Due to my work and other personal commitment, this short lens review takes me quite a while to write and share. Here is the review:
I win the TTArtisan 17mm f1.4 over an online photography competition early this year. Coincidentally, this lens completes the uncostly quaternity lenses of my Fujifilm camera setup. Together with the TTArtisan 23mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, and 50mm f1.2 lens, these 4 lenses give a basic setup that covers most focal lengths for landscape and streets.
Special thanks to Den Poh for lending me the X-T20 for being the model for the lens.
1. All the shots taken here are shot by me.
2. Some of the shots are straight out of the camera while others are edited via In-Camera Raw Processing and Adobe Lightroom Classic.
3. I reserve ownership of these images, if you wish to use my images, please notify me.
4. The opinions are based on my experience. If there is any mistake made, please kindly drop me a message and I will gladly make the amendment.
About this lens
By looking at the name of this lens, I am sure everyone should have noticed that this is an uncommon focal length for a prime lens. It sits right between the popular focal lengths from Fujifilm 16mm and 18mm. It seems to me that TTArtisan is trying to do away with the “common” focal lengths that Fujifilm has. This approach also gives the photographers more choices to look out for.
Based on the full-frame equivalent, the focal length is 25.5mm. On paper, it is wider than 28mm but slightly narrower than 24mm. In this case, we already know that what is the purpose of this lens. But does it make a huge difference with the 1.5m? Personally, I don’t think so.
When I first hold this lens in my hand, I can feel the metal-constructed premium quality built similar to other TTArtisan lenses. It is small but slightly taller than its 35mm brother. Despite its small size, I can too feel some weight on this lens (248 grams). It has a relatively small filter size of 40.5mm. Not a common filter size if you are looking to give extra protection to the front lens element (which I do not think is necessary to do so) or doing planning to do creative works. But it is also not that difficult to look for one.
The aperture gives a nice and satisfying clicky feedback when I change the aperture value. The manual focus ring gives a comfortable rotation with a little friction to hold me back.
Like all the TTArtisan lenses, this lens also does not come with a lens hood. Hence, lens flare can be an issue when you are shooting directly towards the sun. Unless lens flares are intended for your shots, try to avoid it or try getting a third-party lens hood to overcome the lens flare.
The image quality is decent and sharp. However, if you are shooting wide open, vignetting is considerably strong at the corners, but it is easy to post-process to remove it.
For this lens, I prefer to use an aperture number from f2 onwards. It gives me an acceptable balance between image softness and image sharpness. At wide-open, it gives some sort of softness (or character) to the shot, and unfortunately, it is not my preferred kind of result.
As usual, I do not have high expectations for the third-party lens’ bokeh performance. At f1.4, it gives the overall picture a softer, dreamy look. I believe there are some photographers who actually know how to appreciate this kind of result. I am still learning to appreciate this. the background blur falls off remarkably nice from the subject and it does not give a harsh background blur too.
Sunny star effects are formed easily from F5.6 and the results are more beautiful and sharper from F8 onwards. But on a side note, flares can noticeable too if the lens is facing directly at where the sun direction is.
Minimum Object Distance (MOD)
The MOD is 20 cm and it is considerably close for a compact wide-angle lens like this. With this MOD, we can create different perspectives and creative shots that we cannot achieve with our common lens.
To give you some sensing on how close it is as compared to the Fujifilm 16mm f1.4 and 18mm f1.4, it has the same MOD as the XF18mm f1.4.
The smooth yet gentle friction experience on this manual focusing lens is as enjoyable as the rest of the TTArtisan lenses. I can’t find any reason to complain about it.
The focus throw from MOD to infinity is about 160°. Unlike some other lenses which take a huge throw to reach from one end to the other, the TTArtisan 17mm f1.4 is considered reasonable. I suppose there are some benefits for larger focus throw but I prefer a shorter one.
Who is this for?
This focal length is not my commonly used focal length for my shutter therapy. But I will bring this lens along with my other lenses. After all, it is compact and easy to place inside my camera bag.
This lens is suitable for Landscape, architecture photographers, and probably astrography photographers who are on a limited budget and yet want a fast prime lens. I also tested this lens for portraits and I think it is a good lens to catch some environmental portraits with your loved ones.
If you are a photographer who wants to have experience shooting with a full manual lens, you are welcome to try this lens out but I will recommend TTArtisan 23mm f1.4 to start with.
TTArtisan is really good at striking a balance between the price and lens quality. I cannot find any player in the market that can compete with them without sacrificing either one of them. At USD118, I think the money is worth spending if you know what you can do with this lens.
This lens gives me a fun and enjoyable experience. If you are willing to accept the flaws in this piece of glass, you will enjoy what it can give you.
Thank you for reading.
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