The identity of Undisclosed Lens #7.

2018, 7Artisans 50mm f/1.1, Inspiration, Leica M10, Print, Q&A, Teaching point

Undisclosed Lens #7 is:

The 7Artisans 50mm f/1.1 (Leica M mount)

The comparison test I posted yesterday revealed something unexpected: the minimum focus distance is greater than the advertised 0.7 m (either that or my Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH focuses closer than 0.7 m, which is unlikely).  I hadn’t noticed it until I ran the head-to-head comparison and found that I couldn’t get as close with the 7Artisans as I could with the Leica.

Other than that (disappointing) surprise, I have been satisfied with the 7Artisans 50mm f/1.1.  It’s an interesting lens that has polarized photographers’ opinions of it (although some have passed judgment without actually laying their hands on one).   The mini-controversy surrounding it was the main reason I wanted to post images without first identifying the lens.

Those who criticize this 7Artisans lens I think miss the point.  In my case, I bought it hoping for a dreamy look (for lack of a better phrase) that the technically more capable 50 ‘lux does not as readily provide.

Moreover, having previously owned the Leica f/1 Noctilux (a lens also known for its dreamy look), I would say that the 7Artisans 50mm f/1.1 compares quite favourably and it would, in fact, be my choice between the two.


Examples of recent images:





33 thoughts on “The identity of Undisclosed Lens #7.

        1. Thanks Mark! Re: the aperture scale, I thought it would bother me too, but it’s not loose so I don’t mind at all, especially since I shoot mostly at f/1.1 (except for the test comparison with the 50 ‘lux where I set both lenses to f/1.4).

  1. Hey I guessed right. Yay me. (Or at least what it wasn’t)

    So yeah in another post I shared that it didn’t feel like undisclosed lens #7 was a Leica. You asked why? I indicated contrast, fall-off, sharpness etc. I guess now that I know what it is, I’ll share a couple other thoughts. I don’t mind this artisan lens. It’s very nice. And has a nice signature. But I do appreciate more, for my tastes, the sharpness of a Leica, the contrast and color punch of Leica glass, and the more I looked at this lens, I recognized my preference to the Leica bokeh character. Not of all leicas. Some are busy. But of most.

    But I do recognize and admire these companies that attempt to produce great lens work at a more palatable price. Zeiss, Sigma etc. I have a lot of respect for their efforts and results.

    Thanks for challenging our eyes to consider new ideas, new products. Very fun.

    And thanks for your continued posts. I’m tempted to send you my 28 1.4 lux. I’d love to see what you could do with it. You photograph in close quarters a lot. I’m guessing you’d find that lens enjoyable. I have it attached to my M9 most of the time. It can produce stunning images.

    But you already know that. 🙂

    1. Hi Adam, I have previously used the 28mm 1.4 Summilux, but only on loan for 24 hours:

      I too generally prefer Leica lenses… the price to performance ratio may be high but you do get something special in the bargain that is difficult to give up once your eyes have seen it (others, however, would contend that we are just deluding ourselves…).

      Thank you for taking he “challenge” in stride and appreciating it on the level I’d hoped most would.

      1. I forgot that you had reviewed it. I love those 28 mm lux pics. So satisfying.

        Another lens that I felt you really shined with was the 75 summarit. Those sports shots you took were just fabulous. I think that’s my next lens – inspired by you.

      2. Hey Adam and Peter,

        Now that is a comparison I would love to see, a 7Artisans 28mm 1.4 and the 28mm Summilux. 🙂
        Very curious!
        I really liked Thorsten Overgaard’s open minded review on the 7Artisans 50mm 1.1 and especially together with the Noctilux. Really well done and very insightful.
        Can you literally compare? No, but you can try and be objective about the two. I guess the same counts for the 6500,- 28mm Summilux compared to a 450,- 7Artisans.


        1. Hi Iannis!

          I must say, the Leica 28mm/1.4 didn’t “wow” me, in the brief time I handled it (see: ). Don’t get me wrong, it is very nice, but not enough for me to consider buying one.

          Regarding lens comparisons, the 7Artisans lenses seem to render in a style all their own, making them somewhat impervious to traditional checklist-comparisons from brick wall tests. I happen to like the way these lenses “draw”, even though there are no unifying qualities amongst the lot (the 28/1.4, for example, is very different from the 50/1.1).

          Notice how price didn’t come into my discussion? It’s because I’m not even considering it in my enthusiasm for the 7Artisans lenses.

  2. Nice. I have both lenses and never realized the focus distance. One thing I noticed is my 50mm 1.1 is slightly out of adjustment for each camera. One doesn’t like infinity, one does like close focus. It’s nice these lenses are packaged with the tools to adjust yourself. I just found it works really good on my M10, but RF accuracy is off with my M3. I found using the body with the best close focus accuracy works best for me. Ymmv

    1. Interesting that the 50/1.1 focus on your M3 is off (but not on your M10). I’m guessing your other lenses are focusing properly on each body?

      The lens adjustment capability of the 7Arisans is a great idea. My 50/1.1 required adjusting. And in case anyone believes that that’s an indication of poor quality, I’ve had many a (new) Leica lens with the same issue… the difference being that I didn’t have the option to adjust it myself .

  3. I have heard good things about this manufacturer, so I’m not surprised. Definitely this is a better portrait lens than the Summilux, it really is. But otherwise I’d choose the Summilux (or preferably a Summicron).

    Also worth noting: this would be a great lens on a mirrorless body. The focus calibration would not be much of a problem.

  4. These are lovely family portrait because the way you shoot and skill you have.

    But feel pity that you compare a modern budget lens with flaws to an old classic lens which Walter Mandler tried very hard to achieve the best in his era in Canada.

    I would not say I am happy to own a modern budget car because it is better than a 1972 BMW M3 3.0 CSI, but simply admitted it is cheap and results are pretty interesting. Both the 1972 M3 and noctilux should deserves our respect.

    Note – A f1 or f1.2 noctilux could produce some dreamy images but that’s it. I think no one should pay such a price for it unless they definitely want that piece of Leica history in their cabinet.

    1. Hi Sam. Thank you for your thoughts.

      I definitely was not trying to disrespect the Noctilux f/1.0 (or Mr. Mandler, for that matter). If you have followed this blog long enough you know that I try not to be negative, even when I’m being critical.

      In this case, I wasn’t being critical at all of the f/1, I was only stating my preference between the two lenses (please re-read the last sentence of my post to see what I mean).

      I’m allowed to have a preference, am I not?

  5. I actually ordered this lens on amazon and on the same day cancelled it.. I have so many 50mm lenses that I thought it will not add anything new… How would you compare it to the Voigtlander 50mm/f1.1?( if you ever had the chance to use that lens)

    1. I haven’t directly compared them.

      However, I would say that they are very different. The 7Artisans is objectively more “flawed” than the Voigtlander, but visually produces (more?) interesting results. It’s often criticized as not being sharp enough (especially at f/1.1). I don’t completely disagree with this view but I can tell you that there are a lot of sample images online where the focus is off, either secondary to user error or lens calibration error… so beware of any direct comparisons.

      Ultimately, evaluating the 7Artisans 50/1.1 for sharpness (as I did against the 50 ‘lux ASPH) is a waste of time. This lens exists to create a dream-like atmosphere. And in that sense it succeeds.

      1. Thanks for your reply Peter. One of the things that made me consider it was the sonnar design, as I noticed a lot of my favorite images are from sonnar lenses. I may get the 7Artisans 35mm f2, as I do not have a 35/f2 (have f1.4 and f2.5).

          1. Thanks. I better read a bit more about this lens, because I do not like distortion that may be difficult to correct.

  6. Try making sure that the focus set properly . I found my focus was off a bit.
    After about 10 tries i have focus very close. now shot at f1.4 and f2.0 a alot sharper.

  7. Ha! very cool. i am actually considering getting the 7 artisans 35 1.2 for my Fujifilm Xt3. its being sold at 120 Euros so there is not much to loose. 🙂

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