This Ultra-fast Lens Never Fails to Put a Smile On My Face

I’ve long thought maybe too many photographers prioritize bokeh and blur more than they should, but now I’m a hypocrite because I’ve fallen in love with an f/0.95 lens.

On a crazy whim last year, I ordered myself the 7Artisans 35mm f/0.95 APS-C manual focus lens for my Fujifilm mirrorless cameras. It was a total gamble that ended up with a creative jackpot, as the lens features correctly ignited a new creative fire in me and led to some of my favorite new work.

A 35mm lens is one of my favorite general focal lengths on the APS-C system, and I’ve used the brilliant Fujifilm XF 35mm f/1.4 for years now. The f/0.95 appeal and low-light performance, subject separation, and lovely bokeh that comes with it were just too strong for me, and I forced myself to overlook its lack of autofocus. . I have plenty of autofocus lenses if I need them, and something in my gut told me this lens would be a riot. I couldn’t have been more right.

Upon arrival, I was impressed with its all-metal build and heavy weight. The focus ring was smooth and the aperture ring wasn’t too loose, although it was unchecked.

As soon as I received the lens and did some initial testing with it, I realized that I wanted my first real-world testing to be street photography. I particularly like shooting at night, and by combining this lens with my powerful IBIS-equipped compact, the Fujifilm X-S10, I could easily shoot at any time, even long after sunset. . Moonlight and lamplight become viable light sources for handheld street photography with a setup like this, thanks in part to Fuji’s excellent high ISO noise handling.

I remember when I was an autofocus-only type guy, and I couldn’t be bothered with manual focus, but I gradually got into the market segment, with vintage lenses and the Rokinon 12mm f/2, which was top of its class for ultrawide value when it was released. By the time I put my dirty little hands on this 7Artians lens, I was comfortable with the built-in focus assist features like peak focus and zoom magnification, and my ability to focus even at the very fine depth of field setting that comes with f/0.95 was quite good.

The experience of shooting with the lens has become a joy for me. Manual focus does what it always does: it slows you down. Some will point out that precious seconds will cost them that unique shot they could have gotten with autofocus, but I argue that the slow, careful workflow needed to achieve sharp focus has more potential benefits for a shooter than inconveniences. Slowing down has always allowed me to refine my composition in an image and makes me think more about what I’m trying to accomplish. The added flexibility of shooting handheld in low light and forgoing a tripod also helps compensate for the lack of autofocus, as this flexibility and the compact nature of a kit consisting of a housing and a goal are very liberating. It’s all the more enjoyable since I like to use my electric bike to get around during my street photography sessions, and the less gear I have to carry, the more I can really enjoy this extreme mobility.

The lens is not without its problems. Far from a perfect optical formula, pixel-peepers and tech-obsessed may not be satisfied, but I bought this lens for a reason, shooting f/0.95, and I knew I’d face the flaws and flaws. limitations of its optical formula, but I was very happy to discover that these were outweighed by its wonderful character and incredible low-light performance.

Street portraits taken with a focus on perfect focus appear to you with impressive separation and bokeh, without looking fake or weird. Falloff is enjoyable and non-distracting. In fact, I’ve found that with good technique and a good subject, this lens makes it difficult to deliver a bad shot, as long as you take your time to focus and compose well.

Nowadays, I really appreciate glasses with flaws. I call them flaws, even though I could easily call them “character”, but I choose not to kid myself. I could easily reach my Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4, which I love. I could also maybe choose the even more clinically flawless Fuji XF 35mm f/2 or the new 33mm f/1.4, and so many other really great lenses, but when shooting work that isn’t not intended for my commercial photography studio, I just appreciate a low-tech but artsy option like the 7Artisans lens. Sometimes I like to throw it on my trusty Fuji X-T1 and really enjoy that full manual experience.

To top it off, the results simply spoke for themselves for me. If I’m careful with my focusing technique and use the lens for an application it’s well suited for, I could definitely use this lens for my professional work. Sometimes I do, but only when I’m sure it’s the right tool for the job. For my personal work, however, I use it often, especially in low light, as I would never like to wander around a city at night, and this lens performs well for that purpose.

I am very grateful to have discovered this lens and the wonderful doors it has opened for me. I realize that’s not the kind of optics you’re looking for when you need pixel perfection, but I don’t really think flawless optical quality is as important as some people seem think. If nothing else, it’s enough that I really enjoy using it.

I can’t wait to head out into town for another ride on my e-bike, while my tripod and other gear stays in the vehicle, I ride around town with complete freedom and mobility, leaving my little Fuji and this the Super-fast manual focus lens does what it does best, which is to make me smile.

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