As stated in my last two post (1 and 2) on this lens:
…I need to stay the heck off of used gear websites.
But here we are. I will leave that last post to state the why. Having looked at using this lens with digital M and analog M bodies now this post is about adapting. Any mirrorless camera would do, but here we are talking about adapting to Sony full frame.
With adapting none of the earlier stated focus concerns apply here since rangefinders are not used. While I do have a preference for rangefinder cameras I will also admit that adapting has its advantages.
- The aforementioned lack of need for the lens to be adjusted properly. But… if that is the case one could save a buck and purchase a native variant instead. But if you do that you miss one of the advantages of adapting, specifically…
- Close focus. With a helicoid manual adapter or a TECHART AF adapter close focus is available. With wide, fast glass like this you can make some fun images with this unique perspective. See samples below.
- Looks cooler. What? That matters. You can save a buck with native variants, but you do not get a cool looking silver option (What? Stop smirking. I still say it matters.) or access to three outfits… I mean lens hood options.
- TECHART AF. Whether with the old timey LM-EA7 or the newer LM-EA9 adapting brings AF to manual M lenses. And if one employs other mount to M adapters you gain access to nearly all manual focus lenses, assuming they do not surpass the weight limit.
Anyhoo… Back to the task at hand.
Instead of visiting the same old nearby gardens here are a few shots taken in just a couple of hours while running errands with my better half. It was great fun and I really like the images it produced.
Result? Once again a success.
In quick order I realized this set up was the business. This close focus combined with AF thing is pretty awesome. I will not say that it surpasses the rangefinder experience, but I would be lying if I did not say that I pondered this for longer than I usually would have. This is mainly due to the combination of close focus, a wide angle lens, and AF. Put plainly, many of the shots above would not have been possible using a rangefinder. Sure you can focus without looking via zone focusing, but with AF hip shots were possible with critical focus. And due to the mechanical requirements (I am hesitant to say limitations.) of a rangefinder close focus (Closer than 0.7m in most cases.) is just not possible.
The performance aligns with the other Artisans lenses I have and had in the past. Perfectly fine to outstanding depending on circumstances. Downright phenomenal when you factor in the fact they are usually well built, do not look half bad, and cost a mere fraction of the lenses from other, more established manufacturers.
And then the 21mm f/1.5 adds a bit more than I would expect.
- Very good value at less than half the price of Voigtlander’s option and 1/20th the price of the Leica option.
- I saved a bit more by picking up a used copy.
- Impressive accessories.
- Adjustment kit.
- Three hood/cap options that were mentioned above.
- Nice metal build and clicked aperture ring.
- Oddly the clicks are numerous and do not align with the markings.
Solid. With a lens this wide I am not looking for pin sharp across the frame, but it is acceptable for me. Which is impressive since I shot this lens wide open almost always. If I did want a sharper result that could be easily obtained by stopping the lens down a bit. The same goes for vignetting. Acceptable wide open, and better stopped down. No complaints here.
21mm, large aperture, and close focus.
Added this section because I wanted to put a fine point on this very fun aspect of this lens. Close focus with longer lenses is nice, but often gives the appearance of traditional macro lenses. But, similar to the 7Artisans 28mm f/1.4 I once had,…
…close focus combined with a wide field of view and a bright aperture really makes for some unique results. See the sample photos above of the toy cars, especially the blue Mini, as examples of what I am talking about.
Having explored the three use cases, digital rangefinder, film rangefinder, and now adapted a review post would be the obvious next post. But if I do create one it will be short. These three posts pretty much cover it all.