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The 7artisans 25mm f/1.8 Lens

The 7artisans 25mm f/1.8 Lens

by Ed Buffaloe
April 2022

Lumix GX-85 with 7Artisans 25mm f/1.8I seem to be forever behind the times. I just discovered this cheap Chinese-made lens, even though it has been on the market for at least five years. To be honest, I haven’t been doing much photography lately. I bought an OM-D E-M5 Olympus mirrorless camera when they first came out about ten years ago, acquired a few lenses for it, and have been using it ever since. But in the past year I have bought several different mirrorless digital cameras, trying to find something that better meets my needs and that I feel comfortable with.

In the process of acquiring new cameras, I also managed to acquire some new lenses, and I discovered that I really like using manual focus lenses on digital cameras. They require me to pay more attention to what I am doing, which reminds me of the old days of shooting with a Leica M4 and a hand-held meter. Paying more attention, rather than letting the camera do everything for me, has improved the quality of my photographs and deepened my interest in creative photography once again.

7Artisans 25mm f/1.8When I began the search for a 25mm manual lens to fit my micro four-thirds cameras, I chanced upon the 7artisans f/1.8 which had some very interesting reviews and which only cost $79. I have not been this happy with a lens purchase in years. It is a quirky lens but versatile and really great for creative work.

Rather than give a technical review, I’m going to provide links to reviews by several other people better qualified than I am (see below). But I will make a few comments and show some of my photographs.

All the reviewers seems to recognize that the markings for f-stop and focal distance are not very accurate. Knowing the exact f-stop seems to me of little consequence when using a digital camera that automatically calculates exposure. With a mechanical lens, set the camera to aperture priority and it calculates the shutter speed for you. All you really need to know is: small aperture for extended depth of field, wide aperture for low light, medium aperture for maximum sharpness. If the exposure comes out too long you can always increase your ISO. The focal distance is a bit more important. You need a camera with the ability to enlarge the center of the frame for critical focusing. Most cameras today have this feature; you just have to remember to use it.

Streetside Flowers
Backlit Leaves - Early Morning

Technical analyses say that the 7artisans 25mm f/1.8 isn’t very sharp in the corners, especially wide open, but this isn’t a problem for the kind of photography I do, and it is quite remarkably sharp at the optimum f/8 aperture. The design produces a lot of flare, so it is wise to use a lens shade. In this regard, the filter size is 46mm, which is identical to the old Pentax Takumar 50mm lenses of the late 50’s and early 60’s. I just happened to have an old 46mm Pentax lens shade that is a perfect match for the 7artisans. The lens design is also said to have almost no chromatic aberration; all I know is, it is nice and sharp and has very pleasing color rendition.

Weed - Early Morning

The feature I like most about the 7artisans is that it focuses to within less than 4 inches. This allows for all sorts of creative imaging without the expense of a dedicated macro lens. Secondarily, I like the small size. Carrying a Lumix GX85 camera with the 7artisans lens reminds me of carrying my old Leica M4; very nostalgic and a great picture-taking combination. Finally, the lens produces a very pleasant bokeh.

Reflexion Evening Primrose

Articles About the 7artisans
25mm f/1.8 Lens

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Article and photographs Copyright 2022 by Ed Buffaloe. All rights reserved.



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