The TTArtisan 50mm f1.2 is a fairly compact, all manual APS-C lens for those seeking a good but affordable 50mm that doesn’t sacrifice performance for a bright f1.2 aperture.
We haven’t really had a lot of great options in this price range with this fast of an aperture until now. With great performance and a lot of Pros but only a few Cons, this lens ends up being one of the better options in the under $150 price range.
|Focal Length: 50mm ( 75mm equiv )
Aperture Blade: 1.2 – f16 clickable ring
Optical Design: 7 elements 5 groups
Autofocus: Manual Focus Only
CPU Contacts: None
Minimum Focus Distance: 50cm/1.64ft – ∞
Filter Threads: 52mm
Pros – Small, good sharpness, good contrast and saturation, smooth bokeh, price, clickable aperture ring.
Cons – Noticeable field curvature, chromatic aberrations on out-of-focus high contrast edges, vignetting wide open, noticeable distortion, only 100-degree focus throw.
Notes: All around a good lens, but there is often a white flaring that can be a little unnerving.
Table Of Contents
- TTArtisan 50mm f1.2 Impressions
- Build Quality
- Technical Overview
- Art & Character
- TTArtisan 50mm f1.2 Sample Images
TTArtisan 50mm f1.2 Impressions
A big reason this lens is nice is the crisp sharpness, none of that ghosting when wide open. This photo here was heavily cropped down to 14MP shot at f1.2 while a passenger in a car. But the lens is still sharp enough and the details still hold up.
The Gist Of What This Lens Is
When looking at center sharpness wide open, it’s the sharpest of the 50mms that I have among the cheaper third-party lenses, but there is field curvature and that falls off quickly towards the edges.
Overall the Rokinon 50mm f1.2 and the Fujinon 56mm f1.2 are vastly superior when it comes to having the flat field curvature with sharpness in the corners and edges. The Rokinon 50mm f1.2 or Fujinon 56mm f1.2 will be the better lens for those that need to shoot wide open with good center to corner sharpness.
For those that need an even brighter lens, the Kamlan 50mm f1.1 II is also a great option. It lives somewhere between the Rokinon 50mm f1.2 and the TTArtisan 50mm f1.2, in terms of overall sharpness and image quality, but is noticeably brighter.
When shooting objects on the same focal plane, the TTArtisan doesn’t really sharpen its corners up until about f5.6.
What does that mean?
For portraits when shooting wide open, or when shooting single subject matter where sharpness on other elements in the frame are not as important as the center subject matter, the TTArtisan 50mm f1.2 produces amazing results, and I would say it’s probably the best walk-around 50mm f1.2 for this reason at this price.
There really isn’t any reason to buy any other 50mm for general walk-around shooting, unless you’re looking for a specific characteristic or find the $120 price tag too high.
Landscape photographers should still probably favor the Samyang 50mm f1.2 or the Fujinon 56mm f1.2 for improved sharpness across the frame, with significantly less distortion.
Low light shooters and those still looking for a bit more character will still like the Kamlan 50mm f1.1 II. I personally prefer the look of the Kamlana 50mm f1.1 II, but it is considerably more expensive and heavier, so I’ll typically grab something like the smaller and lighter TTArtisan 50mm for casual shooting.
Where the TTArtisan Excels
Build quality is really nice, especially since they included the clickable aperture ring.
Center sharpness or sharpness at your focus point is very good.
The contrast and color is very good, even when wide open.
The lens is fairly compact for a 50mm f1.2.
Brightness is in line with other f1.2 lenses. Sometimes these cheaper lenses are nowhere near the true T-stop that the F-Stop is listed at, except this lens isn’t super cheap like a lot of the $60 lenses, so makes sense.
Where The TTArtisan 50mm f1.2 Falls Short
Now that we know it’s the best walk-around casual 50mm lens you can buy for the price, at least in my opinion, what do I not like about this lens?
Several things actually.
To start, for an f1.2 the focus throw at 100 degrees isn’t enough. The focus ends up being way too sensitive when trying to dial in focus at f1.2 at a far distance.
Next, you do lose a lot of your sharpness when focusing on close objects. In other words, it does have some issues with close-focus spherical aberrations, but it’s not terrible. It’s just something to watch out for. You’ll probably want to be about 4 to 5 (140-150cm) feet away to get solid wide-open sharpness.
There is noticeable distortion.
Flaring and blooming tend to go white, which can be unnerving at times. Makes me think this lens is using a lot of ultra-high refractive elements ( plastics or resins, or maybe some hybrid).
General quality control issues. My lens is not evenly sharp across the frame. The lower field of my image is slightly softer than the top field. Likely some decentric issues. That is rarer with Samyang lenses and very rare with Fujinon lenses whereas at least 25% of the lenses I’m getting out of China are still having decentric issues, maybe even 50%. For the type of lens this is, I don’t find this to be much of an issue. But one thing about decentric issues is often even if you focus on a spot in that hemisphere of the lens, it never will be as sharp as other sections. So watch out for that. These issues usually are minor, but sometimes they can be severe so I always check for this on new lenses.
Micro-Contrast just seems to be good, nothing amazing, but still totally acceptable because the sharpness and contrast are so nice.
This is one of the better-built cheaper lenses out there. The focus is buttery smooth, the aperture ring is clickable.
It’s metal construction, which a lot of people get excited about, no mention of the type of metal used.
There are 7 elements in 5 groups. No mention of any aspherical elements.
Aperture is 10 bladed and produces pretty good sun starts when stopped down.
It comes with a screw-on metal lens cap which produces an insane amount of noise when you drop it on concrete while trying to be discrete in a quiet Japanese neighborhood.
The lens is fairly small and light compared to other 50mm f1.2 lenses. This makes me think it’s using ultra-high refractive or some type of hybrid elements mostly instead of glass. I don’t know for sure on this one.
Technicals are pretty good with this lens and it’s performing better than expected for an f1.2 that is this compact.
The detail is great at f1.2 and it really comes together at f1.4.
I did not focus on the edges here, I focused on the center, but you can see the edges do fall out of focus. This chart is across the room from my camera.
Same as with the edge sharpness, they fall out of focus when the focus is set on the center. It all comes together by about f4 and f5.6.
There is some barrel distortion.
This is a shot up into the skies. Some vignetting at f1.2, less at f1.4, and it’s mostly reduced by f2. By f2.8 it’s gone.
Chromatic aberrations are one of the characteristics of fast lenses like this that you just have to learn to deal with. Luckily it’s mostly just with longitudinal focusing issues. Meaning high contrast areas just in and out of focus will get greens or purples fringing.
Also, there is some fringing that will happen along the edges of bright bokeh edges in the out-of-focus highlights.
You can right-click and open the image in a new window to see more detail, but even from standing back, you can see the green and purples shifts that happen in the twigs.
Nice sun stars.
I’ll throw flaring into the Art & Character section
‘There is a slight bend to the field curvature.
Yes, kind of a lot, but not something I worry about in non-AF lenses, especially when they aren’t really designed for video and especially longer lenses like this. I don’t think it’s that common to rack focus through the whole range of a 75mm equiv lens to the point where you will notice focus breathing in videography.
Art & Character
Overall bokeh is really nice with this lens. It never really gets nervous or weird when stopping down. The only problem is you will get some CA along the edges of bright out-of-focus highlights in some situations. Not that big of a deal really.
Here is a sample of the bokeh profile. A little cat’s eye along the edges creates a very minor swirl, but nothing unusual.
Bokeh At Various Distances
Longer lenses don’t usually have issues with bokeh looking significantly worst as the subject moves further back like we see a lot with 35mm lenses and wider, and this lens holds up nice at far distances.
Here are some samples of bokeh at various distances.
I took samples only up to f2, to cut down on the number of images and to save on server bandwidth.
Close Bokeh Samples
Mid Range Bokeh Samples
Here you can see how the bokeh handles little reflections and highlights in the background. Some minor color shifts on the bokeh balls with some defined edges create minor soap bubbling.
Contrast & Saturation
Color and contrast remain good even in bright reflective situations. So many of these cheaper lenses really don’t like bad lighting, like cloudy days or hazy overcast days, but this lens holds up better than most.
There is almost this white glow in some situations, which I don’t love. I personally like it when lenses throw a little more color on the flaring so it doesn’t feel so synthetic. You will get some color sometimes though, but generally it blooms white.
Micro Contrast & Color Rendering
I always like to look at my kid’s skin tones to check micro-contrast. You can see the subtle differences in the color tones and shades in the skin. They are a little blotchy here compared to a very high-micro-contrast lens, but still very good and most people will appreciate the good sharpness and contrast with shallow depth of field more so than a minor drop in MC compared to an ultra high MC lens. So no complaints from me on this overall performance.
Here you can see a little bit of color in the flaring. It’s still not a great flaring lens and I generally don’t like the way this lens flares, compared to something like the Kamlan 50mm f1.1 II.
I can’t see any reason to buy any other 50mm right now in the $120 and under price range unless you need a cheaper lens or are looking for a bit more character.
You can’t go wrong with the Kamlan 50mm f1.1 II and the Rokinon 50mm f1.2, they are both great lenses, but they are over twice as much money.
Most of the cheaper lenses like the Brightin Star 50mm f1.4 and Pergear 50mm f1.8 are not as fast and still don’t perform this well, but I would say they have a bit more character, better micro-contrast, more interesting flaring.
The Brightin Star 50mm f1.4 has a calmer warmer feeling than the TTArtisan 50mm f1.2. The Pergear 50mm f1.8 is a bit on the wild side with its flaring and will often cast an orange / brown haze to the image, which is cool when you want it. I did not like the 7Artisans 55mm f1.4 so much. Mainly because of the build quality, but I would rank the image quality somewhere near the Brightin Star with the way it renders, overall pretty decent but the copy-to-copy variation on that lens was pretty wild, so wait for the new version if you like that brand.
What I Love About The TTArtisan 50mm f1.2
To summarize, this lens has great sharpness and contrast, but sharpness isn’t even across the frame and only performs well at the point you focus on until about f5.6 because of this field curvature.
I find this to be ok, because I often shoot f4-f5.6 when shooting street photography where I want more of the image to be in focus, and then when I’m shooting at f1.2 I really only care if my subject is sharp.
The clickable aperture ring is amazing because you can mentally keep track of what aperture you throw to without looking.
The lens is very compact for a 50mm f1.2.
Sunstars are nice.
What I Don’t Like About The Lens
Focus throw is too sensitive.
Lens flares are not pretty.
This is a cool lens, I’m glad several of you guys told me to check it out. It flew under my radar for a bit and I’ve been on the hunt for a nice 50mm in the $120 range that beat the Brightin Star 50mm f1.4 in sharpness and contrast.
TTArtisan 50mm f1.2 Sample Images
I tried to shoot in various situations. One thing I really like about this lens is how well it holds detail at far distances even when wide open, so you get that nice subject separation even at a good distance.
Like with this shot here.
Colored with Core Presets.
|**This website contains affiliate links. We will earn a small commission on purchases made through these links. Some of the links used in these articles will direct you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.