With the previous post I contemplated the question if the Batis 2/40 CF maximum aperture f/2 is enough. I argued that, for me, it is enough and I don't feel that I'm losing anything by not shooting, for example, at f/1.4 – quite the opposite I think that having an earthly aperture range from f/2 to f/5.6 for those 'subject-separation-shots' makes me a better photographer. But this kind of approach which generally emphasizes the wide open performance, subject separation and bokeh leaves the other end of the spectrum untouched, and to represent the whole Batis 2/40 CF, I feel I need to discuss about the stopped down performance separately here in this blog post.
The reason why I want to discuss this separately is because I think the Batis 2/40 CF has kind of two faceted nature: wide open it renders quite beautifully with the recognizable Batis-rendering and when you stop the lens down it becomes a very sharp lens throughout the whole frame with great contrast. In fact, I think the Batis 2/40 CF performs exceptionally good when stopping it down to anywhere between f/5.6 and f/11. The resolution, contrast and colors are superb without any chromatic aberrations, there's no perceivable distortion and even vignetting is mostly gone. The center is super sharp, but so are the edges and resolution is kept high very easily even to far corners. To be honest, I don't see what more could, for example the Otus-lenses, bring to the table when it comes to stopped down performance of Batis 2/40 CF (wide open performance and optical corrections are of course a different subject altogether).
This great performance makes the Batis 2/40 CF very enjoyable to use, not only for landscapes, but also for any subject that might call for smaller apertures. It's difficult to point it with the finger, but I feel that because of superb resolution, contrast and colors the stopped down images have a certain clarity with them – to a point where after the shoot it's always pretty exciting to check out how images look from a large computer monitor. At the same time I think it's also a bit related to focal length as well because the standard field of view is very fitting for this type of imagery (I had this crush for the stopped down images also with the Loxia 2/35, but the Batis 2/40 CF is even better in this regard). With the wider lenses the corners are often a bit streched and with the medium teles there's always something out of focus if you are not 100 meters away from your subject. So, the 40mm (just like the 35mm and the 50mm) is very flattering focal length for these type of images where everything is tack sharp across the frame. And the most important aspect of this is the fact that with the Batis 2/40 CF I just love to shoot these stopped down images which are sharp across the frame. So much that it's difficult to say which side of the lens I like better: the beautiful wide-open rendering or the stopped down high performance.
In my eyes the inspiring stopped down performance adds the already emphasized versatility of the Batis 2/40 CF. Some lenses, especially the super fast medium teles, are often one-trick-ponies which are used pretty much the same way from one day to another. For me the Batis 2/40 CF with its 40mm focal length has a kind of two functions. Firstly (1), I use it to get close to my subjects like people where I can play with the subject separation, bokeh and all that – and the field of view is very relatable for anything people related. Secondly (2), it's wide enough to be used for all kinds of general overviews like streets, house facades and such – and here the great stopped down performance makes it a superb tool for this type of stuff. So, this also resonates with my perception that the Batis 2/40 CF has these two different characters, which is also the reason why I wanted to address the stopped down performance separately. Below you'll see some examples and I hope these images exemplify the point that I've tried to underline here.