I shot an entire wedding with Zeiss Batis Primes, and here's how it turned out.
When shooting a wedding there are so many things to think about, all the way from “what should I wear” to “will I have enough SD Cards” to “where is the sun going to be when they exit the church at 3:15”? So many parts of shooting a wedding are flat out unglamorous. For every beautiful, dreamlike, “blog-able” photo, there are a couple hundred where you’re just trying to pull some sort of beauty from documenting the day. The world of wedding photography is starting to change. Thanks to the advancement of technology, bigger isn’t necessarily better anymore. One thing I always try to maintain in all my shoots is a low shooting profile. I like to be light on gear so I can maneuver to get any shot, whether I’m standing on a bench or laying on hot asphalt, if I see a creative opportunity to get a beautiful shot, I’m going to take it. If I have cameras and lenses strapped all over me, that will slow me down, and I can end up missing great opportunities for creative shots. Ever since I shot a wedding almost 2 years ago with only a Sony a7ii and a Zeiss Loxia 35, I have been converted to the idea that sometimes less can be more.
On my most recent wedding, I shot with a Sony a7rii and the entire Batis line of lenses from Zeiss, the 18mm f2.8, 25mm f2, 85mm f1.8, and the brand new Batis 135mm f2.8.
I have to say, after shooting a whole 12 hour wedding day with this setup my wrists and hands couldn’t have been happier, I’m so used to the fatigue and soreness that comes with carrying around a monster DSLR with heavy lenses. Being able to shoot for an entire day without feeling sore and worn down by my gear, but still retaining the image quality I’m used to was a breath of fresh air. For the entire day I walked around with my a7rii with a batis lens, then had my 3 additional lenses in a shoulder bag, that combined, weighed less than my Larger bodied Milvus 85mm.
The a7rii holds massive amounts of data in every image, and the Batis lenses rise to the challenge by rendering pristine image quality and accuracy in every photo. The way each of the Batis lenses transport light to the sensor is beautiful for many reasons, but the most notable of qualities comes from the sharpness of the images, perfect bokeh, and accurate color.
When looking at the line-up for the Batis series, there is admittedly a sizeable gap where there is nothing in-between the 25mm and 85mm focal length. Since 35mm is traditionally my favorite focal length for its real-life, documentary feel, I rented a Sony/Zeiss 35mm lens just so I would be covered for the gap. Now here’s the kicker… I didn’t even use it! I was so happy with the performance of the 25mm f2.0 that I used it as my primary lens for capturing the day. I’d say 60% of the wedding was shot with the 25, and I am extremely satisfied with the outcome. I’ve found there is very minimal distortion to the 25mm images, this allowed me to get close to my subjects while still showing some background to tie in more story. In most of my shooting I prefer to use manual focus, but whenever I use the batis lenses, I let go of my fear of missed focus and let the AF gods take control. The Batis 25 has an insanely fast and accurate AF that has never let me down. There’s no hunting for focus, even in low light situations. Speaking of low light, the ceremony for this wedding was in an ultra dark Catholic church, so having the low aperture was a huge help in allowing as much light into the camera.
Normally the Batis 85mm f1.8 is my portrait powerhouse, with its ability to be razor sharp exactly where I want it, while delivering the bokeh I’d expect to see in a $5000 cinema lens... this lens is a dream. I literally am in love with this lens, especially for how heavy it is on quality while being light in weight. For this wedding though, the 85 was a little overshadowed by the magic of the new Batis 135mm f2.8. The Batis 85 definitely served a purpose throughout the day, and I would never leave home without it, but when you have new toys in front of you the first thing to do is push it to the limit. I have always looked the other way when it came to anything over 100mm. “is it really necessary?” is what I would ask myself. In general, I like to stay close to my subject and shoot with a wider lens, but this 135 opened my eyes. The detail in every image is what caught my eye first, then once I realized that this was a bokeh machine even at f2.8, that’s when I was hooked! The color detail, and really just all the detail in general, that I saw from this lens was more than I have ever seen in my photos. Combining the a7rii image resolution with the unequated quality of the Zeiss Batis glass, I can honestly say I have never created “cleaner” images before now. I could go on forever about the beauty of this lens, but I really think these photos speak as proof to everything that’s already been said.