own interest. Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 vs 7Artisans 35mm f1.4. In these example photos both lenses are shot wide open.

7Artisans 35mm f1.4 vs Voigtlander 35mm f1.4
CROP: 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 (Left) vs Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 (Right)
7artisans 35mm f1.4 Leica M
TIGHT CROP: 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 (Left) vs Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 (Right)

7Artisans 35mm f1.4 portraits

My copy of the 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 lens gave good sharpness in the centre and then nice fall off at the edges (+vignetting). Great for photographing people! Here are a few 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 portraits shot with the Leica SL.

Photos were shot in RAW + MrLeica Leica SL B&W preset applied in Lightroom.

7Artisans 35mm f1.4 @ f2.8
7Artisans 35mm f1.4 Portrait
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7Artisans 35mm f1.4 + Leica SL

*I recorded BTS (Behind the scenes) videos with each of these 3 girls above if you want to see me and the models in action! Join Patreon to watch and you can enjoy another 60+ model “BTS” videos too.

7Artisans 35mm f1.4 + Leica SL
Form Factor

*If you love the idea of photographing models but don’t know where to start you might like my workshops

7Artisans 35mm f1.4 vs Voigtlander 35mm f1.4

So which lens is right for you? 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 vs Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 VM lens? If you use a Leica M film camera I would get the Voigtlander lens for the size, build and it being pre-calibrated. For mirrorless camera users I would recommend the 7Artisans 35mm 1.4 lens for sharper images shot wide open.

Final verdict of the 7Artisans 35mm 1.4 lens?

So was I impressed? Considering I own and test many very nice lenses for Leica cameras, yes. A surprising yes actually. I was shocked that it beat the little Nokton 35mm f1.4 in my sharpness test for YouTube. Perhaps “smashed” was a little exaggerated but I was pleasantly surprised! The Chinese lens rendering is very pleasing and I would call it an artist lens verses a client lens.

A client lens for me is the best lens I can use which normally means sharp but pretty photos. For my Leica wedding photography I really enjoy the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 lens for example. See below for that and more 35mm lens options.

Artist lenses tend to be softer but have perhaps heavy vignetting or interesting fall off. I love the mentioned TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 lens for this look especially.

The smaller Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 lens would still be my recommendation for Leica M film users. The benefits of it’s small size should not be under-estimated.

7artisans 35mm f1.4 leica m
7Artisans 35mm f1.4 – Smooth falloff
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7Artisans 35mm 1.4 vs Nokton 35mm f1.2

For completeness I should mention the 35mm 7Artisans vs Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 lens for portraits. For my Poland model photography trip where I made the above portraits I was also using the Nokton lens. If a model has perfect skin the the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 v3 lens is outstanding. It gives more sharpness and higher contrast. (I will write the full review for Nokton 35mm f1.2 lens so Follow me so not to miss that).

Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 v3 Portrait
Example photo shot with the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 (until I write the article!)

The 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 gives a smoother rendering to the Nokton, probably less micro contrast. This works well for models when the Nokton look is too harsh. Both lenses have their place but if you want the best then buy the latest 35mm f1.2 v3 Voigtlander lens. (See below).

7artisans 35mm f1.4 leica m
7Artisans 35mm f1.4 portrait

Watch: 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 YouTube review

For more images and a better visual watch my 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 YouTube review.

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Best small 35mm Leica M mount lens?

If you are shopping for a nice 35mm lens for your Leica camera but want something smaller I recommend two alternatives. (If you need a fast 1.4 lens your only option is the Nokton 35mm f1.4 mentioned above).

Small and sharp / Best all-rounder

Can you cope with f2 or f2.5 maximum aperture? If you want a small sharp lens my favourite is the little Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f2 lens. This is my daily user now on my Leica M2 for travel type photos.

Smallest

The smallest option is the tiny Voigtlander Skopar 35mm f2.5 lens. If you enjoy older screw mount Leica iii cameras you can find this lens in screw mount too on eBay. The screw mount version lets you use the lens on the Voigtlander Bessa R camera too giving a very lightweight setup.

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Sharpest 35mm lens for Leica M?

From my testing and experience to date the sharpest 35mm lens i’ve used for Leica M mount is the Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 35mm f2 lens. Not the smallest Leica M mount lens but is it seriously sharp. (The Leica 35mm f2 APO is probably at least as sharp and much smaller but i’ve not had a chance to test it yet).

Sharp and fast

If you want sharp and sunstars look no further than the Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 M mount lens (Also available in LTM mount but different optical formula). It was my sharpest 35mm lens for Leica until the APO arrived.

Ultra-fast and sharp

As mentioned above, for 35mm portraits where you want a combination of sharp yet very shallow DOF the best lens is the amazing Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 v3. I own the v2 lens and this is also fantastic but it’s bigger and heavier. I’ve linked both lens reviews as the older v2 lens will be cheaper on eBay.

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Buying a 35mm lens for your Leica

The mentioned lenses above tick almost every box for me when looking for a new lens. Small lenses, sharp lenses, portrait lenses, tiny walkabout lenses. All will make great photos and all are more than sharp enough stopped down. Check the current prices of each lens below using the links provided.

New lenses
Used prices on eBay
35mm Voigtlander lenses compared: Left to Right – Skopar 2.5, Ultron f2, Nokton 1.4, Nokton 1.2 v3, Nokton 1.2 v2

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Best Leica Camera?

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TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 Review

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 (Leica M) Review

The Chinese Leica Noctilux and why I love this lens! This is my TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 lens review / overview to accompany the existing YouTube review. Full res sample photos included below (mostly 50mm B&W portraits).

TTArtisans 50mm f0.95 + Leica SL

Thanks!

Pergear kindly sent me this lens to review so a massive thanks to them for making this possible. Much appreciated. (Get 5% off Amazon lens prices if sign up to their mailing list, links below). 

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Lumix S5
TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Lumix S5

First Impressions 

It’s Heavy! This is one fat heavy solid chunk of metal and glass, well in Leica M terms anyway. It is still be shorter than Leica SL lenses and around the same width. Unlike SL lenses or Sigma Art (or Lumix) lenses there is no autofocus motors inside. Simple metal and glass, just how I like it. It’s not so different from the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 in that regard but we’ll come onto that. 

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Build quality 

The lens looks nicely put together with a smooth focus throw and a clicky aperture which I prefer. Feels more precise. I’m not a fan of the gold coloured rear lens mount but perhaps that style is cool in other countries and just not the UK.

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica M240

Better than expected 

If you saw my review of the TTArtisan 28mm F5.6 lens the same applies here. I’ve only recently started to experiment with Chinese lenses and I must say I’m really impressed with the two lenses I’ve received from TTArtisan. So far my experience is TTArtisan lenses are better built than 7Artisan lenses. *This might be lens dependant. 

Leica SL ISO 3200

Cheap Leica Noctilux clone 

When testing lenses I try not to get into country politics. I know not everyone approves of the Chinese lens companies making cheap knock offs of well regarded Leica lenses.  The optical formula is different to the Leica lens design but the outside of the lens barrel is very much based on Leica M lenses. Black lens with white and yellow font and even a red dot.

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 (left) Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.0 (centre) Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 (right)

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 lens for Leica M

So as the name suggests this is a ultra-fast 50mm prime lens for a Leica M mount cameras and it’s rangefinder coupled. I’ve used Leica M rangefinder cameras and fast 50s for years using the Leica M8, Leica M9, Leica M240 and the film bodies Leica M2, Leica M3, Leica M4-P, Leica M6. Now I tend to prefer the Leica SL for precision focusing when taking model portraits. 

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TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica M3 film camera
TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica M3 film camera

Not great for film cameras

As you may be aware the fast 50mm 0.95 TTArtisan lens needs calibrating when you receive it.  This is less hassle if you use a digital Leica M camera, especially if you use the accessory electronic viewfinder (or LiveView) as you can bypass the rangefinder for perfect focus. If you only own a Leica M film camera to me this is less that ideal. Personally I cheated and used the lens on my Leica SL mirrorless camera. 

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 lens calibration 

Mine copy of the TTArtisan 50/0.95 was perhaps accurate at f2.8 out the box but needed adjustment to be sharp wide open at f0.95. The lens is supplied with a tool and calibration chart so you have to set the lens yourself before using on any M mount rangefinder camera. In brief you unscrew the 3 grub screws on the back of the lens mount, adjust as needed then retighten.

Me mis-focusing the non-calibrated TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 lens on the Leica M240

Missing a trick

I understand why TTArtisan decided to make their lenses not fine tuned out the box. It saves time, money and expertise and in turn that means they can sell the lens much cheaper than the comparable Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 or the new Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.0.  

The problem is not everyone wants to calibrate their own lens. I think TTArtisan would sell more units if they offered the lens calibrated as an option (at a higher price point). If I was TTArtisan I’d team up with a third party company to calibrate a batch of their lenses and then sell on with their added price mark-up. Seems obvious to me. (If you do it please send me a cheque in the post for the idea!).

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 portrait – stopped down slightly on Leica M240
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Focusing aids when using the TTArtisan 50mm 0.95

Leica EVF (Olympus VF-2) for Leica M

As mentioned, if you use a digital Leica M camera, with the exception of the earlier Leica M8 and Leica M9, I would highly recommend using the EVF hotshoe attachment.  I use the Olympus branded VF-2 electronic viewfinder on my Leica M240.  This especially true when using the lens at or close to its maximum aperture as the Leica rangefinder will be at it’s limit in terms of accurate focusing. If your Leica camera rangefinder is even slightly out of alignment you will mis-focus all your shots when using a fast 50mm lens.

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica M240 + EVF (Olympus VF-2)
TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica M240 + EVF (Olympus VF-2)
  • Check electronic viewfinder prices on eBay – US / UK
Leica 1.4x viewfinder magnifier

If you are using the built in optical Leica M rangefinder to focus I would highly recommend using the Leica 1.4x viewfinder magnifier. I have one permanently attached to my Leica M cameras. With the 1.4x magnifier attached the 50mm frame lines almost fill the viewfinder so it is similar to using a Leica M3 but not quite as good.

Note the version I show here fits all Leica M cameras except the Leica M10 and Leica M11. These newer Leica cameras have a larger diameter viewfinder verses older Leica M cameras. You would need to get a M10 version.

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica M240 + 1.4x viewfinder magnifier
TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica M240 + 1.4x magnifier
  • Check optical viewfinder magnifier prices on eBay on eBay – US / UK

50mm f0.95 TTArtisan vs 50mm f1.0 Leica Noctilux

As I have both the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 (v2) and the TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 I was interested to see how the two lenses compare. The Leica lens is my most expensive lens, even buying used and when prices were lower. Size wise, the Leica Noctilux is smaller and lighter verses the TTArtisan lens. I did some side by side testing as you may have seen in the YouTube video but here are some samples again below.

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 (left) Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.0 (centre) Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 (right)
TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 vs Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.0 vs Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0
95 vs
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Testing the TTArtisan 50mm 0.95 bokeh and sharpness @0.7m
TTArtisan 50mm 0.95 0.7m - Test (SL)
TTArtisan 50mm 0.95 lens sharpness / bokeh test @1m
TTArtisan 50mm 0.95 1.0m - Test (SL)
Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 vs TTArtisan 50 0.95 comparison
TTArtisan 50mm 0.95 vs Noctilux
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TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 Portraits 

These are portraits shot with the TTArtisan 50mm f/0.95 on my Leica SL camera.  All photos were shot in RAW then a MrLeica Leica SL B&W preset applied. (Some may have been edited further in Photoshop*) Click the photos to view full res and to see the camera information. (I will try to add more images when I get time).

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 Portrait
TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 Portrait
Leica SL + 50mm f0.95
TTArtisan 50mm f0.95

*If you like the idea of photographing models you might like my workshops

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Amazing portrait lens 

If you love 50mm lenses and enjoy taking portraits this lens is for sure a no brainer. It has a softer rendering wide open at f0.95 and for me a sweet spot around f1.1. Stopped down slightly the contrast and sharpness both increase giving photos a little more pop. 

Leica SL + TTArtisan 50mm f0.95

Great lens for all skin types

Personally I often use vintage lenses to photograph older sitters / models / clients. Some of my favourites are the Leica Summitar 5cm f2, Leica Summarit 5cm f1.5 and Canon 50mm f1.4 LTM. Vintage lenses are more forgiving and many clients prefer the images verses sharp modern lenses. APO lenses like the Voigtlander 50mm f2 APO Lanthar are fantastic but less so for some female portraits. (Especially on digital cameras).

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 wedding

Fast lenses are really useful for wedding photography so ultra-fast primes are even more fun. Here are a few sample of TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 wedding photography shots with my Leica SL camera.

UK Leica Wedding Photographer
Leica Wedding UK

Master of all trades

The TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 like the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 is like a master of all trades. Shoot the lens wide open at f0.95 and you get soft dreamy photos more comparable to vintage lenses. Stop the lenses down to f2 and you get sharper more modern looking photos. Best of both!

Leica SL + 50mm f0.95
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TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 colours 

If you follow my work on platforms like Instagram and Flickr you’ll know I tend to prefer black and white photography verses colour. I might not be the best source of info when it comes to colours but I do shoot colour for weddings and some model shoots. The TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 colours seem true to life and show less colour cast than I see with my Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2. No complaints from me and here are a few sample photos.

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 Portrait
YouTube! TTArtisan 50mm f0.95
TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 Portrait

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1 vs TTArtisan 50 0.95

After the release of the new super fast Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.0 lens I was keen to test it against the TTArtisan f0.95 50mm lens.

Alternative lens choice? Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.0

From using the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.0 on model shoots in Poland I would say that the Nokton is closer to the modern Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 than the TTArtisan lens. Both the Nokton and modern Noctilux lens are well corrected considering their fast maximum apertures.  From my results the TTArtisan 0.95 is closer to the older Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2.

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.0 Photography
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More perfect

For me you would buy the Voigtländer 50 f1 or the modern Leica Noctilux 50 0.95 if you need the fast aperture and want modern rendering. They would suit people looking for a fast but useable maximum aperture without excess character. (I’m being over critical, both lenses are amazing but lens character than TTArtisan and older Noctilux).

Artistic and imperfect

I bought the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 originally for my Leica M9 as I needed the low light performance for my wedding photography. The limited high ISO of the Leica M9 in a dark church I meant that I was shooting at f1.0 and perhaps 1/30-1/60 ISo 800 for example. (We don’t realise how easy we have it today!)

Leica M9 Noctilux Wedding
Leica M9 wedding using the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 lens (2014)

I enjoy the 50mm Noctilux as a less perfect more characterful lens for portraits. I already have the Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH if I need perfect and the rendering of the Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 is very similar to the Summilux . (See my Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 vs f0.95 post).

The TTArtisan 50mm 0.95 ticks the creative lens box for me and is closer to the older Noctilux f1 lens. These two lenses help to create artistic looking portraits which I enjoy and are often better than reality. (Models appreciate this!)

Fake Film Look

I accidently found by shooting the TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 lens close to wide open and using a Leica camera at high ISO settings – 3200, 6400 (camera dependant)(lower for the older Leica M8, Leica M9), you can almost get a filmic look. The soft rendering of the lens helps vs. most modern lenses, the heavier vignetting and combine that with added digital noise from using a high ISO, it almost looks like a punchy high contrast black and white film image. It reminds me of my early Leica M8 and Leica M9 portraits. I really like this look.

TTArtisan 50mm 0.95 Review

Leica CL + TTArtisan 50mm f0.95

I have tried the TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 on the APS-C Leica CL mirrorless camera via a Leica M-L adapter. With the crop factor it gives a 75mm equivalent focal length. I much prefer to use the lens on full frame cameras as a crop sensor camera cuts off all the nice imperfections and edge defects.

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica CL
TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica CL

To illustrate my point here is an example using the Leica CL + Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.0 lens. As the camera only uses the centre portion of the lens image circle it gives a clean yet perhaps more sterile look. It’s still nice of course but I always think I am missing out when using an interesting lens on a APS-C body. (Shot during one of my Leica workshops).

UK Leica Workshop
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TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 on Leica M camera

The 50mm 0.95 TTArtisan lens is big chunk of metal and glass so for me it is less suited to compact Leica M cameras. Yes it is possible to use this combination but the lens balances far better on the Leica SL cameras (Leica SL, Leica SL2, Leica SL2-S).  The larger grip of the Leica SL also makes it a more comfortable setup to use. As the Leica SL is a mirrorless camera you also get perfect focus every time and you can skip the lens calibration process. 

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica M240

Leica M mount TTArtisan 50mm f0.95

The beauty of designing the lens as Leica M mount is you can adapt it to pretty much any digital camera. On the Leica SL I use a Leica M-L adapter and I use the same adapter with my Lumix S5 mirrorless camera. That said, if people ask me what adapter to buy today I normally recommend the Novaflex M-L adapter as it’s cheaper and still works well.

Get closer for dreamy detail shots

One advantage of using L mount cameras + TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 lens is you can use the 7Artisans close focus Leica M-L adapter. This lets you get in closer than the standard 0.7m minimum focus distance (perhaps to 0.3m). This adapter is also fantastic when used with vintage rangefinder lenses that are limited to 1m close focus distance.

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica SL + 7Artisans Close focus adapter
TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica SL + 7Artisans M-L close focus adapter
Leica Glow
Leica SL + 7Artisans Close Focus Adapter + TTArtisan 50mm f0.95
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Sigma Art 50mm f1.4 vs TTArtisan 50mm 0.95

Sigma UK sent me their 50mm Art lens to test so I compared it to the TTArtisan 50mm 0.95.  The Sigma lens was sharper with more modern rendering. The TTArtisan has a more pleasing painterly look.  From my copies of the lenses the TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 colours were slightly warmer vs Sigma colours. The Sigma Art 50mm f1.4 gave round modern bokeh balls vs more organic misshaped bokeh balls from the 50mm TTArtisan lens.

Here is a non-scientific comparison from a photoshoot with both photos shot within a few minutes of each other in the same lighting conditions.

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95
Photo of Sigma Art 50mm f1.4 lens taken with the TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 lens
50mm f0.95 Portraits
Photo of Sigma Art 50mm f1.4 lens taken with the TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 lens
50mm f0.95 + Leica SL
Photo of Sigma Art 50mm f1.4 lens taken with the TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 lens
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You might need ND filters

If you plan to use this lens on a Leica M film camera I would recommend using neutral density filters as a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 is not enough from a bright day and a fast lens. Even the Leica M240 maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 isn’t really fast enough. I love the Leica SL with 1/16000 and ISO 50. I used the lens without ND filters with this setup. 

If you’re planning to buy the TTArtisan lens it has a 67mm filter size. I use a K&F 10 stop variable ND filter which is 77mm so I would use a 67mm-77mm step ring. (I bought 77mm size so one filter fits all my lenses). See my Kit List for all the little accessories I use day to day.

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Lumix GX880 for video with K&F ND filter
TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Lumix GX880 video rig!

Can I recommend the TTArtisan 50mm f0.95?

If you had not already guessed, I like this lens. I would recommend the TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 to mirrorless camera users especially. It works fine on Leica M digital cameras, especially if using the EVF though it’s a little oversized for me. It’s perfect on the Leica SL I wouldn’t recommend the TTArtisan fast 50 for film shooters as it will be pretty difficult to nail focus with the lens shot close to wide open.  If you are a die hard film shooter I’m sure you could enjoy the lens but for me I will use it on digital only. 

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica SL
TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica SL
TTArtisans 50mm f0.95 Portrait

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 price

Compared to the mentioned Leica Noctilux and Voigtlander Nokton fast 50mm lenses I feel the TTArtisan lens offers great value for money.

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TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica CL
TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + Leica CL

New TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 for Fuji-X +

In May 2022 TTArtisan announced it will be releasing it’s APS-C version of the 50mm f0.95 lens in Fujifilm X-mount and Sony E-mount. You can also get this lens for micro four thirds (M4/3 mount) and Nikon Z mount. Being APS-C 50mm gives a 75mm equivalent in full frame terms on a 1.5x crop camera. The crop sensor lens is a different lens to the one I review above but it gives you the same ultrafast f0.95 maximum aperture. It has a retro black and silver look similar to some lenses from past eras and weighs in at 411g.

L Mount TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 lens

After doing more reading I see there is also a Leica L mount TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 lens. Again this is APS-C but this is I think the fastest L mount lens you can buy for you Leica CL, TL , TL2 etc. This lens will fit my Leica SL and Lumix S5 L mount cameras but see below with regards to the limitations of APS-C lenses on full frame cameras.

APS-C TTArtisan 50mm f0.95

Check the APS-C lens price for your camera mount on Amazon US / Amazon UK

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7Artisans 50mm f0.95 lens for M4/3 +

To make things even more confusing there is also the 7Artisans 50mm f0.95 lens available in M4/3 mount, Nikon-Z mount, Fuji-X mount and Sony-E mount. This lens is also APS-C rather than full frame so equates to 75mm rather than 50mm. The 7Artisans lens has a more standard / modern design and weighs 420g.

APS-C 7Artisans 50mm f0.95

Check the APS-C lens price for your camera mount on Amazon US / Amazon UK

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 vs 7Artisan 50mm f0.95

You may wonder which lens is better, the 7Artisans or TTArtisan 50mm f0.95? With no experience of either of these two APS-C ultrafast prime lenses I would select the TTArtisan 50mm 0.95 for photos and the 7Artisans 50mm 0.95 for video. The 7Artisans lens is de-clicked making it better for video but I prefer the look of the TTArtisan lens. Also to date, the TTArtisan lenses i’ve tried seem to be nicer made but that might not be true for every lens.

APS-C TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 lens or Full Frame?

A question you may have is if you use a crop sensor camera should you buy the APS-C lens or the TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 full frame version I review here. You can mount the full frame Leica M mount lens via an adapter as already mentioned and then you have the big benefit that it can be adapted to almost any camera system at a later date.

If you currently shoot with an APS-C camera but later upgrade to full frame you can still use this lens rather than having to buy twice. If however you try to use a crop sensor lens on a full frame camera you have to use the camera in crop mode meaning you can’t benefit from using the full camera resolution.

An example of this in Leica terms is if you mount the Leica Elmarit-TL 18mm f2.8 APS-C lens on a full frame Leica SL camera.

The benefit of the APS-C lenses is they tend to be smaller, lighter and cheaper verses the full frame option.

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Warning! M4/3 camera + TTArtisan 50 0.95

As mentioned, the full frame TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 lens is M mount so in theory it fits most cameras via a Leica M adapter. I tried to use the lens on my micro four thirds Lumix GX80 and Lumix GX880 M4/3 cameras for fun and for video and it doesn’t work 100%. The large rear lens element (compared to the tiny cameras and small M43 mount) means the lens hits the camera sensor surround. The lens will only mount when you turn the focus ring of the lens to reduce the size of the lens protruding beyond the lens mount. Even then you cant use the full range of movement.

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 + m4/3 camera (Lumix GX880)
Lumix GX880 + TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 FF version

If you are a micro four thirds user you might be better with the cheaper APS-C version of the lens to enjoy the full range of movement. I’ve not tried the FF lens on bigger cameras like the Lumix GH5/ Lumix GH6. (*Note – it is still usable on my GX880 above but i’m not sure I can get infinity focus with it).

Little and Larger!
Size guide! Small Lumix GX880 camera next to my Leica R7

YouTube – TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 Review

In Summary

So in summary, I really like this Chinese lens and I think it opens the doors to ultra-fast lenses for many more people. I was pleasantly surprised and I’d be using it more day to day if I wasn’t always testing different lenses for YouTube!

If you enjoyed this article you can now Follow me so not to miss future posts! Check out YouTube for future videos and to support the blog please consider Patreon.

Thanks Matt

Related Posts – Models

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95

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TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 lens Leica

Cheap Leica Clone: TTArtisan 28mm f5.6

In this article I share my experience of using the Chinese TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 M lens, a clone/ copy of the legendary Leica Summaron 28mm f5.6. I use the lens for 28mm portraits, on film and with digital cameras.

YouTube! TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 (Leica M)

*The new 7Artisans 28mm f5.6 is another option so I will cover that lens too. YouTube videos linked below and together with related 28mm lens videos.

TTArtisan 28mm f/5.6 lens for Leica M mount

Pergear kindly sent me an early copy of the new 28mm TTArtisan lens for Leica M cameras to review. I think my YouTube video was one of the first shared on the platform so I felt fortunate to receive a copy to play with. Thanks Pergear! My copy came without a lens hood being a pre-release version but they are now supplied with a lens hood.

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.5 LTM ASPH (Testing)

Expectations vs Reality

I’m still reasonably new to Chinese lenses. I know many Leica users wouldn’t dream of putting such a thing on their treasured Leica camera but I tend to take a more practical view. If it’s good I’m happy to use it with my various Leica bodies, regardless of the brand.

Saying that, my expectations were mid to low for this cheap lens. I knew it was a copy of a Leica lens and we’ll come to that further down.

Build quality

Out the box the first thing I notice was the size! So compact ..and pretty! Next it was the weight (151g / 5.3oz). This is a solid lens like you would expect from Leica. Older Leica lenses especially like the Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR and Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5. All 3 of these lenses are heavy relative to their compact size.

The focal throw is smooth and the aperture scale has nice precise feeling 1 stop clicks. Far better than I would expect from a cheap Chinese clone lens. I enjoy old lenses as you may know if you follow the blog. I really appreciate the styling of this lens, it makes a Leica camera look better than without in my opinion. It looks particularly good on a black Leica body such as my Leica M4-P.

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ttartisan-28mm-5.6-review

TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 on digital Leica camera

What about image quality I’m sure you ask? Well again, better than expected. On my first outing with the lens I used it on the digital Leica SL full frame mirrorless camera and my Leica M240 digital rangefinder camera. See all the photos in the linked YouTube video below.

28mm street photography + travel photography

As a photographer that shoots mostly model portraits (and weddings) the 28mm focal length may not be my first choice. If however you are a street photographer I think 28mm is perfect. 28mm is my most used focal length for non-portraits and small lenses like this make it the perfect travel lens.

TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 Review
Leica SL + TTArtisan 28mm f5.6

Architecture with 28mm lens

Normally I think photographers would agree that 28mm is too tight for architecture shots. But if you want a tighter crop it can work well if you don’t mind the more artistic impression vs. perfection. The TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 can’t compete with well corrected APO lenses and ASPH lenses, especially in the corners but you can still make nice photos with it.

New TTArtisan 28mm f5.6
Leica M240 + TTArtisan 28mm f5.6
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28mm Leica portraits

It’s not often you read 28mm and portraits in the same sentence but you might be surprised! I found myself in a smaller than expected Airbnb in Budapest for a model shoot and 35mm wasn’t wide enough to get the shots I wanted. I had the 28mm TTArtisan lens with me for my travel photography so I used that instead.

There is a catch though. Most rangefinder lenses have a close focusing distance of 0.7m to 1m (limited to match the Leica camera rangefinder). The TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 minimum focus distance is 1m so with a 28mm focal length that’s not close enough to make portraits with any impact (for me). If however you use the Leica SL series (SL, SL2, SL2-S), these cameras are L mount so you can then use the 7Artisans Leica M-L close focus adapter. I use this adapter frequently on the Leica SL and Lumix S5 with all my Leica M mount lenses, Leica screw mount lenses and Leica R lenses. Now I can focus closer I am able to make portraits I like and I used it for the whole photoshoot. I think this was the start of my love for this lens!

The following photos are shot with the Leica SL camera, 7Artisans close focus adapter and TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 lens. (Captured in RAW with the MrLeica Leica SL B&W preset applied in Adobe Lightroom).

TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 Portrait
TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 Portrait
TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 Portrait
TTArtisan 28mm Portrait
TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 Portraits
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*If you enjoy female portraiture you can find more photos on my Instagram

Black and white film – TTArtisan 28mm 5.6

On the mentioned Budapest trip I was also using various film cameras. I had various cameras including a Leica M4-P, Leica CL (film) and Contax T2. The Leica CL paired well with the compact 28mm TTArtisan lens to give a small setup for walkabout. The 35mm Leica CL unlike the Minolta CL doesn’t have 28mm framelines so I used the entire viewfinder to approximate the 28mm composition. The better choice was the Leica M4-P which is a nicer camera (other than slightly bigger) and gives you 28mm frame lines.

Here are a series of photos shot on my various photowalks in Budapest. As with most images in this article, double click the photo to view in full res. Photos were shot at f5.6-f11, mostly by zone focusing (hyperfocal distance). If you want to join me on a future photowalk group workshop day join my mailing list.

Budapest Apartment
The Train from Ukraine
Leica M4-P
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The beauty of rangefinder cameras is you can use a slow shutter speed if there is not enough light for a f5.6 lens. For these low light shots I braced myself and shot with a shutter speed of 1/15 to 1/30.

Leica M4-P + TTA 28mm
TTArtisan 28mm f2.8 on Film
Leica M4-P + TTArtisan 28mm f5.6
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Colour film – TTArtisan 28mm f/5.6

The blue sky weather and yellow trams of Budapest made me want to shoot colour film too. Here are some more TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 sample photos, taken with the Leica CL (I believe) and expired Fuji Superia film.

Expired Fuji Superia 1600@800
TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 on Film
Expired Fuji Superia 1600
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TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 vs Leica Summaron 28mm f5.6

Is the TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 a clone of the Summaron 28mm Leica lens? Yes it’s very close but not an exact copy. See my YouTube video where I explain the differences. A Patreon friend who owns the Leica Summaron 28mm f5.6 speaks very highly of the lens. If you don’t know, the Summaron 28mm was original released as a Leica screw mount lens and only more recently was re-released as a retro M mount lens. Unlike modern Leica lenses the older design of the Summaron gives a less clinical less perfect look. Lower micro contrast helps in this regard and that in turn helps give a more filmic look.

I knew the original Leica Summaron was designed as a less perfect lens so I expected the same from the TTArtisan clone. The Leica should be more perfect relative to the Chinese copy but I do like the optical flaws of the TTArtisan. It helps me make more artistic photos vs pixel perfect and it’s sharp enough wide open for my needs.

28mm f5.6 TTArtisan vs 7Artisan

If you follow the various forums online you may have seen that 7Artisans have now also released their own 28mm f5.6 lens. As with Pergear, they reached out and sent me a copy of the lens to review for YouTube. The question is which lens is the best?

ttartisan-28mm-5.6-vs-7artisans-28mm-5.6
ttartisan-28mm-5.6-vs-7artisans-28mm-5.6

7Artisans 28mm f5.6 vs TTArtisan 28mm f5.6

I was interested to try the new 7Artisans 28mm f5.6 lens for Leica M but I had my reservations. I was not sure how they could beat the TTArtisan version. The TTArtisan looks 10x better, its smaller and it feels great. I took both lenses to Portugal to do some side by side testing for YouTube.

First impressions? The TTArtisan is better made and looks better but what about the photos. The 7Artisan 28mm f/5.6 has higher contrast making the photos appear slightly sharper and with more saturation. Both lenses have heavy vignetting wide open and I think the 7Artisans has slightly less stopped down.

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ttartisan-28mm-5.6-vs-7artisans-28mm-5.6
ttartisan-28mm-5.6-vs-7artisans-28mm-5.6

Cheap 28mm lens for Leica M camera

So which is the best cheap 28mm lens for your Leica M camera if you are on a tight budget? For me, I need the photos to be good enough and then I need to enjoy using the camera gear. Some big fat heavy lenses might be amazing but if I don’t want to carry them I wont use them. Equally if something is really small but has less functionality again I will try to find a happy medium. The TTArtisan ticks my boxes for looks, build quality, image quality and price.

Price of the TTArtisan 28mm 5.6?

Talking of price how much does this little lens cost –

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Vintage 28mm lenses for Leica

You could also consider some of the older vintage 28mm lenses. 2 lenses I use include the Canon 28mm f2.8 LTM and the Orion-15 28mm f6 –

TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 Review – YouTube

Here is my original review together with my first impressions of the lens

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7Artisans 28mm f5.6 Review – YouTube

Watch to see side by side example photos using TTArtisan vs 7Artisans 28mm

Best 28mm lens for Leica M?

If you want the best 28mm lens for Leica M cameras then the TTArtisan is not it. The maximum aperture of f5.6 is not suitable as the only 28mm lens in your kit bag for most of us. For my Leica wedding photography I need a faster lens. In the past I used the Leica Summaron 28mm f2 v1 and now I use the new Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron v2. If you have the cash the best 28mm is the Leica Summilux-M 28mm f1.4 ASPH. Sadly I don’t yet have the cash but it would be so good for weddings!

If you want something smaller I think the Leica Elmarit 28mm f2.8 is still king, giving the perfect balance of size and optical performance for travel.

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Best 28mm lens, period?

I can only comment on lenses I’ve used or know of. In the Leica world the Leica SL series lenses are said to be the best performers vs M lenses. Their larger size means less optical limitations when it comes to designing the lens. For Leica M lenses the faster lenses are said to be 1 stop sharper at any given aperture so for example the Leica Elmarit 28mm f2.8 at f4 can match the performance of the Leica Summicron 28mm f2 v2 at f2.8 or the Leica Summilux 28mm f1.4 at f2. Roughly speaking.

As I enjoy cameras and lenses from other brands too here is me doing some side by side testing of the lenses I own. I used to use Nikon DSLR cameras and I still enjoy Nikon SLR cameras.

Best 28mm Leica camera setup?

If you can’t afford the high price tag of the Leica Summilux 28mm f1.4 ASPH M lens, the smart money buys a Leica Q or Leica Q2 instead. Without sounding like a broken record, if I start doing more weddings I will seriously consider a Q/Q2. A fast 28mm lens is perfect for low light indoor wedding work but for travel and street photography too. These cameras are popular for good reason.

Lastly, if you love the 28mm focal length but are not sure what’s the best film camera to use with a lens, this video might give you some food for thought.

If you enjoyed this article you can now Follow me so not to miss future posts! Check out YouTube for future videos and to support the blog please consider Patreon.

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More Info

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Sigma Lenses For Leica

Sigma Lenses For Leica

Looking at Sigma lenses for Leica cameras. Specifically L mount lenses from Sigma. This article gives an overview on what Sigma offers to Leica users and does a deep dive on two lenses for YouTube . Sigma 24mm f2 DG DN and Sigma Art 50mm f1.4.

Does Sigma make Leica lenses?

Yes! Sigma is part of the “L-Mount Alliance” along with Panasonic and Leica so Sigma makes lenses for Leica cameras that have the Leica L mount. Full frame cameras like the Leica SL, Leica SL2 and Leica SL2-S and crop sensor cameras like the Leica CL.

Sigma 24mm f2 + Leica CL

What is Sigma L mount?

L mount Sigma lenses are autofocus lenses, both primes and zooms and offer a cheaper alternative to Leica SL lenses. Sigma L mount is the same as Leica L mount or Panasonic L mount.

Both! Sigma APS-C lenses + Sigma full frame lenses

Both crop sensor and full frame lenses are available from Sigma in L mount. Sigma DC DN lenses are for APS-C cameras such as the Leica CL. Sigma DG DN lenses are designed for full frame cameras but can be used on APS-C camera bodies too. Full frame lenses tend to be larger and heavier than a crop sensor equivalent lens.

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Are Sigma lenses bad?

It depends who you ask! I think historically the build quality especially was said to be worse than other third party brands. In my first 10 years of photography I avoided Sigma but shot with brands like Tamron and Tokina quite happily (on Nikon cameras). Sigma even collaborated with Leica with some of the Leica R lenses and these are much cheaper than Leica designed optics. A common example is the Leica R 28-70mm f3.5-4.5zoom lens made in collaboration with Sigma. That is much cheaper than the Leica designed version that I use –

In recent years the build quality of Sigma lenses seems to have vastly improved. The new Sigma Art lenses and Sigma Contemporary lenses are metal and glass (mostly) and feel very smooth and well made from my testing (see below).

Sigma Contemporary vs Sigma Art lenses

Generally speaking Sigma Art lenses are big and Sigma Contemporary lenses are more compact. Sigma Art lenses tend to offer a faster maximum aperture whereas Contemporary lenses mostly start at f2 or f2.8 lenses. Sigma Contemporary lenses offer the best middle ground for me, both compact yet fast enough for most types of photography.

Leica SL + Sigma 24mm f2 DG DN

Sigma lenses for the Leica CL

The Leica CL is L mount even though I normally use it with small M mount lenses via an adapter. The Sigma Art lenses are too big and heavy to use on this compact APS-C body but they will work if you pair them together. Sigma Contemporary DG DN full frame lenses are more compact and pair better to the small CL body. The best option is to use the Sigma DC DN crop sensor lenses on the CL. Sigma DC DN lenses are the smallest and lightest solution but if you then use them on full frame cameras the camera will only work in APS-C mode at half resolution.

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Leica CL + Sigma 24mm f2 DG DN lens

On my recent photography trip to Poland I used the Leica CL with the new Sigma 24mm f2.8 DG DN lens. With the 1.5x APS-C crop factor this gave me a 36mm autofocus lens equivalent. Here are some sample photos with this combination. All photos are RAW files plus my MrLeica Leica SL preset pack applied.