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Which 85mm lens?

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Wētāpunga View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2022 at 01:21
Both the Loxia and Batis are Sonnar designs so the rendering is similar. The difference really is the Batis has 9 curved aperture blades which give a nicer bokeh at wide apertures. The Loxia has 10 straight aperture blades which gives nicer sunstars. I think it's slightly better at smaller apertures at capturing detail and micro-contrast. So if you want maximum resolving of detail, the Loxia is a touch better. But the difference is going to take some careful examination to pick up.

So my rule-of-thumb of the Batis for portraits (or cats!) and the Loxia for landscape works for me. I also got the Batis 2nd hand so the cost was very tolerable compared to the Sony GM alternative .



Edited by Wētāpunga - 26 January 2022 at 01:25
a7riii, a9- Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Zeiss Loxia- 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 85/2.4, Zeiss Batis- 85/1.8 & 135/2.8; Sony 24-105/4 G; Sigma 70/2.8 M; Tamron 150-500 f5-6.7; Sony SAL 135/2.8 STF
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Frankly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2022 at 07:49
Originally posted by nandbytes nandbytes wrote:

The sigma 90mm f2.8 DN is half the weight of loxia 85, smaller and cheaper. Its also aesthetically pleasing, optically very capable and has AF.

So Loxia is a bit hard to justify unless the traditional MF experience is very important in which case it certainly is nicer to use.


Thanks Nandybytes, the new Sigma 90mm 2.8 is one I've looked at and may go for but I need to research it a bit more before deciding.

The Loxia is more expensive and MF is a must but I don't mind that as landscape photography is a slow and thoughtful kind of thing.

Both lenses are certainly on the "maybe" list.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Frankly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2022 at 07:55
Originally posted by Wētāpunga Wētāpunga wrote:

Both the Loxia and Batis are Sonnar designs so the rendering is similar. The difference really is the Batis has 9 curved aperture blades which give a nicer bokeh at wide apertures. The Loxia has 10 straight aperture blades which gives nicer sunstars. I think it's slightly better at smaller apertures at capturing detail and micro-contrast. So if you want maximum resolving of detail, the Loxia is a touch better. But the difference is going to take some careful examination to pick up.

So my rule-of-thumb of the Batis for portraits (or cats!) and the Loxia for landscape works for me. I also got the Batis 2nd hand so the cost was very tolerable compared to the Sony GM alternative .



I took a look at a Loxia 85mm yesterday afternoon and it did feel nice, I snatched a few test shots too and the images are certainly very nice, the colours were warmer than the GM from what I could tell. I likes the old school feel to it apart from the accidental movement of the aperture ring when attaching or taking off the lens and the way the lens hood is very easy to dislodge. MF was no problem.
I think I may try to hire a couple of lenses for a side by side comparison soon so that I can be sure.
So far the Loxia 85, the Sony 85
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Frankly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2022 at 08:11
Originally posted by Miranda F Miranda F wrote:

There's something to be said also for the Sony A-mount 85mm f2.8 which, on the LA-EA3, is smaller than all the fast 85mm FE portrait lenses. Whether the corners would be better or worse than the FE 1.8 version I really don't know, but I have a soft spot for classic few-element designs. Bokeh is often smoother, if that matters to you, though I have heard some of the 85mm 1.4s are good.
I'd check out the U-tube reviews if I were you. They usually tell you a lot more than the printed ones.

Re the LW/PH spec, this is of less value as a mark of excellence than an indication of how the lens performance varies with aperture and the part of the image. The numbers vary with the camera used for the test, and some of the tests use LP/PH (line pairs) where the numbers are half the LW/PH (line widths per picture height), noting that when they say 'picture height' they really mean picture width.

In theory LW/PH corresponds roughly to pixels resolution but I don't think it does in practice. I have noticed that very fast lenses are often at their sharpest around f4 whereas slower ones are usually best at f8. For landscapes it is usually the edge performance that is most critical; fast portrait lenses are usually intended to be used with the edges fully blurred out, rather than sharp ... so this must surely affect the design priorities!



Thanks Miranda, I'm not too keen on adapted lenses because those lenses generally weren't designed for mirrorless and the 61mp sensor is an unforgiving beast, but thanks for the suggestion.
The resolution figures aren't all that needs considering and vary depending on which camera was used (because of the resolution of the camera) but I'm still not sure quite how much resolution recorded is actually necessary, 4000lp/wh, 5000lp/wh? I guess I'll find out somehow.
The intended purpose of the lens is also a good point as the lens will be optimised for that purpose.

Edited by Frankly - 26 January 2022 at 08:38
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Frankly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2022 at 08:50
So far I'm getting some recomendations for and against the Sony 85mm 1.8, the various Zeiss lenses are looking promising and a mention of the so far too new to know much about Sigma 90mm 2.8.

No-one has suggested the Sony 85mm 1.4GM (unless I've missed something) and I can guess why as it seems to obviously aimed at the portrait market. I have seen some landscape pictures taken with it and also the Sigma equivalent but from what I can see the quality at f8 isn't much different to the Sony 85mm 1.8 so the extra bulk and cost seems unnecessary. Perhaps you may think I'm wrong?

I quite like the new Sigma 90mm 2.8, has anyone shooting on an A7R IV used it? Any comments?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2022 at 20:00
Originally posted by Frankly Frankly wrote:



I took a look at a Loxia 85mm yesterday afternoon and it did feel nice, I snatched a few test shots too and the images are certainly very nice, the colours were warmer than the GM from what I could tell. I likes the old school feel to it apart from the accidental movement of the aperture ring when attaching or taking off the lens and the way the lens hood is very easy to dislodge. MF was no problem...


I'm not sure the colours are warmer, I think its more that the optics and coating seem to capture just a bit more of the actual colours and tones. It is I think, optically one of the best lenses you can get in the E-mount.

I quickly got used to the aperture ring and haven't had a hood dislodge in the field yet. I actually found one seascape with rather heavy surf easier with it. The narrow barrel diameter and the long protective hood, shielded the front element from seaspray.

But yeah, it isn't the cheapest option and you do give up any autofocus option.

Fwiw when I do want to produce anything intended to be a large print, I almost always grab one of my Loxia lenses.
a7riii, a9- Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Zeiss Loxia- 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 85/2.4, Zeiss Batis- 85/1.8 & 135/2.8; Sony 24-105/4 G; Sigma 70/2.8 M; Tamron 150-500 f5-6.7; Sony SAL 135/2.8 STF
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Frankly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2022 at 20:49
Originally posted by Wētāpunga Wētāpunga wrote:

Originally posted by Frankly Frankly wrote:



I took a look at a Loxia 85mm yesterday afternoon and it did feel nice, I snatched a few test shots too and the images are certainly very nice, the colours were warmer than the GM from what I could tell. I likes the old school feel to it apart from the accidental movement of the aperture ring when attaching or taking off the lens and the way the lens hood is very easy to dislodge. MF was no problem...


I'm not sure the colours are warmer, I think its more that the optics and coating seem to capture just a bit more of the actual colours and tones. It is I think, optically one of the best lenses you can get in the E-mount.

I quickly got used to the aperture ring and haven't had a hood dislodge in the field yet. I actually found one seascape with rather heavy surf easier with it. The narrow barrel diameter and the long protective hood, shielded the front element from seaspray.

But yeah, it isn't the cheapest option and you do give up any autofocus option.

Fwiw when I do want to produce anything intended to be a large print, I almost always grab one of my Loxia lenses.


I think that the 85mm Loxia is the way forward for me, so thanks for your input!
There may well come a time when I suppliment it with other Loxia lenses, time will tell.
On the subject of Loxia lenses, I notice that you also have the Loxia 35mm f2. I have heard criticism of this lens with some saying that it is the weakest Loxia IQ wise. I think from what I've seen that it turns out a decent picture. Any thoughts?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote QuietOC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2022 at 21:13
Sony Alpha Blog has a table of their indoor bookcase testing of lenses on the A7RIV. The two 70 to 100mm lenses with both center and corners "outstanding" at F8 are the new Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG DN and Kipon Iberit 90mm F2.4. The later is a fairly inexpensive mechanical lens. It doesn't match their review of the lens. The Loxia has "outstanding" for the center but only "excellent" for the corners there at F8. They also rate the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 as "outstanding" in the center and "excellent" in the corners at F8. It would be better to find someone who has done back to back testing at infinity.

Edited by QuietOC - 26 January 2022 at 21:37
Sony A7RIV NEX-5T HVL-F45RM LA-EA5 Metabones-IV Sigma MC-11 Yongnuo EF-E II TLT ROKR MD-NEX KR-NEX DA-NEX
Minolta Maxxum 600si
Pentax Q7 5-15 15-45/2.8 8.5/1.9 11.5/9 AF-P/Q
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2022 at 21:39
The thing about the Loxia 35/2 being the weakest of the set, is that you're starting with a very high bar. You're comparing it to all the other Loxia lenses .

The positive is is still has all the Zeiss rendering and resolving power of the other Loxias. Where it is weakest is in the f2 to f4 range, where the corners are softer, and there's more coma. As that's not the apertures I photograph landscapes or seascapes with, it's not a something that bothers me.

If photographing wide-open does matter to you, then there are better options than the Loxia 35/2. If you are typically shooting at f5.6 or smaller apertures, all you'll really ntocie is that lovely Zeiss rendering

One of the strengths of going 'all in' on the Loxias is they all share the same 52mm filter thread. I have a comprehensive set of high quality (=$$$) ND, circular polariser and night filters all in 52mm size. If I replaced the 35/2 with a different 35mm lens, I'd probably need to buy more filters just for it. So I have even less reason to replace it.
a7riii, a9- Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Zeiss Loxia- 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 85/2.4, Zeiss Batis- 85/1.8 & 135/2.8; Sony 24-105/4 G; Sigma 70/2.8 M; Tamron 150-500 f5-6.7; Sony SAL 135/2.8 STF
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Frankly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2022 at 21:51
Originally posted by QuietOC QuietOC wrote:

Sony Alpha Blog has a table of their indoor bookcase testing of lenses on the A7RIV. The two 70 to 100mm lenses with both center and corners "outstanding" at F8 are the new Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG DN and Kipon Iberit 90mm F2.4. The later is a fairly inexpensive mechanical lens. It doesn't match their review of the lens. The Loxia has "outstanding" for the center but only "excellent" for the corners there at F8. They also rate the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 as "outstanding" in the center and "excellent" in the corners at F8. It would be better to find someone who has done back to back testing at infinity.


I find the Sony Alpha Blog interesting but his testing methods are very subjective. Photographing a book case at home where the evaluation of sharpness cannot be accurately measured and compared does not give me much confidence. It's a pointer at best I suppose. I prefer MTF charts as a guide to actual sharpness. The majority of his subject matter when he gets away from his bookcase are relatively close (often portraits) whereas my pictures being landscapes, would have both foreground, midground and distant objects.

The Loxia doesn't do well for him it seems but almost everyone else who have tested them disagree.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I suppose!

Edited by Frankly - 26 January 2022 at 21:59
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Frankly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2022 at 21:58
Originally posted by Wētāpunga Wētāpunga wrote:

The thing about the Loxia 35/2 being the weakest of the set, is that you're starting with a very high bar. You're comparing it to all the other Loxia lenses .

The positive is is still has all the Zeiss rendering and resolving power of the other Loxias. Where it is weakest is in the f2 to f4 range, where the corners are softer, and there's more coma. As that's not the apertures I photograph landscapes or seascapes with, it's not a something that bothers me.

If photographing wide-open does matter to you, then there are better options than the Loxia 35/2. If you are typically shooting at f5.6 or smaller apertures, all you'll really ntocie is that lovely Zeiss rendering

One of the strengths of going 'all in' on the Loxias is they all share the same 52mm filter thread. I have a comprehensive set of high quality (=$$$) ND, circular polariser and night filters all in 52mm size. If I replaced the 35/2 with a different 35mm lens, I'd probably need to buy more filters just for it. So I have even less reason to replace it.


Thanks for that. I don't think I'd be shooting wide open with a Loxia 35mm unless I change my landscape style ... which is pretty unlikely. I suppose I could shoot them all at f2 and focus stack if I felt like being a masochist ... but no, I think f5.6 or 8 will be just fine for me.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nandbytes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2022 at 22:06
I prefer https://phillipreeve.net/blog/ to Sony alpha blog. I find Sony alpha blog to be inaccurate and inconsistent at times.

I still think a good zoom is best for your use case.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2022 at 22:14
I think the 35/2 review on Phillipreeve.net (https://phillipreeve.net/blog/review-zeiss-loxia-35mm-2-0/) in the end, has the a final comment that sums up my view.

"Despite some of the technical shortcomings I have bought this lens myself now. In retrospective the photos I have taken with this lens have something about them I really like, I think it is best described as a very punchy micro contrast. Take into account most of my photos are taken stopped down, this was indeed the best (small) 35mm lens for my needs."

Often it's not about buying the "best" lens you can find, but the lens that best suits your particular photography needs (and budget!). And the Loxias have a lot of other selling points for me- the small size makes them great for hiking with and the manual focusing experience is exceptionally good.

a7riii, a9- Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Zeiss Loxia- 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 85/2.4, Zeiss Batis- 85/1.8 & 135/2.8; Sony 24-105/4 G; Sigma 70/2.8 M; Tamron 150-500 f5-6.7; Sony SAL 135/2.8 STF
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nandbytes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2022 at 22:42
Don't forget there is now Voigtländer 35mm f2 APO-lanthar also.
Voigtlander's APO-lanthar lenses are known for their optical prowess.

But OP has a 35GM and I have personally not shot with any 35mm that's as good as the GM lens.
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