Outfit Chronicles: Black & Brown + The Carl Zeiss 35mm 1.4

Monday, November 28, 2011

My heart has been captured by the 35mm 1.4 lens.. and not just any lens, but the Carl Zeiss one!!

I wish I actually owned it, but I sure don't! The photo above is taken right before I had to return the lens to Tempe Camera when I rented it for a wedding. Figured I would do an Outfit Chronicles (and mini review) before returning it :)

If you didn't know, the Carl Zeiss is all manual focus -- this means you don't ever have the option of doing auto (in terms of focus). And let me tell you, when you're shooting at 1.4 -- my little eye is straining. However, Carl Zeiss is considered to produce some of (if not *the*) best glass out there.

When I was shooting details at the wedding, manual focus was actually not a problem. I was blown away by the results. The focal length, how it responds to light, the ability to move very close to the details, and the aperture -- perfection. I could definitely distinguish the focus up-close. But during bride and groom portraits, time moves much faster, especially because you're trying to capture emotion now and not an inanimate object.

I had to switch back to my Canon lenses every now and then, and definitely did not use it for the processional. It's not impossible, I'm sure there are people who could shoot an entire wedding on manual focus, but when people are moving towards you and things are happening so fast during a wedding -- I'm not willing to take that risk. Again, for those moving moments.

Overall, renting that lens just solidified my personal preference of fixed focal lengths, along with the ability to shoot that wide. I was most surprised by how close you can move in on a subject without getting much warpness (did I make that up?) on the edges. Yep. It's my kind of lens.

top + pants: H&M, earrings + necklace: F21, shoes: Rack Room shoes

Anyway, hope my experience provided some insight for you guys! While I would love the glass from the Carl Zeiss lens, I ultimately need the option for auto focus from the Canon lens. My only question is, would the 35mm be wide enough for my family portraits over the flexible 24-70mm?

Huge thanks to my hubs for the spontaneous moments I want to do Outfit Chronicles. Each time he groans at my unplanned shoot, I know it's just his panda-bearish way of saying he loves me ;)


  1. Yep...you can thank the panda bear for the blurry shots :). You definitely need to have some sharp eyes to optimize the Zeiss lens. Can't wait to see some of the wedding shots with it!

  2. if for some strange reason i had to get rid of most of my gear, the 35L would be the last lens i got rid of. it's my workhorse. 90% of my work is done with it.

  3. Jeff -- yes! I have this strong feeling that when I get the Canon one, it will replace my lovely 50 ;) I was truly surprised at how INCREDIBLY versatile it is. Especially w/details!

  4. actuallly almost my all lenses are carl zeiss, never got disappointment...
    yes, carl zeiss, especially 1.4 lens is a little bit risky for wedding shot, but in time i guess you can solve this problem... you just need time for manual lenses:)
    in any cases, i am still keeping my canon 24-70 f2.8 L II and 70-200 f2.8 L II but i do not know when i used them last time:)

    in my bag just i need 35mm f1.4 i bought other lenses,
    i guess i will be happy with this lens:)

    i also used canon 85mm f1.2.. it was most risky lens for me, even it was AF lens.
    but i missed many frames!
    interesting but i did not had any problem with MF lenses



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