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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.




The lifelike Loxia 2/35

Toni Ahvenainen

Sony A7 & ZEISS Loxia 2/35 – f/8, 1/500sec, ISO800, raw Photograph by Toni Ahvenainen

Sony A7 & ZEISS Loxia 2/35 – f/8, 1/500sec, ISO800, raw
Photograph by Toni Ahvenainen

Recently I've been using the Zeiss Loxia 2/35 a lot. A few posts earlier I described that the Loxia 2/35 is a bit difficult to approach since it doesn't follow the norm of the modern lens where everything has to be very sharp and controlled right from the widest aperture. When shooting at f/2 it introduces a slight veil/glow to the image which, I'm sure, many will see as a weakness (though it clears up significantly already at f/2.8). But Loxia 2/35 is really a lens with faces and once you stop it down to f/2.8 it is very sharp, contrasty and draws a beautiful bokeh with near field subjects. For me the sweet spot when photographing people is rightthere at f/2.8 - f/4 where there is plenty of contrast and sharpness. But wait! In addition to 'wide-open-Loxia' and 'medium-aperture-Loxia' there is still another Loxia 2/35 which appears when you stop the lens down around f/8. At small apertures the lens suddenly becomes a modern high performer where it delivers superb contrast and details look splendid even at the corners. Like I said, many faces!

However, describing the optical performance and how it behaves from aperture to another is not my point. Instead I want to emphasize that these different personalities make Loxia 2/35 a very interesting lens to use because there is a lot to discover. For example, knowing that it will draw a bit differently at f/8 encourages me to explore scenes with small apertures. On the other hand, working nearly wide open introduces a very nice bokeh and certain three dimensionality in some particular situations. It gives me a more interesting shooting experience than, for example the Batis 1.8/85, because the Batis is just supreme from wide open all the way to small apertures as well. In other words, the Loxia 2/35 has definitely a character which means that it isn't always perfect, but that's just the thing which makes it more interesting in photography. I have to say I'm a bit surprised by this experience and it definitely makes me rethink what it is that I like in different lenses. Could it be that I like manual focus Loxias more than the modern Batis lenses? This remains to be seen...

Ps. Today's image is already taken quite some time ago when I shortly tested the Loxia 2/35 for the first time. It's a beautiful spring morning light reflecting from the just washed windows – perfect at f/8.