TTArtisan Tilt 50mm F1.4 review

The TTArtisan Tilt 50mm F1.4 isn’t the sharpest tool in the box, but that’s not really the point

TTArtisan Tilt 50mm F1.4
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

There are times when blur is more important than outright sharpness. As a tilt lens, this TTArtisan can reduce the effective depth of field to a tiny amount, giving that classic ‘toy camera’ effect. At the other end of the scale it can give you a virtually infinite depth of field for keeping everything sharp from close foreground areas to the distant horizon, for objects that are in the tilted plane of focus. Sharpness itself is pretty mediocre and there’s noticeable color fringing and barrel distortion, but this fully manual lens is nevertheless enormously versatile. Considering that it only costs about a tenth of the price of up-market tilt & shift (or perspective control) lenses, it’s a good buy at the price.


  • +

    +/-8 degrees tilt

  • +

    0-90 degree rotation

  • +

    Fast f/1.4 aperture


  • -

    Tilt only, no shift

  • -

    Mediocre sharpness

  • -

    Fully manual, no electronics

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As a ‘tilt’ lens, the TTArtisan Tilt 50mm F1.4 is designed so that you can literally tilt the axis of the optical path relative to the image sensor in the host camera. So what’s the big deal? In short, it gives you enormous control over the depth of field, irrespective of the focal length of the lens or the aperture setting.

On one hand, you can tilt the plane of focus in the same direction as the subject, to create a huge depth of field for keeping very close areas and a distant background simultaneously sharp, even when using a wide aperture. On the other, you can apply shift in the opposite direction to keep one small area in sharp, while throwing the rest of the scene out of focus to create a ‘toy camera’ effect.

Many top-notch ‘perspective control’ lenses offer both tilt and shift functions. The latter is useful for correcting perspective effects, for example keeping uprights parallel in architectural photography, so that buildings don’t appear to lean inwards towards the top. This TTArtisan lens is more of a single-function optic, with just a tilt facility, opposite to the way the Laowa FF S 20mm F4.0 C-Dreamer offers shift without tilt. It’s a full-frame compatible lens and is currently available in Sony E and Leica L mount options, the latter enabling native use with Panasonic and Sigma mirrorless cameras.


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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.