7artisans 25mm f1.8 review

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7ARTISANS 25MM F/1.8 REVIEW - FUJIFILM


February 26, 2019



DISCLAIMER:
Below are my own thoughts and opinions on the 7artisans 25mm f/1.8 lens.   I paid for the lens with my own money and I am not sponsored or associated with 7artisans.   By no means are my views scientific and should be taken with a grain of salt.   Whether you agree or disagree, please let me know in the comments below!


Camera:
   Fujifilm X-E2
Lens:   7artisans 25mm f/1.8
Focal length:   37.5mm (in 35mm equivalent)
Focusing:   full manual


The Good:
My first impressions of handling the 25mm is that the lens is solid and well-built.   The lens body is entirely metal with a metal lens hood that screws in securely.   I opted for the silver version and it came with a matching silver bayonet lens hood (purchased via Aliexpress).   The lens itself is tiny and makes my X-E2 even less intrusive when shooting on the street.   The aperture ring is clickless and well-dampened making it difficult to accidentally bump your F stop.   The focus ring is heavily-dampened and has a healthy throw making it easy to fine focus on fine details.   In comparison, my Voigtlander 35mm Nokton Classic lens has an overly sensitive focus ring with a short throw, making fine adjustments difficult to nail.   As a bonus, the minimal focus distance is as close as about 1 inch, making this capable of being a pseudo macro lens.


The Bad:

Quality control at the China-made factory is not the best.   Be sure to thoroughly inspect your lens after receiving it as you may need to exchange your lens for another copy.   When looking at the front element, my lens has a spot under the glass off to the side which may be something that dripped onto the glass during production.   Luckily, it does not affect image quality and cannot be seen in images.   Other consumers have complained of poor construction or improperly calibrated lenses, so be sure to thoroughly put your copy through it’s paces when you receive it.   The rear design of the lens has a bad design and rear lens caps do not securely lock and stay on, often falling off when in your camera bag.   At first I thought it was due to the 7artisans’ rear lens cap design, but oem Fuji caps do not securely stay on either.


Image Quality:
I tried searching but was unable to find anyone else able to verify, but I suspect 7artisans may have copied the Zeiss Biogon formula when creating this lens.   To my eye, images share a familiar bokeh and could pass as a cousin to the Zeiss.   When shooting wide open, the lens has a touch of vignetting and adds some nice character.   The culmination of these different details helps the lens create some moody images with some soul.   This lens is definitely NOT for the pixel peeper.   You can still get tack sharp images in the center of the frame or if you focus stack multiple images in post, but don’t expect this ultra budget lens to compete with more expensive brands.   When shooting on either end of the aperture range, expect some softness due to diffraction.


Conclusion:
Buy it.   Simple as that.   When I originally bought this lens, it only cost me 45$ shipped from Aliexpress.   As of Feb 2019, prices have increased to 70$-80$ from most online vendors, mostly due to receiving loads of positive reviews from early adopters who were willing to try out 7artisans’ lenses.   Even at this increased price, i’d still highly recommend this lens and argue that it’s still a good deal.   If you’re looking for a superbly compact lens for your small mirrorless body, this is the perfect companion.   My Fuji X-E2 with 7artisans 25mm f/1.8 lens mounted makes for a great stealthy street photography setup.

See below for some street photography samples (click to enlarge).