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One year with Sony Alpha cameras and ZEISS E-mount lenses. Developing my own photographic eye in a in a scratch book manner. Hunting the stream of inspiration and sharing it through a popular blog platform.
This is what 'Days of Zeiss' is all about.




Under the ice

Toni Ahvenainen

Sony A7 & ZEISS Batis 2/25 – f/2.0, 1/60sec, ISO4000, raw Photograph by Toni Ahvenainen

Sony A7 & ZEISS Batis 2/25 – f/2.0, 1/60sec, ISO4000, raw
Photograph by Toni Ahvenainen

As I promised yesterday at our ice-expedition, I'm taking you under the ice today. It was really a lucky accident that we went to local museum of natural history couple of days after the ice-expedition. There was this installation showing how it looks like under the ice and it just happened to represent the same lake Näsijärvi where we had been just few days before. I noticed that it was particularly interesting for Aura as she had never seen or even imagined the lake under the ice before. This was a static installation behind the glass, but I'm sure still very convincing from the three years old's point of view. This image also compliments nicely the image of previous post as it is easy to imagine Aura under the ice looking at the other Aura on top of the ice having a croissant, hah! I need to make sure that I position these pictures nicely when I'm going to do family album from this winter.

Yesterday I wrote that one particular thing that caught me with the Zeiss Batis 2/25 is the colors this lens is delivering. It's the 'Zeiss-colors' – if one can say that such a thing even exists – that I've used to expect with Zeiss-lenses but it is even more pronounced here and it surprised me. To understand where I'm coming from you really need to know that I've searched for 'perfect colors' as long as I have been photographing digitally (and there's been couple of Velvia 50 -film excursions as well). For me 'the perfect colors' is not a question of camera technology or getting the most accurate colors with the profiling devices. I approach colors from the artistic point of view and finding a setup that aligns with my own photographic eye has been a long path. The most laborious part of this journey has definitely been the raw-development. It can be relatively complicated even from the technical point of view, but what makes it even more difficult is a development of one's own taste along with it – and I'm still learning it picture by picture. I searched the colors for two years with the Nex-5N and SEL50F18-lens developing literally thousands of raw-files. And while the SEL50F18 is a great lens in its own right (I always make sure to emphasize this because it was such an important tool in my path), I was never fully satisfied with the colors I got with that lens. Well, I'm exaggerating here a bit since there were good images as well, but more often I felt that I got about 80 percent there but the rest was somehow unreachable not matter what I did – it was a really frustrating phase in my search for colors. All this changed when I tried my first Zeiss-lenses (Touit 2.8/12 & Touit 2.8/50M). Suddenly it was there and sometimes with far less work that I was used to. Of course there were hits and misses and there will always be, but my satisfaction-ratio raised a lot and I knew I couldn't live without these lenses. And so, because of colors (and contrast), I became a Zeiss-fan really.

Now, I don't want to make an essentialistic claim that there is something magic Zeiss-powder poured onto these lenses. I believe there are other manufacturers doing great lenses as well. One could do perfectly well – and many do – without ever owning a single Zeiss-lens and that's fine with me. I can only say that I searched pretty long and found 'that setup' which works in my workflow from Zeiss. I've tried other Sony-lenses as well and while most of them give pretty nice colors, somehow the 'Zeiss-colors' are not there. They usually have a different kind of tint (more green), which could be easily to correct in post processing (assuming one has a cognitive access to platonic world of perfect colors), but there's other subtle differences as well which are harder to describe really. Punchy but yet clear colors with strong and clean primaries. And if I would recommend one lens from my current setup for someone to try out just for colors, it would definitely be Batis 2/25 (or the Touit 2.8/50M, but that's another story).