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30 Days of Batis 2/40 CF
A Batis adventure and a personal photography scratch book with a creative touch.
Sharing a new post every day for the next 30 days.




Filtering by Tag: Fridge

Day #10 – Further down the spiral

Toni Ahvenainen

Sony A7 & ZEISS Batis 2/40 CF – f/11, 1.6sec, ISO100, raw Photograph by Toni Ahvenainen

Sony A7 & ZEISS Batis 2/40 CF – f/11, 1.6sec, ISO100, raw
Photograph by Toni Ahvenainen

I've always said that the Nex-5N was my 'gateway drug' to Sony cameras. With lenses the drug was ZEISS Touit 2.8/12 and Touit 2.8/50M (I still have them). And just like I upgraded from the Nex-5N to full frame Sony A7, with the lenses I decided to do the same and get some full frame ZEISS lenses. I kept pondering about a year but then I bought myself four lenses: Batis 2/25, Batis 1.8/85, Loxia 2/35 and Loxia 2/50. And after two weeks I started a yearlong blog project called 'Days of Zeiss'. For the whole year 2016 I was carrying my setup like crown jewels everywhere, shot a lot of pictures and wrote blog posts regularly. Having so many great lenses at once was actually a quite baffling experience. I remember that for the first weeks I didn't even have a proper camera bag for the lenses and so I was carrying them in my back pack wrapped around towels and such. Also, getting familiar with so many different focal lengths was challenging, because it was so different way of working - and changing lenses quite a bit.

During that year I learned a lot. I learned about differences between these lenses, I learned about different optical designs, I learned about manual focusing. It was a great year, but if there is one thing I want to lift up here from that experience, it is that I also got interested in ZEISS's history as a company and learned about Carl Zeiss, Ernst Abbe, Otto Schott, Paul Rudolph, Alexander Smakula and other important characters in the history of photography. You see, ZEISS lenses are not like some other lenses you buy from the camera store - they have a distinct history behind them that is tightly connected to the general history of photography. Working with ZEISS lenses you become part of that history like many other photographers have come through decades. For example, the Batis 2/40 CF is a Distagon, a retrofocus design which traces back to 1950s which means a wide-angle lens with a large distance to the sensor plane (see a great Distagon-paper by dr. H.H. Nasse). There are many other Distagons in ZEISS's history, many of them still regarded very high. For example there's a extreme wide-angle Distagon (S-Distagon 8/39mm) serving as 'a bubble chamber lens' at CERN aiding fundamental research in physics and discovery of new elementary particles. It's intriguing to think that all these Distagons share similar design principles with the Batis 2/40 CF even if they are very different. It's the stuff like this, the history and contemporary innovations, which make ZEISS interesting from intellectual point of view as well.

Like I said, it was a very active year for my photography. I got to work with some of the best lenses, learned a lot with them and got interested in ZEISS's history as well. But even if it was an inspiring time, slowly during that awesome year a small voice, almost silent, inside of me got more noticeable. At first I didn't hear it so well, I was too busy to doing pictures and learning about lenses. But as the year got closer to the end the more prominent it came. While I couldn't quite make sense of it, somehow in back of my mind I knew that it was something that I didn't like.