Before I tell you which is which (in case you don’t know already) I feel that I must say that the difference between these lenses is bigger in physical size, handling and precision.
One lens costs roughly $4000 USD and the other $370 USD.
The Summilux 50mm Aspherical is a very precise lens that throws some magic on most photos you take. The built-in hood is a great addition, the clicks are nice and the chromatic aberrations and flare are very well controlled but this comes at a high cost, also don’t forget that is a very heavy lens for its size.
The 7Artisans is a special lens, ideal for play but can also be used for serious work. At its price point, it is a lens that should live in everyone’s camera bag, a very nice fifty. In the used market you can find it for around $300 USD
Comparing sharpness in a controlled environment, same light, same shutter, on a tripod, same person:
The sharpness difference of these two lenses is minimal, not enough to see in your every day photos, not even enough in an 8×10 print, obviously not in a facebook post or instagram, what I want to make clear is that any of these two lenses are gonna make great images and you will only see a difference if you are shooting and printing larger than 11 inches.
The focusing ring on both lenses is very smooth, the non click aperture ring of the 7Artisans is something I’m still trying to get accustomed to on my daily photos. Both lenses mount almost identical but the 7Artisans has a little bit of wiggle when mounted, something you would only notice if you are extremely picky. Either way, is much less wiggle than your traditional Canon or Nikon lens, so keep that in perspective.
There are three things I absolutely LOVE about the 7Artisans lens:
- Going to f/1.1 creates dreamy images with a natural vintage look.
- Looks gorgeous on my Leica.
- Calibrating ring for rangefinder adjustment
The chromatic aberration isn’t very well controlled on lenses at f/1.1 but I have expected a lens to deliver perfect images at f/1.1 not even Leica’s Noctilux.
Both of these lenses can be mounted on any digital M and most film Ms. I had trouble using the 7Artisans on my Leica M3, it won’t sit on properly and the lens won’t lock into the body, so I gave up on my M3 but both lenses work amazingly on my Nikon Z6, Digital Leica’s and the Sony A7 series.
The 7Artisans lenses come with a screw driver and a calibrating sheet, meaning you can adjust the focus point very precisely to match your Leica. I had to adjust mine, it took me about 10min or less, and is now spot on! I wish my older Leica lenses had this option, especially my 90mm.
My intention of making this review is to compare the lenses, learn how to use them to their best, practice my photography skills and share what I learned with the photo community. In the end, both lenses are great, I doubt most people would see a difference between the shots you take with any of these two lenses, so don’t feel you have to go buy that Leica lens.
I already owned a Leica M9 and M240 and got that M8 just recently in used condition, paired it with the 7Artisans and is a wonderful camera capable of impressive black and white images as well as color. If you find this useful, then I’m happy!
I’ve reviewed my Summilux many times in the past, if you’d like to see more samples just do a simple search here on the blog and you’ll find them.
If you’d like to purchase any of the lenses reviewed here, go over to Amazon to check the current price:
7Artisans 50mm f/1.1: https://amzn.to/2tZhIsK
Summilux 50mm Aspherical: https://amzn.to/2F3dwyE
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