I think TTArtisan loves “50mm” a lot. They have lots of choices for this mid-telephoto focal length. TTArtisan has the brightest 50mm, the most compact 50mm variants, and now they have introduced the 4th “50mm” and it has the most distinctive function among all their lenses; the tilt function.
Similar to the compact 50mm, this lens is also designed as a full-frame lens. Does that mean the optical quality is better on the APS-C sensor? I think we can scroll down and see it for ourselves.
Before you read further, this is my first time using a tilt lens. I will try to elaborate based on my experience with using this lens as much as possible. Also, I would like to thank TTArtisan for sending this lens to me. Without their kind support, this will not happen.
Design & Build Quality
The first thing you will notice is the design of this lens. It has a completely different design language from the rest of the TTArtisan lenses. The most obvious 2 extra knobs on the lens body are the first thing I noticed and followed by the sort of zig-zag line across the lens. Obviously, they are important roles for the tilt function.
Despite all these new elements, you can rest assured of the build quality coming out from TTArtisan. As usual, still has the same well-built quality from them. You will not get any disappointment when holding this lens. It weighs 450 grams and it is the heaviest 50mm coming from TTArtisan thus far.
When comes to filter thread, this 75mm (full frame equivalent) lens has a “considerably” large 62mm filter thread that is compared to its 50mm siblings. Given the extra function in the lens, 62mm filter thread is considerably reasonable.
Back to the 2 knobs. The silver knob is the rotation lock knob which allows the rotation mechanism to rotate the lens 360° with 15° rotation per step.
The black knob is to control the tilt mechanism with a tilt angle of ± 8°. For how I use them, I will unlock one knob at a time, adjust to the desired degree, lock it and then continue to adjust with the other knob. With the focus peaking, it helps me to visualize and easily noticeable on where my plane of focus is.
Unlike the usual TTArtisan lenses, this lens uses a click-less aprture, and honestly speaking, I missed the clicks experience that I always love. To make things worse, there are times when I rotate the aperture ring instead of the focus ring without realizing it. Only get to notice it after checking out the shots and looking at my lens. (Since this lens does not have any electronic contact with the camera, hence I cannot see the aperture value from the EVF / LCD.) Sometimes I even think that my camera or the lens is “broken”.
And like the 23mm f1.4, it comes with metal cap-on lens cap instead of the screw-in type found in most of the lens lineup. I love this approach and I hope TTArtisan will keep it this way for their future lenses.
In this category, I will split into 2 sections: “conventional lens” mode and “tilt lens” mode.
Before that, shooting wide open for both modes has a strong vignetting and chromatic aberration. And of course, these can be edited in post-process or lower down the aperture value.
For “conventional lens” mode, the image quality is slightly usable at wide open. The image quality tends to be soft and lacks contrast. And sometimes I cannot tell if my shots are in focus as the shots are too soft. This is based on my past experience with TTArtisan lenses and is usually not really within my minimum acceptance. Usually, I prefer f2 on most lenses. But for this lens, I preferred results at f2.8 as it is sharper and has better contrast.
For “tilt lens” mode, the image quality is not quite usable. Due to the tilt effect and shooting wide open, the focused subject can be very shallow (depending on the shooting angle) and very easily affected by chromatic aberration. Again, I preferred the results at f2.8 and f4 which give a better focus to blur off under the tilt effect. To note the tilt effect will be reduced further as the aperture value gets lower and that is pretty obvious from f5.6 onwards.
Minimum Focus Distance (MFD)
Like their other 50mm lenses, it maintains its MFD at 50cm. This is where I think the image quality is at its softest and lacking the contrast the most when shoot wide open. Again, shooting at 1 to 2 stops lower to gain better image quality.
From MFD to infinity, the focus throw is approximately 160°. It has one of the comfortable focus rings with a decent resistance when I rotate it.
When you shoot at infinity for normal shooting and tilt shooting, this lens has a common issue like most manual lenses. The result will be off-focused. Hence you need to rotate back a little before the infinity marking to get a fully focused result.
For 199 USD, it is priced very closely to the f0.95 lenses, which also means that it is priced on the higher side of the spectrum for the APS-C lenses category. Given the uniqueness of this lens, I think this is a decent price point.
Who is this for?
There are not a lot of tilt lenses in the market. And not forgetting that back in those days, tilt and shift lenses are very expensive, and not many photographers will buy one and use it.
With this lens, the potential photographer can use it as a conventional portrait lens where it can be used for many genres like street, documentary, product shoot, archiecture, cityscape, landscape, etc. At times, the potential photographer can also use its tilt mode for more creativity, adventure, and extraordinary perspective.
I mentioned this before and I have to mention this again. TTArtisan never fails to surprise photographers with their new lenses. The overall usability of this lens is very versatile and probably even more practical than its f0.95 sibling.
Personally, I like the tilt function as it helps me to create a good foreground and background blur especially for the cityscape shots and archiecture shots. It is also good in creating miniture effect too.
While the image quality at wide open has room to improve, I can tell that TTArtisan has been improving slowly with each new lens. I hope TTArtisan will continue with the new breakthrough and new unique lens to keep up with the excitement and of course, hope to see more tilt lenses in the future too.
Thank you for reading.
1. All the shots taken here are shot by me.
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. I reserve ownership of these images, if you wish to use my images, please notify me.
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