I’m not going to make this Blog one of those that reviews all kinds of camera equipment. I have never been and never will be a GEAR addict! But I do have a small collection of cameras. An old Nikon FM2 film camera with its 50mm Ai f1.8 and 105mm Ai f2.5 lenses. A Fuji XE2 with the 18 mm f2.0 & the 7Artisan 35 mm f0.95. With that a Ricoh GRD IV, a GR and a GR3 … You’ll say that’s a lot of cameras ! It’s not wrong, but as you can see, these cameras are old and most of them were bought second hand. I will soon acquire a Nikon Ai 200mm f1.4 (100€) for a trip to South Africa. All these Nikon Ai lenses, I buy them cheap and I can use them on my Fuji XE2. Of course there is no AF, but it doesn’t bother me more than that. I don’t do sports photography.
The 7Artisan 35mm f0.95 remains my latest purchase and I only paid 220€ for it. I can tell you that I do not regret this purchase at all! I had been looking for a versatile focal length for a while because until now I was using the Nikon 50mm f1.8 which is really good but too portrait oriented. The 35mm allows a lot more and when I go out with my family, I often leave the Ricoh GRD IV at home and I only go out with the Fuji XE2 with the 7Artisan to avoid the temptation to use the wide angle.
The 7Artisan 35mm is a very good lens for portraits and with its 0.95 aperture, I get that little Noctilux look of Leica for just 220€ instead of the more than 5.000€! I know very well that this 7Artisan is not a Leica and I don’t pretend to compare these two lenses. But it’s still fun to shoot at f0.95! And I can tell you that I shoot exclusively at full aperture with this lens. It’s f0.95 or nothing at all. I don’t have the same approach as when I’m on the street where I try to see as much depth of field as possible. With this lens, I have fun even if it’s quite tricky to do manual focus with such a large aperture.
Such an aperture is nevertheless problematic in full sunlight as my Fuji xE2 goes up to max at 1/4000s and this is not fast enough for the 7Artisan open at f0.95! The Fuji xE2 does not have a built in ND filter as the lenses are interchangeable … The only solution is to use the electronic shutter (ES). It is silent and allows to have very high speeds. Nevertheless there are sometimes distortions without knowing why … Look at the two examples below. It is just incomprehensible because these two pictures were taken when the subjects were not moving and with natural light.
But the ES is really amazing and allows me to use the 7Artisan even in very bright situations like at the beach. No more overexposed photos! The ES goes up to 1/8.000s and it can go to 1/32.000s! I’m going to take portraits with Bokeh in full sunlight!
Where 35mm is interesting is that you can do something other than portraiture. Remember, Henri Cartier Bresson used to shoot with a 50mm. This 35mm APS-C is nothing more than a 50mm Full Frame so why not try to do some street photography with it. I must confess that I have not yet done any street shooting with it, and I am not sure that the result is conclusive… I’ve tried a bit on my family outings and I need static scenes to get something out as I’m always wanting to shoot at f0.95. I’m pretty sure that HCB wasn’t shooting at such a large aperture. In any case, this lens allows me to gain stops when the light is not there. I’d have to go out on the street with the 7Artisan but shoot at f11 or f16 to get some DoF. I’m convinced that this lens can be good in the street too. I just need to learn to see at 50mm …
All the photos were made with the Fuji xE2 | 7Artisan 35 mm f0.95