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Zeiss Batis 85 and Sony FE90 Macro...tough decisions...

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by tomO2013, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    Both look to be optically superb - Roger Cigala rates the 90mm macro as one of the sharpest macro that he has ever tested. It would also double up as a nice portrait lens and the full mechanical manual focus is nice.

    Batis is over a stop faster, slightly wider field of view and the bokeh looks lovely on this.

    Logically I can see the advantages of both and in theory if you are into portraits primarily - Batis, Macro - then FE90 G.

    The thing is for wedding photography I can see a case where the 90 macro would be great for portraits but also allow you to use it for fine details like close ups on rings etc....

    The simple (divorce) solution is to buy both....
     
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  2. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Yes, f/2.8 isn't at all bad for portraits on a short telephoto. There's still plenty of background blur and also you get to have both eyes in focus.

    No more lenses for me currently, however. Not till next year.
     
  3. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    I had my mind made up by having a wedding to shoot on 10 July and the Zeiss 85 isn't out yet! My 90 macro arrives tomorrow. Can't wait!
     
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  4. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    488
    Nov 21, 2014
    According to a guy on dpreview who has got the macro already, the manual focus is not mechanical. Yes it has a manual focus ring and hard stops but the ring is driving a server. He bought it thinking MF was mechanical.
     
  5. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    So the only way to know one is to try one - picking my camera up from a service, I can confirm that it is indeed fully mechanical in manual focus.
    This would be my preference for macro.
    The 3 focus limiter settings have noticeable affects on focus speed.
    Pushing it forward and it is indeed focus by wire.
    I only got to play around with it for a short while in really flat natural light at home today (it's due back to the shop tomorrow but I may just keep it all the same!). Since I had just gotten my camera back from the camera shop I hadn't noticed that they had set my camera back to jpeg so unfortunately my samples in the native sample image thread are all jpegs (medium quality) with Sony's default jpeg over-sharpening.
     
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  6. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    339
    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Bill
    When I saw that there was a focus hold button on the 90mm, I presumed that it was fly-by-wire focus (as with the 70-200 f/4).

    If I did any macro work, the 90mm woud be a strong contender. But I don't, so the Batis 85mm is my "easy" choice.

    tomO2013 made a good point about wedding photos and using the 90mm for the wedding ring(s). I think, however, that even a highly cropped shot might do the job. I don't do weddings (or any professional work), but I'd worry that a ring image using the 90mm macro could be too "forensic" and need some softening anyway.

    Good luck to all of us, with whatever we choose.
     
  7. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    Actually, I think such a sharp 90mm replaces a 70-200 for weddings completely. Unless of course you have a really large wedding hall or something. But for small weddings (much more common I think?) it is perfect. I tried shooting wedding rings with the 55/1.8 and heavily cropping and it's ok abstractly but it couldn't really pick up things like engravings on them for real detail. This one will be overkill hehe
     
  8. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    488
    Nov 21, 2014
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  9. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    Actually the 90mm is even bigger when you mount the lens hood!
     
  10. dmward

    dmward TalkEmount Veteran

    200
    Mar 21, 2015
    Metro Chicago
    David
    I still have my Canon 100 2.8 L macro. Its really big with the Metabones adapter.
    This creates an interesting alternative. Although I think I prefer the Batis for portraits etc. So that first.
    Selling the Canon macro to fund this would make the decision easier.
     
  11. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    NYC
    Here is the direct comparisons:
    18924663974_fd0c30e0e4_b.
    19540440982_16edc2eed4_b.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
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  12. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    NYC
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
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  13. ggibson

    ggibson TalkEmount Regular

    154
    Sep 1, 2011
    I'd think for weddings you'd want the extra 1 1/3 stops of light that the 85/1.8 would give you. Maybe if you're shooting an A7s or A7rII you could go with the 90mm and dial up the ISO a bit more. But for the ring shots, you could grab a manual/legacy lens since you don't really need AF. On that note, I'd expect the Batis 85 to AF faster than the 90 macro too--another plus in its favor.
     
  14. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    I just shot a wedding with 16-35, 55/1.8 and 90/2.8 macro. Unfortunately I can't post the photos this time round, but let me just say nothing about the 90/2.8 disappointed me. Paired with an A7rII I expect it to be a full 70-200/2.8 replacement (thanks to croppability and the fact you don't really need the much longer end of the tele unless you're shooting some super huge wedding with thousands of guests). From that perspective, it's actually very small. Would the 85/1.8 be even better? Possibly. But then when you do wedding detail, the 90/2.8 might actually be better.

    As for the extra stop, it's irrelevant. You need to shoot a wedding with flash and f/2.8 is plenty fast with a flash, especially given that you literally never need to stop down this lens for sharpness reasons (only for DoF). 90/2.8 at wedding shooting distances is already quite thin DoF. A head and shoulders crop would need to be stopped down to f/4 or even more to ensure nose to ear are all in focus.

    All that said, I shot far more photos with the 16-35 and 55. To me these seem like the perfect bread-and-butter lenses of small weddings. 24-70 would to me be less useful because you are often in tight venues - in both the weddings I have shot so far, I had a lot more of 16-21mm photos than even I anticipated. And I am glad Sony in their infinite wisdom (hah) let the lens reach 35mm which is a great length for shooting a pair of people in tight spaces with low risk of perspective distortion - so 16-35 is what I shoot the vows with because it is perfect coverage in small venues. If in a large venue like a church with rules about how close the photographer can get to the priest/couple, then maybe a different lens choice might be appropriate. But for small weddings - which is the only type of thing I have the guts to take on - my current lens selection is perfect. So those two to me are non-negotiable, and whether you take the 90/2.8 or 85/1.8 is really down to personal preference - prioritizing DoF control or detail.
     
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  15. cvt01

    cvt01 TalkEmount Regular

    164
    Jan 3, 2015
    Interesting analysis, thanks. I think there is an advantage of the brighter lens one should take in account as well when comparing these two: an f/1.8 lens gives you better AF performance in low light than an f/2.8 lens... Even if you take the photo stopped down the camera acquire focus wide open.
    I agree with the rest
     
  16. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    To be honest, by the end of the evening when my 90 started to hunt, I switched to the 55/1.8 and it was also hunting. From then on, the most reliable lens was actually the 16-35 because of the huge depth of field.
     
  17. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
  18. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    I just watched the video ad that B&H made for the 85mm and 25mm Batis lenses and I am surprised that they did not recommend either of these lenses for "run & gun" video use. That sorta kills them for me. I want dynamic capability in video ops (and I still don't know what I am doing in that mode).
     
  19. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Because the 90mm goes to 1:1 with internal focusing, it has to be much longer than a normal non-macro 90mm. Consider, for example, the Zeiss Sonnar T* 90mm f/2.8 for Contax G. It's tiny.
     
  20. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    OK, that makes sense (I didn't think about the macro impact - but that's true with my Nikkor micro lenses too), but now how do you explain squishing the 85mm focal length into nearly the same distance as the 55mm focal length (longer minimum focus distance)?