7Artisans 12mm f/2.8 (Sony E-mount) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha/NEX (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published September 2019


These days we usually lack the time for looking into very exotic lenses but a reader connected us with the folks over at 7Artisans and we thought to give it a try. 7Artisans is one of the many rising Chinese players - just to name a few: Meike, Kamlan, SLRMagic, Laowa, Kipon, Viltrox, Mitakon. Unless you are deeper into the market, you've probably never heard of most of them. They are all aiming to fill the little gaps that the genuine manufacturers have in their lineup. Sony & the likes have also departed from the value segment making it difficult to get your hands on interesting lenses if you are on a budget - and this is where these players can help if you can live with some compromises. With the exception of some Viltrox lenses, these are all fully manual but it's probably just a matter of time till we see more AF lenses. Coming back to 7Artisans, we had a look at their lineup and thought that the 7Artisans 12mm f/2.8, an ultra-wide lens, may be an interesting candidate for a first look.
In terms of (outer) construction quality, the 7Artisans lens is actually pretty good - it's a tightly assembled, full-metal construction. Both the focus as well as the dedicated aperture ring operate smoothly and they are both dampened. Yes, you read correctly - it has a clickless aperture ring. While this may not be ideal for photographers, moviemakers are preferring this. The lens has a small, built-in lens hood. Due to the bulb-like front element, you can't use filters straight away but you can purchase an optional filter holder that accepts 77mm filters.
It is interesting to note that the 7Artisans lens is inspired by the Zeiss Distagon design with inner (rear) focusing - thus the size of the lens remains constant during focusing.
As already hinted above, the lens has no electronic coupling thus you will have to live without AF, EXIF data, automatic aperture, and image auto-correction. That being said - just from a shooting perspective, this is not a big deal. Using magnified focus view, it's trivial to focus accurately. Most of the time you can do even do without - the depth-of-field is obviously pretty big in a 12mm f/2.8 so if you just set it to 1.5-2m, it'll be fine if you just want to have everything in focus.
Equivalent in full format"18.6mm /4.5"
Optical construction10 elements in 8 groups
Number of aperture blades7
min. focus distance0.2m (max. magnification ratio 1:?)
Filter size55mm
Hoodbuild-in, petal-shaped
Other features-
MountSony FE

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