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