Review: TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 M

Introduction

TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 on Leica M10

When people hear TTArtisan many may connect that name to very fast lenses like the 50mm 0.95 or the 90mm 1.25, but today we are looking at something very different: a compact 28mm 5.6 for M-mount.
A maximum aperture of f/5.6 doesn’t sound that exciting, but then tiny lenses are always welcome here, so let’s have a closer look!
The lens is being tested on 24mp Leica M10 and 42mp Sony A7rII.

Sample Images

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6
ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6
ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6
ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6
ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Sony A7III | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6

You can find most of the sample images in full resolution here.

Specifications

From the outside the TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 looks almost exactly like the Leica 28mm 5.6 Summaron-M which sells for 10 times as much, the optical design is completely different though, so we are not dealing with a 1:1 copy of an old Leica lens like we have seen from Light Lens Lab lately. The TTArtisan 28mm 5.6’s full specifications are:

    • Diameter: 39 mm
    • Field of view: 75° (diagonally)
    • Length: 20 mm
    • Weight: 150g (without hood, without caps)
    • Filter Diameter: 37 mm
    • Number of Aperture Blades: 6 (inwardly curved)
    • Elements/Groups: 7/4
      ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
    • Close Focusing Distance: 1.0 m
    • Maximum Magnification: 1:31 (measured)
    • Mount: Leica M

The lens can already be preordered from the manufacturer’s shop and B&H (affiliate link) and the price is $298

Disclosure

The TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 M was kindly provided free of charge by TTArtisan for reviewing purpose for a duration of 4 weeks.

Handling/Build quality

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 M

The original Leica 28mm 5.6 Summaron had been released in 1955, so having a look at this lens’ mechanical design is a bit of a trip down memory lane.

For focusing you need to use the small focus tab, the barrel itself is so small there is nowhere to grab it. The focus ring has a nice, well dampened resistance and turns about 90° from the minimum focus distance (1.0 m) to infinity. There is not only a hard-stop, there is also an infinity lock, so if your lens is set to infinity you first have to push down the button on the focus tab to be able to change the focus distance.

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Focus tab with infinity lock

Now me personally, I neither like that infinity focus lock – which slows me down a lot during shooting – nor a minimum focus distance of 1.0 m – which is very long even for a rangefinder lens.

The aperture ring has full-stop click stops and turns roughly 30° from f/5.6 to f/22.

The lens is rangefinder coupled across the whole distance range and considering its specifications I don’t expect any calibration issues. My Leica M10 displays the correct 28mm framelines.

The outer casing seems to be made completely from metal and all markings are engraved and filled with paint.

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 with lens hood attached

There is a rectangular “vintage” lens hood available (again similar to that of the original Leica lens as well as the Voigtländer VM 21mm 3.5), but I didn’t receive it with the lens, so I cannot tell you much about it.

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 – MS-Optics 24mm 2.0 – Voigtländer 21mm 3.5

The TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 is smaller than e.g. the Voigtländer 21mm 3.5, but the exotic MS-Optics 24mm 2.0 is hard to beat in terms of size, as can be seen from the comparison above.

Vignetting

Light falloff

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution

Compact lenses usually show high vignetting figures and the TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 M is no exception. Wide open I measure 2.4 EV corner shading and unfortunately this improves only slightly on stopping down as I still measure ~ 2.0 EV at f/11 and f/16.

Nevertheless, the competition is hardly doing better here, the Voigtländer VM 21mm 3.5 shows almost the same vignetting values.

Color cast

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/11

Some wide angle lenses show a bit of a color cast towards the corners, the TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 shows a slight bluish teint on the Leica M10. Not a big deal, but something that might become visible when taking pictures of overcast skies or snowy landscapes.

Sharpness

infinity (42mp Sony A7rII)

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution

The small M-mount wide angle lenses usually struggle on the Sony cameras and this holds true for the TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 as well. Center looks good from f/5.6 and the midframe from f/8.0, but the corners never reach actually good resolution figures.

infinity (24mp Leica M10)

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution

Now the situation on the Leica M10 is noticeably better – as was to be expected. While the corner resolution isn’t record breaking we still get even and good across frame performance at f/8.0 to f/11, afterwards we see a loss in resolution due to diffraction.

Flare resistance

As always evaluating flare is a complex matter since you can get any lens to look bad if you push it hard enough and a slight change of scenario can affect results a lot.

Sun outside frame

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/8.0

With most lenses there is a very specific position close to the corner of the frame that will lead to a huge flare and the TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 is no exception, this can easily solved by slightly reframing.

What was more of an issue: any light source outside the frame may create severe issues with veiling flare running across most of the frame. Maybe the hood helps here, as I didn’t get it with the lens I shielded the lens with my hand here, with solved the issue. Still, it was an overcast day with no direct sunlight.

  • ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
  • ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution

Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6

Sun inside frame

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/8.0

With the sun inside the frame some rather small green ghosts may appear:

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/8.0

Considering the maximum aperture of f/5.6 I would have hoped for a better performance here.

Coma

  • ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
  • ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution

100% crops from extreme corner, focused on center, M10

Coma is a common problem in fast wide angle lenses, but what about slow pancake wide angle lenses? There is a bit of coma (and a general drop in sharpness) visible towards the corners at the maximum aperture but stopping down to f/8.0 improves the situation significantly.

Distortion

  • ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
  • ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution

Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6

The TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 shows a low amount of barrel distortion. There is no profile in Lightroom available yet but diealing in +4 is doing a good job at correcting this.

Bokeh

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6

With a 28mm lens, a maxium aperture of f/5.6 and a minimum focus distance of 1.0 m this is not exactly the lens you should be looking at if you are into shallow depth of field photography. The picture above is to show you the maximum amount of bokeh possible.

Sunstars

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/11

The TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 is using 6 inwardly curved aperture blades. Some lenses with 6 aperture blades show very pronounced sunstars but this TTArtisan lens is not one of those. It is actually very hard to create sunstars at all with this lens.

Chromatic aberration

lateral

The amount of lateral CA is very low, nothing to worry about.

  • ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
  • ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution

100% crops from border, Leica M10, f/11

longitudinal

Due to the maximum aperture being f/5.6 you will only very rarely find longitudinal CA in your pictures.

Alternatives

Leica 28mm 5.6 Summaron-M:
The Leica lens looks almost exactly the same from the outside, but the optics are completely different. Judging by the MTF charts the TTArtisan lens reviewed here offers better corner resolution, apart from that and a factor 10 price difference I cannot tell you much about the comparison of these two lenses.
buy from amazon.com | ebay.comebay.de | B&H new for $2800 (affiliate links)

7Artisans 35mm 5.6 Wen:
Apart from the different focal length this 7Artisans lens features a more modern casing design and a minimum focus distance of 0.3 m but the aperture is always fixed to f/5.6 and cannot be changed.
buy from amazon.com | ebay.comebay.de | B&H new for $138 (affiliate links)

MS-Optics 24mm 2.0 Aporia:
The MS-Optics 24mm 2.0 is much smaller than this TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 and weighs less than a third, yet it is a whopping 3 stops faster. It is also an exotic/expensive lens with a few notable quirks and certainly not for everyone.
buy from ebay.com for ~$1200 (affiliate links)

Voigtländer VM 21mm 3.5 Color-Skopar:
The Voigtländer VM 21mm 3.5 Color-Skopar is a small, well balanced modern wide angle lens. Even though it is small in absolute terms it starts to look big compared to the TTArtisan lens reviewed here, but it is noticeably faster and shows better flare resistance.
buy from CameraQuest | B&H | Robert White | amazon.com | ebay.com for $799 (affiliate links)

Conclusion

good

  • size/weight
  • sharpness (M10)
  • CA correction
average

  • retro look
  • xxdistortion
  • handling (infinity lock)
not good

  • flare resistance
  • high vignetting even stopped down
  • minimum focus distance 1.0 m

I think this lens might be polarising a bit, as there are a few things to talk about.

One thing is, that mechanically it looks like a copy of the Leica lens – if this is something you find morally/ethically questionable I will leave for you to decide – personally I would have wished for a different mechanical design because I find the infinity hard lock rather bothersome to operate and would have also liked a lens that focused closer than 1.0 m.
Others that find this kind of design very appealing might be happy that they can now get a lens with this looks for a more reasonable price though.

Optically we have high vignetting (always expected with such small lenses), unfortunately not that great flare resistance but decent CA correction as well as sharpness (on Leica M cameras).

I have been reviewing this lens during a German winter and the maximum aperture of f/5.6 was also rather limiting here. Under overcast skies I often had to push the ISO a bit to get a shutter speed of 1/30s and things obviously got worse in the evening or indoors.

I think you know everything there is to know now to figure out if this lens is for you.

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 via TTArtisan M->E adapter on Sony A7rII

The lens can already be preordered from the manufacturer’s shop and B&H (affiliate link) and the price is $298

Sample Images

ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6
ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6
ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/8.0
ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6
ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/8.0
ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6
ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6
ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6
ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6
ttartisan 28mm 5.6 m m-mount pancake review smallest leica contrast sharpness resolution
Leica M10 | TTArtisan 28mm 5.6 | f/5.6

You can find most of the sample images in full resolution here.

Further Reading

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My name is Bastian and I am your expert here when it comes to ultra wide angle lenses, super fast portrait lenses (ranging from a 50mm f/0.95 to a 200mm f/1.8) and I also have reviewed way too many 35mm lenses.
Don’t ask me anything about macro or wildlife shooting though.

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