TTartisans 11mm f/2.8 FE review

update: It broke!

Sad day, the focus ring disconnected from whatever internal mechanism was inside. Spinning it did nothing and the front element would almost completely come out of the lens barrel. I have a mechanics background so I figured rather than send it all the way back to China for repair I would just fix it myself. After all I have seen more than my fair share of lenses just have a loose screw.

After disassembling the lens, I found that the focus slide, the little gold screw on the right side of the barrel was completely out on both sides. They are supposed to go into the detent seen on the left side of the barrel. Once I lined those up and tightened the set screws, everything worked fine. I know not everyone will feel comfortable with taking apart their lens so definitely a ding for TTartisans on this one. Luckily its a simple fix.

Original review

Possibly one of the most underrated lenses of the Sony full-frame ecosystem, the TTartisans 11mm is cheap, well built, and optically pretty decent. You can find them on Amazon for only $215! Honestly even if the lens wasn’t that good, for that price it would be understandable. By the end of this review, you’ll see the cons are only slight and the pros heavily outweigh them.

build quality

There isn’t much to complain about here. Its heavy, all metal construction is the first price defying magic this lens pulls. The focus ring is smooth, has a somewhat short throw to it which makes focusing on closer objects a tad tricky at f/2.8. The aperture ring doesn’t have a click to it so you’ll often find yourself wondering did I accidentally move the aperture ring. Lastly the mount is a little stiff when attaching to the camera. All that said, keep in mind this lens is barely over $200.

Optical oddities

This is a fisheye lens. The only one in existence for full frame Sony mirrorless that I know of in fact. So distortion is part of the deal. Coma is well controlled, and sharpness is pretty good. Pixel peepers will notice it sharpens up in the corners quite a bit past f/5.6, but overall is more than acceptable for even discerning photographers. Its biggest limitation: when shot wide open at f/2.8 and at infinity focus, the corners suffer a small bit of softness when focused at the center of the image. This really is more of a concern for astro photographers. Again… $215.

Infinity focus at f/2.8

results

The best part about this lens I think is it fits like a glove in a camera kit. The price is so right i’m not sure why every Sony full frame shooter doesn’t have one. Fisheye lenses are cool for very specific occasions. And those occasions don’t come around very often. Spending a thousand dollars on one just doesn’t seem to make sense for most photographers. For me this lens fits my need for good low light performance in a cockpit for taking northern lights pics when flying across the Atlantic ocean at night. How ridiculously specific is that… For all the other ultra wide shots I take, a rectilinear ultra wide angle lens like the Laowa 10-18mm lens. But again, for $215 i’m sure I’ll find more uses for this clever little lens.

Jump seating. Added side effect, it makes the earth look more curved than it really does in real life. A smidge of bonus drama is always a welcome effect in an otherwise pretty tame environment.
Matrix like distortion. It can be a really fun lens to use!

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