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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.

Journal

 

 

Filtering by Tag: Playing

Day #08 – do you see forty?

Toni Ahvenainen

Sony A7 & ZEISS Batis 2/40 CF – f/2.0, 1/250sec, ISO100, raw Photograph by Toni Ahvenainen

Sony A7 & ZEISS Batis 2/40 CF – f/2.0, 1/250sec, ISO100, raw
Photograph by Toni Ahvenainen

So far I’ve written a lot about the unique focal length the Batis 2/40 CF offers (or 'the odd', depends how you see it). Great work, but kind of theoretical. How does the 40mm focal length feel in practice? To be honest, it's difficult to give any final conclusions after so short usage, but one interesting thing I've noticed is that I perceive more it as a wide angle 35mm than a standard 50mm. And as a substitute for 35mm it feels ok: wide enough for indoors and I don't find myself taking steps backwards too often. There's also at least one advantage compared to a regular 35mm lens: portraits are a bit more flattering because of added compression that extra 5mm brings. All in all, the Batis 2/40 CF would make a good 35mm lens substitute.

But thinking it as a substitute for something else is not really intellectually honest – it's not an alternative for 35mm lens, it's 40mm and should be thought like that. This brings me to my point: as a focal length the 40mm is not immediately familiar and I find myself comparing it to both 35mm and 50mm. There are some particular focal lengths that I know like pockets of my jacket, like the 25mm, 85mm & crop-50mm, and I can 'scan the environment' through these lenses without the camera, but the 40mm is something else. Maybe it’s again the idea of the 'standard focal length' that guides my inner perception and taps into the latent fears and anxieties: it’s comforting to categorize the Batis 2/40 either a 35mm or 50mm because these are the categories we have been cultivated to understand and see around us. But the 40mm is of course neither; it is as close to 35mm as it is to 50mm.

So, having worked with the Batis 2/40 there are some images that look to me like ‘the 35mm’ and there are some others that resemble more 'the 50mm'. But here's the interesting thing: there are some pictures where I kind of see both, 'the 35mm' and 'the 50mm'. Like the one I'm sharing today. When I took this picture it was the last exceptionally warm days of autumn in Finland (now it's totally different). Meri is playing at the edge of the fountain while her big sister Aura stands behind her. In my eyes this picture kind of has 'the wide angle field of view' from the 35mm lens and 'a bit of a telecompression' from the 50mm (and pretty nice painterly background blur as well). It’s the pictures like this where I think I start to see the unique properties of the 40mm lens. And this is precisely what I mean when I say that I need to learn to 'see the forty' with its unique characteristics. At its best I see it combining the wide angle look with the little compression taken from the standard field of view. This offers great possibilities and it is definitely a new and flexible way of working within that standard of field of view. I think this is the best way I can describe the feeling of forty.