Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

7artisans Photoelectric 35mm f/1.2 Lens

Sometimes, photography is just meant to be fun. Not worrying about being consistent to a body of work, or not worrying about botching a client’s expectations is often the source of that fun for me, but it can also stem from pure experimentation. From taking a piece of equipment out that may miss the shot, but might also deliver something really beautiful and unexpected. A piece of equipment, by the way, that harkens back to a time when photography was conducted at a slower, more deliberate pace- an analog piece in a digital world. The 7artisans Photoelectric (what the heck does that mean?!) 35mm f/1.2 is that piece of equipment.

The lenses I review are measured in terms of their performance in three categories: Specialist, Utility or Passion. As always, I am not a technical reviewer, so this won’t be charts and tests driven, just real world experiences.        



  1. Specialty Rating (pro quality/top IQ/special purpose): 4

The top specialty lenses are impeccable. They deliver maximum image quality (loads of sharpness, great contrast, minimum distortion and excellent color reproduction), are lightning fast, and are specialists’ tools- i.e. wedding photographers, architectural or other commercial photographers, etc.

As a specialist tool, the 7artisans Photoelectric 35mm f/1.2 is not my first choice. The weakness here is primarily sharpness. This lens, though an out of focus dreamsicle, is total soft serve when it comes to nailing razor sharp images, even stopped down. For portraits, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but for anything that has to be critically sharp, you are going to want to look elsewhere. That said, this lens certainly has its moments, and knowing what it does well (nice, warm out of focus with good contrast) means that I have successfully used it on client work as well as personal stuff.

2. Utility Rating (versatility for multiple applications): 6

Utility lenses are the optical equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife, they cut, they saw, they open cans, but they’re often clunky and inefficient when compared to tools dedicated to those tasks. These (usually) zoom lenses are generalists’ tools; their purpose is utility and convenience for the enthusiast.

As a utility lens, this 35mm has some advantages. First, because it focuses so close (literature says 12″, but I think it may be even a bit closer than that), it can be used as a borderline macro lens. Second, this baby is tiny, as in, pancake tiny. I recently carried it around on an X-E3 at the local botanical gardens by stuffing the whole kit into the pocket of my hoodie. That’s some portability! Finally, the de-clicked aperture could make it a decent option for video.

However, because of the sharpness issue related above, I can’t really say that this lens is a do anything lens. The focal length could be good for that, but it really needs to deliver better sharpness, at least stopped down to replace my Fuji 35mm or 23mm f/2 for this purpose.

3. Passion Rating (does the lens inspire your photography?): 9

Passion lenses are ones that you form an emotional attachment to.  These lenses can be zooms or primes, slow or fast, cheap or expensive.  These lenses make photography fun. They get out of your way (or in some cases, get in your way), and let you think about composition and subject.

Oh man, this 35mm is a REALLY enjoyable lens to shoot with. It is solidly constructed and feels a lot like vintage glass. The focusing is super smooth, and it is one of those lenses that just makes you want to go shoot something with it.

Full Name: 7artisans Photoelectric 35mm f/1.2 for Fuji X-Mount
Max/Min. Aperture: 1.2/16
Diaphragm Blades: 9 rounded
Lens Configuration: 6 Elements in 5 Groups
Filter Size: 43 mm
Magnification Ratio: .125x
Focuses Beyond: 12″

Durability: The lens is pretty solid feeling.


For me, the jury is still out on 7artisans. I own two lenses by them, this one and the 7.5mm f/2.8 fisheye, and though this one is a definite keeper, the other one is a total bust. Perhaps this is just QC variance for a new/small lens maker, or perhaps it’s a case of “you get what you pay for”. Nonetheless, I’d recommend swiping this one up, but for me, I’ll check Rokinon’s or Viltrox’s offerings first for focal lengths that I am looking to add.

So just how does the 7artisans 35mm Photoelectric f/1.2 lens perform? Check out the images below to see for yourself.









Gear used for product shots:

Fuji X-T20

Fuji 50mm f/2 WR lens

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