7Artisans 12mm f/2.8 (Sony E-mount) - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha/NEX (APS-C)

Sample Images

Click on an image for downloading the full-size variant.

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/1600s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12mm
Aperture:f/8
Exposure1/400s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12mm
Aperture:f/8
Exposure1/400s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12mm
Aperture:f/8
Exposure1/320s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12mm
Aperture:f/8
Exposure1/640s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed800
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/30s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed800
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/25s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed800
Focal Length12mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/25s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed800
Focal Length12mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/30s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/2000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12mm
Aperture:f/8
Exposure1/640s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/500s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12mm
Aperture:f/8
Exposure1/4000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12mm
Aperture:f/8
Exposure1/400s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/3200s

Competition

It is a bit difficult to name the correct competitors in this scope because the pricing of the 7Artisans 12mm f/2.8 (left) is on a very different level compared to the mainstream offerings. In terms of paper specs, it does compete against the Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8. Surprisingly the 7Artisans lens performs similar to the Zeiss in optimal conditions. That being said you can expect the Zeiss lens to be more consistent and the Zeiss features AF/electronic coupling. The Samyang 12mm f/2 NCS CS (shown to the right) is another lens that comes into mind. It is obviously faster and comes from a somewhat more established brand. Not shown below is the Meike MK-12mm f/2.8.

Visual comparison courtesy of camerasize.com.

Verdict

When reviewing a sub-200 dollar lens other than maybe a nifty fifty, you don't expect much really. However, the 7Artisans 12mm f/2.8 is actually a positive surprise. Yes, of course, it is not without flaws. However, the center is dead sharp and the outer image field is actually pretty good at optimal settings. The borders/corners are soft at large-apertures though. Lateral CAs are low and usually no issue. In extreme situations, there can be a bit of purple fringing at the borders. Image distortions are negligible, less so is the vignetting which is high for an APS-C format lens. The bokeh is a bit on the rough side but that applies to pretty much all ultra-wide lenses. Interestingly it is capable of handling backlit quite well which is something where many other ultra-wide lenses struggle quite a bit. We didn't notice any color shifts at the image borders on our test camera (A6300) but we noticed a reddish tint on very old NEX cameras.
The build quality has two aspects. Out of the box, you can't be anything but impressed. It may not be the final word in terms of design refinement, but it's an all-metal construction down from the mount and up to the built-in lens hood. The dampened focus and aperture ring are very smooth. The clickless aperture is more aligned to movies rather than photography but it's not a show-stopper here for sure. The other thing is QA. You can't expect wonders here for this kind of money thus if you give it a try, make sure to test a sample thoroughly. Also, be aware that this is an all-manual lens without electronic coupling although to be fair - given the ease of focusing, it is a lesser aspect in a 12mm lens really.
Overall 7Artisans 12mm f/2.8 is quite a steal in terms of price/performance and it's an interesting option if you are on a budget.
Optical Quality:    
★★★★★
Mechanical Quality:
★★★★★
Price/Performance:
★★★★★

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