Photographer Benj Haisch has published a 13-minute review of the TTArtisan 50mm f/1.4 APSH lens, a $369 rangefinder optic that he believes performs much better than anticipated when compared to a lens that costs nearly twelve times as much.
Haisch says he’s a particular fan of the 50mm focal length and published a review earlier this year of his favorite, the Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux:
But when he saw that TTArtisan had a 50mm f/1.4 for the Leica M-mount for considerably less than what Leica was asking, he found himself wondering how well it performed against what he considers to be the cream of the crop.
Haisch covers in great detail the build quality, weight, balance, and other important factors when considering a lens in the video above, but he also looks specifically at image quality. Haisch provided PetaPixel a few of the sample images he captured using both the TTArtisans 50mm f/1.4 APSH and the Leica 50mm Summilux for comparison:
When Haisch sat down and actually compared the results of the two lenses, he admits it wasn’t what he was expecting.
“When I stick them next to each other, back to back, I was actually pretty shocked with the results,” he says. “I’m kind of speechless.”
Looking at the images coming out of the TTArtisan, it competes remarkably well against a lens that, price-wise, it should not come anywhere close to.
“The Summilux wins, but not by that much.”
The Leica Summilux is better in control of chromatic aberration and vignetting wide open, which are hallmarks of Leica lenses historically. Leica prides itself on providing even performance across a lens’ aperture range, and that largely remains the case with the Summilux according to Haisch. The TTArtisans was much less able to keep up in that regard but was otherwise shockingly excellent according to Haisch.
“In the tests side by side, they are actually much more comparable than I thought they would be,” he says. Referring to its weaknesses, Haisch does not believe they significantly impacted the lens’ value.
“In my use of the lens for the times I took it out, it wasn’t something I noticed really obviously and had to immediately correct for.”
Haisch also reports that the sharpness on the TTArtisans, at least in the center of the frame, is “ridiculous.”
“For the money, the lens is more than plenty sharp and the build is amazing,” Haisch concludes. “Even if they priced this at double what they’re charging for it, I think it would be worth it.”
As Haisch says, there are many Leica photographers who would consider it a sacrilege to put any lens that isn’t a Leica on an M-series rangefinder. But for those with a more open mind, the performance of this particular lens seems well worth the small price of entry. For the TTArtisans to not be worth the sub-$400 asking price, it would have to be truly terrible. From what Haisch has shown in the sample images above as well as his insights from testing, the 50mm f/1.4 APSH is far from that.
Image credits: Photos by Benj Haisch and used with permission.