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Carrying Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 in the Field

Get Zeiss Loxia at B&H Photo.

Shown below is the Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 on the Sony A7R II. The deep lens hood is good at keeping out blowing snow and rain (first hand experience), though it cannot defeat snow or rain blowing directly at it or nearby. In such cases I use a filter or polarizer to keep the front element immaculate while shooting, or the lens pouch shown in the 2nd picture when not actively shooting.

I was quite unhappy with the Loxia ergonomics in this sense which I have noted with other Loxia lenses: the focusing ring is separated only by a narrow ring from the aperture ring. This is a design disaster for operating with gloves on (and a risk even with bare hands) in that trying to change the aperture results in moving the focusing ring.

Especially with the 85/2.4, there is ample room to design-in more of a gap. There may be a shared design / shared parts issue there, but it is a real usability problem—I consider this the worst feature of the Loxia line.

The accidental change to focus was a constant headache in the field; I must have wrecked focus a dozen times a day, sometimes forcing a redo of an entire series. Very annoying. The thing is that with Loxia, focus requires manually opening the lens diaphragm to focus, then closing it down to shoot. So one has to constantly twiddle that ring. I wish the camera could control the aperture as can be done with the Batis lenses, or there were a button on the lens to toggle it open/closed.

See also Problem Solver: Eyeshade for Sony A7 Series Cameras.

Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar on Sony A7R II
f2.2 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 32; 2016-11-17 08:43:17
iPhone 6s Plus + iPhone 6s Plus back camera 4.15mm f/2.2 @ 29mm equiv (4.2mm)

[low-res image for bot]

When carrying the Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 in my backpack, or in some cases with blowing snow where I did not want ingress of snow or whatever, I found that it was easiest to use the “condom” approach as shown below, utilizing a neoprene lens pouch. This protects against any jolts or metal-on-metal issues. Most of the ones I have are Op/Tech, though this is another brand shown here. The same pouch works equally well for storing the lens when not on the camera, so this double-duty functionality was useful in adverse weather.

Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar on Sony A7R II with protective lens pouch
f2.2 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 32; 2016-11-17 08:42:38
iPhone 6s Plus + iPhone 6s Plus back camera 4.15mm f/2.2 @ 29mm equiv (4.2mm)

[low-res image for bot]

Roy P writes:

I have gotten used to the aperture / focus rings on my Loxia 21. It’s a pain to use it, but it becomes a lot easier to use with Freehands gloves. In case you haven’t considered these gloves before, take a look at them.

What I consider more of a struggle with the Loxia is dismounting a lens, at least with the 21mm. There is a very thin slice of the body, barely over 1/8”, that you need to grab the lens by to take it off. The way I get around it is to set the f-stop to f/22, after which the aperture ring can be used along with the body to grip the lens.

DIGLLOYD: I'm a stubborn old coot with about 10 pairs of gloves already, and I put handwarmers in them for that Beaver Ponds shoot, and that was barely enough. I actually carry 3 pairs of different weight/insulation, for conditions of cool (down to 35°F), cold (down to 15°F), and dick-freezing cold (below 0°F or so).

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