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Archive 2017 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)

  
 
nampramos
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p.15 #1 · p.15 #1 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


So a couple hours ago I was cycling to my local dealer to pick up the Batis 135 I had ordered. About half way there, I hear a pop and immediately start hearing the rear bicycle tire start to deflate. Universe telling me to turn back home and forget the Batis? Maybe. I still went to get it though

Home now for a quick lunch and then heading out to give it a spin. Got it on the kitchen scale really quickly and was pleasantly surprised by the weight.

Batis 135 weights in at 616g while the 90G Macro goes for 605g. Both with no caps or hoods, just the naked lens.

I have to say I'm not thrilled with the hood. I rarely use them though and hopefully won't need it with the Batis. Today will be a good test on that, since it's actually an incredibly sunny day in Stockholm (might have just jinxed that now though).

I'll share some side be side photos later of the lenses and samples from the A7RII.

Edited on May 16, 2017 at 05:36 AM · View previous versions



May 16, 2017 at 05:11 AM
Chuck Coyne
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p.15 #2 · p.15 #2 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


nampramos wrote:
So a couple hours ago I was cycling to my local dealer to pick up the Batis 135 I had ordered. About half way there, I hear a pop and immediately start hearing real bicycle tire start to deflate. Universe telling me to turn back home and forget the Batis? Maybe. I still went to get it though

Home now for a quick lunch and then heading out to give it a spin. Got it on the kitchen scale really quickly and was pleasantly surprised by the weight.

Batis 135 weights in at 616g while the 90G Macro goes for 605g.
...Show more

Best of luck with your new Batis! I'm receiving mine today on one of those big brown trucks

Looking forward to your pics and thoughts on the new lens. I'll be checking mine out over the next several days as well. But seeing some of the pics posted on this forum already from Eric and others really look great!

Chuck



May 16, 2017 at 05:18 AM
LBJ2
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p.15 #3 · p.15 #3 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


Chuck Coyne wrote:
Best of luck with your new Batis! I'm receiving mine today on one of those big brown trucks

Looking forward to your pics and thoughts on the new lens. I'll be checking mine out over the next several days as well. But seeing some of the pics posted on this forum already from Eric and others really look great!

Chuck


Brown truck stopping by my house today too! Looking forward to seeing what we can all do with this lens. Barring any physical or IQ issues I am already predisposed to keep this lens. I don't like the high price and would have preferred F2 but have been on a mission to build a Zeiss Batis kit since I took possession of my very first Batis lens. I think the 135 FL is a perfect addition to my 18, 25, 85 system.




May 16, 2017 at 08:30 AM
ecarlino
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p.15 #4 · p.15 #4 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


I'm really looking fwd to everyone else's photos - particularly to see "how" others might use the lens - my shots haven't been particularly interesting as i've just been running around trying to find various subject/background distances/ratios - but i've really taken to this focal length. i enjoyed it as part of the 70-200/2.8 when i was on Nikon and i think this is going to be really nice to pair with the 50/1.4 - it's nice to have 135 in a pkg this size and first class IQ. For my use-cases (cityscapes, environmental shots w/ family/friends and landscapes) f/2.8 is a nice (is the word "compromise" or "sweet spot") to walk around with for all of that.


May 16, 2017 at 09:33 AM
bjornthun
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p.15 #5 · p.15 #5 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


ecarlino wrote:
I'm really looking fwd to everyone else's photos - particularly to see "how" others might use the lens - my shots haven't been particularly interesting as i've just been running around trying to find various subject/background distances/ratios - but i've really taken to this focal length. i enjoyed it as part of the 70-200/2.8 when i was on Nikon and i think this is going to be really nice to pair with the 50/1.4 - it's nice to have 135 in a pkg this size and first class IQ. For my use-cases (cityscapes, environmental shots w/ family/friends and landscapes) f/2.8
...Show more

Thanks a lot for sharing pictures with the Batis 135mm! Seems to be an excellent lens. Size and weight of the various 135mm alternatives make the Batis 135mm the only realistic alternative for me to consider, and it's native AF to boot.



May 16, 2017 at 09:47 AM
ecarlino
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p.15 #6 · p.15 #6 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


bjornthun wrote:
Thanks a lot for sharing pictures with the Batis 135mm! Seems to be an excellent lens. Size and weight of the various 135mm alternatives make the Batis 135mm the only realistic alternative for me to consider, and it's native AF to boot.


The AF is quite snappy and it does focus wide-open.

For me, mentally once i got over the $2000 hump - which for me was about $250-$500 overpriced - but i equated it to a case or two of wine, so as penance i won't drink for a few weeks :-), it was really about making sure the swirl wasn't too prevalent - you can certainly find it if you go looking for it (which i did) but it wasn't nearly as bad as on their 85



May 16, 2017 at 09:55 AM
LBJ2
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p.15 #7 · p.15 #7 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


ecarlino wrote:
The AF is quite snappy and it does focus wide-open.

For me, mentally once i got over the $2000 hump - which for me was about $250-$500 overpriced - but i equated it to a case or two of wine, so as penance i won't drink for a few weeks :-), it was really about making sure the swirl wasn't too prevalent - you can certainly find it if you go looking for it (which i did) but it wasn't nearly as bad as on their 85


2K for F2.8. I guess we are all in this together! But I see things differently than you. After spending this kind of money on a F2.8 prime I think I may need to start drinking a few cases of wine.



May 16, 2017 at 10:42 AM
ecarlino
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p.15 #8 · p.15 #8 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


LBJ2 wrote:
2K for F2.8. I guess we are all in this together! But I see things differently than you. After spending this kind of money on a F2.8 prime I think I may need to start drinking a few cases of wine.


i think yours is a much healthier disposition!



May 16, 2017 at 11:00 AM
bjornthun
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p.15 #9 · p.15 #9 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


ecarlino wrote:
The AF is quite snappy and it does focus wide-open.

For me, mentally once i got over the $2000 hump - which for me was about $250-$500 overpriced - but i equated it to a case or two of wine, so as penance i won't drink for a few weeks :-), it was really about making sure the swirl wasn't too prevalent - you can certainly find it if you go looking for it (which i did) but it wasn't nearly as bad as on their 85


The price is a bit steep, but the images look nice. I too saw few problems from swirl, for stuff I will shoot.

Hopefully the lens is worth the sacrifice.



May 16, 2017 at 11:50 AM
bjornthun
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p.15 #10 · p.15 #10 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


Less wine is less swirly bokeh.


May 16, 2017 at 11:52 AM
LBJ2
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p.15 #11 · p.15 #11 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


bjornthun wrote:
Less wine is less swirly bokeh.

LMAO




May 16, 2017 at 11:57 AM
gocolts
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p.15 #12 · p.15 #12 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


ecarlino wrote:
The AF is quite snappy and it does focus wide-open.

For me, mentally once i got over the $2000 hump - which for me was about $250-$500 overpriced - but i equated it to a case or two of wine, so as penance i won't drink for a few weeks :-), it was really about making sure the swirl wasn't too prevalent - you can certainly find it if you go looking for it (which i did) but it wasn't nearly as bad as on their 85


While I know it's not a direct comparison, you also owned the 100 STF for a short while, right? How would you compare the backgrounds at similar distances between the 100 STF and the 135 Batis? The thought of being able to do small group shots and destroy the background with the STF sounds great, but also feel like a 135 would get more general use walking around, as it appears yours will.



May 16, 2017 at 12:41 PM
ecarlino
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p.15 #13 · p.15 #13 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


gocolts wrote:
While I know it's not a direct comparison, you also owned the 100 STF for a short while, right? How would you compare the backgrounds at similar distances between the 100 STF and the 135 Batis? The thought of being able to do small group shots and destroy the background with the STF sounds great, but also feel like a 135 would get more general use walking around, as it appears yours will.


the 100mm focal length @ f/2.8 won't have as much blur (see chart below) compared to a 135 of any variety @ f/2.8 - but then the STF and the Batis have VERY unique renderings, particularly wrt to the edge detail in OOF backgrounds - Gausian vs high contrast with a hint of sometimes-swirl --- along with very different "bokeh shape" (perfectly round vs sometimes cat's eyes).

In terms of 'destroying the background' as you say, subject distance will be the key but i'd think the 135 would meet your needs better - several people incl Fred commented on the STF shots that a lot of background structure remained in tact with the STF, although the edge details were very smoothly blurred.

top is 'head and shoulders' subj dist
bot is 'full body' subj dist
(note the amt of blur between lenses but also that even the 100 STF at head and shoulders distance will have more blur than a 135 @ 1.8 at full body distances).
http://www.ecarlino.net/share/85-100-135-bl.JPG



May 16, 2017 at 01:34 PM
gocolts
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p.15 #14 · p.15 #14 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


ecarlino wrote:
the 100mm focal length @ f/2.8 won't have as much blur (see chart below) compared to a 135 of any variety @ f/2.8 - but then the STF and the Batis have VERY unique renderings, particularly wrt to the edge detail in OOF backgrounds - Gausian vs high contrast with a hint of sometimes-swirl --- along with very different "bokeh shape" (perfectly round vs sometimes cat's eyes).

In terms of 'destroying the background' as you say, subject distance will be the key but i'd think the 135 would meet your needs better - several people incl Fred commented on the STF
...Show more

Thank you for the detailed explanation, and yes, I agree about the 135. I've considered the Zeiss 135 1.8 to use with an adapter, or with my A99ii to get eye-AF (which I'm spoiled by), but long-term I know portraits are going to be done via FE-mount, and I'll probably upgrade my A7R2 when a replacement is announced. Plus- that Batis 135 is a great size/weight, and I have had nothing but good luck with my Batis 85.

Just glad we have choices to consider as opposed to nothing but a "wish list".



May 16, 2017 at 02:22 PM
rico
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p.15 #15 · p.15 #15 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


ecarlino wrote:
In terms of 'destroying the background' as you say, subject distance will be the key but i'd think the 135 would meet your needs better - several people incl Fred commented on the STF shots that a lot of background structure remained in tact with the STF, although the edge details were very smoothly blurred.

Greetings, fellow Chicagoan, and thanks for your detailed analysis of our 135mm options. The FE mount is coming of age. In various mounts, I have a 100/2, 135/2 and 200/2. Destroying the b/g is useful at times, especially if the bokeh sucks. After shooting with my latest toy (the 100 STF), I find that blowing out the b/g is less necessary when the bokeh is sufficiently soft, as in Gaussian. If keeping attention on the subject is the goal, then the (slower) STF makes a perfect tool while avoiding those massive front elements.



May 16, 2017 at 04:41 PM
jhinkey
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p.15 #16 · p.15 #16 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


rico wrote:
John, you have a tolerant daughter. Re the Batis, we can safely assume reasonable sharpness theses days, but what about handling and impressions of weight?


Thanks - she was indeed amazingly tolerant that day, though she only gave me a 10 minute limit at the camera store.

Well, I have the 135/3.4 APO Telyt and the 135/2 APO Zeiss.
It annoyingly falls in between for me.

The 135/3.4 APO is small and relatively light weight so it's speed is tolerated.
The 135/2 APO is excellent across the frame at f/2, hence it's size and weight are tolerated.
The 135/2.8 Batis appears to be excellent wide open, but it's not f/2 and it's fairly large and somewhat heavy, so it's kind of in nowhere land for me personally.

As I stated previously I don't care for the Batis external shape and feel - much more of a Loxia shape/feel kind of person.

- John



May 18, 2017 at 05:29 PM
DavidBM
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p.15 #17 · p.15 #17 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


jhinkey wrote:
Thanks - she was indeed amazingly tolerant that day, though she only gave me a 10 minute limit at the camera store.

Well, I have the 135/3.4 APO Telyt and the 135/2 APO Zeiss.
It annoyingly falls in between for me.

The 135/3.4 APO is small and relatively light weight so it's speed is tolerated.
The 135/2 APO is excellent across the frame at f/2, hence it's size and weight are tolerated.
The 135/2.8 Batis appears to be excellent wide open, but it's not f/2 and it's fairly large and somewhat heavy, so it's kind of in nowhere land for me personally.

As I stated previously
...Show more

I can easily see how you could think that. But of course one person's annoyingly-in-the-middle is another's perfect compromise-especially considering AF. I'm leaning towards the perfect compromise, but I'll be sure after I've taken it on a month's travel starting mid June.

I wouldn't even attempt that with my f2 APO Sonnar; and when I've taken my small legacy (OM) 135 on travel I've found that the lack of AF for portraits, and slight deficiencies in IQ have meant that it's had less use than I need given the opportunity cost of taking anything on a longish trip...



May 18, 2017 at 06:41 PM
philip_pj
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p.15 #18 · p.15 #18 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


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, 115 grams (adapter included in L135), AF, OIS and take off $1800. From B135 to 135/2 APO: add one stop, ~700 grams (Milvus vsn, needs adapter) and $200, and take away AF and OIS.

It's hard to think of three more different lenses (made for three mounts and very different cameras), only one is an 'all rounder', has AF, OIS and is native mount. The Batis is stronger/faster than the Leica and half the cost while giving up very little in weight; and cheaper than the 135/2 APO and less than half the weight and about as strong overall, and has AF and stabilization, needs no adapter. This calculus might overcome tastes re appearance etc. for some buyers. Zeiss obviously planned this rather carefully, as with the Loxia 85/2.4. These are not 'formula' or niche lenses, but that is a Zeiss trademark too, a feature not a bug. They don't want to 'beat' C/N/S but sell to enthusiasts who need a bit of everything (portraits, 'scapes, travel, etc) at the highest levels with acceptable portability.

refs:
https://diglloyd.com/blog/2012/20120927_2-Zeiss-135f2-APO-Sonnar-MTF-full-range.html (full aperture range of MTF)
https://diglloyd.com/blog/2013/20130319_1-Zeiss-vs-Leica.html



May 18, 2017 at 08:59 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.15 #19 · p.15 #19 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


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

I agree with much of what you say here, but there are a couple of things you seem to be missing. First on price comparing new lens to new lens at least right now doesn't give a very good picture of what you are able to get. The Leica 135 f/3.4 APO can easily be bought used for $2,000, so the difference between the Batis and the Leica APO in price can also be accurately described as the difference between getting a new lens and a used lens in excellent condition. Second, although the difference between MTF charts you describe between the Batis and MIlvus are there, they are actually very close. At f/2.8 we are talking about 5% contrast at 40 lp/mm and even less at 20 and 10 lp/mm where either lens has an advantage. Even with today's high resolution sensors you would be very hard pressed to see this difference in any photograph even blown up or at 1:1 pixels on a high res monitor. This is a very small difference, and Leica is only about 10% lower contrast at 40 lp/mm and even this is extremely hard to see even at the highest magnifications. IMO, you are way over stating the differences in sharpness and way over interpreting these small differences in MTF charts. Importantly, when we consider testing at the lens rentals blog these differences are so small that they easily fall within the copy variation of even the most consistently made lenses and if you look at their testing on the effect of focussing on MTF charts they at least show inconsistency in their best focussing manually with magnification on a tripod that exceed these differences. So, even in the future if higher res cameras can make these small differences in MTF charts noticeable it is not at all clear that lenses can be made with enough consistency and focussing can be obtained with enough consistency for such small differences in MTF charts to be meaningful. Third, the Milvus 135 is in no way "soft" either for portraits or for close ups and the MTF charts are totally consistent with that observation.

Despite these quibbles I agree with your general characterization. I do think the Batis is the best all-arounder. It is relatively small, has AF which many people like, has lens based OIS, and is an excellent performer. I would say that despite the small sacrifice in sharpness I would prefer the Leica APO for landscape work. It is noticeably smaller and lighter (although not shorter if you don't consider the hood), and the 10 blade aperture will be better for sun stars. Despite these advantages I have the Milvus and I do because I love how good it is at close ups and that is where I use the lens the most. It also adapted extremely well for use with the Fuji GFX, which I hope I will be getting any day. I do plan to get the Basis for my wife's kit in time, but I don't plan to preorder it, so I do see the value in that lens as well.



May 18, 2017 at 11:04 PM
philip_pj
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p.15 #20 · p.15 #20 · Reduced: Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO ($1,899)


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 01:24 AM
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