A day with the Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 in Mexico

Having been shooting with the A7r II for a few months now, I find that it fits my needs perfectly. Let’s hope it stands the test of time in durability. I love the image quality and depth it produces, and feel it gives me that smooth image quality that I want on my main camera.

Along with my old Canon lenses, I have also acquired the Zeiss T* FE 35mm f/2.8, Sony’s small full-frame oriented lens. This glass appealed to me because of its size and stunning image quality. Yes, it is an F/2.8 maximum aperture lens, but there is something about it which makes it special, with its sharpness and the bokeh.

sony zeiss sonnar 35mm T* on A7r II

In short, I will tell you what I like and dislike about this lens:

Like

  • Extremely sharp image quality
  • Fast AF on the A7r II
  • Pleasant bokeh
  • lightweight and small

 

Dislike

  • Price point is very high at $800. I found mine on Ebay for much less.
  • Maximum aperture of f/2.8, though it doesn’t matter with the great ISO performance on the sony A7r II
  • No weather sealing

 

The good outweighs the bad by far, and these cons are things I can easily deal with. Mainly, I got this as a walk around street photography lens, but after using it, I feel I can do much more with it.

sony zeiss sonnar 35mm T* on A7r II

I took a walk on a Sunday afternoon right across the border from El Paso, Texas in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. This border city is an incredibly lively place which is worth talking a walk in. It had been a violent hot spot for some time because of the brutal drug war that raged for years and made Juarez one of the highest homicide rates in the world, but nowadays, I am happy to see that it has become much safer and that people have gotten back to everyday life.

That said, you need to take normal precautions and go at your own risk. Juarez still faces problems of crime and violence, just nowhere near as much as there was six years ago.

So anyway, here are some shots all taken on the A7r II and the Zeiss 35mm f/2.8:

dress store in Juarez shot with sony zeiss 35mm f/2.8

Mercado in Juarez shot with sony zeiss 35mm f/2.8

I shot at f/2.8 for most of the day. Looking at this photo, the gentleman is actually quite far from my lens. Even so, this image still goes soft in the background. This is one reason why I like full-frame. Sure, most people won’t notice it, but I do.

Man in Juarez shot with sony zeiss 35mm f/2.8

I must say, this camera is not as unassuming as my old X100s, but it still does well for an inconspicuous street capture.

Mercado in Juarez shot with sony zeiss 35mm f/2.8

Man in Juarez shot with sony zeiss 35mm f/2.8 Manicure shop window in Juarez shot with sony zeiss 35mm f/2.8 Man in Juarez shot with sony zeiss 35mm f/2.8

streets in Juarez shot with sony zeiss 35mm f/2.8 people in Juarez shot with sony zeiss 35mm f/2.8 Father and daughter in Juarez shot with sony zeiss 35mm f/2.8 on the bridge between mexico and usa with sony 35mm f/2.8Looking at these images, I think that the Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm really offers premium image quality. Zeiss lenses are known for their great bokeh and sharpness. I guess that is why the price is so high. You will have to decide if this lens is worth it for you. At $800, you may as well go for a premium f/1.4 lens, but the Sony Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 comes at $1600 and is heavy and big. You could also go for a Canon or Sigma lens to adapt onto it.

For me, there is no looking back. This lens has been the most used on my A7r II so far, all because of its convenience, superb image quality and AF speed.

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