Ridiculously impressed - TT Artisans 50/1.4

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Jon Schick Veteran Member • Posts: 5,063
Ridiculously impressed - TT Artisans 50/1.4
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Received yesterday and tried out today, this lens has far exceeded my expectations, even after reading a number of very positive reviews on the www.  Out of the box, the build quality is more than decent, the aperture and focus rings work well and the focus tab is perfectly positioned.  I was surprised to find the lens well calibrated even at f1.4 so didn't have to use the included tiny screwdriver to make any dreaded micro-adjustments (not the case with my 7artisans 75mm/1.25 which needed a huge amount of adjustment before it focused correctly using the rangefinder).

And on to image quality - from a first few snaps I could see it was nice and sharp especially in the centre, but it was when I compared it with my Zeiss Planar on a tripod mounted still life scene that I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

The Planar already has a reputation for being a very sharp and contrasty lens (perhaps too much for some people?), and I was surprised to see the TTartisans lens can keep up, or even surpass it.  I'm getting details out of it at f2.8-4 that the Planar doesn't match until f5.6.  I thought the Zeiss would be better closer to the edge of the frame; nope, it's not.  What the Chinese lens does have though is f1.4, which tones down the sharpness just enough to perhaps make it a slightly better portrait lens than the Planar.

Other than that, it's interesting to see that although both are nominally 50mm lenses, mine do not appear to be an identical focal length - the TTartisans is just a tad longer, with a narrower field of view.  Doesn't bother me in the slightest, in fact I possibly prefer it.  There's also a noticeable difference in colour, with the Zeiss images having a slightly warmer tint - which I also prefer.

I've definitely noticed more CAs on the TTartisans lens - with bits of purple around high contrast edges but nothing dreadful that can't be handled in post processing.  And I've yet to see how the two lenses would compare in conditions when flare would be an issue - I would hope the Zeiss with its super coatings should do much better here.  The Planar is definitely more compact too, which can often come in useful.

All in all, I was thinking I'd be using the Zeiss most of the time and the TTartisans on occasions when its special characteristics and faster aperture would be particularly useful; I'm rethinking that currently - I suspect the Zeiss may not be my first choice 50mm as often as I thought.

I'll post some comparisons here over the next 24 hours, but if you've been wondering whether to push the button on this lens, my initial impression is that I wish I'd done that sooner.  It really is surprisingly good.

 Jon Schick's gear list:Jon Schick's gear list
Leica Digilux 2 Fujifilm X100V Leica M10 Fujifilm X-T4 Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 2,8/25 ZM +8 more
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