Images from Ethiopia with the 7artisans 28mm f/1.4 on a Leica M9 by fiftyasa

Images from Ethiopia with the 7artisans 28mm f/1.4 on a Leica M9
by fiftyasa

I just came back from a short trip to Southern Ethiopia where I shot some images using the new 7artisans 28mm f/1.4, also known as “the 28mm Summilux alternative at 1/10 of the price”. I send you some simple pictures hoping to help others in their buying decision. I find the lens extremely sharp from f/2 to f/8 and with a beautiful bokeh. The major drawback I see in real life images is the tendency to flare a lot. A lens hood is probably a must-have here.

My on-going review of the lens is available here:

If someone wants to see more of my work, s/he can follow me on:

The portraits here below are of the Nyangatom people, a semi-nomadic tribe living between Ethiopia and South Sudan. The market scene is taken in Turmi (Ethiopia) and portraits some Hamer people. Some editing + BW conversion done in capture one.


  1. Steve, do you think it will work well on Sony A7II with it’s sensor? I really like the pictures with Leica camera but I don’t have Leica.

      • Thank you fifityasa. I have the adapter m to sony, so that’s good. What about the corner? Any smearing issue? How is the sharpness in the corners with sony thick sensor?

    • I use it on my a7r3 together with techart pro. Works really good. Was looking for a cheap alternative to 24gm. Good thing about the tap: you can focus down to 20 cm. I have version 2 of the lens without the flare wide open. Sharpness is really good at 1.4, superb at f2. I use the original hood which makes it look like a real leica lens.

  2. Nothing a 28 Elmarit couldn’t do at 1/3rd the weight. OK, the bokeh wouldn’t the same but hauling that half-kilo Sino-Beast in the middle of nowheresville ain’t my idea of a good time.

    • At f2.8 and f4, provided the subject is close, the elmarit asph is nothing to be sniffed at bokeh wise, producing close / similar bokeh to the 7Artisan 28/1.4 at those apertures. In my opinion, it is very good for a slow lens. Everything else favours the Elmarit – fast focus throw, almost weightlness and very compact. But the Elmarit is 2 stops short at times when you need it. I have both lenses. My view is to use the Elmarit for 80-90% of the time, and have the 28/1.4 in the bag for times when one needs to shoot wide or near wide open, or when there isn’t enough light to hand hold at f2.8 (this depends on generation of M camera – less relevant with the M10, compared to the M240 and the M9).

    • I don’t think it is fair to compare weight a dimensions of an f1.4 lens with an f2.8 lens… You might want to compare the weight and dimensions of the 7artisans 28 f1.4 with the ones of Leica Summilux 28mm f1.4. And you will see that these 2 lenses have an almost identical weight. Moreover, no one looking for a fast aperture 28mm would ever consider the Elmarit. If you need *fast* aperture, the Elmarit is simply not an option! If you are on a budget you will consider (in addition to the 7artisans) some Voigtlaender glasses (I guess the fastest is f1.9). If budget is no concern, I believe you’ll jump straight to the Summilux 28.

    • Well, wasting time in reading comments from people who neither know the differences between f/1.4- and f/2.8-lenses, nor the meaning of the term bokeh, ain’t my idea of a good time …

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  4. You prove Cappa
    “If your photos aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough” – Robert Capa. …
    Your shots are good!

  5. Beautiful photos. I have a couple of related questions I would like to get your opinion on. Down the road I plan on getting an M10. I had one on loan from Leica last summer and love it. I currently shoot a CL, but I’d like to start getting lenses for the M10. So if I were to buy an adapter to use M-mount lenses on my CL, would you recommend I stick with the Leica adapter, or do you have an off-brand (cheaper) recommendation?

    The second question, do you have recommendations for non-Leica alternative lenses for the CL, that are still good quality? (maybe an article on “top 10 Leica CL alternative lenses”)

    • I have tried 3 adapters and found the Leica one to be well worth the investment. It’s perfect. rock solid, has no play at all (others do a little) and while expensive, I found it to be well worth it and it’s the only adapter I would buy for M to L adapters.

    • You need the real Leica adapter for the CL if u want to use all the manual focus features like reading and
      choosing lens profiles, auto focus magnification etc. I found this out by using the Leica adapter and non Leica brand adapters.

      • That’s a great point Jamie. The 7A 50 also would not work on the Leica CL (digital) that I tried due to mechanical interference.

  6. I’ve bought this for my M9. Yes it is big (not so much bigger than my 50lux) but man it is really sharp and the colour & rendering is really nice on the M9. Def recommend.

  7. Terrific shots of a very different culture than here in the US. Thanks. A couple of questions… does the aperture ring have click stops or does it rotate freely? Did you set the lens profile manually on the M9 to the profile for the 28 Summilux (if that’s even available)?

    • Thanks. Yes, it has click stops (full f-stop clicks). Maybe a bit uncomfortable at the beginning is the fact that the distance between f-stop decreases from f/1.4 to f/11. On my other lenses the distance between f/stops is constant.

      I code the lens as Summilux 28 (with a sharpie). In my blog (see link above) I elaborate on the topic.

      Hope this helps

      • Great photo’s. Could you explain how you coded it by hand? Looking forward to reading more on this lens from you. I had it for a few days and I had some shots were the colour was of in peoples faces, like it glowed strangely, harsh, digital… Could have just been the situation. ANother strange thing was that whn I checked it for focus it was ok, infinity however was not…

        • Some people cut a paper template with holes that can be filled with black matte ink (no need to code the whites). You can find instructions online. I just use a pencil to mark the positions of the 6-bit code sensors, first on the camera metal ring then on the lens. Finally I fill these positions with a black sharpie where needed. It takes 60 seconds and always works. If not clear, just PM me.

        • Adjust the focus ring very slightly (you should hardly see any movement as you adjust) until infinity lines up. Mid and closer (but not very close 0.7m to 1m) will correct. I find that the setting varies slightly between M9 and Monochrom Henri (CCD) bodies and M240 body. All 3 bodies that I own are 100% correct with Leica lenses, but with 7Artisans, you will need to have it adjusted for the specific generation of body – earlier CCD, or later CMOS. Why – I dont’ know!.

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