So here’s a post almighty Google ain’t gonna like much. Not enough words, not enough keywords. No link strategy. No nothin’ SEO. Just plane-Jane photographs straight off the press after a quick walk (drive, actually) in the nearby country side.
The truth is: writing a good review for a lens that took a large group of very clever people a very long time to design and build, takes time. I could say this is the best lens I’ve ever used and it wouldn’t be far from the truth. But what does that even mean?
It’s crazy sharp at all apertures and all areas of the frame. But who cares, really? It’s also crazy big, which probably matters more to most photographers (not even mentioning what it costs).
It’s also crazy elegant, which is already treading into very subjective waters and should probably be described in terms of the balance between sharpness and smoothness of tone, global contrast and local contrast, colour density and colour fidelity …
Focusing is a dream come true. At least on cameras with huge, bright OVFs and those with quality EVFs & focus peaking. Much of the lens’ goodness, which relies so greatly on accurate positioning of the point of focus, is probably lost on cameras designed with AF in mind.
And there are quite a few other more technical aspects that require specific conditions to test for. Flare, for example, requires bright lights, more often than not, the sun, which is in short supply in late spring 2016 all over France.
So, yes, all of this takes time. Plus, DS policiy forbids the use of lab testing which has much use in the field as French politics for employment. So my prefered mehotodology for testing lenses is to use them during leisurely walks, work, assignments and other stolen moments, identifying the right conditions for meaningful comment as I go along.
The photographs that don’t serve a review purpose end up in travel ebooks or personal albums. And why not share them as I go along?
For the travel-minded, the photographs on this page were made in Moulin de Redon, just 10 miles North of Pagnol’s Aubagne, in an area where product prices and awareness of the tourist potential have more or less maintained the perils of intensive farming and consecutive fuggliness at bay.
How long will that last? Many years, I hope.
The highly into debt pretend megalopolis of Marseilles is slowly absorbing nearby villages to spread out the financial load of decades of mismanagement onto a wider range of victims and my guess is all of this will turn into housing as soon as the perspective of short-term profit overcomes the pride of centuries of symbiotic relationship with nature. Sick transit …
But local farmers are planting vine and olive groves, while the villages have enforced a green (no-building) belt around them and the lack of high-volume infrastructure will probably slow down evil. So, for now, all seems good 🙂
In the mean time, it makes me happy to document and share the current state of my testing grounds as I go along reviewing the gems Zeiss are kind enough to send my way, soaking in the sun and rain with my tog head in the clouds.
All the while, I’m experimenting with colour, B&W, bokeh quality, 3D, drawing and, generally speaking, trying to find the envelope inside which the lens performs most beautifully. At the end of the day, I’ve seen very minor chromatic aberration, identified situations where bokeh is slightly less sexy, found very minor distortion (and will share all this soon) … but the lens is essentially perfect to my eyes and determining wheather it is for you (and me 😉 ) or not is really a matter of beauty / price ratio.
So, as a very early intermediate verdict: why carry this humongous thing around to use it at f/8, an aperture at which almost any other lens is going to perform well (or is it?) ? The answers are too numerous to list here. Tactile pleasure. The ability to switch to warp f/1.4. Colour rendition that allows any PP fantasy and still looks good. That focusing ring. Watching the paper-thin plane of focus move back and forth in focus peaking mode (never gets old). The joy of knowing that nothing is beyond reach. Knowledge that it will have to return to its masters all too soon if a gold vein isn’t found on my land. I’ll do it again tomorrow. And the day after. It’s that much fun 🙂
Oh, and it seems the sun has finally found its way here. Watch this space for much more on what this amazing lens makes of Provence 🙂
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