3 Metal Lenses With Beautiful Image Quality

Very few things make us swoon like metal lenses. If it’s not the way that they feel in the hand, it’s the experience of turning a focusing ring to get something in focus. What’s more, they’re typically built incredibly well. So we’re sharing our love of metal lenses with you folks and recommending a few that we think you’ll truly appreciate.

We hate banner ads too. Download our app for iOS, iPad, and Android and get no banner ads for $24.99/year.

Pro Tips on Using Metal Lenses

If you’re a photographer that likes metal lenses or is considering one, here are some tips on using this guide:

  • Our staff has reviewed all of the metal lenses in this round up. In fact, we’ve also shot all the product and sample images. For more, you can check out the hyperlinked reviews in each section.
  • Metal lenses are fantastic not only for their build quality, but also with how they feel.
  • Some of the metal lenses in this roundup are manual focus, but one has autofocus.
  • We’re not selecting just any metal lens. These have pretty unique image quality and character to them. Meyer Optik in particular really stands out!

7Artisans 35mm f2

Pros

  • Full-aperture stops only
  • Sharp images
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Small and lightweight
  • Metal body

Cons

  • Nothing really, except that it’s not Leica’s quality, Zeiss’s quality or Voigtlander’s quality. But it’s still very good.

How’s the Image Quality?

In our review, we state:

“The bokeh from the 7Artisans 35mm f2 is very nice to my eyes. It’s not what the f1.4 lenses that I’ve tested have, but it’s still very beautiful in its own way. This is partially due to the design and how subjects tend to bloom with light if they’re backlit. If you love bokeh, then you’re not going to really complain. Instead, you’re going to be more thrilled that you’ve got an affordable lens that can give you solid quality.”

Buy Now

Meyer Optik 58mm f1.9 II

Pros

  • Beautiful bokeh
  • The sharpest Meyer Optik lens I’ve used
  • Just a bit too sharp for portraits, but that’s fine in many cases
  • Smooth focusing
  • Large focusing range
  • I love manual focus lenses because they slow you down
  • Beautiful colors on the Sony a7r III

Cons

  • Lacks weather sealing
  • Lacks contacts for AF/AE communication
  • Really only sharp around the four points of the rule of thirds intersection.

How’s the Image Quality?

In our review, we state:

“The Meyer Optik 58mm f1.9 II doesn’t have the soap bubble look for sure. But, its swirly bokeh is pretty beautiful. This is pretty fascinating, actually. I found that the in-focus areas aren’t swirly, but the out-of-focus areas have swirly bokeh. With many other lenses, they’ll just make the outer area go swirly and only keep the center sharp. That’s not the case here.”

Buy Now

Leica 28mm f2 SL

Pros

  • The fastest autofocusing Leica lens we’ve used to date.
  • Great colors
  • Keeps distortion down
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Does a nice job with portraiture

Cons

  • I’m still not totally sure that I’d use it for street photography.
  • For a 28mm f2 lens, this is pretty large, but we can sort of understand that, considering the elements inside the lens.
  • It’s about time that Leica starts working with a third-party flash company to take full advantage of what this lens can offer buyers.

How’s the Image Quality?

In our review, we state:

“This is a 28mm f2 lens. So, by all means, the bokeh is delicious due to the closer focusing. However, I still want more as I think this is good but not incredibly fantastic. To date, there also are no 28mm f1.4 lenses for contemporary mirrorless cameras. Considering this, the bokeh is still wonderful for a mirrorless camera. When a 28mm f1.4 hits the market, things are going to change.”

Buy Now

The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.