We tend to hear about a lot of funky (some might even say strange) lenses from Chinese brands, but this is one of the craziest lenses we've heard about in a while.
The Chinese lens manufacturer 7Artisans has shared two new lenses across its social media accounts. The first is a 12mm T2.9 APS-C cine lens with traditional 0.8 grooves for your wireless follow focus system. It looks like a nice lens, and I am sure many will try it due to its wide field of view, and being a 7Artisians lens it's probably reasonably cheap compared to market equivalents.
However, we are not here to talk about that lens: we are here to talk about the craziest thing I have seen in a while, a 4mm f/2.8 "drone lens" that can fit on a full-frame camera. Yes, you read that right: a 4mm lens that appears to come in E-mount, Micro Four Thirds, FX and EOS-M mount, making this potentially the widest lens… in the world.
Jeremey Clarkson impressions aside, what's also unusual about this lens is that 7Artisans is calling it a drone lens but it's mounted onto cameras – yet in an advert online, it is shown to be attached to a Zenmuse camera system on what looks to be a DJI Inspire 2.
It should be pointed out that this is a crop sensor lens, designed for APS-C and MFT sensors (where it would be a 6mm (or 6.4mm on Canonn EF-M) or 8mm equivalent, respectively), and if it's mounted on a Zenmuse then it's designed for Super35mm sensors too (again a 6mm equivalent). The question then presents itself, though: why would you ever want something so wide on your drone, or on any camera for that matter?
The current range of DJI DL-mount lenses ranges from 16mm f/2.8 to 50mm f/2.8, which is a very wide range already, but there is a massive difference between 16mm and 6mm. In fact, I would think even though the Zenmuse system is suspended on the undercarriage of the Inspire series from DJI, that putting this 6mm equivalent lens would certainly get part of the aircraft in the frame, being so wide!
I could be wrong but, personally, I am really struggling to see this drone lens taking off, pun intended. To be able to use it to your advantage would require a real niche set of requirements while filming. Indoor could be one of them, I will give 7Artisans that, but outdoors I can't see this lens being practical at all.
Outside the realm of drones it's not the widest lens we've ever seen; there's even a Micro Four Thirds competitor, the Laowa 4mm f/2.8 Fisheye, that carries the exact same specs. Still not a whole lot of practical applications are coming to mind, but your usage may vary.
One thing is for certain: it is great to see this lesser-known lens manufacturer pushing the envelope of lens design, and maybe practicality, offering something unique to an otherwise flooded market.