Before anything else, I would like to thank TTArtisan for sending this lens for my review. I appreciate their support to make this post a reality.
While I am still waiting for the TTArtisan first-ever autofocus lens available for X-mount, TTArtisan decided to surprise everyone with the first-ever f0.95 extreme fast lens.
I wrote about TTArtisan 50mm f1.2 a few months back and mentioned that it was the fastest lens back then. Not anymore. It has been replaced by another newcomer from the same family and now the f0.95 is the fastest lens ever built. But how does this lens perform and how is the photo usability wide open? Let’s find out.
Design & Build Quality
First thing you will notice the design element of this lens is adapted from the TTArtisan 23mm f1.4 and the TTArtisan 40mm f2.8 with a little twist. Some do not like the look of it, and some like the design character of it. I am the latter. This zebra-like design helps itself to get distinguished from the rest.
The aperture click is as good as the rest of the TTArtisans lenses I have used before it. The same comfortable and gentle feedback when you change the aperture values. The manual focusing ring is too provides a smooth focusing experience.
A little disappointment here, this lens does not inherit one thing from the 23mm design and it is the lens cover design. Instead of using the cap-on lens cap, it goes back to the screw-in type. Though it is still a metal one.
At 411 grams, this is probably the heaviest manual lens that I have. This is kind of expected because of the large and heavy glass elements inside the lens. In comparison, XF56mm f1.2 weights 405 grams only. Having said that, the full metal constructed lens is very well built and dense. And I am pretty sure that someone will get injured if I throw it at him.
At a maximum aperture of f0.95, I have a problem nailing the shots because of how shallow the depth of field is. When the focus is a hit, this lens can give a kind of soft and glowing effect which gives us a kind of dreamy feel to the photos. The result is more obvious when shooting under strong light. However, the blur-off transition from in-focus to out of focus is pretty smooth.
In my testing period, I prefer to shoot at f2 and f2.8 as they give a good render of sharpness and contrast and they suit my own shooting preference. Of course, shooting at a lower aperture such as f5.6 gives better overall image quality which in return does not give a stronger depth of field.
Both chromatic aberration and vignetting are pretty obvious especially when you are shooting at wide open. I am expecting such behaviour but nevertheless, they can be fixed in post-processing.
Focusing is manual. But what I want to share is the experience of rotating the focus ring. It is smooth but not loose. The focus throw is 180° which gives an ample amount of “distance” for more precise focusing. TTArtsian has been maintaining this experience for their photographers since the first lens and I think this is a good one.
Minimum Focus Distance (MFD)
The MFD is 50 cm and very similar to most of the lenses in this focal length. When I shoot wide open at this close, a more dreamy and softer shot as a result. In my opinion, this is even more drastic than any focus distance can achieve.
At USD 218, this lens is pretty close to one of their direct competitors. Is it considered expensive from your perspective? I reckon this is a reasonable price point for a manual, non-electric contact equipped extreme fast lens.
Who is this for?
This lens is not meant for everyone. Also, compared to other TTArtsian compact manual lenses, this lens is a heavy one. It might not be as enjoyable as the others in the long run. On this account, I think it’s targeted a very specific group of photographers who understand the pro and cons of owning this unique lens and knowing what they can achieve from this lens.
If you are a newcomer to the world of manual lenses, I will recommend you try out their other lenses and if you want this focal length, there is an alternative one such as TTArtisan 50mm f1.2.
This heavy lens does not balance well with any compact X-mount cameras such as X-E series and X-A series photographers. For this reason, I do not recommend any X-E and X-A series photographer to pair with this lens because it makes the overall camera balance lead forward and hence makes your wrist more tired and it is not going to be a fun shooting experience. I will suggest including a hand grip from any sources available if you want to pair it with the lens.
This is my first extreme fast lens and my first ever hands-on with it. The image quality is what I have expected from this lens. While the optic quality is a little disappointing as compared to the TTArtisan 23mm f1.4, I think I can still forgive it because it gives me the thrill of shooting at an ultra-fast aperture experience.
As I mentioned earlier, I prefer the image results from f2 and f2.8, which makes me think if I ever need this lens in my arsenal. I can’t give you the right answer right now but I think it is always good to have one because you never know when you will need it someday.
Last by not least…
Dear TTArtisan, if you are reading this post, please give us the 32mm f2.8 autofocus lens!
Thank you for reading.
1. The lens is from a friend of mine and I have returned it to him by the time this article is available online.
2. Most of the shots are straight out of the camera with some shots edited via In-Camera Raw Processing.
3. The opinions are based on my experience. If there is any mistake, please kindly drop me a message and I will gladly make the amendment.
4. All the shots taken here are shot by me. I reserve ownership of these images, if you wish to use my images, please notify me.
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