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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In Part 2 I adapted this lens to digital and the included hood just seemed like a perfect aesthetic match.
To cut to the chase I really liked using this lens adapted to the Sony A7C. Especially when using the close focus M to FE adapter.
Shooting On Digital M
Below I will repeat sections from the earlier film and digital posts adjusted for digital M.
Lens specific so no change here. 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. Have had this lens for a minute now, and I must say that I continue to be impressed by how well it is put together. No was would I peg this as an inexpensive lens by looks and feel.
The lens looks at home on a digital M camera.
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. 100% rangefinder goodness my friends. And as capable as focus peaking can be I much prefer this arrangement. And I say this even giving up two perks of adapting to mirrorless.
Giving up IBIS.
Thought I would miss it but I do not. Once I got the 1/focal length aperture default sorted I was good to go. Team that with good ergonomics and good technique and I am not having any issues creating sharp images.
No Close Focus.
A nice add. But I do not miss it here. Instead attention turns to capturing scenes.
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 very reasonable ISO performance of modern mirrorless a vintage digital camera the aperture is not as much of an issue.
No trouble at all using the rangefinder when I choose to, but I often zone focus with it. 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.
Here are some early sample photos followed by my final thoughts.
The M240 has basic video capabilities, unique in M dome, and some argue that it should not. But it did not do bad on a quick test with this lens.
Much as stated before in the earlier posts, pleasingly sharp wide open. Slight vignetting wide open but it is minimal and pleasing. Flares a bit shot directly into the sun. Close it down and becomes pleasingly sharp. The colors are good. Due to the focal length and aperture bokeh is not really on the table, but that is fine.
There is not a huge difference but I do prefer the images I create with this lens and the M240 over the A7C. Not sure whether it is down to the actual image quality or if I just like the fact that I tend to shoot differently when using this lens on a proper rangefinder. I will put it down to personal preference.
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 a digital M mount rangefinder camera this is as close to a no brainer as I have ever seen. Yes. I recommend this lens.
Happy capturing to you.