Zeiss Batis 135 Review

So, I got my hands on the tasty Zeiss Batis 2.8/135 lens last month. I've been so lucky to have an extraordinary relationship with Zeiss over the past 7 years, allowing me to receive review copies of everything in the Zeiss line-up for my Leica (ZM) and Nikon (ZF/ZF.2) mounts. Sadly, I hadn't grabbed any review lenses from them since moving away from the Leica and Nikon digital a couple years ago. But now that I am on a new mount once again, I decided it's time to run through everything in this Sony E-mount line, so a big shout out to Zeiss for letting me resume this relationship and getting this Batis 135 out to me so fast.

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365 No Peek

Next month kicks off a project cooked up on the Against the Grain podcast this month. The project stemmed from a discussion, which was inspired by Lauren Keim, about letting film sit before you look at it. During our discussion, we challenged each other to go a year without peaking/developing roll(s) and see what happens. We all have our own spin on how we want to do this, and here's mine.

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The Journey

Were I forced to put words to driving force behind my photography’s narrative, I might be inclined to go with “conscientious impudence.” I write “conscientious” because I want there to be purpose behind every choice I make—whether behind the camera or in the darkroom. And, I use “impudence” because it seems that I’m constantly making choices based on things which people have expressly told me I shouldn’t do. (Please read no arrogance in this—they are often correct; and, as it turns out, I have a masochistic tendency for learning things the hard way.) 

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The Three Best Cameras I Ever Used

I shoot a lot of cameras. A lot. I have been through a bunch of (primary) systems over the years, from the full Nikon system (2006) to the Leica system (2013) and onto the Sony system (2017) to name a few. While shooting these complete systems I also shoot a lot of others on the side (non-primary: think Hasselblad 500c, Plaubel-Makina 670, Chamonix 45n2, etc.). I love to buy/borrow various cameras, give em a spin, then decide if they stay or go. I'd guess I have tried an average of six "side" cameras a year for the past 10+ years. I purchase a couple of these each year, and only a few ever stick around more than a couple years.

I'd say over the years that there are three primary formats that I tend to gravitate to: 35mm film, medium format film, and 35mm digital. So, I began thinking, what are the best (most enjoyable all around) cameras I have used in each format? This is my analysis.

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My Film Workflow

Today I want to give you a down-n-dirty idea of my film workflow. This isn't about shooting technique or even developing, as I now farm all of that out (Richard Photo Lab), but about how I get from the shot to the printed, uploaded, or socially shared final product. This will be a bit boring, as my process to to get to my final post hardly involves me, ha ha, just the lab. But would love to see in the comments what you do for post work on your film side.

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Sony A7R II Review

Having enjoyed the Sony RX1R II for 6 months now, I decided to add to my digital side by picking up the Sony A7R II and a Zeiss Batis 1.8/85. I had considered the new Sony A9 when it was announced a few weeks back, but think I will wait on the announcement of A9R to see what direction that goes.  For now, the tried and true Sony A7R II is my path to go on.

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Nikonos V Review

Today I am taking a look at the Nikonos V in a sort of mini-review. The reason this isn't my comprehensive review (yet) is due to the fact that only roll I've pout through so far I pretty well botched (see note below on putting camera into rewind mode). I took it out on May 6th for the 5th annual New England Walk (NEWLK) on Nantucket Island. It was the obvious choice for me because the weekend was expected to be downpours - and what better camera for this than a camera designed for underwater photography. Equipped with the Nikonos 2.8/35 and a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus, I put the camera to work.

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