TTArtisan releases interesting new (and cheap) 100mm f/2.8 “Bubble Bokeh” lens

Aug 8, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

TTArtisan releases interesting new (and cheap) 100mm f/2.8 “Bubble Bokeh” lens

Aug 8, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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When it comes to bokeh, most people typically are on the lookout for smooth, round, creamy bokeh or they want that oval anamorphic look. TTArtisan is taking things in a different direction, though, with their new lens.

It’s the TTArtisan 100mm f/2.8 Bubble Bokeh lens. Yup, bubbles. If you can’t quite imagine that that looks like, there are samples below. It’s an interesting look, if perhaps not desirable for ever session.

YouTube video

TTArtisan 100mm f/2.8 Bubble Bokeh – New, but old

What’s particularly odd about this lens – more so than the bokeh style – is the fact that it’s only being released in an M42 mount. It’s an interesting choice because I can’t recall the last time we saw a company release a new M42 mount lens.

It’s also an interesting choice because you can adapt it to almost anything. The flange distance of M42 is so long that it can mount to just about every mirrorless camera system out there, as well as Canon EF and some other DSLRs. You can mount this to Nikon F bodies, but you need an adapter with a diopter, or you lose infinity focus.

Naturally, this is not an autofocus lens, and there doesn’t appear to be any form of communication between the camera and lens at all. So, your focus distance and lens details won’t be stored in the EXIF data.

It seems practically archaic compared to other current model lenses, even manual focus ones. But it does mean that it’s an extremely simple lens with very few things that can go wrong. It also means it’s very inexpensive.

Do you desire bubble bokeh?

The bubble bokeh shown in the sample photos is quite interesting. It certainly has a vibe and gives off a specific mood for the image. At least, it does for me. I can certainly see times when I might use this lens on a shoot. That being said, it’s not a look I’d want to bring with me on every session.

Have a look for yourself, what do you think?

It certainly doesn’t work for all situations, and there seems to be some variance to the look based on a combination of focus distance, subject distance and aperture setting.

TTArtisan 100mm f/2.8 Bubble Bokeh Specs

Focal length100mm
FormatFull-Frame
MountM42, Leica M
Focus typeManual focus
Max aperturef/2.8
Min aperturef/22
Min focus distance90cm
Max magnificationUnspecified
Optics3 elements in 3 groups
Aperture blades13
Filter diameter49mm
DimensionsUnspecified
Weight~307g

It is a rather interesting lens, and it’s cheap enough that I’m actually half tempted to pick one of these up to play with on my Zenit TTL or Praktica Super TL1000 with a couple of rolls of Ilford FP4+. Hey, first new native mount lens for those cameras in a long time, so why not?

A mini open letter to adapter companies

As an aside, I really hope this is the start of a new trend for M42 making a comeback. It’d be nice to see some good adapters from the big brands like Viltrox, Fotodiox, etc. that show some more love to M42. As an example, Viltrox F and EF mount adapters to Micro Four Thirds are excellent. They’re 0.71x speed boosters with infinity diopter adjustments. I’ve yet to find this capability and level of build quality in an M42 adapter from any brand.

Most have too much wobble and wiggle and you end up going from M42 to Canon EF and then Canon EF to Micro Four Thirds to get a solid connection. But then you’re stacking adapters, potentially introducing even more slop into the connection.

So yes, adapter manufacturers… Please start showing M42 some love. Even if it’s not making a comeback with new manual focus lenses, there are plenty of amazing older M42 lenses still out there. Plenty enough for at least one of you to create a modern adapter with good tolerances for a more solid fit.

Price and Availability

The TTArtisan 100mm f/2.8 Bubble Bokeh lens is available to buy now for $183 in M42 mount. To use it on other camera systems, you’ll need some form of adapter.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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