Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8

85mm is a focal length that is perfect for portraits and making a good 85mm lens is not that hard. The Batis is a great lens, sharper than the sony 55mm 1.8 and quicker on the AF as well. It renders out of focus areas really nicely. This lens should be a must have for any portrait shooter, although be prepared to use some blur for beauty portraits as it can be so sharp as to be unflattering.

Colour is amazing as is the way it handles flare, a beautiful lens with a character and style all its own. It reminds me a little of the Noctilux on the A7 but with much better results. we don’t really have to mention the build quality too much, like the 25mm it is spot on.

Having shot the Leica M240 with similar focal lengths it still amazes me how Zeiss/Sony can deliver such advanced cameras and lenses for the price. When you compare the Leica M240 to the Sony A7 and the end result using Zeiss lenses you would save your money and go with the A7 any day of the week.

The future of photography is not more $600 DSLR twin kits, its high quality optics and innovative bodies that really show the world the benefits of shooting a camera over an iPhone. I have said it over and over again- if you are not innovating then you are not in business. So who is innovating and delivering amazing product at the moment? Its not the two brands who should. The reason? think about it, if you had millions of dollars tied up in one technology that was delivering you market share and profit why would you change? Unfortunately the diminishing returns from the business mean that the R&D needed to bring new product to market becomes less and less affordable, especially if you have DSLR as your major income stream. Eventually there will come a time when the market has shifted and left you behind.

When will that be? Who knows but its coming thats for sure- its inevitable that there will be some more casualties.

When you look at the A7 lens options in dedicated FE mount you now have some brilliant glass between Zeiss and Sony, to the point where it is now a serious contender to replace the 5D as my new workhorse. I find with the bigger lens its a good idea to add the battery grip and it also helps when turning up to jobs as it give the camera a bit of “pro cred” that keeps clients happy. I would rather shoot all day with an A7 and the Batis than lug the 5D and equivalent L series glass, the weight difference is amazing.

I have only a short time to bang off a few shots but check out todays below-

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Zeiss 25mm Batis Lens

There are lenses and then there are Zeiss lenses. If you have an E Mount camera you need to buy this lens, in fact go now to your local camera store and order one because you don’t want to live your life without owning this piece of glass. Here are the points you need to know-

  1. Its sharp, from wide open to closed down.
  2. Its fast, AF is spot on.
  3. Its pretty, the design is amazing as is the feel of the lens.
  4. Its tonal range is amazing, I don’t know what the germans do but they make lenses which seem to have sharpness and tonal range.

Nikon and Canon really need to take a good look at themselves in terms of making lenses that perform well. the closest I have seen to this kind of performance is the Sigma Art lenses and some of the Leica glass (although the Leica lenses are hit and miss on the E Mount).

I think Zeiss is building lenses that will be sought after classics and have nailed it in just about every aspect, even the LCD display is a great idea. would be good it the LCD showed the f stop you were at when you glanced down, that would be cool.

I ran around today on the way to see a customer as I don’t have these babies for long, we are presenting these at SMPTE next week so if you are in the Moore Park area come and see them.

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The Twenty Dollar Bellows

A while ago I picked up an almost new Minolta MD macro bellows set including the slide copier.

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Already having a twelve dollar e mount adapter I stuck it on my MD Macro lens and my A7 and the result was a fifty dollar twenty four million pixel scanner-

Ilford HP5 scanned with the Sony A7 and the Minolta Macro- not bad.
Ilford HP5 scanned with the Sony A7 and the Minolta Macro- not bad.
The A7 seems to capture the grain of the film but not as full on as a normal scanner
The A7 seems to capture the grain of the film but not as full on as a normal scanner
You can adjust exposure in the capture, great control and the electronic viewfinder of the A7 makes it easy.
You can adjust exposure in the capture, great control and the electronic viewfinder of the A7 makes it easy.
Now all I need to do is rig up a 120 format adapter.
Now all I need to do is rig up a 120 format adapter.

Not only can you copy film but you can do macro work as well-

Portrait of a tiny Dr Who figure
Portrait of a tiny Dr Who figure
The centre of a tiny leaf, converted to black and white
The centre of a tiny leaf, converted to black and white