Rolling Review: 7artisans 35/1.4

7artisans surprised us with their 1.4/28 so we were rather curious when they announced a 1.4/35. So let’s see what they have cooked up.

Image Samples

Most images in this review can be found in full resolution in my 7artisans 35/1.4 flickr set.

Specifications

Diameter 56 mm
Length 50 mm
Filter Thread 46 mm
Weight (no hood, no caps) 300 g
Max. Magnification 0.13
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 0.4 m
Number of aperture blades 11
Elements/ Groups 10/9
Mount E-mount, no contacts

Disclosure

This copy was loaned to me free of charge from 7artisans.

Build quality

Better than I would have expected for 200 bucks.

The 7artisans 35/1.4 feels solid. The lens hull is made from nothing but metal and tolerances are low. All markings are engraved.

There is no gasket around the mount and 7artisans does not claim any weather resistance.

Of course I can’t tell you how durable the lens will be in the long term. All I can do is give you my superficial impression which is very positive in this case.

Handling

Focus Ring

The focus ring travels around 85 degrees from 40 cm to 1m and a further 30 degrees to infinity. I think that is a very reasonable transmission and I had no issues to focus precisely at longer distances but it was also easy to track a moving subject. The ring itself is well textured and the resistance is about perfect. As you focus closer the front of the lens after the focus ring extends by about 0.5 cm.

Aperture ring

The aperture ring situated at the front is one of the best designed aperture rings I have used to date. There is no risk to take it for the focus ring, it is grippy and moves in full stops to f/16 with a pleasant click. Distances are about halfed from stop to stop so selecting f/11 is a bit more difficult.

Size and Weight

At 300g and with a length of just 57mm the 7artisans is one of the smallest lenses available in E-mout right now but the focus ring is wide enought that handling doesn’t suffer.

Optical performance

These results are based on the use with a Sony Alpha 7II.

Flare Resistance

Flare resistance is bad.

Sunstars

7artisans used probably the best aperture design on the market with their 1.25/75 but sadly the 1.4/35 has 11 blades which result in rather fuzzy sunstars.

mislabeled, actually f/11

Bokeh

Wide open the 7artisans shows very funky bokeh. As you stop down bokeh becomes rather smooth.

Chromatic Aberrations  

Vignetting

Distortion

Sharpness

Test results later but I can tell you that wide open only a small area is somewhat sharp and it never gets sharp across the frame. There is also lots of field curvature.

First impressions

The 7artisans 35/1.4 is not a lens I would recommend to anyone looking for a well corrected lens because it throws about any aberration there is at you. If you are after a “character” lens you might enjoy it because there is lots of “character” and handling is a joy. You have the choice between very busy bokeh wide open and pretty smooth bokeh from f/2.

More Image Samples

Most images in this review can be found in full resolution in my 7artisans 35/1.4 flickr set.

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I have two hobbies: Photography and photographic gear. Both are related only to a small degree.

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10 thoughts on “Rolling Review: 7artisans 35/1.4”

  1. When I saw this released, I was hoping you would review it. Thanks! I’m disappointed this appears to be a more budget lens than their 28mm 1.4, with lesser image quality in exchange for better size/price. I would probably not buy this just based on the “bubbly” bokeh wide open. I’m satisfied with the image quality of my Voigtlander 35mm 1.7 M, although it is in a different price bracket. The image samples from your last review of the Sony 35mm 1.8 also look far more appealing to me than this one.

    There was another interesting 35mm 1.4 lens released recently from a new company called “TTartisan”. Do you think you’ll review that one? There are some samples from this lens here: https://post.smzdm.com/p/a5kl5xkx/ It does have rangefinder focusing and M mount so maybe this is a different design…? This company may be in some way related to 7artisans. They denied it, but maybe they use the same factory.

    1. >There was another interesting 35mm 1.4 lens released recently from a new company called “TTartisan”.

      Interesting.

      I doubt it’s a new company and I doubt it’s another lens.
      It looks to me as if DJ-Optical is aiming for a new premium brand.
      It says so right on the front decorative ring.

      I think they learned a lesson with 35/2: no one cared until it was released in M-mount.

      At least this is my speculation based on skepticism of brand new company casually rolling out a 35/1.4 as their first product.

  2. Thank you very much for this review! As always, it is very informative. After the quite positive review of 7artisans’ 1.4/28 lens, I wondered how their new 1.4/35 would perform; you gave the answer. It’s a pity that they did not create a lens as interesting as their 1.4/28 …

    Best regards, Roman

  3. I got my copy last week. After one das shooting I wanted to send it back, but decided to shoot a bit longer for better evaluating. After one week shooting I have to Congress that I now realy enjoy this small lens. Very nice haptics and pleasing pictures with a different personality than the usual modern optics. Don’t judge a Lens to fast before using it a bit longer!
    Best Regards,
    Reinhard

  4. First of all, thanks for the review.

    I recently bought the lens partly based on this review and have been using it the last few days, so I thought I can share my initial impressions. 

    I used it to take pictures of my (very non-cooperative) kid, mostly environmental portraits and everyday life, and although sometimes is challenging to focus, I still can get some pictures focused.

    I agree it is definitely not a lens for everyone. It reminds me of a mid-range vintage lens in some ways. It is indeed soft, and if I compare it to my sony FE 2.8/ 24-70 GM, well, it looks really really soft and with a lot of aberrations. It is also clearly inferior technically to my Canon newFD 2.8/35mm. Especially the corners are terrible; the center is acceptable in my opinion, but still very far from sharp. The vignetting wide open is huge. But I don’t mind it all that. I find the construction quality amazing and I really enjoy the handling. Also, I really like that it’s an f1.4 lens and the reduced depth of field it gives. Contrary to what it says in the review, I don’t find the bokeh busy at f1.4, I actually find it quite smooth and I like it a lot. Maybe it’s just that I didn’t use it enough or in those situations where it can get busy, I don’t know, but so far I like the bokeh of the lens. 

    All in all, definitely not a generalist lens, and certainly it shouldn’t be the only 35mm to have in my opinion. I probable won’t use it a lot, but I do like the look it gives me and I’m pretty sure I’ll keep the lens, specially considering the low price. 

    Now one question (for you Phillip or for anyone reading this), considering I already have this lens, the Sony FE 2.8/24-70 GM, the Canon newFD 2.8/35mm, and the Fujifilm X100F (that have a 35mm equivalent lens), do you think it makes sense to buy the Samyang 35mm f1.4? I would like something with a wider aperture than my standard zoom, with nice bokeh and autofocus. I can’t afford the Sigma 35mm f1.2 right now, so the Samyang seems a good alternative.. but not sure if it makes sense to add another 35mm to be honest.

    Cheers,
    Josep

    1. While we wait for Phillip to finish the review, I can share with you my observations regarding sharpness of this lens.
      I have been using it for about 6 months in differents scenarios and finally I have the lens figured out, I think (I didn’t do any formal test).
      The sharpness at infinity is awful at any aperture (sharpness improves stopping down, but never really gets to acceptable levels). This lens is simply not usable for landscape (or astro) photography. At close portrait distance, 1-2 meters more or lesss, it’s a different story.. although not sharp is perfectably usable already at f1.4 at center and around (corners are quite bad, although much better than at infinity, but that’s not relevant for portraits), and it’s reasonably sharp as you stop down.
      The bokeh, for backgraunds that are relatively close (shooting at home for instance), I find them quite smooth at 1.4 already, much more at f2. For distant and difficult backgrounds (when I take pictures of my kid at the park, with all the trees for instance), at f.14 the bokeh is very busy indeed and very distinctive (strong outlining at the bokeh balls). I do like the bohek at f1.4, but is definitely not for everyones taste. At f2 the bokeh is much smoother, and very pleasing in my opinion.
      I recently read here the review of the 7artisans 50mm f1.1 (and bought it after reading it.. waiting for the lens to arrive), and the results of the review in terms of sharpness and bokeh are very similar to what I’ve observed with this 35mm f1.4 lens.
      For close or mid-distance portraits I find an interesting and fun lens to use. For landscapes or street photography, I wouldn’t buy it.

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