• Wayne Manuel

The 7artisans 35mm f/1.2 Prime Lens (and Why it's My New Fave)

Updated as of August 11, 2018.

My new favorite lens: the 7artisans 35mm f/1.2 lens alongside my other lenses.

Shot with Canon 600D + Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. 1/90 sec., ISO800, f/1.8.

It was around February this year when I decided to ditch the old DSLR caravan and join the mirrorless revolution. I ship cameras that are exceptionally good in both taking photos and videos. So with the advent of new 4k-resolution mirrorless cameras like the Sony a7RIII (wow!) and the recently announced Canon M50 (I hope it came out before I bought my M6), it just proves that the lighter mirrorless can possibly make DSLR cameras phased out in the near future. The DSLR weight seems to give mirrorless cameras a great advantage, especially when used for vlogging. Of course, as a DSLR (and Canon) user for about 7 years now, I remain loyal to the capabilities of my first entry-level professional camera, the ol' EOS 600D (I used to practice the fundamentals of photography with the 550D for a very short time.) I will do a separate review for the Canon M6 soon (somehow tagged as an underrated vlogging camera by Wil Dasovich). It happens to be I'm writing this lens review before the actual camera review because I'm really excited about this!

My ol' 600D.

Shooting a timelapse video of the sunset from my apartment window with the Canon 600D.

Shot with Canon M6 + 35mm 7artisans lens. 1/640 sec., ISO100, f/1.2.

With my switch, I oriented myself to several lenses, both Canon- and third-party-made, either zoom or prime. Over the years, I have developed the interest in using the primes. I love using lenses that have very wide apertures because of the background blurs or bokeh. Surprisingly, the third-party lens company that is 7artisans was offering my first desired prime lens to be used together with my Canon M6. I first heard about these set of lenses from a cousin of mine who happens to be a Professional Wedding and Events Photographer, Pop Manuel (Check out his wonderful photo collection here!) 

The lens in a flatlay I shot at the Kamarinn Cafe in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.

Shot with Canon 600D + Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. 1/125 sec., ISO100, f/1.8.

There were several lenses to choose from including their nifty-fifty (50mm, f/1.8) which I usually have in the Canon brand but in an EF mount (not compatible to the mirrorless EF-M mount unless bought with an adaptor which can also be Canon or Viltrox, the one which I use now). Simply speaking, let's just say that my 50mm lens was designed just for (some) DSLRs and is not compatible with my new camera, so I had to buy an adaptor. The best in their line-up of prime lenses, with my interest in portraiture and in street photography, is the 35mm f/1.2 (very wide aperture = more background blur/bokeh). The lens is generally designed for mirrorless cameras with an APS-C sensor and with the M6's crop factor, the outcome will in a way be compared to a 50mm f/1.8 lens in cameras with full-frame sensors (if you are used to this kind of camera.)

Newly-unboxed 7artisans 35mm lens.

Shot with Canon M6 + 50mm EF lens. 1/125 sec., ISO800, f/1.8.

Look how small and light it is.

Shot with Canon M6 + 50mm EF lens. 1/125 sec., ISO800, f/1.8.

I immediately tested this after getting it from the mail, and it didn't disappoint. Here are some sample photos:

Learning how to operate the lens is no rocket science. There are somehow complicated procedures in setting up the camera itself to its custom settings when it comes to using third party lenses, but you can look that up in Google the same way I did (because it's my first time to use this type of lens). 

Here are some other photos which might convince you to get the best lens I have in my mirrorless arsenal, so far:

Food Photography

Jami Minaj's Seafood Arroz Caldo.

Shot with Canon M6 + 35mm 7artisans lens. 1/90 sec., ISO1600, f/1.2.

Jami Minaj's Famous Arroz Caldo con Spam and Bagnet.

Shot with Canon M6 + 35mm 7artisans lens. 1/100 sec., ISO800, f/1.2.

Street Photography

The Batac Riverside Empanadaan scene at night.

Shot with Canon M6 + 35mm 7artisans lens. 1/90 sec., ISO800, f/1.2..


Dr. Melvin Medel D. Manuel, head of the Laoag NDRMMC team, my tito Doc.

Shot with Canon M6 + 35mm 7artisans lens. 1/100 sec., ISO800, f/1.4.

Dr. Maria Domingo-Manuel, my grandmother.

Shot with Canon M6 + 35mm 7artisans lens. 1/125 sec., ISO100, f/1.2.

Overall, for me the lens is a 9/10. It's a little less price-y than Canon-made lenses for M-mounts. This costed about 8,990PHP (172USD) online (there are authorized sellers of 7artisans in the Philippines). It is versatile when it comes to portraiture and food and street photography. No problems when it comes to size and weight. The wacky bokeh and the natural lens flares are superb features although sometimes there are minimal distortions. The lens also appears to be very fragile so extra precaution should be observed in both usage and storage. Nevertheless, without any doubt, this lens is my new favorite lens, I could throw the 15-45mm kit lens away (of course I won't).