EDIT [9th December 2018]: ZEISS has informed that they are working on a solution for Eye-AF issue. Qualification of the problem might take some time, but they aware of the issue and are working on it.
In addition, ZEISS has informed that they are working on a software update that will allow users to work within a larger focus range with a wide-open aperture. This means that when working at close distances the aperture will close down less than what is described in this blog, reducing also the visibility of nonagons mentioned in other posts. The update will be available to download for free from the ZEISS website in early 2019. ZEISS will notify all registered customers via email.
So this is it folks, the last post for this blog project. When I initially got the Batis 2/40 CF and started to build this blog it was exceptionally warm autumn in Finland. I could easily walk with bare foot outside and enjoyed some sunny days for photography. Now that I'm ending this project the autumn has already passed and the ground is covered in frost, but still waiting for real snow. It has been exciting times with the new Batis 2/40 CF, especially at the beginning where I probably had one of the first copies in my hand before rest of the world. An interesting experience that I will probably remember with positive connotations for a long time.
Working with the project like this is both addicting and wearing. It is addicting because the rhythm of daily blog posts inject high octane fuel into my photography and forces me to contemplate my decisions, motivations and everything around the photography – as I'm scanning new photographic opportunities and ideas at the same time. It is a satisfying feeling because I find myself to be more productive and creative than in normal circumstances. Every day brings a new little accomplishment for the project and the result of all this is a positive spin that gives me the energy to keep it up. I would love to extend this project to a full year, and what a photographic year that would be!
However, another side of the coin is that it is difficult to fit a highly intense project like this into other daily activities related to work, family stuff and all. During the month I've updated the blog mainly at night time, and for example, yesterday I found myself writing the blog post still at 2:30 AM, which gave me a whopping 4 hours of sleep before getting up again. And the project eats hours at daytime too, because there's work to be done with shooting, post processing, etc. For thirty days the project has taken the normal family time as 'a hostage' as I've been busy getting my days done. So, even if I have a slight desire to keep on posting, the good things will have to come to an end finally.
The blog project has of course been all about the new Batis 2/40 CF which quite rightfully stands there in the middle between the Batis 2/25 and the Batis 1.8/85 as I personally feel it completes the Batis lens family very nicely (but of course ZEISS will introduce new lenses again in future). Within these thirty days I have written a lot about the Batis 2/40 CF, always trying to cover different aspects like addressing the unique focal length, inspecting Close Focus abilities and its limits, mapping optical performance, etc. If I would have to round up it in some way I guess I could say that ZEISS's strength is that their lenses are often more than just a sum of their parts. Throughout the decades ZEISS has inspired many generations of photographers with their lenses, and not only at the intellectual level, but also at the aesthetical and the emotional level as well. The Batis 2/40 CF is no different as it offers a unique focal length which makes the whole Batis lens family differentiate from what is often considered to be traditional focal length gapping. The Batis 2/40 CF substitutes both 35mm and 50mm reducing the traditional 24-35-50-85 setup to a more compact three lens setup 25-40-85. Based on the same physical aesthetics as the previous Batis lenses it also creates a consistent lens family where all the lenses share same lens rendition and other aesthetics. And finally as a whole the Batis lens family exemplifies perhaps the best compromise between the size, the reasonable price and the best possible optical performance. In other words, it's not just about the focal length and the maximum aperture, ZEISS lenses are interesting because they are often so carefully thought out in the big picture.
But even if this blog project has been about a single lens, I hope it has not been too technology oriented, because photography is not about the tools or choosing the finest possible lenses – and it's definitely possible to go too deep within the rabbit hole of 'lens rendition', 'micro contrast' and all. That's why I've also tried to balance the narrative with pondering other photography related questions as well as sharing my own experiences and reflections. For me, personally, using ZEISS lenses have made a difference in my photography and because of this experience I'm a ZEISS enthusiast (for better or for worse). But it has also taught me that leaning too much on the idea of 'the finest possible lenses' isn't always the most constructive way to develop one's photography. ZEISS lenses are tools, admittedly a very fine tools with a lot of design experience and advanced technology behind them, but they are still just tools, and the rest is up to you. You define your photographic vision and with the tools you to translate this vision into actual photographic work. So, concentrate on the vision and don't let the tools get into your way.
So, is the Batis 2/40 CF right lens for you? I cannot answer to that and I don't even want to. Instead I want to emphasize that reading reviews and opinions about lenses represents always a second hand information (this blog project included). The best way to see if you like the lens is to test it yourself within the context of your own photography. This way you escape 'the ranking oriented point of view' and can evaluate the real benefits and inspiration potential for your own photography. So, don't take my word for it (because we have different perspectives), try it out for yourself.
However, there's a one caveat which you should know if you are interested to try out the new Batis 2/40 CF. Many users with newer second and third generation A7 bodies have reported front focusing problems with Eye-AF and AF in Magnified View. The normal AF works as intended and the problem only occurs with the Eye-AF and AF in Magnified View. The cause for this is currently unknown and all I know is that ZEISS is investigating the situation. Considering that these functions are very important features for many Sony Alpha users I believe this has a high priority at ZEISS, and while I have no additional information, I personally believe that it will be fixed as soon as they get to the bottom of it. In short, if in doubt or if the Eye-AF is crucial for your use, you should wait and see how the thing gets solved. I was hoping that it would have been solved before I end my project, but unfortunately I have to leave this kind of remark here.
But finally for the end of this blog project I need to thank you all for following my thirty days gauntlet. There is no blog without the audience and the lift off was really only possible because so many of you followed it and had a very supportive mind for my ramblings. Thank you. Thank you especially for the many comments that showed a certain sense of humor. It sustained my stamina to go through this and it inspired me to deliver my best every day (sorry for that one sick day, caught a nasty norovirus from a children's birthday party).
Some of you might wonder what I'm going to do next. Well, that's an easy question. I'll take the Batis 2/40 CF, go out and enjoy my new lens. Without worrying what I should write tomorrow I might actually have some quality time with the new lens and maybe even post process some of the raw-files that has been piling up on my hard drive in recent weeks. With the new focal length there is a new frontier ahead!
--- end of transmission ---