TTArtisan’s $300 250mm f/5.6 Reflex Lens Delivers Donut-Shaped Bokeh

The image is divided into two sides. The left side shows a close-up of a TTArtisan camera lens on a gray background. The right side shows a toy black cat with colorful bokeh light circles in the background. The cat has a red collar and white eyes.

TTArtisan announced a compact and affordable 250mm f/5.6 telephoto reflex lens for full-frame cameras.

To achieve its lightweight design and $298 price point, TTArtisan has opted for a reflex lens design, otherwise known as a “mirror lens.” These types of lenses are relatively unusual, although not unheard of, in the modern age.

A reflex, mirror, or “catadioptric” lens became quite popular during the heyday of film photography thanks to its small, lightweight build and ability to capture distant objects. The lens design uses curved mirrors and refracting optics to achieve a longer focal length with less glass, keeping the size and weight down.

There is a “downside” to the design — although TTArtisan seems keen to market it as a benefit — donut-shaped bokeh. For the mirrors to work, the central area of the optical path must be blocked by a secondary mirror array. This doesn’t impact in-focus areas as much as one might expect, given that there’s something in the way, but it significantly changes bokeh. It’s an interesting-looking style, to say the least.

Person holding a digital camera with both hands, wearing a white long-sleeved top. The camera has a large attached lens, and the background is slightly blurred, showing some greenery.

Alongside this unique disadvantage, mirror lenses offer reduced contrast and sharpness, all else equal. They also have no means of adjusting the aperture, so they are fixed-aperture lenses. The new TTArtisan 250mm prime is always at f/5.6.

TTArtisan has also embraced reflex lenses’ vintage charm by giving its new 250mm f/5.6 a “retro look.” It looks like a lens from the 1970s or 80s, complete with the old-school diamond knurling on the (large) focus ring.

On the left, a black DSLR camera is shown with an attached large lens, placed on a black surface. On the right, a detached camera lens and its cap are displayed on a reflective black surface with a beige background. The lens brand is "TTArtisan.

The lens is designed for the M42 mount, although this is a very adaptable mount and can be easily used on Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, and Sony mirrorless cameras, among others. It sports six elements across five groups and can focus as close as two meters (6.6 feet). The lens weighs around 380 grams (13.4 ounces) and ships with a metal lens hood.

Sample Images

Close-up image of vibrant red tulips with one prominently in focus at the center, adorned with dewdrops. The background features additional tulips in soft focus, creating a dreamy, bokeh effect.
Credit: 相机操作员
Close-up of a small cluster of delicate blue flowers growing on the forest floor, surrounded by green leaves and blurred foliage. The background is softly out of focus, giving a serene and dreamy atmosphere to the scene.
Credit: Martin M.H.
A woman stands in a field of vibrant yellow flowers, holding one close to her face. She wears a light-colored headscarf and a beige vest over a plaid shirt. The background features a dreamy, bokeh effect with circular light patterns and blurry trees.
Credit: 相机操作员
Silhouette of tall grass against a backdrop of a solar eclipse during sunset. The sun forms a bright ring, illuminating the sky with a warm, golden hue, creating a dramatic and serene scene.
Credit: Laciata Krowa
A clear glass vase with vibrant red tulips is placed on a round table. The background features a soft blur with large, circular bokeh lights that evoke the reflection of sunlight on water. The scene exudes a serene and tranquil atmosphere.
Credit: 相机操作员
Close-up of branches with small white flowers and reddish-brown leaves. The background is blurred with bokeh circles, creating a soft, dreamy effect. The image captures the beauty and delicacy of spring blossoms.
Credit: 相机操作员
A single, vibrant red and yellow tulip stands out sharply in the foreground against a dreamy background of blurred, colorful tulips in a field, creating a stunning array of reds, yellows, and greens.
Credit: 相机操作员

Pricing and Availability

The TTArtisan 250mm f/5.6 reflex “donut bokeh” lens is available to order now from Pergear and TTArtisan for $298. It is also in stock on Amazon, although it is priced a bit higher at $319.

Image credits: TTArtisan. The sample photo used in the featured image is by Simon’s utak.