In this video I’ll review how I have brought back into my kit a lens that I have admittedly pushed aside.
What lens is that? It’s the small and incredibly sharp Sony 55mm f1.8 FE Zeiss lens.
This is one of the original lenses that came out with the first Sony a7 a couple of years ago (it seems like forever).
While it is small, light it is the sharpest normal lens that I have ever used. So sharp, in fact, that I use it at f1.8 and don’t think a thing about it. It’s that good.
I rekindled my passion for this after a visit with a good friend, Jonathan Canlas, who was in town from Hawaii for a portrait shoot and wedding.
If you know Jonathan you’ll know that he’s a film photographer. And also know that Jonathan shoots almost everything with a normal lens (for him it’s an 80mm or a 105mm lens depending on his camera). Those lenses for him, are the equivalent of the 55mm lens on the Sony a7R II.
So what makes this lens special?
For one, it’s a Zeiss lens, and second it is sharp, but the third reason is the way that it has your subject relate to the background. Because it’s a little wider than say an 85mm short telephoto, there’s a bit more depth of field, which reveals more visual clues about your background. And yet, using a large aperture like f1.8, f2, f2.2 etc. you can have those background elements fall off quiet nicely to a gorgeous out of focus bokeh.
Zeiss has a very signature look to those out of focus elements that I prefer over any lens I have used (yes, even Leica!). There’s just something to me about Zeiss.
Couple that with the wonderful characteristics of the a7RII and you’ve got yourself one incredible portrait machine.
I hope you find this video helpful as well as the series I’m working on.