Review: TTArtisan 27mm F/2.8 — A Cheap Fujinon Alternative

TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 on a Fujifilm X-T5

The Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR is my favorite lens for Fujifilm cameras. The problem is that it’s also my wife’s favorite lens, and between the two of us we only have one copy. When she’s using it, I typically go with the Fujinon 35mm f/2 instead, which is a really good lens, too, but I like the 27mm just a bit better. The other problem is that the 35mm lens, while small, is bigger than my 27mm pancake, and it doesn’t fit into my travel camera bag (I have it set up where my Fujifilm X100V and Fujifilm X-E4 with the 27mm fit really nicely into a little camera bag—the 35mm lens is just a tad too big). When TTArtisan recently announced their inexpensive 27mm f/2.8 autofocus pancake lens, I thought maybe this could be a good solution to my problem.

The TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 feels well built. There’s mostly metal in the construction, and at 0.2 pounds, it’s definitely lightweight. It has an aperture ring, with f-stops from f/2.8 to f/16, and third-stop clicks in-between. It has 6 elements in 5 groups, and 7 diaphragm blades. 27mm is full-frame equivalent to 40.5mm, and is pretty close to what they eyes see. The minimum focus distance is about 13.5 inches. It accepts 39mm threaded filters—the lens came with a tiny hood that screws into the threads. The rear cap has a USB dock for firmware updates. Overall, the lens looks and feels pretty good.

TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 on a Fujifilm X-T5

I really like the manual focus ring. It has the right amount of give, and the amount of focus change per turn is great. I like this lens better as manual-focus than autofocus. Why? Autofocus is loud and slow. Fujifilm’s 27mm isn’t their quickest or quietest, but the TTArtisan is noticeably noisier and slower (I tried it on an X-T5 and X-E4 with the same result on both). It reminds me a lot of Fujifilm’s 18mm f/2 pancake. I said of that lens, “Autofocus is the slowest I’ve experienced in a Fujinon model, outside of macro lenses that have a long range to cycle through. It’s also the loudest.” The TTArtisan’s autofocus performs very similarly. My wife has been around cameras and lenses nearly as much as I have—she shoots with a Fujifilm X-T4. A couple days ago I was playing around with the TTArtisan 27mm and she happened to be nearby, and she asked, “What’s that noise?” I answered, “This new lens, it’s trying to focus.” Her response was, “I’m sorry.” Maybe I just got a bum copy, or maybe they’re all that way—either way, it was a bit disappointing, but not completely unexpected for cheap gear.

The other aspect of the TTArtisan 27mm that’s similar to the Fujinon 18mm is size, as they’re pretty close to the same dimensions—the TTArtisan is just barely smaller. I said in my review of the 18mm, “Whereas the 27mm is a true pancake, the 18mm f/2 is only sort-of one, as it’s a little on the large size for this category. Think of it more of a Japanese pancake than an American flapjack, or maybe it’s a short stack.” It’s definitely smaller than the 35mm f/2, though, and it passed the fit-test in my travel bag. So when my wife is using the Fujinon 27mm, I can choose to attach the TTArtisan 27mm or the Fujinon 18mm to my X-E4, and it will still fit alongside my X100V.

What about image quality? There’s some strong vignetting that never fully goes away—by f/8 it’s extraordinarily minimal, but at f/2.8 it’s very pronounced. You can use the vignetting creatively, or stop down… it’s not too bad at f/4, and definitely not a big deal by f/5.6. It’s pretty sharp in the center at all apertures, but a little soft in the corners wide-open. I think the lens is optically best at around f/8, but certainly acceptably good at all apertures—even f/2.8. Bokeh (which is the quality of the out-of-focus areas of an image and an overrated aspect of image quality) is alright—not bad, but not my favorite, either; can be slightly “swirly” at f/2.8 when close-focusing. I didn’t notice chromatic aberrations or anything like that, but it might be because the camera is fixing it automatically. There is some noticeable barrel distortion. Lens flare is mostly well controlled, and sometimes kind of interesting (I’ve yet to decide if I like it or not). Overall, image quality from the TTArtisans 27mm isn’t as good as the Fujinon 27mm, but still pretty good.

Hanging Garden Light – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/3.2 – Upcoming recipe

The TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 is only $160, which is an extremely good price. If the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 is out of your budget or you’re having a difficult time finding a copy, this is a pretty good alternative. If you can afford the Fujinon model, I recommend that instead because it’s better; however, the TTArtisan is pretty good yet very affordable. For those on a tight budget, I don’t think you’ll find a better pancake lens for your Fujifilm camera.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 Autofocus  Amazon

Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR   Amazon   B&H

Example photos, captured with the TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 lens, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs:

Early Morning Lamp – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @ f/2.8 – “Superia Xtra 400
Night Blossoms – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/2.8 – “Superia Xtra 400”
Autumn Leaves on a Green Bush – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/4 – “Nostalgia Negative
Lemon Bowl – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/4 – “Superia Xtra 400”
Dark Coffee – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/2.8 – “Timeless Negative
Western Boots – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/2.8 – “Superia Xtra 400”
Cowgirl Boots – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/2.8 – “Kodak Tri-X 400
Illuminated Branch – Buckeye, AZ Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/5.6 – “Pacific Blues
Rose in the Garden – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/5.6 – Upcoming Recipe
Afternoon Bougainvillea – Bcukeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/4 – “Pacific Blues”
Blue Sky Bougainvillea Blossom – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/6.4 – Upcoming recipe

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18 comments

  1. Albert Smith · December 2

    The Fujifilm XF 27mm is on my cameras more than any other for general photography, and I have a dozen XF lenses, so that’s saying something. My fear is that it gets lost or stolen because while I could eat the cost of a new lens, finding one has been almost impossible for some time.

    FWIW, if you really like the Fuji, 27mm, take a look at the Square Hood brand hood that they designed for this lens. It looks great and actually adds flare resistance from oblique light and physical protection for the front element. It is expensive, but now I can’t imagine not having it.

    This TT Artisans lens might become a best seller simply based on its availability. It’s nice to have options and choices.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · December 5

      I think you are right. Do you hunt and hope to find a Fujinon 27mm, or do you get the available-right-now TTArtisan? I bet many go with TTArtisan for that reason alone. Thanks for the input and hood suggestion!

      Like

  2. Francis.R. · December 3

    Maybe in part due the recipes but I think there is a nice vintage rendering. Not clinical, and not digitally corrected, maybe not even digitally designed? and the apparent lack of contrast maybe due to not advanced coatings, overall it is a very good lens which is in your extraordinary hands : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · December 5

      Yeah, the coatings are great… it’s difficult to achieve lens flare… of course I like some good lens flare sometimes. I think the vignetting and maybe occasional swirly bokeh lend to some of that vintage-rendering. Thanks so much for your kind input!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Alan 14 · December 4

    Hi!
    This comment is directed to fujixweekly.

    A few days ago I received my TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8

    Of course I have taken pictures with it in visible wavelength it is great for its price/quality ratio but, beware! I am an infrared shooter, you cannot even imagine the sensations and quality that this lens transmits to you at wavelengths of 590 and 720 nanometers on bodies converted to IR!
    I won’t say any more but it’s pretty impressive to come from where it’s made.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · December 5

      Oh, awesome! Not all lenses are good for IR, so it’s great when one is especially good. Thanks for the tip!

      Like

      • Alan 14 · December 6

        Hi Ritchie!

        Thanks for your answer.
        Since I’ve only had my TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 for a few days, I haven’t been able to do a rigorous review of it yet, but I will.
        As I have told you, I have taken some first visible wave photographs and I am pleasantly satisfied despite the vignetting at wide apertures, although the autofocus is good and silent, and I am also doing IR tests at 720 and 590 nanometers and the results are Despite being almost winter, they promise great performance, especially at f8 and f5.6 apertures. My other surprise with this lens is that it behaves differently if you’re shooting at 720nm. or, 590nm. I had not found this situation in any other lens and, I assure you, I have tried many lenses from different manufacturers. That is why it makes it unique in IR.
        I also tell you that the “hot spot” is practically ruled out in both wavelengths.

        In the last four years, in addition to other techniques, I have been shooting in IR and, in the end, I have created a book about this technique that has just been published in spanish, and I am proud that it has been the first in history in published in my language, spanish. In case you didn’t know, I am Spanish and I live in Spain.

        I also have a gallery on Flickr, if you want to visit it here you have it, you can also see the cover of the book and a detailed English text of its content:

        Libro Infrarrojo / Infrared Book

        Alright Ritchie, a big hello to you.
        Ginés

        Like

      • Ritchie Roesch · December 6

        Wow, that’s amazing! Thank you for sharing! Can the book be purchased somewhere?

        Like

      • Alan 14 · December 6

        Yes, it is already for sale in Spain in many places and, as soon as it is also on Amazon, I will tell you about it, yes, for the moment in Spanish, later without a specific date in English.

        All the best
        Ginés

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · December 6

        Definitely let me know when it’s available 😀

        Like

  4. Pasha Calabasha · December 4

    Hey Ritchie! Love reading your page and looking at reviews of this lens (I bought it as well, so I like seeing what others think of it).

    My copy focuses pretty fast and almost doesn’t make any noise at all, and that’s more in line with what I’ve read in other places. It could be that you got a bad copy in that respect, but I agree with everything else you said.

    Also curious if you’ll do more reviews on cheap lenses like the TTArtisan ones. They’re basically all I use now, and I really love seeing other people’s pictures and opinions of gear I have.

    Have a great end of year, and thanks for the great work all these years with the film sims 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · December 5

      Since publishing this, I’ve had a few people tell me that their copy is quick and silent. I’ve had one person say that theirs is like mine. I’ve had two people tell me that their copy didn’t focus at all and had to be returned. Seems to be a quality-control issue of some sort. You got lucky, I got unlucky, I suppose.

      I do occasionally pick up these cheap third-party lenses. They’re fun and often have character. I more often go the vintage route, though. But maybe I’ll pick up another one or two lenses and see how they do.

      Like

  5. Jerry · December 5

    Thanks for all your hard work to give us your amazing recipes. My experience with the TTartisan 27mm 2.8 is a bit different from yours. On my XPro 2, XT1, and XH 1, I hear no focus noise. In addition , it seems to me to be as fast focusing as my F2 Fuji lenses. Thanks again for all you do for us. Cheers

    Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · December 5

      Since publishing this, I’ve had a few people tell me that their copy is quick and silent. I’ve had one person say that theirs is like mine. I’ve had two people tell me that their copy didn’t focus at all and had to be returned. Seems to be a quality-control issue of some sort. You got lucky, I got unlucky, I suppose. Thanks for the feedback!

      Like

  6. theBitterFig · December 5

    Got mt TTA 27 about two weeks ago, and I really like it. It’s got a very vintage-lens character with the dark corners and catseye, but is small, quick, and convenient like any other modern lens. I wish there was more texture to the underside of the aperture ring instead of just two little ears, but that’s about the only thing in handling that bothers me.

    Mostly, I love the swirl it offers. Night Blossoms above shows it, and I’m sure Rose in the Garden would have, if f/2.8 and not f/5.6. Maybe it’s not to everyone’s taste, and I’m glad my Fuji 35/2 is a nice clean modern lens, but I think this is also a lot of fun to use.

    My hope for an upcoming TTArtisan lens? A 40mm f/2 with a Biotar design, like the old 58mm Zeiss Jena and Helios 44s. Seeing a company really lean into flawed but interesting optical designs, with all the perks of modern AF and handling, would be fantastic, and probably a successful niche in the lens market.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · December 5

      I like the vignetting for some pictures, but it’s a little too strong for me much of the time at f/2.8. I prefer f/4-f/8 with this lens. Unfortunately, that swirly bokeh doesn’t happen at those apertures. With that said, it’s seems like a decent quality lens at a very affordable price with some good character… but most important in my opinion, it is another pancake option, as their just aren’t enough of those. Fuji X is the perfect system for pancake offerings, but there aren’t many for some reason.

      I would like to see TTArtisan try their hands at another pancake, but a different focal-length… maybe 23mm or 40mm?

      Like

  7. Jh · December 5

    I’ve had 2, the first was out of focus on the left side, but the focus was very smooth. My current on is sharp across the frame, but the focus is a bit jumpy. Gona stick with this one. Personally, i find this lens more interesting (rendering) than the fuji 27 and linked to a sim its really great. Might be just me? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · December 5

      That’s crazy… two copies, and both had issues. I hope they’re able to tighten things up a bit. I appreciate the input! 😀

      Like

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