All posts by David Braddon-Mitchell

David Braddon-Mitchell is a keen landscape and environmental portrait photographer. In the last decade of film he was a darkroom practitioner and worked with Olympus OM SLRs and various medium format cameras. He switched to Canon DSLRs when digital imaging improved, and made a move to Sony bodies as soon as the A7 series was born. He enjoys using a mixture of legacy manual lenses, modern manual lenses, and E mount AF lenses.

Zeiss Batis Sonnar T* 85mm f1.8: A Review

The Zeiss Batis 1.8/85mm lens has generated less excitement than any other Batis. Perhaps because it falls between the stools of two competitors: the excellent and cheaper Sony 1.8/85, and the Sony G Master 1.4/85. People think if you don’t want the GM lens, with it’s beautiful bokeh and low mechanical vignetting, you should maximise your savings get the Sony.

Often in the introduction to reviews we write teasers – Is this true? Read on to find out!! No teaser here. It’s not true. By all means get the Sony if you aren’t up for the added cost of the Batis. But the Batis is a great lens, worth the price if you can easily afford it and are looking for an all-rounder. Now for the teaser: read on to find out why.

Samples

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Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* (C/Y) 35-70mm f3.4: A review

The Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* (C/Y) 35-70mm f3.4 was a standard zoom lens designed for the Yashica and Contax series of film SLR cameras. It was, perhaps, the first standard zoom of truly decent quality throughout its range. You could use it an any focal length and not really have any compromise relative the prime lenses of the time. That cliché “a tube full of primes” was (for once) true of it: at least in its day.

It’s since acquired a kind of cult reputation. Some think it remains the finest standard zoom you can get. But how much of this reputation is due to it being so amazing by the standards of when it was designed in 1982, and how much because it still deserves a place in the kits of some modern photographers? Read on to find out!

Specifications

Diameter 70mm
Length 80.5 mm
Filter Thread 67 mm
Weight (w/o adapter) 475 g
Minimum Focusing Distance 0.7m
Maximum Magnification 1:2.5
Number of aperture blades 8
Elements/ Groups 10/10
The Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* (C/Y) 35-70mm f3.4 can be purchased used on eBay.com here.

Image Samples

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Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar T* 50mm f1.5 ZM: A Detailed Review

We have become used to old lens formulas being revived and sold for occasionally huge sums of money to collectors and photographers hoping to create images with a magical vintage look. All of us here have been very sceptical about this. Mostly they have been simple lenses in simple bodies with poor technical qualities being sold for more than the price of the latest and greatest glass. From one perspective the legendary C-Sonnar from Zeiss is like this. It’s a classic design dating from 1932 whose principal design goal at the time was to reduce the number of air glass surfaces because the coatings of the day were so primitive. Why do we need it now? But Zeiss bought it back in 2006 in M mount as part of the ZM series. The optical design is not much changed, but it comes with modern coatings. Many prize it for magical rendering and flattering portraiture, others think it shows that not even Zeiss is above trying to rip off nostalgic hipsters. Read on and find out who is right!

Specifications

Diameter 56 mm
Length 45 mm
Filter Thread 46 mm
Weight (w/o adapter) 250 g
Max. Magnification (w/o close focus adapter) 1:15
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor (w/o CFA) 0.9 m
Number of aperture blades 10
Elements/ Groups 6/4
The Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar T* 1.5/50 can be purchased via our affiliate links at Amazon.com or else B&H Photo Video. You can get it new on eBay.com here, or you can get it used on eBay.com here.

Image Samples

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Carl Zeiss Tele-Tessar (ZM) T* 4/85: A Detailed Review

The Carl Zeiss Tele-Tessar T* 4/85 lens was released in late 2008. It is a ZM lens designed for Leica rangefinders, with a very pure long-focus five element three group construction. 85mm lenses may well not suffer from any issues on unmodified Sony sensors, and it’s light and compact for a high quality short tele. It has a reputation for being a wonderfully sharp and contrasty: is it good enough to be a great companion to your Sony, despite being relatively slow? This review may tell you.

Specifications

Diameter 54 mm
Length 85 mm
Filter Thread 43 mm
Weight (w/o adapter) 310 g
Max. Magnification (w/o close focus adapter) 1:9
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor (w/o CFA) 0.9 m
Number of aperture blades 10
Elements/ Groups 5/3
The Carl Zeiss Tele-Tessar T* 4/85 can be purchased via our affiliate links at Amazon.com or else B&H Photo Video. You can get it new on eBay.com here, or you can get it used on eBay.com here.

Image Samples

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What would we take into the mountains?

You are going into the mountains for three nights. This is not a dedicated photography trip, but an adventure with friends or family. You have packed your tent, your sleeping bag, warm clothes, cooking gear and food. Your pack is now pretty heavy, but you say something that astonishes your hiking (or bushwalking as we call it in Australia)  buddies: you are prepared to add 1.5kg of cameras and lenses to that! As they watch incredulously, you put into your pack……what?

We don’t know what you would do, but we can tell you what we typically pack.

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