As a Zeiss Ambassador, Topher DeLancy uses a full range of Zeiss lenses, from the tank-like Milvus on Canon and RED rigs to the lightweight Batis on the full-frame Sony line. The self-described “natural-light lifestyle photographer” has a knack for shooting nuptials and families, imbuing emotional moments with cinematic flair. But no matter what he’s shooting, he likes to run compact, which makes the new Loxia line from Zeiss an attractive option, especially when shooting weddings.
“Before the [Sony] α7R II came out, I shot an entire wedding with just a Sony α7 II and a Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2,” DeLancy explains. “I just wanted to get this true-to-life documentary feel. I really enjoy the color profiles that I get, it feels cinematic.”
DeLancy prefers to focus manually—even on chaotic shoots. The Loxia line’s aluminum body and knurled focus ring makes for a notably tactile experience that facilitates the precise adjustments he requires. “I’m shooting high-motion, weddings, going crazy and stuff,” he says, “but it’s all manual, all day. And that’s not a problem for me with these lenses, especially the way it feels when you’re turning it in your hand. It just feels so good.”
The Loxia 85mm f/2.4 lens is ideal for portraiture on a full-frame body like those in Sony’s α7 line; it may not go down to f/1.8 or f/1.4 like the Batis and Milvus kits, but DeLancy was still impressed with the lens’ creamy bokeh when shooting wide open. “Even at f/2.4, I’m still getting these beautiful orbs,” he says. A recent shoot with a model proved its mettle; sharp in the places where he wants it, dreamy in the others. “There was a little plant in a planter box that had some water drops on it, so I shot [the model] through those water drops,” he says. “I got the beautiful distorted bokeh in the background, but the model was as sharp as can be. And that’s exactly what I look for, especially in an 85mm lens. I want it razor-sharp, but then I really want a lot of character to come from the blurred parts.” And it’s not just for portraits; DeLancy says sometimes he’ll pull way back with the Loxia 85mm for epic wider shots. “I’ll get back really far and treat it like I would a 35mm lens,” he says. “Just so I can get that really nice, dreamy, low aperture.”
DeLancy doesn’t use the 85mm that often to shoot video, but the Loxia line as a whole is still well suited to both photo and video applications. The manual aperture ring—set by default to snap to common aperture measurements—allows photographers to make quick and confident adjustments on the fly. But with a simple turn of an optional key, a videographer can “de-click” the aperture ring, smoothly opening and closing the aperture as they turn the ring while filming, not unlike pulling focus. DeLancy says: “It’s a really solid choice for that person who does both.”
Learn more about the ZEISS Loxia 2.4/85 here.
–Sponsored by ZEISS