I am looking for the right lens which I want to use exclusively for my next business trip to India, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia starting next week Sunday. I have posted a survey on FB and the result has been:
#1 TTArtisan 23mm f1.4
#2 TTArtisan 17mm f1.4
#3 TTArtisan 50mm f1.2.
Last month, when I have been almost on the same business trip I took three lenses with me. The 7Artisans 25mm f1.8, the 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 and the 7Artisans 50mm f1.8. At the end of the day I only used the 7Artisans 25mm f1.8. The 25mm focal length is wide enough for landscape and streetphotography and even a portrait is still looking good as the deformations produced by this lens are limited.
On the business trip I will start next Sunday, I want from the beginning only one lens in my bag (light weight traveling). The three candidates I have listed above and if I just follow the swarm interagency on FB I should pick the TTArtisan 23mm f1.4. A lens that hast a bit wider angel and also a bigger opening for more bokeh. I tested already the 23mm lens and I can tell you I love it. It has something magic. You can read the full review over here. Also the TTArtisan 50mm f1.2 lens I have tried on a photo trip and also that lens has a lot of character and a very smooth even creamy bokeh. The full test you can read here.
The lens I did not test yet is the TTArtisan 17mm f1.4. The 17mm (25.5mm FF) lens has a wider angle of view than the 23mm (34.5mm FF) lens. It should be even better for landscape and street photography in small streets as I find them in India and Japan. To make it short, I took the TTArtisan 17mm f1.4 lens on a short week-end trip to the island Lindau at the Bodensee.
I have been shooting a lot of different images with the TTArtisan 17mm f1.4 as you can easily see in the gallery below. There are images shoot against the sun to see how sensible sensible the lens is reacting against stray light entering from the side of the lens. I have been using the vented metal lens hood you can see on the image of the TTArtisan 17mm f1.4 lens mounted on my Fujifilm X-PRO1. All the images from Lindau are made with the Fujifilm X-PRO3 Black, my beloved daily work horse.
The lens is quit robust shooting against the sun and almost no ghosting and similar effects of the sun are visible. As well the color rendering even during strong sunlight is preserving contrast and details. For such an wide lens the edges are still at a good level sharp. The 7Artisans 25mm f1.8 I used during my last journey had more issues with corner sharpness. Some of the images are made with the NEW Haida CPL-VND 2 in 1 filter to clear the water. Also this did not reduce the high image quality at any moment but produced impressive images with clear water.
Next to the outstanding mechanical and optical values of that lens it has proven right that this a perfect lens for landscape and street photography. What I also tried but I am not showing the result, is a portrait of my daughter. She is 19 and skinny but on the picture she gained 20 pounds and I got a strict NO when I asked her if I might share the portrait as a bad example. This leads to my conclusion a great lens for landscape and street but only if you got some distance to the people.
To summarize my findings of the TTArtisan 17mm f1.4 lens. The mechanical build quality is outstanding. The fitting on the camera mount is tight. Nothing is moving or loose. Both rings, aperture and focus, are moving smooth but damped. The mechanical quality is higher than the TTArtisan 35mm f1.4 I have quickly tested last week. On the Fujifilm X-PRO3 this lens is balancing great with size and length. The haptic is convincing and I am sure it will be my preferred lens on many more photo trips and projects. Optically, as I wrote before, I am very surprised. The image is even wide acceptable sharp at the corners and even improves with closing down the aperture to f5.6 or f8. Images made against or even with the sun in the picture it self, are sharp with contrast and showing close to non ghosting or flair. The color rendering is neutral to warm. IQ and resolution of details is outstanding. At this low price a no brainer to me.
This lens is closing a gap of wide manual open lenses. Everybody from 7Artisans to Meike are offering 12mm lenses and 25mm lenses. There is a gap in-between, if we do not count the 7Artisans 18mm f6.3 UFO lens which is nice to use but can not compete on IQ against the TTArtisan 17mm f1.4.
All in all I am more than happy with the lens and the performance. TTArtisan has a strong portfolio of lenses on the market and I am looking forward to more lenses of this highly innovative Chines lens builder that is young but offers great value to the money.
Well now that I have made this great experience also with this great TTArtisan lens it is even more difficult to me to decide which lens I will take with me on Sunday to my 3 weeks Asia trip.
Just this moment while I am typing these lines I decided out of my stomach that I will go on my trip with the TTArtisan 23mm f1.4. I still have the magic of rendering images like 3D of this lens in my mind. Also the outstanding performance wide open is something I want to explore further and the business trip I will start on Sunday is the right possibility to do so.
I will shared the results in latest three weeks over here. Stay tuned and/or please come back.