Review TTArtisan 11mm f2.8 Fisheye for Z

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I like fisheye shooting and have used the Olympus 8mm f1.8 lens with my E-M1 ii for the past few years to great effect. So, when switching to Nikon Z I wanted a fisheye for that too. There isn't a Nikon native Z option yet, and whilst the 8-16 on the FTZ would I'm sure have done the job admirably, it's a bit pricey and with the adapter mounted is getting quite chunky. So, I looked around at alternatives and found the TTArtisan 11mm f2.8.

Note that this is TTArtisan, not 7Artisans. It seems to be a relatively new company, based in Shenzen China, and this is one of only four lenses they're currently making. You can see more info about them and the full range on their webpage:

https://www.ttartisan.com/cpjs

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All the lenses are targeted at mirrorless FF and they have mount options for Sony FE, Canon RF, Nikon Z, and Leica M. All the lenses are "dumb" with no electrical contacts to the camera - so no AF and no EXIF data.

There were a couple of reviews of the 11mm f2.8 to be found on the internet and they generally seemed favourable so I thought I'd give it a punt. At $215 it's hard to go too wrong really.

The lens comes in a nice-enough white box. It seems that earlier versions came in a fancy watch-box, but I just got a cardboard box:

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Initial impressions are very positive:

- The lens is all-metal construction with nicely damped focus and aperture rings.

- It has a nice heft to it and feels well made.

- It comes with a nicely-made metal lens cap.

- It slides smoothly into place on the camera.

- Infinity focus on the ring is bang on accurate - quite different from my previous experiences with Samyang MF lenses.

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If I had to find fault, I'd point to the slightly skewed lettering showing the lens name near to the mount. Not a big issue, but it'll annoy you if you have OCD! It's also worth mentioning that the aperture ring is un-clicked. I guess it's a nod to the video shooters, but it's less than ideal for stills shooters. It's mitigated somewhat by being fairly heavily damped so changing the aperture accidentally with a brush of the finger is unlikely.

Size wise, it's a little smaller in height than the 14-30 when collapsed, but quite a bit narrower. It's about the same weight:

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It's also about the same size as the Olympus 8mm f1.8:

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It looks handsome on the camera:

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Performance wise, I'm pretty impressed. TL/DR - it's almost as good as the Olympus 8mm f1.8 - and I hold that lens in very high regard (it's certainly the best FE on the m43 format and there are a number of other credible options there, including a Panasonic/Leica version and one from Samyang that is well respected). Things of particular note about the TTArtisan:

- Colours and contrast look great
- It's pin sharp in the centre at f2.8
- It's pretty good at the edges at f2.8 - more than usable
- It's excellent across the frame by f5.6
- My copy shows no de-centering or other obvious flaws
- Vignetting is only mild

If you want to see for yourself, I've posted some shots below from the garden/yard (on a rather grey and miserable afternoon!). I've included comparisons with the Olympus 8mm. All images are sized to 4608 wide (approx 20Mp) so that comparisons with the Olympus are meaningful. I've posted them in full res and you can click through to the image on Flickr via the link below each image. I've also added EXIF data so that you can see more easily the aperture used.

At f2.8
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NZ7_1412_4608.jpg by Paul Kaye, on Flickr

The centre is pin-sharp:
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And even the extreme edge is pretty good:
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The corner is a bit softer - but not too bad either:
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And by way of comparison, here's a shot wide-open on the Olympus 8mm (so at f1.8):

Olympus 8mm f1.8, at f1.8
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EM120373_4608.jpg by Paul Kaye, on Flickr

Olympus centre:
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Olympus edge (you can see that the TTArtisan is a little wider). The Oly has some purple fringing which the TTArtisan doesn't. Easy to clean up, so not a real issue.
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Olympus corner (yes, it's astonishing given it's at f1.8 - an astro photographers dream!):
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So, back to the TTArtisan...
At f4
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NZ7_1413_4608.jpg by Paul Kaye, on Flickr



At f5.6
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NZ7_1414_4608.jpg by Paul Kaye, on Flickr

And here's the edge again at f5.6:
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And here's a corner at f5.6 - very good IMHO:
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f8
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NZ7_1415_4608.jpg by Paul Kaye, on Flickr


f11
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NZ7_1416_4608.jpg by Paul Kaye, on Flickr

So - bottom line. It's a keeper.

When the sun comes out, I'll do some flare tests and see what it's like at sunstars!
 
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Thank you for the review. I have been looking at ultra (hyper?) wide options for the Z and the TTartisans fisheye is by far the least expensive. Glad to know it performs well!
 
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Thank you for the review. I have been looking at ultra (hyper?) wide options for the Z and the TTartisans fisheye is by far the least expensive. Glad to know it performs well!
It's a good lens. Pity it's not AF, but with focus peaking and magnify it's pretty easy to MF on the Z. The thing I really miss is EXIF. Olympus allow you to enter lens information (name, focal length, max aperture) which is stored in the EXIF- would be nice for Nikon to do the same. Bonus points for allowing you to set the actual aperture used with one of the dials.
 

kilofoxtrott

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It's a good lens. Pity it's not AF, but with focus peaking and magnify it's pretty easy to MF on the Z. The thing I really miss is EXIF. Olympus allow you to enter lens information (name, focal length, max aperture) which is stored in the EXIF- would be nice for Nikon to do the same. Bonus points for allowing you to set the actual aperture used with one of the dials.
On my D3S and D700 it's possible.
Perhaps other Z-users may help you.

Kind regards
Klaus
 
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On my D3S and D700 it's possible.
Perhaps other Z-users may help you.

Kind regards
Klaus
Thanks Klaus. Using "Non-CPU lens data" I can set the focal length and max aperture on the Z7, but nothing more (like the lens name). Also, it doesn't write these details into the EXIF on the photos - which I find a bit odd. Thankfully, it does use the focal length to set the IBIS operation. The Olympus writes the data into the EXIF and allows you to enter a long name for the lens. If I'm missing something, then I'd love to be educated!
 
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Unfortunately there's no trick to get EXIF. Adapted lenses on the FTZ get the non-CPU focal length recorded, but all other adapted lenses get nothing at all to identify the lens.
 

NCV

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Looks like a great cost effective lens.

My Z gives the focal length in EXIF when I have set the non CPU data.
 

NCV

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So it seems you only get the focal length recorded if you use the FTZ. That's a stupid limitation.

Yes, it seems a strange limitation, or rather oversight. The thinking must be that one will be using Nikon Z lenses without the adaptor.

But I think it does not matter too much if IBIS works well with the lens and the non CPU lens data.
 
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Yes, it seems a strange limitation, or rather oversight. The thinking must be that one will be using Nikon Z lenses without the adaptor.

But I think it does not matter too much if IBIS works well with the lens and the non CPU lens data.
I agree - not a huge issue. The essential point is the IBIS setting and at least that works.
 
Yes, it seems a strange limitation, or rather oversight. The thinking must be that one will be using Nikon Z lenses without the adaptor.

But I think it does not matter too much if IBIS works well with the lens and the non CPU lens data.

That's fine if there are lenses available! Problem is, right now Nikon is still in the process of gradually bringing out new native Z lenses to the market. That is a limitation in and of itself......
 
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And a real shot with the lens. Slightly cropped, but not de-fished.

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Wheatfield by Paul Kaye, on Flickr
 
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I find for natural subjects like this fisheye projections often look more natural than rectilinear.
Yes, I agree. You don't get the stretching of objects at the frame's periphery you get with a rectilinear lens. Doing a slight tweak into am equal area projection works too - it takes a little of the fisheye effect away, but still leaves objects unstretched.
 
I am in the midst of exploring the whole wide angle/ultrawide angle territory and on the periphery, fisheyes...... I love the really cool exaggerated fisheye look, but of course that is specialized, it's not an everyday sort of lens and I'm still sorting through the options of "regular" wide lenses before I finally make a long-postponed purchase which will fill in a rather large gap in my current lens focal length range. A fisheye really is not practical for me at this point and not what I need but it's been fun reading about them anyway!

At any rate I ran across reviews of this lens on B&H and was surprised to see that although they promote it as being for a full-frame camera according to PTGUI and other sources it actually comes in at around 15.6mm rather than the advertised 11mm..... the latter would make it work more flexibly with both FF and APS-C bodies, depending upon what the user has. For those who are more interested in the possibilities of an ultra wide angle which can be easily switched between APS-C and FF and also can more easily be "defished," this sounds ideal, but probably if someone with a FF camera body really is looking for that really "fishy" look it might prove to be not quite what they expected. That may or may not matter, depending upon the user's expectations and planned usage. Just thought I'd mention this since I've seen the recent discussions about this particular lens....
 
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can more easily be "defished,"

Why would an image produced using one lens be more easily defished than an image produced using another lens?

someone with a FF camera body really is looking for that really "fishy" look it might prove to be not quite what they expected
I don't have a strong sense of what a really fishy look is, but I took both of the following photos with the TTartisan 11mm lens mounted on a Nikon Z6, which is a full frame camera. To my untrained eye, both images have a really fishy look. Unlike the first image, the second image was captured with the lens perfectly level both vertically and horizontally (at least according to the camera's electronic level) and the scene was a considerable distance from the lens, which explains the apparent lack of distortion. Neither image was defished.


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Cool shots, Mike! I especially like that second image. The first image is definitely more "fishy" while the second is a very nice example of what an ultrawide lens can do. From my understanding someone who wants no distortion can either shoot the kind of subject you did or if there is still distortion apparent in the image, use some kind of software (or maybe it's available in PS) to "defish" it. Yes, from what I've read the closer one gets to a subject the more evident distortion will be, and of course there are times when that is exactly the effect one is shooting for in the first place. Since there are also rectilinear ultrawide angle lenses, too, with little distortion, that option is also available to the person who doesn't want the fisheye look or any evident distortion.

What confused me while I was browsing through the various discussions and articles is that while the manufacturer is stating that the lens is 11mm, which should be pretty ultra wide on a full-frame lens, that in reality it is more like 15.6mm, which suggests that it actually was meant for a DX/APS-C "crop factor" lens. If I were buying a lens that was supposed to be 11mm on full frame I would want it to be just that rather than 15.6mm. Then again I suppose when one gets into the wide angle realm it really doesn't make that much difference; I really don't know, as wide angle/ultrawide angle/fisheye has not been something I've explored much through the years.

Anyway I agree that overall this lens seems like a good deal, regardless, and would be versatile enough to be used on either full frame or APS-C.
 

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