When A Lens Is Not Just Jewelry: TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 Review Part 2 (Digital Edition)

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As stated in Part 1, where I speak about using this lens on film, on a visit to my favorite camera shop a few months ago I saw a camera. It was pretty.

Canon IVSB Rangefinder
Canon IVSB

I will leave the details to that first post, but to spoil things the camera was pretty but did not work.

I did have fun using it even though it did not work. As therapeutic an experience as it would have been were it able to actually produce viable images.

Why do I mention this?

Recently became aware of a lens that was quite a looker.

TTArtisan M 28mm F5.6

An M mount lens that is a dead ringer for the Leica original, the Leica Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6, for a tenth of the price. TTArtisans it is. Is the TTArtisans lens as good? I suspect not, but based on my experience with other third-party M mount lenses, like the Knock-off-tilux, Semicron, and the perfectly fine 28mm f/1.4, and 75mm f/1.25 all from 7Artisans, it would be close enough for me. Granted this is a TT Artisan rather than a 7 Artisan, but I have experience with TT also.

TTArtisans 11mm f/2.8 Fisheye
A7c/TTArtisans 11mm f/2.8 Fisheye

It was on my watch list but I had no immediate plans to acquire one. Then comes KEH. I used to write for them but I have been a customer well before then and remain a customer to this day. A “Like New” copy appeared at a further discount and I jumped on it. They said it came with caps, but the packaging, hood, and all were included. Nice.

TTArtisan M 28mm F5.6

But given its humble provenance and used status is it another all looks and no pics dud like the IVSB?

No, I am happy to report.

I share greater details in Part 1 but here is a smash cut of my first thoughts on this lens.

It feels and looks great, has great accessories, and creates great images with film.

Also mentioned that I was glad that the quality feeling hood was included. Went on to say that I might break it out if I am feeling fancy.

TTArtisan M 28mm F5.6

Well, once I adapted this lens to digital the hood just seemed like a perfect aesthetic match.

Sony A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6

Of course, it would work just fine and be an even smaller package without it, but I guess I am feeling fancy.

Shooting On Digital

Shared in a recent ramblefest that there are advantages to shooting an M mount lens adapted to a non-Leica mirrorless camera. Below I will repeat sections from the earlier film post adjusted for digital.

Shooting experience.

Aperture clicks are distinct and the focusing lever locks at infinity and has to be pressed to release it. All actuations are positive and make for a pleasant shooting experience.

The lens pairs well with the Sony A7C.

Sony A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6

There is no rangefinder to be had here, but focus peaking does just fine. I set the AF-ON button as a Focus Zoom shortcut for critical focus when needed.

Advantage 1: IBIS

I then make sure to set the focal length for the IBIS and you are good to go.

Advantage 2: Close Focus

The real party piece here is getting yourself an adapter with a helicoid…

Haoge Macro Close Focus Lens Adapter

…which allows for close focus not available on native M mount cameras.

A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter

That aperture.

The humble f/5.6 spec is a small price to pay for such a well-constructed and compact lens at a reasonable price. Made peace with it on film, but courtesy of the high ISO performance of modern mirrorless digital cameras the aperture is not as much of an issue.

Focusing.

No trouble at all using focusing peaking but if you are not focusing on closer objects it is almost unnecessary. Set it to about f/8 and 2 meters as I saw in one review and most everything is in focus. Set it to infinity wide open at f/5.6 and you basically have a point and shoot for far away subjects. Also nice that the infinity lock is actually infinity. Easily set.

Photos.

Here are some early sample photos followed by my final thoughts.

Haoge Macro Close Focus Lens Adapter
Haoge Macro Close Focus Lens Adapter
Haoge Macro Close Focus Lens Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A bit of flare even with the hood. Tested if I could eliminate it by shading it further with my hand and I could. BUt chose not to because I like it.
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
Wilson.
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter
A7C - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 - Haoge Adapter

Image quality.

<Cut and paste from the Part 1 film post.> Pleasingly sharp wide open. Slight vignetting wide open but it is minimal and pleasing. Flares a bit shot directly into the sun. Due to the focal length and aperture bokeh is not really on the table, but that is fine. I am guilty of obsessing about bokeh. Courtesy the Haoge close focus adapter bokeh can be had. I had considered repurchasing the 7Artisans 28mm f/1.4 I had liked so much before.

Sony A7c

But all in all the 28mm f/5.6 is a better fit for my use case. As much as I liked that 7Artisans 28mm f/1.4 lens it made for a large combination that did not see much use with film as a result.

Do I recommend this lens?

I usually back away from an outright endorsement for any gear, but that is not the case here. If you have an M mount rangefinder camera this is as close to a no brainer as I have ever seen. Yes. I recommend this lens.

Now that I have tried it on digital I also can recommend it for adapting to digital as well. Especially if a close focus adapter is used.

Happy capturing to you.

-ELW

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