TTArtisan 23mm F1.4 | review with photo examples

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TTArtisan 23mm F1.4 wide angle lens for cameras with APS-C sensor format. This particular copy is for APS-C cameras with Sony E mount.

Obektiv TT Artisan 23mm F1.4 1Obektiv TT Artisan 23mm F1.4 1

I repeatedly came across reviews of TTartisan lenses on the net, and to my surprise, no matter how the reviewers treated them, I did not find anything critical in the quality of the image they give. When the 23mm f/1.4 arrived, I was convinced that "cheap" can be good. The TTArtisan DJ-OPTICAL 23mm F1.4 is a lens that delivers a 146% return on investment. And that's why:

  • the lens has a maximum aperture of 1.4, which is important for cameras with an APS-C sensor format, as it allows you to shoot at dusk without raising ISO (and ISO, as you know, the higher the noisier)
  • tactilely pleasant to use
  • has manual focus, and is not equipped with electronics, which actually makes it all-weather. Manual focusing on cameras equipped with the Focus-Peaking function (highlighting the focus area) has not been a problem for a long time.
  • direct control of the aperture by a ring with a mechanical link, allows you to control the exposure and depth of field during photo and video shooting without getting into the camera settings (especially true for models that have settings control locked during video shooting)
  • step change in aperture values ​​(the value does not go astray if you accidentally touch the ring during operation)
  • cute retro design with monocyclic zebra style focus ring
  • price ~$100 at the start. For me, the price is even a little underestimated. Have you seen how much native high-aperture optics cost?
  • wide angle of 62 degrees for cameras with a crop factor of 1.5 is equivalent to 35mm focal length, which covers the vast majority of scenes
  • minimum focusing distance of 20 centimeters allows you to shoot scenes from very close distances
  • 10 aperture blades transform bokeh light sources into smooth circles

Specifications TTartisan 23mm F1.4

The lens is delivered in a thick textured cardboard box, which contains the lens itself, an instruction manual with an MTF chart, a diagram and a warranty card.

Focal length: 23 mm (35mm EGF)
Sensor Format: APS-C/MFT
Mounts: Sony E, Fuji X, Canon EF-M, MFT (later Canon RF, Nikon Z, Leica L)
Aperture range: F1.4 - F16 (F2-24 equiv. flu)
Minimum Focus Distance: 0,2 m
Optical design: 8 elements in 6 groups
Special Items: 1 low dispersion and 3 high refractive index
Focusing: Hand
Viewing angle: 62°
Filter thread diameter: 43 mm
Dimensions: Ø60 x 40,5 mm
The weight: 222 - 225 g

Schematic of the TTArtisan 23mm F1.4 lens

The TTArtisan 23mm F1.4 design includes 8 elements in 6 groups, including 1 anomalously low dispersion lens and 3 high refractive index lenses. According to the manufacturer, the large maximum aperture, whose ring rotates in steps, makes the lens well suited for shooting in low light conditions, and its 10-blade design provides beautiful out-of-focus blur.

 

Chip TTArtisan 23mm F1.4 - the maximum open aperture f / 1.4. The lens is really super fast, and its open aperture is quite working. Due to its high aperture, the lens allows you to shoot at dusk and in low light, at short shutter speeds, without raising the ISO and without using a tripod or image stabilization. Although, if you have the built-in stabilization of the matrix working, this will be enough for sharp shots - there are no electronics in the lens, and stabilization in the camera can come in handy for handheld shooting in much darker alleys than without it.

The diagram clearly shows the color of the bottle glass from which the lenses are made.

TTArtisan 23mm F1.4 in action

In operation, the lens is clear and predictable, like all non-autofocus optics. The rings rotate smoothly, virtually silently. The focus and aperture ring has a small radius of rotation, so you can focus almost instantly. Set the aperture, thereby increasing the depth of field, or vice versa, you can also blur the background as much as possible in one motion.

Case and build quality TTArtisan 23mm F1.4

The TTArtisan 23mm F1.4 metal case has a retro design with a monocyclic zebra ring. "Bicyclic zebra", according to the classification of users of foreign forums, is inherent in lenses of the 60s-70s of the last century. For example, Tessar 2.8 / 50. However, if you don't like that look, the lens is available in all black. The build quality is excellent - nothing dangles, there are no backlashes. The rings rotate easily and naturally even at minus 10 degrees outside (the lowest temperature that overtook me during the testing of the lens).

It goes into the mount clearly, as if it were a native lens with a Sony E mount. With a compact size, Sony Nex does not deprive the main plus of compacts, without critically increasing the volume and weight of the kit. It would be foolish to expect otherwise from a bunch with a total weight of less than eight hundred grams. Focusing distance and aperture values ​​marks are applied with paint, there is no engraving.

Focusing

The focus is brought by the ring smoothly, the ring is wide and has both a tactile grip and clear boundaries of rotation. The move from MDF to infinity is short. This is the first wide angle lens I own that has a minimum focusing distance of 20cm. 20 centimeters is a very short distance. Thanks to the maximum aperture of f / 1.4 at this distance, the background behind the subject is maximally blurred, almost equal to the Gaussian blur in Photoshop). The value of infinity at an open aperture has a flight beyond infinity. Significantly levels out at apertures from f / 4.

Aperture TTArtisan 23mm F1.4

The aperture of the TTArtisan 23mm F1.4 is ten-bladed and forms, in fact, an even circle. Due to this, the bokeh is plastic, soft. The ring rotates in steps, that is, it has a mechanism for fixing on the values ​​​​set according to the marks on the scale. Intermediate stops are available up to f / 4, then the ring travel decreases. The values ​​are unevenly distributed and it takes a little time to get used to this feature.

When trying to shoot from the hip, you can get an unexpected result - on my lens, the depth of field values ​​\u16b\u16bmarked on the lens did not quite correspond to reality. In fact, in order to get a sharp image, from at least two meters to the horizon, you had to set infinity to “infinity” at f / XNUMX, and not to mark XNUMX. You should make sure in advance whether the depth of field values ​​on your lens correspond to real ones, and when When shooting landscapes, check the sharpness and not focus on the lens sharpness scale.

The aperture ring has a thin rim that is felt without additional manipulation even with gloves.

Depth of field control

The depth of field control is done manually, as on any manual glass. Due to the fact that the lens has a wide angle, as well as an EGF of almost 35mm, the depth of field is sufficient for shooting half-length and full-length portraits with a layout in the center of the frame. However, it is worth considering that despite its wide-angle and f / 2 equivalent depth of field for crop, it is very easy to get blurry shots at an open aperture. Just an open aperture physically suggests a shallow depth of field. The normal working value, at which you are guaranteed to get into sharpness, can be considered f / 2.8 on the lens scale. That's how it has been historically.

Aberrations and bokeh of the TTArtisan 23mm F1.4 lens

Any optical system is imperfect, that's a fact. However, for the price at which the lens is offered, it would be foolish to expect the quality of top-end or native high-aperture glasses from it. From what catches your eye:

  • scattering of light sources in the frame. During the day and in the light of the sun, this is not noticeable (see photo examples at the bottom of the article).

  • when shooting in back and side light, as well as with strong backlight of the subject, you can see a faint green glow along the edge of the contrast transition. But you will use this glass under normal conditions, right?)

  • distortion is present, but I was shocked that it is significantly lower than that of the Sony E 18-55 at the corresponding angle. And even more so lower than that of FE 1.8 / 35. Although it seems to me that it is strange to compare with glass for crop and full frame. I was pleasantly surprised by a small barrel (yes, again in comparison with FE 1.8/35, which is not quite correct) - it does not visually distort the proportions of the model at different shooting angles.

Now, if the cost was around x10 to its nominal price on the market, then one could express one's dissatisfaction.

Sharpness, contrast, color

I deeply disagree with those who say that the lens does not have very good sharpness. In the references below, you can see that the sharpness of the lens is more than sufficient for most scenes. On the open, of course, sharpness is present in the center, somewhere in 60% of the frame. It evens out across the field already at f / 2, and pixel-by-pixel at the edges appears at 2,8. What is not grounded for artistic techniques? The contrast of the lens is good, even wide open. Still, the 21st century is in the yard, and I am pleasantly surprised by the quality of inexpensive optics.

If you want to check what is written, pick up Hanimex 2.8 / 28 from the 80s-90s. True, they then cost around $ 30, but still. Unpleasantly surprised. And then it was filmed. The color of the lens has some kind of its own. Live, natural. Even when shooting portraits, as opposed to, for example, some Japanese things that painted spots on the skin of the model in difficult conditions. Although, to be honest, I did not try to shoot in the foliage. Perhaps there would be something to say. Skinton looks healthy, and that's the main thing.

Vignetting

Vignetting, as such, is noticeable in the open, but weakly expressed. Since the lens is for cropped cameras, it was interesting for me to see what circle the lens projects onto the matrix of a full-frame camera. I saw natural 23mm and calmed down. The vignette is hardly noticeable because the image circle passes beyond the physical dimensions of the matrix. You do know that the lens says 23mm as the equivalent for a full-frame camera?)

 

Advantages of TTArtisan 23mm F1.4

  • Easy
  • Cheap
  • Without 5 minutes yours
  • Easy to manage
  • Just fire for your money

Features TTArtisan 23mm F1.4

  • There are some, as a given image, but they are not critical in my opinion.
  • IPIG does not match the marks on the case

Photo examples TTArtisan 23mm F1.4

Shooting was done in RAW, processed in Capture One. Profile No Color Correction. Manual editing of the balance of lights and shadows.

Photos from Sony NEX-5

Photos from Sony NEX-C3

Photos from Sony A7

 

TTartisan 23mm F1.4 for video

Shooting movies with this lens is allowed even on cameras with the exposure control function disabled during shooting. Despite the presence of a latch and stepped rotation of the aperture ring, rotation is easy. The slight rustle of the focus ring is heard only in complete silence.

Summary

The TTArtisan 23mm F1.4 is a good wide angle lens despite its features. Good color, good sharpness, a maximum aperture of 1,4 and a wide angle without strong distortion - all this can make the lens glass for every day. In general, I am glad that the niche of non-native glasses has been replenished with such a high-quality (for its price!) Lens.

Where can I buy

Lens available for order


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