The Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 T* Distagon is is often referred to as being one of the best 35mm lenses available, combining high sharpness as well as microcontrast and smooth bokeh in a small yet very pricey package. But is it really worth the asking price when used on the A7 series cameras? Let us find out! Update 03/06/17:sharpness section updated (performance with 5m PCX filter included), sample images added, bokeh section updated, alternatives section updated, conclusion updated
In this series we interview amateur photographers just like us, who inspire us and who share our passion for photographing with manual lenses.
can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you use manual Lenses?
I’m Martijn Kort (33), photographer and airline captain from the Netherlands. About 6 years ago I got my first DSLR and this started my journey to search for the perfect picture. I studied the technical side of photography for a long time. Learning the different techniques, understanding why something happens and how to achieve a certain look. I was looking closely at other photographers work, trying to understand how and why they got the photo they displayed. This gave me a strong base to professionalize my photography and to find my style and Since 2016 I’m an ambassador for ZEISS, which I’m very proud off.
All full frame E-mount cameras (except for the A7r) feature an electronic shutter in addition to the mechanical shutter. While most of them only offer an “electronic first curtain shutter” the A7s(II) and and A7rII even offer a completely silent, purely electronic shutter. But there are unfortunately some limitations you should be aware of.
When I took this picture in late August I was working all day on some papers for university, so after many hours behind the desk some sport and photography was well earned.
In the Bag
I packed my small camera bag* with the lightest lenses I could find in my cabinet: a Olympus OM 3.5/28*, Zeiss C/Y 1.7/50* and Olympus OM 2.8/100.* Since I had some strenuous cycling before me I didn’t want to carry any unnecessary weight and I knew that I could capture about anything with this little setup. Of course one is always a bit limited by just three lenses. But I think it is a good exercise to be limited and to be out there is much more important than to have the absolutely best gear anyway.
The Tokina 35mm 2.8 Macro is an APS-C (DX) lens and actually quite old already (introduced around 2008). As I am using two cameras from the A7 series I am rarely interested in APS-C lenses, but this one caught my attention for several reasons: I was looking for a moderate wide angle macro lens, it features 9 rounded aperture blades, it is quite small and cheap and I got word that it covers the whole full frame sensor at larger magnifications. Read on to find out whether my expectations were met!