Tag Archives: Lens comparison

A Quick Comparison Review – Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 vs Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 Sonnar

Last time, we took the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 out to the Newport Beach boardwalk and did a on-location photo shoot with two of our lovely models. To get some perspective on just how good the Batis 85mm really was, we compared it to one of the best AF lenses on market today, the Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 Sonnar (aka the mini-Otus). We drove up to Lake Hollywood Park, busted out our tripod, and did some comparison shots using the famous Hollywood sign as the backdrop.

In a real-world but less-the-scientific comparison between the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 and the venerable Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 Sonnar, we found very little difference in terms of sharpness throughout the aperture range.

F1.8-Batis-85mm-vs-Zeiss-55mm-Sharpness
Click on the image for full resolution.

With the Zeiss 55mm being one of the sharpest and highly rated AF lenses, this is saying a lot for the new Zeiss Batis 85mm. In fact, pretty much most real world reviews on the Batis has found it to be very sharp right from thef/1.8. I’m sure once Photozone.de gets around to reviewing more Sony lenses, they will verify our current findings. In the meantime, here are some of our quick & dirty impressions.

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The Street Shooters – Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2.0 vs. Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f/2.8

We don’t always do gear tests at iLHP but when we do, we go all out. This lens shootout will feature a Blackbird spy plane, two beautiful models on Melrose Ave., and the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Space Shuttle Endeavor
Come on. Who else gives you a space shuttle in a lens review??

The 35mm is an ideal focal length for street photographers. Wide enough to capture subject within close proximity, not so wide that distortion becomes an issue or too many distractions are in the frame. Leica has long had their famous range of 35mm Summiluxes and Summicrons for street photogs. However, the 35mm is also a secret weapon for fashion/portrait photographers like Terry Richardson or Annie Leibovitz.

This comparo will be broken into 5 rounds:

  1. Build quality
  2. Sharpness
  3. Vignetting and Flare
  4. Bokeh and 3D Pop
  5. Real World Handling

The Contenders & Their Specs

Zeiss Sonnar 35mm Loxia 35mm Sonnar 55mm
All of these lenses are made from metal. Though similar in size, the Loxia feels much heavier than the Sonnar 35mm. Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f/2.8 (left); Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 Biogon (center); Zeiss Sonnar 55mm f/1.8 (right).

On the left, weighing in at a featherweight 120g with a $798 price tag, is the Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm f/2.8. In the middle, weighing in at a hefty 340g with a $1,299 price tag, is the brand new Zeiss Loxia T* 35mm f/2 Biogon. And for reference, we have the spectacular Zeiss Sonnar T* 55mm f/1.8 on the right.

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Lens Shootout – Leica Summaron 35mm f/2.8 v. Zeiss Sonnar 55mm f/1.8

The biggest and oldest names in the photography industry has got to be Leica and Zeiss. Carl Zeiss AG was founded in 1846 in Jena, Germany as a optical systems manufacturer and Leitz Camera GmbH (now Leica) was founded in 1849  in Wetzlar, Germany. Both companies have seen their market share tumble since the Japanese combined high quality optics and manufacturing along with reliability, innovation, and affordability. But Leica and Zeiss are survivors, and within the last few years there seem to a strong resurgence with these two old storied brands.

Summaron v Sonnar

In my stable of lenses, I have the Leica Summaron 35mm f/2.8 and the Zeiss Sonnar *T 55mm f/1.8. Both 35mm and 50mm lenses are considered “normal primes,” great for street photography and general purpose photography. I’ve had the pleasure of using these over the last few months now, so I thought I’d do a brief comparison review.

Continue reading Lens Shootout – Leica Summaron 35mm f/2.8 v. Zeiss Sonnar 55mm f/1.8