Carl Zeiss Batis 2/25
Surprisingly, Carl Zeiss has released a wide-angle AF 25mm F2 lens for SONY's Alpha 7 series (full frame E-mount) and it has a new series name "Batis." In terms of optics, it employs the Distagon construction of 10 elements in 8 groups using special low dispersion glass lenses and aspheric lenses effectively. Because of the continuous releases of high performance lenses for the full frame E-mount and increasing number of pixels with SONY cameras, I figure the demand for higher optical performance is increasing more than ever. While the focal length of this lens is wide 25mm, the distortion is extremely low and it's sharp to the corners. Also, because of the high-speed F2 max aperture, you can defocus the background, too. Plus, it has dust/drop-proof construction just like the camera body.
( Photography : 4beats / Text : KIMURAX )
Let's start with wide open shot at the minimum focus distance. While ordinary lenses can exhibit faults in such a situation, this lens is free from them. I'm just stunned by the rich rendition of texture even within the thin focal depth. The water drop has a wonderful 3D pop and the elegant and smooth bokeh is even picturesque. This lens lets you record your thrill just as it is.
Wide open with different distance to the background. I focused on the tip of the leaf to the far left. Even the veins are resolved minutely. It's very sharp wide open, but the image doesn't look too hard, which I welcome. The bokeh has a good volume. In other words, even the bokeh has the 3D pop. The ground receiving the light could be more distracting, but it looks very natural.
Backlight resistance is another important performance for a good wide-angle lens. I included the sun in the middle of the day, and as expected, there's a flare. Yet, it doesn't distract the entire image, but expresses the intensity of the sunshine. We often welcome such lens more than the ones that generate no flare. The contrast isn't degraded dramatically, and the high frequency subject is rendered minutely.
I had an opportunity to shoot the moving child and the AF was quick and quiet. It was also because of the outdoor location, but I felt it was silent rather than quiet. And, this is an important performance of a lens for street photography.
I shot a little under, but the tonal gradation of the trees and the floor is rich. And, I guess this tonal gradation is achieved by the sharpness of the camera's sensor without lowpass filter as well. Anyway, it's very ZEISS to realize the high contrast and the rich tonal gradation at the same time even though they are contradictory to each other. I'm truly impressed.
The F2 max aperture not only widens the variety of expression by changing the depth of field, but also allows shooting all day, indoor and outdoor. Although we can also rely on the high sensitivity performance of cameras, we also want to keep the sensitivity as low as possible for the best results. The point light sources are rendered nicely.
Forget the leveling. That's the fun part of a 25mm.
It expresses the subtle luminance difference with a rich tonal gradation. The lens must be transmitting the light to fully utilize the dynamic range of the camera.
Thanks to the corner resolution unlike ordinary wide-angle lenses, all you have to do is stop down slightly and pay attention to composition and timing. When the tonal gradation is this rich and the clarity is this high, I have no complaints.
This lens doesn't have the engraved range index. Instead, it has an EL display showing the range and the depth of field, and it's great that we can read them in the darkness. I couldn't read it very well under the bright sunshine, but if we cut it with a hand, there's no problem. From other perspective, because of the high speed, this lens is often used in lowlight conditions where the EL display shows its value. Anyway, this is an innovative idea and matches the lens design.
Captivating "Elegance" and "Finish"
Because it's so sharp to the corners wide open, I felt F4 was small enough to shoot in most situations. In addition, even though the resolution is pleasingly high, the images never look hard, or they are just elegant. And, I feel the bokeh at close distance is elegant, too. The AF is so quick and of course you can always focus manually as well. The weight is just right to hold and the lens-barrel has high quality finish like the high-end Otus series. All of these characters are of Carl Zeiss quality that not only appeals to professionals but also other potential users of SONY full frame mirrorless cameras. And, whatever they shoot, this lens will keep stimulating their creativity.
( 18.07.2015 )