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David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon
  
 
Chris_88
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


Another very well written and solid review, David. You're a great addition to the three (also great) German reviewers over at Phillip's site.


Sep 09, 2017 at 10:09 PM
Makten
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


DavidBM wrote:
Both the Loxia 21 and a Batis 25 have aspherical elements.


Aha, I didn't know that! But after checking, the Batis has 4 aspherical elements while the Loxia has only one.



Sep 09, 2017 at 10:28 PM
DavidBM
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


You may have noticed there's no flare/sunstar section!
It's coming, as is coma...



Sep 09, 2017 at 10:42 PM
Jmonat7
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


johnmatrix84 wrote:
Nice review. It was through and I enjoyed reading it. I rented a 25/2 and I am deciding between it and the 16-35/4 ZA. It is always nice to get some good opinions on a lens before buying.


Phillip also wrote a 16-35 review on his site and he also mentions it as his most useful wide in one of his guides if you were interested in a thorough and similar view of the 16-35.



Sep 09, 2017 at 10:48 PM
johnmatrix84
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


Jmonat7 wrote:
Phillip also wrote a 16-35 review on his site and he also mentions it as his most useful wide in one of his guides if you were interested in a thorough and similar view of the 16-35.


Thanks for tip. It was interesting and informative.



Sep 09, 2017 at 11:05 PM
DavidBM
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


johnmatrix84 wrote:
Thanks for tip. It was interesting and informative.


There's also quite a lot of useful coverage of it in posts by Fred here.

I have it, but haven't used it for ages. Not because it isn't good: it's IQ for practical purposes is very good indeed (though my copy needs stopping down at 35mm). The only complaint I have is contrast against the light, where the primes are a bit better. There are also small resolution advantages to the primes. And I like having the wider apertures available for some purposes.

But if I were buying a wide zoom now I think I'd get the 12-24; it's very good and covers the ultra wide ranges (where speed is not much use except for Astro) as well or better than the available primes, it seems. That then leaves you to either cover the longer lengths with primes, or if you prefer, the GM standard zoom.




Sep 09, 2017 at 11:17 PM
johnmatrix84
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


DavidBM wrote:
There's also quite a lot of useful coverage of it in posts by Fred here.

I have it, but haven't used it for ages. Not because it isn't good: it's IQ for practical purposes is very good indeed (though my copy needs stopping down at 35mm). The only complaint I have is contrast against the light, where the primes are a bit better. There are also small resolution advantages to the primes. And I like having the wider apertures available for some purposes.

But if I were buying a wide zoom now I think I'd get the 12-24; it's very good and
...Show more

Thanks for your input, but I don't think I want something that wide. For a long time, my main lens has been 50mm. When I was in Peru a few years age, I felt my 55 FE was too long for general travel. I ended up using a 35mm Loxia most of the time. When I went to Italy this summer, my main lens was the 35mm ZM which has all the advantages of the loxia without any of the drawbacks and performed superbly. I only sometimes felt a little cramped, hence contemplating a wide angle lens.

I am mostly a prime shooter, so I am looking at the 25mm Batis, but the zoom could be fun with the focal length flexibility. I am not sure I need f 2 on a wide angle. Fortunately, I live in NYC and can easily and cheaply rent for a few days.



Sep 09, 2017 at 11:40 PM
freaklikeme
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


Makten wrote:
I agree with most of what's said in the review, but the LoCA can actually ruin shots with short DOF at a bit of distance. It's worse than any other modern lens I've own, except for the FE 55 which is very similar. The FE 55 and Batis 25 go very well together since they have a similar overall rendering style.

Both these lenses lack the bitingly per-pixel sharpness of non-aspherical lenses though. On the a7II I can clearly see that the Loxia 35 and the classic Zeiss (ZF) lenses are sharper per pixel, which I believe is because aspherical
...Show more

The ZM Biogon 25/2.8 is a great example of a "nothing special in the design" lens (no aspherics, no FLE) that performs quite brilliantly. Same with the Summicron 50.

That said, I disagree with the idea that lenses with aspherics have lower resolution than those without. My ZM Distagon 35 has at least one aspheric element and it out resolves the ZM Biogon 35/2 handily.



Sep 10, 2017 at 02:51 AM
pdmphoto
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


Aspherical lens elements can be glass, hybrid of glass/plastic, or all plastic. I believe the Loxia 21 uses a glass aspherical element.


Sep 10, 2017 at 03:31 AM
DavidBM
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


pdmphoto wrote:
Aspherical lens elements can be glass, hybrid of glass/plastic, or all plastic. I believe the Loxia 21 uses a glass aspherical element.


And moulded or ground or a hybrid of these.

But actually I think we should resist the temptation to attribute general qualities to broad kinds of materials or elements. What matters is the overall design and the precision with which it's executed. That design might use glass moulded, glass ground, hybrid plastic, fluorite crystals, APD glass, normal glass.....any of these used appropriately could be part of a stellar design. Any of these used inappropriately, or made or assembled to low precision, could be part of a poor lens.



Sep 10, 2017 at 03:50 AM
 

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Makten
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


DavidBM wrote:
But actually I think we should resist the temptation to attribute general qualities to broad kinds of materials or elements. What matters is the overall design and the precision with which it's executed. That design might use glass moulded, glass ground, hybrid plastic, fluorite crystals, APD glass, normal glass.....any of these used appropriately could be part of a stellar design. Any of these used inappropriately, or made or assembled to low precision, could be part of a poor lens.


No one said anything about "poor lenses". It was just an observation. Lenses with aspherical elements often have a a very smooth bokeh, which also seems to go with lower resolution or "bite" at pixel level. Maybe that's just a tradeoff given by the design, if you want smooth rendering. And if you want that smoothness, perhaps you want to use asphericals to keep the size down.

The circles of confusion will look (somewhat) the same in the plane of focus as in the bokeh, so I think that makes sense.



Sep 10, 2017 at 08:11 AM
DavidBM
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


Makten wrote:
No one said anything about "poor lenses". It was just an observation. Lenses with aspherical elements often have a a very smooth bokeh, which also seems to go with lower resolution or "bite" at pixel level. Maybe that's just a tradeoff given by the design, if you want smooth rendering. And if you want that smoothness, perhaps you want to use asphericals to keep the size down.

The circles of confusion will look (somewhat) the same in the plane of focus as in the bokeh, so I think that makes sense.


I wasn't suggesting you thought the lens poor; just saying that good or poor, bite or no bite, it's not so much the type of element that affects things, but the total design and manufacture. I know of nothing with as much bite as the two longer Otus lenses, and they both incorporate asphericals. Indeed for extreme designs - fast, wide or both - it may not be practically possible to get crispness in much of the field wide open without asphericals. If there is an association between aspheres and smoothness it might just be that in the classic days, when aspheres were prohibitively expensive, they were only used in expensive ultra fast lenses that had very creamy bokeh for their day.




Sep 10, 2017 at 08:37 AM
bjornthun
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


The Voigtländer 65/2 employs one aspherical element, and it seems to have all the bite and resolution one could ask for, based on the thread about it here on fredmiranda.


Sep 10, 2017 at 10:38 AM
Makten
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


bjornthun wrote:
The Voigtländer 65/2 employs one aspherical element, and it seems to have all the bite and resolution one could ask for, based on the thread about it here on fredmiranda.


Comparing a 25 mm lens with a 65 mm lens doesn't really make sense, but based on that thread I see the same thing there. Lesser per-pixel crispness than with many classic designs.

I'm not saying it doesn't look good. But it does look different.



Sep 10, 2017 at 11:02 AM
bjornthun
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


Makten wrote:
Comparing a 25 mm lens with a 65 mm lens doesn't really make sense, but based on that thread I see the same thing there. Lesser per-pixel crispness than with many classic designs.

I'm not saying it doesn't look good. But it does look different.


I mentioned the CV 65/2 as an example of an excellent lens with an aspherical element, not as a comparison to a 25mm wide angle. On the subject of wide angles with aspherical elements, I'm very happy with my Batis 25/2 and the Sony/Zeiss 16-35/4, which both employs aspherical elements. I have owned two other non-aspherical 24/2.8 lenses and they are nowhere near the performance of the Batis 25/2. The Nikon AF 24/2.8 outright sucks, the Olympus OM Zuiko 24/2.8 is good but not great. In general I think Olympus OM lenses are ahead of Nikkors of the same vintage.

Leica M cameras have no AA filters, which may contribute to an increased perception of per pixel sharpness. This could be a factor when making comparisons to Zeiss ZM lenses.



Sep 10, 2017 at 11:39 AM
Makten
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


bjornthun wrote:
I mentioned the CV 65/2 as an example of an excellent lens with an aspherical element, not as a comparison to a 25mm wide angle. On the subject of wide angles with aspherical elements, I'm very happy with my Batis 25/2 and the Sony/Zeiss 16-35/4, which both employs aspherical elements. I have owned two other non-aspherical 24/2.8 lenses and they are nowhere near the performance of the Batis 25/2. The Nikon AF 24/2.8 outright sucks, the Olympus OM Zuiko 24/2.8 is good but not great. In general I think Olympus OM lenses are ahead of Nikkors of the same
...Show more

I love the Batis as well. But I prefer the rendering of classic Distagons, to mention a fairly modern design. And I agree OM lenses are nicer than Nikkors of the same age. Mainly when it comes to colors.

I bought the Batis 25 to shoot wide open in low light, and for that, the rendering is perfect. For stopped down work I would probably choose something else though. But that's just me.



Sep 10, 2017 at 11:45 AM
philip_pj
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


A lot of new lenses have aspherical surfaces, but the best of the non ultra wides have just one, typically embedded in a complex design of 10 elements or so. Fast lenses need them to combat their pathological level of aberrations. The challenge seems to be to integrate them harmoniously with the better glass - APD and/or high index refraction.

The 35mm and up lenses with a lot of asph appear to be less reliable and more fussy for some uses, like f5.6-f11 landscapes - it's a roll of the dice, sometimes you win big, sometimes not. The effect is like viewing an E6 transparency, sparkle and 'enhanced' color, compared with the organic drawing of C41 colour negative film printed well. They do much better in modern use patterns.

People are curious because the makers use the label to sell their product, touting asph as a key feature, but sparing the customers the truth about the quality of the material. You see mid level consumer zooms of moderate cost equipped with 3-4 asph elements, likely to be very different to the asph used in Leica Summicrons. APD or anomalous partial dispersion sounds far less sexy but is far more important; and expensive, and it's glass. Of the four Loxias, only one asph element is used, in the very wide 21mm. It also has four APD elements, however.

Apart from very wide angles, the trend is away from over-dependence on asph surfaces towards very high proportions of APD glass, 40-50+% of the element count. The top tier Milvus 85/1.4 uses APD in seven of a total of eleven elements, the equally good new Loxia 85mm has three of seven elements (no asph in either). Sony's 85/1.4 uses a new process asph element and just three APD elements in eleven elements. Sony's 50/1.4 GM uses one ED element and one advanced asph (believed to be two sided asph, two surfaces) plus one more asph, in a 12/9 design. The RX1 has five asph surfaces, from memory, in a moderate design.



Sep 10, 2017 at 01:03 PM
genji
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


At the risk of sounding redundant, a comprehensive review that addresses nearly all the questions a prospective buyer would want answered (and there is still more to come). I particularly appreciated the bokeh tests, the variety of sample images, and the comparisons with other 24mm class primes and zooms. Also thanks for the resolution test including the Harbour Bridge, what a great test scene! Am I correct in believing you took it from the Circular Quay railway station?


Sep 11, 2017 at 07:19 AM
DavidBM
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


genji wrote:
At the risk of sounding redundant, a comprehensive review that addresses nearly all the questions a prospective buyer would want answered (and there is still more to come). I particularly appreciated the bokeh tests, the variety of sample images, and the comparisons with other 24mm class primes and zooms. Also thanks for the resolution test including the Harbour Bridge, what a great test scene! Am I correct in believing you took it from the Circular Quay railway station?


Yup; nowhere else that scene could be shot from! I got some funny looks setting up the tripod. Probably illegal in most of the world!



Sep 11, 2017 at 07:45 AM
jankap
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · David at phillipreeve.net reviews Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon


Excellent review, thanks.
The water droplet test is very good, as a test(!). I´ll have look for a fountain in my place.
Jan



Sep 12, 2017 at 08:55 AM
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