Review: TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 Fisheye

Introduction

ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 Fisheye on Sony A7rII

Fisheye lenses are not exactly hugely popular and the fact that we haven’t seen a fullframe fisheye lens designed for mirrorless yet – in more than 60 years of the Leica-M system we haven’t seen a single one – only supports this. So maybe this 11mm 2.8 from TTArtisan is a welcome surprise, being the first of its kind? Let us find out in this review!

Sample Images

ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7rII | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/8.0
ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7rII | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/8.0
ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7rII | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/5.6

ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7III | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/4.0

You can find most of the shots in this review in full resolution here.

Specifications / Version History

I am reviewing a final production model here which has the following specifications:

  • Diameter: 67mm
  • Field of view: 180° (diagonally)
  • Length: 72mm + adapter
  • Weight: 440g + adapter
  • Filter Diameter: –
  • Number of Aperture Blades: 7 (rounded)
  • Elements/Groups: 11/7
  • Close Focusing Distance: 0.17m
  • Mount: Leica-M

The lens is available from the amazon.com/amazon.de, ebay.com/ebay.de (affiliate links) and the price is $369/369€.

Disclosure

The TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 Fisheye was kindly provided free of charge by TTArtisan for reviewing purpose for a few weeks.

What is a fisheye lens?

As this is the first fisheye lens we reivew here it might make sense to have a short look what differentiates a fisheye lens from a normal ultra wide angle lens.
The TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 is a diagonal fisheye, meaning it covers a field of view of 180° diagonally. There are also circular fisheyes that cover only a round image with a field of view of 180° in all directions.

Compared to rectilinear ultra wide angle lenses fisheye lenses offer a different kind of projection which at first sight look like there is a lot of distortion:

 

But this is not the whole story, without going too much into detail of different fisheye projections (you can do that here or here) the shape of objects closer to the corners stays closer to what they actually are. You can see that in the comparison above, the reflection of the lamp is round in the fisheye image while it is streched in the image of the rectilinear lens. So, depending on what part of the image you look at, the distortion of a fisheye lens may actually be less, not more.

Nevertheless, I personally think the usefulness of fisheye lenses is a bit limited. They are mostly useful for creating 360° panoramas, funny animal pictures/portraits and sometimes astrophotography. You can still use them for landscape photography – as some of the sample images may show – but it is not that easy to find compositions that actually work, so I would not recommend a fisheye lenses to anyone who is just starting with photography.

Handling / Build Quality

ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 Fisheye

In terms of the color scheme 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) and the focus ring has a very nice resistance and turns about 90° from the minimum focus distance of 0.17 m to infinity.
The aperture ring is a more basic design without click stops and with varying distance between the stops. It also features a small tab which is useful as it is very narrow and a bit on the stiff side.

The lens seems to be mostly made from metal and a metal slip on lens cap is included as well. My lens also shipped with an 11mm optical viewfinder, which will be useful for Leica M users, but I am not sure whether it is an optional accessory, so if you need it be sure to get it with the lens.

Vignetting and colorcast

With our usual approach we cannot get decent values on the vignetting of fish-eye lenses. What I can tell you is that the vignetting figures are significantly lower than those of rectilinear ultra wide angle lenses, especially compact ones.

ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7III | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/8.0

Also similar to the Voigtlander UWA primes and some of the wide Laowa primes (12mm 2.8 and 15mm 2.0) this lens shows some slight green color cast in the corners which can become visible with bright skies.

Sharpness

infinity

ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos

The center actually looks really good starting from wide open and even the midframe does not lack far behind. Only the corners benefit from stopping down a bit, but f/4.0 is enough to make the whole frame look good when focusing at the center.

There is still a bit of filter stack induced field curvature with this lens. Unlike most other wide angle lenses designed for Leica M mount the penalty when using this lens on a Sony instead of a Leica camera is not as big in terms of sharpness, but have a look at the coma section, where the difference is more obvious.

close focus (0.17 m)

100% crops from center, A7rII

With the minimum focus distance of just 0.17 m you can get really close to your subject and might even be shading it with your lens.
Already wide open the image quality is very good in the center and further increases on stopping down a bit.
There is quite some field curvature and also some other aberrations off center at this distance though, but this should hardly be an issue in the field with a fisheye lens.

Distortion

Well, this is a fish-eye lens, so you knew before what you signed up for. It is technically possible to “correct” the distortion of a fish-eye lens, but the loss in resolution is so big, this is hardly advisable.
We have a big selection of rectilinear ultra wide angle lenses for E-mount, so if you want one, get one, not a fisheye lens.

For those that care: I was using the lens profile for the Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye in Lightroom for correction here, which worked best of all those I tested.

Bokeh

ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7III | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/2.8

The comparably fast maximum aperture coupled with the minimum focus distance of only 17 cm allows to get quite a decent amount of bokeh in your shots, but being an ultra wide fisheye lens you need to be really close to your subject to do so.

ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7III | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/2.8

If you do the bokeh is actually surprisingly good, with only minor outlining, nervousness and onion rings.

Sunstars

The TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye features 7 aperture blades. This is rarely good news for distinct sunstars as can be seen from the crops above. Between f/2.8 and f/5.6 the sunstars are frayed and not well defined, only at f/16 they become pointed.
This is a highly subjective topic so you might want to have a look at this article and decide for yourself, what you prefer.

Coma correction


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

The coma correction is okay at f/2.8 and good from f/4.0, but the field curvature becomes a problem here: if you focus on the center the corners will look worse (and vice versa). This is very unfortunate for astrophotography, where you want all of the sky at infinity in focus.

Flare resistance

 

Good news first: with the sun close to the center there are hardly any issues.

With the sun close to the corner or just out of the frame the situation is worse though – as is the case with most lenses by the way. Wide open we have some patterns that look like internal reflections that go away on stopping down (see comparison above).

We also have a bit of ghosting: red ghosts with the sun close to the border, green ones with the sun a bit closer to the midframe.

ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7rII | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/8.0
ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7rII | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/8.0

The contrast stays on a high level though and I hardly saw any issues with veiling flare.

I have not put any other fisheye lenses through my tests yet, so it is a bit harder for me to evaluate these results. From other trustworthy reviews I have seen, it seems the Samyang 12mm 2.8 and the Nikon 8-15mm 4.0 perform slightly better, at the same time the TTArtisan’s results are not exactly bad, so I call this an average performance.

Chromatic aberrations

lateral

Sony A7rII | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 Fisheye | f/2.8 | CA 100% crop extreme corner

All the fisheye lenses I tried so far (4 including this) had noticeable lateral CA and the TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye is no exception here. The correction in camera for Jpegs or in Lightroom still does a good job, so this is hardly something to worry about.

longitudinal

ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7rII | Sony A7rII | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/2.8 | 50% crop

At close distance there are only minor longitudinal CA (loCA) visible.

Sony A7rII | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 Fisheye | f/2.8

Even at longer distances loCA are hardly a problem, if you zoom in to 100% you can see a bit of color fringing but nothing that will ruin a shot.

Alternatives

There isn’t really an alternative to this lens, as this is the only fish-eye lens for full frame mirrorless cameras. But you can of course adapt some of the bigger DSLR lenses, but even here the list of those I can recommend is rather short:

Samyang 12mm 2.8 Fish-eye:
I have shortly been using this lens on my Nikon DSLRs and via adapter on a 24mp Sony camera. It is similarly good optically (with less field curavture though) while being much bigger and similarly priced.
buy from amazon.com | B&H | ebay.com | amazon.de | ebay.de for $419 (affiliate links). 

Canon 8-15mm 4.0L Fisheye USM:
This is a rather odd/interesting Fisheye zoom lens. At 8mm you have a 180° circular fisheye while at 15mm you have a 180° diagonal fisheye. If you have use for both this lens can be a good option. Not long ago Nikon introduced a similar lens, but as it is harder to adapt to Sony I recommend the Canon lens.
buy from amazon.com | B&H | ebay.com | amazon.de | ebay.de for $1249 (affiliate links). 

Conclusion

good

  • most compact and only fullframe mirrorless fisheye lens
  • bokeh (minimum focus distance)
  • build quality
  • size/weight
  • price
average

  • correction of CA
  • flare resistance
  • sunstars
  • coma correction
  • vignetting
not good

  • filter stack induced field curvature
  • color cast in the corners

The TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 Fisheye is actually a well balanced lens: good sharpness, solid build quality, compact size, decently priced. The main problem here is, that it isn’t optimized for the Sony filter stack, which leads to a bit of field curvature.
The situation is not as bad as it is with many other M-mount ultra wide angle lenses (see this article for further reference) though, so it can still be an option if you are looking for a most compact fisheye lens or you only intend to shoot stopped down or at closer distances.

In lack of a Leica camera I cannot tell you if all the field curvature is gone here, but I would guess so, and I think a version optimized for Sony cameras would be very welcome, as there isn’t really any competition at the moment.

The lens is available from the amazon.com/amazon.de, ebay.com/ebay.de (affiliate links) and the price is $369/369€.

Sample images

ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7rII | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/8.0
ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7rII | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/8.0
ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7III | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/8.0
ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7III | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/2.8
ttartisan 7artisans fish eye fisheye ultra wide angle fischauge diagonal diagonally sharpness mirrorless spiegellos
Sony A7III | TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 fisheye | f/4.0

You can find most of the shots in this review 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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28 thoughts on “Review: TTArtisan 11mm 2.8 Fisheye”

  1. Hint: transform the image to spherical projection in ptgui (or hugin, may be). In such manner you’re getting much more natural image (with straight trees and walls), without significant resolution drop.

    1. BTW, my first fisheye was Peleng 8/3.5 in 2012, then I got Sigma 8/3.5, and finally I settled on Canon 8-15 in 2014. Though the only good way to adapt it on Sony is MC11, as MBV and Commlite don’t work well. And actually its 8 mm setting is useful on cropped sensor only, as for panoramas on FF you’re much better served with 12 mm. There’s much cheaper Tokina 11-17 mm fisheye, and it looks like a better value than 8-15L.

  2. I imagine with the thinner filter stack of the Nikon Z cameras, the field curvature issue may not be an issue on them. Looks like a pretty good lens!

        1. It doesn’t of course, but that wasn’t the point I think.
          Although technically, when we’re talking MF fisheyes for Sony and one of them needs additional M mount adapter and is not optimized for the Sony filter stack in corners, and then there’s Samyang which, while being DSLR lens originally, does come with Sony native mount built in (no electronics of course) and works better in the corners on mirrorless Sony, then it certainly feels more native I’d say 🙂
          Anyway, it would really be interesting to see them compared, it wouldn’t surprise me if 11mm was somehow derived from Samyang, which would be a good thing since there’s probably no better fisheye (especially when one prefers more balanced stereographic projection). I even use Samyang Nikon mount with a speedbooster adapter on A6500 when needed, works quite well too (1.1x crop).

  3. Intersting review! Is a review of the ttartisan 35 1.4 comming anytime soon? Seems to be a different formula than the 7artisans 35 1.4.

  4. I clicked on the link provided for Amazon, and they are showing it available in the Sony E mount. Has a 6-10 day shipping wait, but at a pretty good discount over the Leica mount. I wonder if that is more corrected for Sony cameras. I’ve been using the Olympus OM 16mm, on those very few occasions I can find a suitable subject. Hard to beat for size and weight.

  5. From what I have seen the Canon 8-15 is far worse in terms of CA and corner performance.

    I find a circular fisheye very useful for landscapes. I hope someone makes a suitable one soon. Until then I have been using the Meike 6.5mm (for APS-C).

  6. Hi, I’ve been using the Samyang/Rokinon 8mm f2.8 fisheye (design for mirrorless APS-C cameras). I bought it in China for 1000RMB(about $150). It’s a good fisheye, very small and sharp enough. However, I have to use the crop mode in my A7R2 and get only 18MP. I think that you could try this.

    1. I always want to get a mirrorless-design full frame fisheye, I have been waiting this TTArtist fisheye for a long time. However, it seems that the horizontal angel of view is no wider than 10mm wide-angle lens, which is 120°. The other fisheye I used is about 144°, so I am worryed that this lens just have the Fisheye Projection but not as wide as other fisheyes.

  7. Thank you Bastian for your X-mas-review!
    And thank you to the whole team for your lots of time you Spende for this Blog this year!

  8. This is pedantic of course, but the original Fisheye-Nikkors from the 1960s (6mm/5.6, 7.5mm/5.6, 8mm/8, 10mm/5.6), with their lengthy rear protrusions and mandatory mirror lock-up, are genuine mirrorless fisheye lens designs for full-frame cameras… so this TTArtisan isn’t the first.

    They predate digital mirrorless, but optically the intent and function of those Fisheye-Nikkors (lens, shutter, and film/sensor in very close proximity with no empty tube spacer or reflex mirror in-between) is of no difference to what we would call a native mirrorless lens design today. They are also usable on Leica rangefinder cameras with adapters, so Leica owner’s haven’t _quite_ been without any fisheye lens options all of these years…

    These were cool lenses- just often overlooked in the last decade or so due to their awkward usage in the pre-mirrorless digital camera age!

  9. Hi Bastian,
    great review. Made me buy one with E-mount. I had it out for a few times now and like it a lot !
    Weaknesses are as you describe, what troubles me most is the flare issue. At 180° angle it can be difficult to keep the sun out of the frame.
    I don’t shoot brick walls and white painted screens but it seems to me that the colour cast in the cornes is not such a problem with the E mount version. Although I have a Voigtländer LM to E adapter I went for the E mount Version. I got it a good deal below 300 €; probably cheaper because it doesn’t need the rf coupling and does not come with that funny 11 mm “viewfinder”.
    Alltogether a nice lens, excellent price-to-performance ratio.

    1. Actually, the color cast is really minor.
      It is just that in one review I did not mention it and some pro photographer complained how I couldn’t write about it.
      So I am a bit more careful with that these days.
      I may also get a review sample of the E-mount version though and will see if that has improved.
      The M-Version also has no rangefinder coupling btw, but the viewfinder should make a difference in price indeed.

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