Review: 7artisans 28mm 1.4 FE-Plus

Introduction

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
7artisans 28mm 1.4 FEplus via Hawk’s Factory adapter on Sony A7rII

So far the only native 28mm prime lens is the Sony FE 28mm 2.0. Now 7artisans is offering a version of  its 28mm 1.4 M-mount lens with an optical design adjusted to the thick filter stack of the Sony cameras. This is the first 7artisans lens reviewed here, so let us find out what this new manufacturer has to offer.

Update 06/30/19: after 3 months of usage I decided to revisit this review and add some further findings.

Sample Images

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review close focus range macro extension tube helicoid adapter hawks factory
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review close focus range macro extension tube helicoid adapter hawks factory
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review close focus range macro extension tube helicoid adapter hawks factory
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans 28mm 1.4 fe-plus fe+ sharpness coma astro astrophotography milky way astigmatism
Sony A7III | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4 | panorama from 3 shots

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4

Most of the sample images in this review can be found in full resolution here.

Specifications / Version History

The lens comes in two versions, the “normal” version optimized for Leica cameras and the “FE-Plus” version with an optical design adjusted to the filter stack of the Sony cameras. Both come with Leica-M mount though and from the outside can only be distinguished by a small “FE-PLUS” mark on the bayonet. The FE-Plus version also has a click stop at f/11 that was absent on the Leica version I tried.
In the beginning there was also a version with an obvious ring flare when used wide open. As far as I know only few were made and all “FE-Plus” versions feature the improved flare resistance.

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
FEplus marking on bayonet

Apart from this both versions look exactly the same and share the following specifications:

    • Diameter: 60mm
    • Field of view: 75° (diagonally)
    • Length: 69mm (+adapter)
    • Weight: 490g (+adapter, without hood and caps)
    • Filter Diameter: 52mm
    • Number of Aperture Blades: 13 (rounded)
    • Elements/Groups: 11/9
    • Close Focusing Distance: 0.7 m
    • Maximum Magnification: 1:20 (measured)
    • Mount: Leica-M

You may also have a look at the official page.

The lens is available on B&H, amazon.com/amazon.de ebay.com/ebay.de for about $499 (affiliate links)
When buying on ebay make sure you buy the FE-plus version.
If you want to make sure you get the right one you can always use this link pointing you to the official store.

Handling / Build Quality

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
7artisans 28mm 1.4

From the outer apperance this looks very much like a Leica M lens including the famous red dot. Markings are yellow/white (seem to be slightly engraved and filled with paint) focus ring has an absolutely perfect resistance (just like the Leica Summicron 90mm 2.0 pre Asph I used to own) and turns slightly more than 90° from the minimum focus distance of 0.7 m to infinity.
The aperture ring has full stop click stops which I think is a good design decision. It makes changing the aperture to the desired value without looking at the lens very easy.
The aperture ring is oh so slightly wobbly if you try to move it in an axial direction. I am sure most of you would never notice this as normal people would not try to move the aperture ring like that, but I have never used a 7artisans lens before so I wanted to know where they stand in terms of build quality. At a first look (after a few weeks of usage) they are pretty good.

Despite this being the „FE-Plus“ version it features rangefinder coupling which can be adjusted yourself. Personally I removed the brass part as it is only dead weight to me.

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Square rectangular hood

My lens also shipped with a rectangular lens hood (with hole for using with a rangefinder camera) and a focus tab with adhesive on the back that you can put on the focus ring if you like to.

Vignetting

light falloff

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review vignetting light fall off vignette

Wide open there is strong light falloff of roughly 2.5 EV, stopped down to f/2.0 this improves to 2.0 EV, stopped down to f/2.8 it is 1.9 EV and pretty much stays at that value on stopping down further. Wide open this is a little less than the competition, but stopped down slightly more. There is no Lightroom profile available so far.

color cast

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/8.0

The lens also shows noticeable green color cast in the corners, similar to the Voigtlander VM 28mm 2.0 Ultron. This can be corrected e.g. by cornerfix or using gradients in Lightroom (the latter being my preferred option).

mechanical vignetting

Very fast yet compact lenses usually show a significant amount of mechanical vignetting. Without going too much into technical details mechanical vignetting leads to the truncation of light circles towards the borders of the frame.
In the center of the frame almost every lens will render a perfect circle, but only lenses with very low mechanical vignetting will keep this shape in the corners.
So in the following comparison we move from the center (left) to the extreme corner (right) and see how the shape of the light circle changes.

For comparison’s sake I included the Voigtlander VM 35mm 1.7 here. I consider this performance to be slightly above average for a small lens with these parameters.

This comparison was done at 0.5 m focus distance, you may get slightly different results at other distances.

Sharpness

infinity

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review

Center resolution is very usable wide open and we see only little optical aberrations. It improves on stopping down but already wide open we see a bit of moiré on the small roof in the front of the house.
The lens shows a noticeable midzone dip (due to field curvature) at infinity at f/1.4 to f/2.0. This is not too uncommon with fast lenses and also present on e.g. the Sony/Zeiss 35mm 1.4 ZA, the Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 or the Zeiss Loxia 50mm 2.0.
The corners look slightly better at wider apertures compared to the midframe, this is a tradeoff we often see with Zeiss lenses.

At f/2.8 you have very usable resolution across frame, by f/4.0 everything looks good to me and peak performance is achieved somewhere between f/5.6 and f/8.0.

Personally I prefer having a better looking midframe at wider apertures to better performance in the extreme corners, but then the performance is very even already at f/2.8, which cannot be said about many fast yet small lenses.

Focus shift (see corresponding section) had not been taken into account for these shots, so with stopped down focusing you may get slightly better results at f/2.0 to f/4.0.
The corner crops have been pushed in post to reveal more details.

Compared to: Voigtlander VM 35mm 1.7 + 5m PCX

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
7artisans 28mm 1.4 and Voigtlander VM 35mm 1.7 Ultron with 5m PCX filter attached

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review

As you know the Voigtlander VM 35mm 1.7 Ultron + 5m PCX filter is my lens of choice in this focal length range for quite some time now, offering a very balanced package of maximum aperture, bokeh and stopped down across frame sharpness.

The 7artisans lens holds up well in this comparison. The center performance wide open is comparable. Interestingly close to the center different structures show moiré when comparing both lenses.

The Voigtlander shows much better midframe but much worse corners at wider apertures and the corners don’t improve as fast. So the Voigtlander lens with correction filter needs to be stopped down to f/8.0 to show the same across frame performance as the 7artisans lens at f/4.0.
Up to you what you prefer, there is definetly something to be said for either approach.

The corner crops have been pushed in post to reveal more details.

portrait distance


100% crops from outer midframe center, A7rII

For taking a full body portrait in landscape orientation you need a distance of about ~2.0 to 2.5 m to the subject.
The midzone dip we can see at infinity starts to have a visible influence at these distances, too. Wide open we get a bit softer results with less contrast and detail. Stopping down to f/2.0 will mostly solve this.

At half body portrait distances (~1.0 to 1.5 m) I did not found this to be an issue. Here I was always happy with the sharpness wide open regardless of where in the frame I put the subject.

close (0.70m, 1:20)


100% crops from center, A7rII, because of focus shift (see corresponding section) I refocused for every shot.

Similar to many other (especially fast) lenses without a floating elements design the performance wide open at the minimum focus distance is a bit reduced.
But stopping down to just f/2.0 improves the performance significantly and f/2.8 looks plenty good.

close (0.22m, 1:4.2) with 4mm extension tube


100% crops from center, A7rII, because of focus shift (see corresponding section) I refocused for every shot.

Like most M-mount lenses the minimum focus distance isn’t great so I am using the lens with a helicoid close focus adapter.
The performance is quite comparable to that at the actual minimum focus distance of 0.7 m. Slightly soft at f/1.4 with a significant gain at f/2.0 and really good at f/2.8.
Keep in mind that this lens was never intended to be used at these distances by the designers.

Despite the shortcomings wide open at this focus distance the lens is capable of delivering pretty cool results:

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review close focus range macro extension tube helicoid adapter hawks factory
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4

Flare resistance

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review flare lens veiling sun backlit
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/8.0

Flare resistance is definetly better than I would have expected. Loss of contrast is rarely an issue, but depending on where you place the sun in the frame you can catch a green and/or purple ghost (above you see the worst example I managed to provoke).

If the sun is in the center of the frame you will rarely see ghosts, but at f/1.4 you can still provoke a halo around the sun. This completely goes away on stopping down to f/2.0.

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review flare lens veiling sun backlit
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4

With the sun close to the corner of the frame you can make almost every lens look bad, this is also the case here:

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review flare lens veiling sun backlit
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/8.0

Stopping down doesn’t help much, but the slightest reframing will make this veiling flare go away.

Coma

A good correction of coma seems to only rarely make top of the lens design criteria priority list of most manufacturers. Many fast wide angle lenses I reviewed seriously struggled here, so my expectations were pretty low.
At f/1.4 we see noticeable coma in the corners, but most of it is gone at f/2.0 and f/2.8 is super clean.
Comparing my samples to that you can find in the Sony FE 28mm 2.0 review it seems this 7artisans lens shows better performance.

I am greatly surprised by this and as soon as I get the chance I will be using this lens for some real astrophotography and update the review with some milky way shots.


100% crops from extreme corner, focused on corner, A7rII

I also got the opportunity to use this lens for some landscape astrophotography. As I was expecting after the testing with city light I found it to be a pretty good performer. The T-stop of the lens is slightly worse than that of the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art, but coma is less obstrusive.

7artisans 28mm 1.4 fe-plus fe+ sharpness coma astro astrophotography milky way astigmatism
Sony A7III | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4

With very bright stars in the corner you will be able to spot very slight coma in the corners looking at the files at 100%, but in real pictures this will hardly be visible.

7artisans 28mm 1.4 fe-plus fe+ sharpness coma astro astrophotography milky way astigmatism
Sony A7III | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4 | 100% crop from extreme corner

Distortion

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review

The lens shows only shows very minor yet slightly wavy distortion. This will barely be visible in real life shots but to fully correct it (e.g. for critical architecture work) we have to wait for a lens profile.

Bokeh

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7s | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4

I am / I was in the market for a fast (meaning f/1.4 or faster) 28mm lens, as for the likes of environmental portraits this is my preferred focal length (also pairs nicely with an 85mm lens). So far there was no 28mm lens with these specs that appealed to me available, so I was using the Voigtlander VM 35mm 1.7 + 5m PCX for this task.
I also tried my luck with the SLRmagic 35mm 1.2, but it is a rather basic design without aspherical elements and bokeh wasn’t completely to my liking.
The optical design of this 28mm 1.4 though looked very interesting and more advanced: aspherical element, ED elements, high refractive elements. So I was very curious to find out what the bokeh is like.

As with most lenses (especially wide angle lenses though) the quality of the bokeh is highly dependant on the focus distance.

In close up scenarios I think it looks really good and is much better than I would have hoped for: nice transition from in focus to out of focus, comparably low cat’s eyes effect, little to no outlining and onion ring structures.

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7s | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review close focus range macro extension tube helicoid adapter hawks factory
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7s | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4

This pretty much holds true when taking pictures at half-body-portrait distances. I like what I see here and the results are much better than I would have expected from a lens with this combination of parameters and price.

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7s | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7s | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review close focus range macro extension tube helicoid adapter hawks factory
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4

When taking full-body-portraits there are a few things to watch out for: the sharpness at f/1.4 at these distances off center is not as good as it is at closer distances. You will barely notice this when using a 12mp camera, you may notice it when using a 24mp camera and you will definetly notice it when using a 42mp camera and zooming in to 100%. This is mostly resolved when using f/2.0 instead of f/1.4 (see sharpness section).

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review close focus range macro extension tube helicoid adapter hawks factory
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7s | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4

Edges in the background with very high contrast can show noticeable outlining. This seems to happen due to longitudinal CA and can be lowered a bit by correcting these in post. If you heavily edit your pictures (reduce highlights, increase shadows) this will be more obvious, so something you may want to watch out for (many other fast wideangle lenses like e.g. the Sony FE 28mm 2.0, the Nikon AF-S 24mm 1.4G and the Voigtlander VM 35mm 1.7 show a similar behaviour).

 

Also at these distance light circles towards the edges of the frame take on trapezoidal shapes, show outlining and sometimes even contain a second circle with smaller diameter inside.

 

I tried to give you a thorough basis here to decide whether you like the bokeh rendering or not. This is a matter of personal taste and will also heavily depend on what you use this lens for.
I was using this lens on several occasions to see how it works for me in many different scenarios. In the end there are way more pictures where I like the bokeh compared to those where I don’t like it.

Sunstars

This is the second lens with 13 rounded aperture blades I reviewed (first one being the SLRmagic 35mm 1.2). With that higher number of blades the correct and equidistant spacing between these is very important to get decent sunstars.
I was very surprised to see we get clear and respectable sunstars between f/5.6 and f/11. Judging by my experiences with other lenses I really did not expect that. They are actually very similar to those of the Sony FE 24mm 1.4 GM or 85mm 1.4 GM (both featuring 11 rounded blades).


100% crops from outer midframe, A7rII

They are less pronounced compared to the likes of Zeiss Loxia or Voigtlander (see this article for further reference), so this is how it will look like in a real picture:

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/8.0

Chromatic aberration

lateral


100% crops from extreme corner, A7rII

There are only very minor lateral CA visible that are easily corrected either in camera (for Jpegs) or in a raw developer like Lightroom by one click.

longitudinal

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review focus shift close focus close range
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4 | 50% crop

In close up scenarios there is only a bit of green behind and magenta in front of the focal plane visible, but this aberration is masked by spherical aberration quite a bit when shooting at wider apertures here. It is reduced on stopping down to f/2.0 and mostly gone at f/2.8.

There is a bit of purple fringing visible along very contrasty edges wide open:

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7s | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4 | crop

Even in very demanding scenes like the one below only very little loCA are visible. This is a really good performance, better than many way more expensive lenses.

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4

Focus shift


50% crops, A7rII

When stopping down the plane of optimal focus shifts to the back, so you have to focus a bit closer for best performance. This is most noticeable at close range, less so at infnity. I still recommend focusing at working aperture with this lens to get best results.

Alternatives

Sony FE 28mm 2.0:
This is your obvious choice in the FE system being a native lens that offers autofocus and being affordable at the same time. It never appealed to me as I find f/2 is not fast enough for me at this focal length and I can’t work with the non linear focus ring. If these things do not bother you it can be pretty good value for the money.

Sigma Art 28mm 1.4:
This is a very high resolving lens already wide open that also comes as a “native” lens with autofocus including eye-AF. Unfortunately it is almost double the weight, triple the price and also very big.

Voigtlander VM 28mm 2.0 Ultron:
This lens shows severe field curvature due to the thick filter stack of the Sony cameras. It has slightly higher across frame sharpness stopped down, shares the color cast issues in the corners and is a bit more expensive while being a full stop slower.
As I have used this lens in the past I can say that the 7artisans lens is more appealing to me.

Zeiss Batis 25mm 2.0:
What I have written about the 28mm 2.0 applies here as well, but unfortunately this lens is also very expensive (new) though it seems to me its value (used) dropped significantly with the introduction of the Sony FE 24mm 1.4 GM.

Sony FE 24mm 1.4 GM:
This is probably the best 24mm f/1.4 lens you can buy today. It has slightly higher sharpness across frame, autofocus, GM build quality, great minimum focus distance.
If you don’t mind the 4mm difference in focal length and a 3-4 times higher price you should definetly have a look at this one.

Conclusion

good

  • bokeh
  • sharpness and contrast at f/1.4 (most distances, most parts of the frame)
  • across frame sharpness starting at f/2.8
  • correction of CA
  • Coma correction
  • sunstars (f/5.6 to f/11)
  • build quality
  • size
  • price
average

  • light falloff (f/1.4)
  • distortion
  • flare resistance
  • weight
not good

  • light falloff (stopped down)
  • color cast in the corners
  • minimum focus distance only 0.7m
  • focus shift

A 28mm f/1.4 lens for less than 500 bucks from a manufacturer I haven’t seen anything notable before. What was I expecting? Not much to be honest.
But after thoroughly testing the lens and using it in the field I can stand before you and tell you I was wrong. Very wrong.

First thing you notice is this lens does not feel like your cheap sub 500$ chinese lens (I am looking at you, SLRmagic 35mm 1.2). In terms of build quality it seems to be much closer to the Zeiss Loxia or newer Voigtlander lenses.

I liked the Bokeh in most cases a lot. I consider it to be quite similar to the VM 35mm 1.7. Like most fast wide angle lenses it struggles at full body portrait distance (when transition zone and background overlap). Still, it holds itself up well here and I would need to compare it directly to the Nikon AF-S 28mm 1.4E or the gigantic Sigma 28mm 1.4 Art to see if those actually fare better at these distances.

Also from f/2.8 onwards the image quality at infinty is pretty much on par with the highly regarded Voigtlander VM 35mm 1.7 when coupled with the 5m PCX filter (my lens of choice in this focal length range for infinity shooting), making it a very versatile and capable landscape and architecture lens.

There are a few things I don’t like: the midzone dip between f/1.4 to f/2.0 is definetly something to watch out for.
Flare resistance is not bad, but not as good as the VM 35mm 1.7 either (I see that as class leading though, so nothing be to ashamed of).
There is noticeable green color cast in the corners. Again, similar to the VM 35mm 1.7, but something not found on super fast native lenses like the Voigtlander 40mm 1.2 E.
The minimum focus distance of 0.7m really ain’t that great, so I advise you to couple this lens with a close focus helicoid adapter like the Voigtlander VM-E close focus adapter or the one from Hawk’s Factory I am currently using. This will increase the entry price a bit if you don’t already own one though.

I see this lens as a very welcome addition to the sparse line up of 28mm lenses optimized for E-mount cameras. As you can probably tell from the sample images I had great fun using this lens and will be adding it to my portrait kit, where it will be replacing the VM 35mm 1.7 + 5m PCX (will still keep that one for my general travel kit).

This lens feels a lot like a Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 with 28mm and for about a fourth the price, so I am tempted to call it an actual bargain. After 3 months of regular usage I still like this lens a lot and it often finds a way in my bag.

The lens is available on B&H, amazon.com/amazon.de ebay.com/ebay.de for about $499 (affiliate links)
When buying on ebay make sure you buy the FE-plus version.
If you want to make sure you get the right one you can always use this link pointing you to the official store.

Further Sample Images

7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review close focus range macro extension tube helicoid adapter hawks factory
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/8.0
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review close focus range macro extension tube helicoid adapter hawks factory
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review close focus range macro extension tube helicoid adapter hawks factory
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review close focus range macro extension tube helicoid adapter hawks factory
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review close focus range macro extension tube helicoid adapter hawks factory
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/2.8
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review close focus range macro extension tube helicoid adapter hawks factory
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/8.0
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/8.0
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7s | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7s | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/2.8
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/8.0
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7s | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
7artisans leica summulix 28mm 1.4 f/1.4 wide angle fast 42mp sony feplus resolution contrast coma review
Sony A7s | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4

Most of the sample images in this review can be found in full resolution here.

Further Reading

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My name is Bastian and for many years I have been mostly shooting Nikon DSLRs. As of today I have made my transition from Nikon to Sony and I am mainly using small but capable manual lenses. My passion is landscape photography but I also like to delve into other subjects from time to time.

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68 thoughts on “Review: 7artisans 28mm 1.4 FE-Plus”

  1. Ahhh…. Scotland!
    The travel bug bites…

    Among the alternatives, you could have mentioned the Loxia 25 and the Pentax K 28 3.5 (I suppose you were sticking to fast lenses).

    Anyway, another good review, thank you.

    1. Yeah I really tried to stick to the fast(er) ones here.
      If one is fine with “just” f/2.8 or even slower some of the zooms may even fit the bill.
      So I concentrated on those that want a fast(er than zoom) 28mm here.

    2. Bastian,
      You say this lens reminds you of the Zeiss 35/1.4 ZM. What do you mean by this?

      The 35/1.4 ZM is one of my favorite lenses at any focal length so I’m very curious. 28mm is now my favorite perspective, I’m trying hard to learn composing at this wide angle (I’m still very new to photography). I use the Sigma 28/1.4 E Mount, and love the file quality; and the 28 Summilux stays permanent on my M10. But if the D35/1.4 ZM was in 28mm, I may just list the whole kit!

      Thanks in advance for the explanation!

  2. Thank you for this review, it looks very interesting. It will be complicated to choose between this one and the Sony 28mm f/2.

    1. in my opinion it comes down to wheter or not you take alot of environmental portraits /indoor lowlight photos. I think the FE28 will be better suited for landscapes/hiking as it is 300g lighter and documentary purposes as it offers autofocus. If you only take environmental portraits from time to time i’m not sure if the 1 stop diffrence will matter. Would be interesting to see a comparison between the two, as i personally could live without autofocus on a 28mm!

      1. The 28mm looks to me a better lens. The Sony doesn’t have the midzone dip but this lens is basically sharp across the frame by F4. You need F8 for good corner sharpness on the Sony. Not to mention the Sony 28mm is absolute garbage build quality. I dropped it about a foot from the ground and it became so badly decentered that it was unusable after that. It was incapable of achieving infinity focus unless you used an aperture F11 or smaller. I sold it for $100 on ebay as a parts lens. I will never buy that lens again.

        1. Since I published the review a month ago I noticed that I actually use this 28mm 1.4 more often than I thought I would.
          I am also a little more positive about the bokeh compared to when I first published it.
          So when I am not so busy with reviewing other lenses I will update this review.

        1. I’d like to know this as well. I have an A7 and an M9 and it would be great if we could use them on both platforms. Although I suspect int won’t be the case…

          1. I think I answered that question several times by now:
            Of course there are downsides when using the FE+ version on a Leica camera.
            As I don’t have one of the Leica cameras I cannot tell you, how big those are.

            If any of the Leica owners reading this want to send me their M9(without corroded sensor)/M240/M10 to check I will do that.

  3. Really appreciated this review, I had been wondering about the 7artisan lenses. I just wish they would make one without an adapter!

    Also, wonderful images of Scotland! Really special seeing snow on Skye

          1. Thank you!
            Since the lens is available at a local distributor I’m about to buy the fe-plus version.

            After some reading I noticed a f-stop loss when using such extension tubes. Since the close focus adapters have only 4mm mine has 10mm which results in a magnification ratio of 0.19:1 (mfd: 206mm) and 0.41:1 (mfd: 136mm) respectively. I didn’t find out how to calculate the loss of f-stops. Do you have an idea on the loss? Depending on the loss I would consider buying a close focus adapter instead of a usual adapter.

            BR and thanks again.

          2. Maybe David can help out with the calculation.
            A 10mm extension tube will often be too limiting as you will only be able to focus really close with a 28mm lens.
            Get the close focus adapter to enjoy using this lens close up when you need it and without having to bother with extension tubes.
            Loss in light gathering capability due to a 4mm extension tube is absolutely meaningless in the field.

    1. “Also, wonderful images of Scotland! Really special seeing snow on Skye”

      I’ve rarely been to Scotland in the Summer, so those photos look very familiar: standing on a hillside in freezing rain, asking the local sheep for directions…

  4. What I’m really worrying is quality control of 7artisans. Sigma or Cosina is very good at this part. Even older manufacturer Samyang struggles in this part… I hope they accept the return generously.

  5. I really appreciate that even the FE-optimized retains the LM mount. This would allow it to be more easily adapted to other mounts (Canon RF, Nikon Z etc) while maintaining the improved performance vs the standard version.

  6. Awesome review and info Bastian. A MF 28mm might not be a super popular lens, but for the niche of people, this lens seems FANTASTIC for the price.

    Thanks again

    1. Thanks!
      I was hoping for a decent yet fast and compact 28mm 1.4 for a long time.
      The Sigma is waaaay too big, the FE 24mm 1.4 GM slightly too wide and also a bit too expensive for me.
      So this one is a really welcome addition.

      1. I have been hoping too—but I was thinking it would come from Voigtlander, but they announced the 75/1.5 and 21/1.4 and instead.

        What surprises me most on this lens is the comma correction, flare resistance and pretty reasonable bokeh.

  7. Hi Bastian,

    thanks for the review.

    Do you have the chance of testing for differences between the FE Plus and the normal version? I asume the FE Plus version will give better results on Sony cameras, but does the FE Plus version actually give worse results on Leica M cameras (or Nikon Z) or does it not matter? Do you know what makes up the differences between these versions of the lens – is the lens design different, just the coatings or whatever?

    Thanks again.

    1. A reader sent me his non-FE-Plus version.
      Unfortunately the centering was not good enough to publish the results.
      The differences did seem to be very obvious though.

      The optical design (the positioning of the elements at the very least) is different, not just the coatings.
      So you should really get the version specified for the camera you want to use it with.

      Which version works better on Nikon Z I cannot tell you.

      1. The sensor stack of Sony A7 and Nikon Z is around 2-3mm and the Leica is 0.8-9mm. I think FE plus would be more suitable.

  8. Bastian, any idea were we can currently source the lens in europe? So far, I did not find a europe-based supplier for the FE version (checked amazon, ebay, google). I’m not too keen on ordering directly from asia. Thanks + regards Florian

    1. I don’t know of a europe based supplier that has it in stock either, sorry!
      For now we are stuck with directly ordering from Asia (I would pick a Hong Kong based seller).

    2. I’ve talked 7artisans official Chinesese seller directly. For now, only domestic stores have some stocks. They’ll ship international distributers soon, though.

  9. One thing I have noticed is the strange cyan color of the sky, looks like those from old Minolta and Tokina lenses. With modern Sony Zeiss lenses I’ve never seen anything like that.

    1. I would recommend not to try evaluating the colors of pictures someone else took without having the raw files at hand.
      In almost every picture I edit the blue HSL as what the Sony cameras are giving me does not comply with my taste.

    2. I hope you do use a calibrated monitor to judge colors.
      With all the different devices we use today to look at pictures (TV, phones, etc.) we should be aware that the impression will change (massively) depending on the display.
      So, when you say you see/dislike a colorcast be sure its not introduced by the display of your device.

  10. Fantastic review- exactly the lens I’ve been looking for! I live in China and ordered from their online shop on jd.com. Excited!

  11. Excellent review – a very intriguing lens…especially for the price!
    Another possible competitor is the wonderful classic Zeiss ZE 28/2 , while adapted – it still is not too large – and offers excellent quality ( especially stopped down ).
    Would be interesting to see a comparison between them , particularly portraits at F2 + Landscapes at 5.6…
    Assume the edges on the Zeiss 28 ZE on a Sony A7Riii would hold up better ? hmm

  12. I think it would be interesting to understand differences between Standard and FE-PLUS version.
    And what about a test, of both versions, on a Kolari modified Camera?

      1. I realized, perhaps incorrectly, that website team had a modified camera.
        About the differences between the two lens versions one could ask the manufacturer. I could ask too, but surely a request from a technical reviewer would have more effect.

  13. Bastian I know this is kind of an off-topic question but do you thing €450,- for the FE+ version from a euro-based vendor inkl. shipping but w/o the lens hood is an okay deal? I really struggle to find comparable prices for us here

  14. Hi Bastian,

    Thank you for your review which made me add one more 28mm lens despite having Contax ‘Hollywood’ and Nikon 28 1.4D 😉

    Would you able to share how to remove the rangefinder adjustment coupling?

    1. You can simply use the provided tiny screwdriver and then unscrew those 2 or 3 tiny screws in that brass rangefinder coupling part.
      Only saves a few gramms though 🙂

  15. Thank you for this excellent review. Love the samples.

    I am very interested in this lens for my A7rii, but I also have a Leica M8 and an M240, I wonder how this FE+ version would performs with the Leicas, I guess it won’t be that great, so I asked 7Artisans but they send me a “sir, you need an adapter for this lens” reply. So no straight answer.

    1. I think I already said that: of course there are downsides when using the FE+ version on a Leica camera.
      As I don’t have one of the Leica cameras I cannot tell you, how big those are unfortunately.

  16. Hi Bastian, I’m really tempted to buy the lens but I’m uncertain if I’ll manage to get rid of the color cast in Lightroom. Is there a quick fix in your workflow that you’re willing to share? I’ve never been working with rangefinder lenses on SA7 so no experience with that kind of issue. Much appreciated, cheers

    1. My preset only works for A7rII, the sensor designs are all slightly different.
      But with the last update Lightroom incorporated the “flat field plugin“, might be worth a look.

      Apart from that not only rangefinder lenses show that issue, but also native lenses like the Sony FE 35mm 1.4 ZA or most of the Voigtlander UWA lenses.

  17. Hi Bastian,
    Have you ever considered the 7artisans 35mm F/2 as a cheaper alternative to the Voigtlander 35mm F/1.7? Thanks.

  18. Hello Bastian,

    What is your opinion on the colors and rendering of this lens? How about compared to voigtlander and the sony 28 f2 rendering? Is it more leica-esque with gentle character?

    Thanks

    1. I always adjust colors acc to the subject and my taste in post, so this is not something of interest to me.
      The Leica lenses I tried were all over the place in terms of rendering, I could surely not see a clear line there, so I cannot answer that question.

      I would clearly get this over the 28mm 2.0 Voigtländer and the comparison to the FE is rather pointless, either you want a manual focus f/1.4 or an AF f/2.0 lens, the other differences are rather meaningless compared to these.
      I think both lenses are also mentioned in the Alternatives section.

  19. Hi Bastian,

    I appreciate all the reviews you and others have contributed here, you cover aspects most other reviewers don’t even touch. Because of that most of my purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by your work here.
    That being said, I do have a question regarding this lens, specifically its stopped down performance. My go to lens around this focal length was Loxia 35, but I don’t own it anymore. I am considering 7artisans 28 as a substitute. The focal length difference wouldn’t be an issue, however the stopped down performance for landscapes would. Can you comment on this? Are the two comparable at working apertures (f/5,6-f/11)? Sharpness and contrast are my main concerns, at which Loxia excels for landscapes.

  20. Thanks for the reply. So in the Sony 35mm MF land Loxia is still the raining champion for landscapes, since the inception of the system. Talk about longevity.

  21. Yes, I forgot about the Zeiss ZM and wasn’t aware that it is actually better then Loxia (even when you take the PCX fix into account). Good to know.
    As far as Sigma, I was referring to MF lenses, not to mention that the Sigma is a behemoth. My main use is for landscapes, so I prefer small and MF. That being said, I had the Sigma for a little over a week. It went back eventually due to the de-centering, but it did produce wonderful results, both for portraits and stopped down landscapes. If size and MF are no issue, it is THE lens to get.
    As far as me, in a money-is-no-object-world I would have two 35mm lenses (one MF and one AF). But as things stand now, I prefer a small MF to an AF lens, so I’m heavily leaning that way. The only other lens I would consider as a compromise is the new Sony 35mm f/1,8. I could accept the lack of MF handling and Loxia sunstars if the sharpness/contrast and stopped down aberration control are on pair. And the lens could be a good compromise for portraits too (mainly family). Would actually really like to see the review of it here. 🙂

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