Now those corners look very much better. If you started with the A7R II you will be left with a 33MP file, which is very close to perfect from corner to corner. You can do a lot with that.
To throw any semblance of a systems approach to the dogs, I also got my hands on a Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8. This I can keep short: Wow. Done. I was expecting this lens to offer me a fairly fast, compact(ish) portrait lens for the FE system (which I lack in the Leica M system too) and it does this perfectly. Any fears about decentering vanished when I saw the f1.8 results. What it also does is provide the best all round 85mm performance I have ever seen. Holy moly this lens is crisp, even across the field and produces lovely colour and contrast. It also offers stabilisation, which is handy, because it means I can glue it to my Sony A7 Mk I, which I would otherwise be using less and less now that I have an A7 II body. It manages to do all this without ever looking harsh and I am thrilled with the fact that I now have a portrait lens to travel with my Sony kit.
So there we go. My final final selection turned out to be four lenses from three manufacturers and four lens families. Absurdly, this means that for the Sony FE system I have no less than six lens types in use (out of 7 lenses):
- Voigtlander FE (15mm Heliar)
- Zeiss Loxia (21mm)
- Sony (28mm f2)
- Sony Zeiss (35mm, 55 Sonnars)
- Sony G (70-200 G)
- Zeiss Batis (85mm)
Perhaps this highlights two things:
- Lens sample variation is the scourge of high resolution digital photography and can be more important than (relatively small) differences between quality lens designs.
- Sony and Zeiss have a smart marketing strategy. I say this because many others will be buying across lens ranges like I have. However, as more models are released to fill the gaps, people will be tempted to harmonise and so make new purchases. An example might be the release of a 28mm Loxia. How many 21mm Loxia owners would be tempted by such a lens, even if they aready own the Sony 28mm f2? I suspect Zeiss will drop this one on the market as one of their final releases. After all, with 21mm and 35mm Loxias, that’s one big gap and something will end up in there. I would not be surprised if they eventually release both Loxias and Batis lenses in 28mm, as well as a 35mm f1.8 Batis. Zeiss has always had a peculiar relationship with the 28mm focal length (preferring 25mm), but the release of something in the 28mm focal range is inevitable.
I’m now actively using my new lenses as part of new series I am loosely working towards on my new home turf. I can only say that all are performing beautifully. I don’t regret the selections I made, but the opposite. I have very much enjoyed the low weight and compactness they offer. I’m seeing a chiropractor for some long-standing neck, back and shoulder issues that were only getting worse and so I’m avoiding carrying weight as much as possible. I’ve recently been out with 21-28-35-55 lenses, with one body, and hardly known they were there inside a Lowepro Mini Trekker bag. This has also given me an opportunity to see how the various lenses compare in terms of the feel of the files and general performance. This is something I will write about in due course!
So there ya go! If you have any questions or comments, please add them!