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Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)
  
 
philip_pj
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p.16 #1 · p.16 #1 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


All are truly great, I agree and all would satisfy the most demanding buyer; what a time to be a photographer. Re the 135/2 APO, the point I clumsily tried making is that fine detail is suppressed intentionally as f2 cannot be the same as f2.8 (the difference is very large excepting 10 lpmm, again a design goal), and that the newer Zeiss telephotos are an entirely new breed of lens that trades a faster aperture for maximum image quality at *all* levels of detail wide open, not just at lower spatial frequencies. It's a new direction.

I suppose the message we see so often is that 'faster = better', and it ain't necessarily so, and there are these significant trade-offs involved. On MTF, since sharpness matters MTF matters, on this I agree with Lloyd. So many lens comparisons feature detail-dependent imagery: buildings, distant foliage, etc. Variation and focus accuracy are more or less constants with the better lenses, or at least we can hope so. Good shooting with the GFX! cheers.



May 19, 2017 at 06:24 AM
DavidBM
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p.16 #2 · p.16 #2 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


philip_pj wrote:
All are truly great, I agree and all would satisfy the most demanding buyer; what a time to be a photographer. Re the 135/2 APO, the point I clumsily tried making is that fine detail is suppressed intentionally as f2 cannot be the same as f2.8 (the difference is very large excepting 10 lpmm, again a design goal), and that the newer Zeiss telephotos are an entirely new breed of lens that trades a faster aperture for maximum image quality at *all* levels of detail wide open, not just at lower spatial frequencies. It's a new direction.

I suppose the message
...Show more

I don't think Steve was saying that either sharpness nor MTF don't matter; rather he was saying that with lenses of this level they have such good MTF that differences between them are very hard to see in final images (and not that easy to see at 1:1) even if they are real (and further made the point that the differences between the models on average is likely less than variation between samples of the same model). Thus in choosing between these particular lenses MTF is of lower concern than other factors.



May 19, 2017 at 06:39 AM
jhinkey
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p.16 #3 · p.16 #3 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


philip_pj wrote:
As with others of its ilk, the 135/2 APO really gives you traditional 'softish' f2 performance for portraits and close work; but it won't match the Batis with both at f2.8 (not even close) and adds outer frame curvature and astigmatism. The 135/2 APO then makes a surprising comeback at smaller apertures and is actually a smidgen better by f4-f5.6 (where both peak).

The Leica is not quite at this level, unfortunately. It's also just a few mms shorter than B135, with adapter added. Working from the Leica 135/3.4 to B135 the arithmetic goes like this: add a half stop,
...Show more

Hmm . . you must have a different copy of the 135/2 APO - I find nothing soft at all @f/2 for close-up portrait work. I also find that it's great at 36MP or 42.5MP across the frame from close in to infinity.

Also don't forget the lens size/dimension differences (it's not just about weight for some of us) - at any weight if it can't fit in the bag along with other lenses/gear it may not make the trip. There's also the issue for me is the size of the lens on the camera when in use - if it's bulky in size (particularly length) then it tends to stay in the bag for candid situations.

Still, it's great to have 3 excellent choices at 135mm.

Just like having three excellent choices at 85mm (85/4 ZM, 85/2.4 Lox, and 85/1.8 Sony).

J




May 19, 2017 at 04:51 PM
GMPhotography
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p.16 #4 · p.16 #4 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


John off topic but did you find a good Sony 85 1.8


May 19, 2017 at 04:53 PM
jhinkey
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p.16 #5 · p.16 #5 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


GMPhotography wrote:
John off topic but did you find a good Sony 85 1.8


I would say I found an acceptable copy - this copy has relatively even sharpness across the frame (i.e., all four corners have roughly the same level of sharpness (or lack of it)). It appears to not be as sharp across the frame as your copy, but in actual use it's shown itself to be sharp enough when I nail the focus.

This will not be my landscape 85mm (85 ZM or 85 Lox will be that lens), but rather my low light candid 85mm. It may be my travel 85mm if I have enough room in the bag for it.



May 19, 2017 at 05:35 PM
jhinkey
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p.16 #6 · p.16 #6 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


I'll add that I've used it a lot for candid shots during my daughter's volleyball matches - not action shots, but candid shots in-between the action, during time outs, etc. The central 2/3rds of the frame is excellent for sharpness wide open at 5 to 10 meter distances (if focused accurately that is, which is my downfall at times through user error).

If I do want to capture an action shot I find I need to pre-focus to a particular spot, then wait for the action to be there. The AF is just not nearly fast enough for true sports action.



May 19, 2017 at 05:44 PM
Sirfishalot
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p.16 #7 · p.16 #7 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


Tried the Batis 135 at my local shop today. I was impressed with the size (same diameter as the 85) and the light weight. What was much less than impressive though was the focus. Couldn't believe how much it was hunting. I think my 135L w/ Metabones might perform better. Maybe their copy has issues or that the subject was heavily backlit. When aiming at more normally lit subjects it didn't seem to have any problems.

[Edit] Included is the image that was causing AF to struggle. I'll have to say that sharpness is outstanding though when it did nail focus. Now I'm also noticing a slight bit of CA though too.

JayT







May 21, 2017 at 04:27 AM
DavidBM
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p.16 #8 · p.16 #8 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


Anyone who is interested in the relative bokeh of distant backgrounds with f2 and f2.8, here is a pair of portraits one with the APO Sonnar (ZF2) at f2, and the other with the Batis at f2.8. The Batis is superb wide open, so there is no temptation to stop down.

FWIW my take is yes, the F2 is noticeably nicer. But not overwhelmingly. But maybe enough for me to keep it rather than sell. But it will never travel with me, and nor would a 2.8 70-200 if I had one, so the Batis earns its keep.

The other thing is that the slight extra DOF of f2.8 is, IMHO, preferable on the actual person rather than the background...












May 22, 2017 at 04:34 AM
nampramos
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p.16 #9 · p.16 #9 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


Agree. It does look better on the subject the slower lens.


One question: does anyone know what the magnification ratio of the Batis 135 is on APS-C camera/crop mode?

Thanks!



May 22, 2017 at 05:37 PM
LBJ2
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p.16 #10 · p.16 #10 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


DavidBM wrote:
Anyone who is interested in the relative bokeh of distant backgrounds with f2 and f2.8, here is a pair of portraits one with the APO Sonnar (ZF2) at f2, and the other with the Batis at f2.8. The Batis is superb wide open, so there is no temptation to stop down.

FWIW my take is yes, the F2 is noticeably nicer. But not overwhelmingly. But maybe enough for me to keep it rather than sell. But it will never travel with me, and nor would a 2.8 70-200 if I had one, so the Batis earns its keep.

The other thing is
...Show more

Intersting comparison between the two Zeiss 135s. Thank you.



May 22, 2017 at 07:45 PM
 

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Fred Miranda
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p.16 #11 · p.16 #11 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


Very nice comparison David!
The Batis sample looks great.
Thank you.

DavidBM wrote:
Anyone who is interested in the relative bokeh of distant backgrounds with f2 and f2.8, here is a pair of portraits one with the APO Sonnar (ZF2) at f2, and the other with the Batis at f2.8. The Batis is superb wide open, so there is no temptation to stop down.

FWIW my take is yes, the F2 is noticeably nicer. But not overwhelmingly. But maybe enough for me to keep it rather than sell. But it will never travel with me, and nor would a 2.8 70-200 if I had one, so the Batis earns its keep.

The other thing is
...Show more



May 22, 2017 at 08:28 PM
chez
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p.16 #12 · p.16 #12 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


I find the bokeh of the f2 image much more pleasing. The bokeh in the Batis image next to the right elbow is very busy and somewhat distracting. Looks like a great travel lens if you need this reach but I'd think there are better lenses for portraits.


May 22, 2017 at 09:41 PM
jhinkey
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p.16 #13 · p.16 #13 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


DavidBM wrote:
SNIP!

The other thing is that the slight extra DOF of f2.8 is, IMHO, preferable on the actual person rather than the background...


You can always stop that Zeiss 135/2 way on down to f/2.8 to get that extra DOF when you prefer it



May 22, 2017 at 09:41 PM
DavidBM
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p.16 #14 · p.16 #14 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


chez wrote:
I find the bokeh of the f2 image much more pleasing. The bokeh in the Batis image next to the right elbow is very busy and somewhat distracting. Looks like a great travel lens if you need this reach but I'd think there are better lenses for portraits.


Yes; but the actual structure of the bokeh is *remarkably* similar.

The differences are down to two factors:

(a) The size of the OOF elements - that's purely a function of aperture, and nothing can be done.
(b) The Batis is in fact even higher in contrast than the Apo Sonnar, and this affects the bokeh. But just lowering the contrast of the background in post evens this out.



May 23, 2017 at 02:21 AM
philip_pj
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p.16 #15 · p.16 #15 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


In the Batis image you see the subject with greater clarity and stronger sharpness cues - hair, fabric, and deeper dof effects giving more 'near focus' content, together with better color - the very flat field of the Batis helps here too.

For those interested, Lloyd Chambers had some comments about this trend to high end slower 'reference' lenses back in 2015:
https://diglloyd.com/blog/2015/20151022_1828-the-irrationality-of-f1_4.html

taster: 'As for cost, I think a superb f/2.8 lens, one that is perfect wide open—that will need to cost around $3K. That is what I’d like to see...to go to Otus grade but at f/2.8. But the point is not just f/2.8 for size and weight. When I say “perfect” I mean it...Perfection in a compact package: like Leica M, only somewhat larger with much better controlled parameters.'

Almost two years later, Zeiss have not done this - yet - but they are certainly on the road heading in this direction, though they would need Loxia for the mechanical aspects. Lloyd's B135 blog entry:
https://diglloyd.com/blog/2017/20170415_2133-ReaderQuestion-ZeissBatis135f2_8.html

'(Batis 135) wildly outperforms the Leica 135/3.4 APO-Telyt-M—crazy good. There is nothing to gripe about even by my picky standards. And if things like contrast and flare are included, it’s astonishing in its ability to deal with any challenge with optical aplomb.'



May 23, 2017 at 05:56 AM
rico
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p.16 #16 · p.16 #16 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


philip_pj wrote:
Almost two years later, Zeiss have not done this - yet - but they are certainly on the road heading in this direction, ...

I suppose Loxia is CZ's best attempt at keeping down the weight, along with the now-mature ZM line, both manual focus. I've been fed up with f/1.4 behemoths for awhile, and push for slower lenses, meaning f/4 or f/5.6. Sony has its monster FE offerings, but also the 50/1.8 @ 186g. If Lloyd loves a high-performance f/2.8, he should be worshipping the Sony 100 STF T5.6 which is rated f/2.8 but has a 50mm dia front element that exactly equals the CZ P100/2 C/Y. This oversized f/2.8 allows the STF to have circular bokeh balls in the corner, and to be free of vignetting wide open.



May 23, 2017 at 06:49 AM
freaklikeme
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p.16 #17 · p.16 #17 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


DavidBM wrote:
(a) The size of the OOF elements - that's purely a function of aperture, and nothing can be done.


I think it also has something to do with the size of the rear and front elements (more the rear than the front, I've been told).



May 25, 2017 at 09:53 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.16 #18 · p.16 #18 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


DavidBM wrote:
Yes; but the actual structure of the bokeh is *remarkably* similar.

The differences are down to two factors:

(a) The size of the OOF elements - that's purely a function of aperture, and nothing can be done.
(b) The Batis is in fact even higher in contrast than the Apo Sonnar, and this affects the bokeh. But just lowering the contrast of the background in post evens this out.


So, is it a keeper David? I'm sure you played with it for a while now. What are your personal impressions?



May 25, 2017 at 10:03 PM
DavidBM
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p.16 #19 · p.16 #19 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


Fred Miranda wrote:
So, is it a keeper David? I'm sure you played with it for a while now. What are your personal impressions?


Yes I think it's a keeper.
Technically it's as good a lens as I've used of any FL; better LoCA correction even than 2/135, normal Zeiss levels of mechanical vignette (I think B 85 may have had slightly more than normal), sharp as one can distinguish wide open from close focus to infinity (well the last few mm in the corner go from good to great between 2.8 and 5.6)

So it's lovely. But even if it's maybe one of a tiny handful of optically best lenses for the 135 format ever, which I think it is, the big question is the handling advantages against current (Sigma, ZF) and future (maybe ZM) fast 135s, which are also optically superb and if worse, not really noticeably worse in images.

My feeling so far is that the advantage is enough; I took a weekend wandering round Sydney with it, just on camera with a wide strap, with a 35 in my pocket. I would never have done that with my 2/135 APO Sonnar (or a 2.8/70-200 if I had one). I'm doing a month of travel for work starting in a few weeks and I'll take it along - I've also never taken the APO Sonnar on long travel. That'll be the acid test. On the A7rii, by the way, it does depend on PDAF points - when your af point is one of the CDAF only points on the periphery AF-C doesn't work. Also the AF can hunt a little if you start with deep defocus; but this is just the fast tele problem on A7rii. I'd expect much better performance on A9 and future - and the AF is mostly great, and eye AF magic.

I'm preparing a long report with images that I'll link to when it's done



Edited on May 26, 2017 at 05:43 AM · View previous versions



May 25, 2017 at 11:14 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.16 #20 · p.16 #20 · Pre-order: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,999)


DavidBM wrote:
Yes I think it's a keeper.
Technically it's as good a lens as I've used of any FL; better LoCA correction even than 2/135, normal Zeiss levels of mechanical vignette (I think B 85 may have had slightly more than normal), sharp as one can distinguish wide open from close focus to infinity.

So it's lovely. But even if it's maybe one of a tiny handful of optically best lenses for the 135 format ever, which I think it is, the big question is the handling advantages against current (Sigma, ZF) and future (maybe ZM) fast 135s, which are also optically superb
...Show more

Sounds great David. Your insight is always very valuable. We usually agree on how lenses perform. I'm still on the fence.



May 26, 2017 at 01:56 AM
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