An architectural experience

October 6, 2016 ZEISS LENSPIRE Team

by Timon Först

My name is Timon Först, located in Germany, and I am a passionate architectural photographer and work for an IT company as CAD/PDM Senior Consultant. In my blog I write about my loved photography and share my photos on my website. But lets talk about this great lens!

Focal Length

18mm focal lengths are screaming for an application in architectural photography. In combination with an E-Mount full frame camera (in my case a Sony A7r) it is a really really super wide angle. Even for me, who is working in architecture this is a very special experience. If you want a 18mm lens, you know exactly that you want it.

BMW Munich Headquarter - I BMW Munich Headquarter - II BMW Munich Headquarter - IV BMW Munich Headquarter - III

Auto Focus and Focus Ring

Okay, this is a special one. In my photography I don’t need auto focus, I thought. When I take my long time exposure photos, manual focus is my main tool. But now with auto focus I took more pictures than usual. It just works perfectly, fast and precisely. Of course, with 18mm focal length you don’t use an aperture of 2.8 often in architecture to be able to test all facets of it. Videography yes, it is in its nature. Not in architecture. But when I use it, it works like a charm.

The focus ring is very smooth but not too smooth. It’s like an iPhone, you take it in your hand and you can use it intuitively. The OLED Display shows very nicely the DOF (Depth of Field). It’s not THE feature to convince people to buy this lens, but it is part of the loving details that make the lens so perfect.

Don’t talk, show your results

Zeiss Batis 18mm/2.8Okay, okay. But just before I share some of my photos with you, a word about how I got into photography. I make, no, I am a long time exposure photographer. I use ND filters to extend the shutter speed. For instance instead of 1/125 sec I get with a 10+6 Neutral Density Filter 8min 44sec. Why? To get the beautiful blurry clouds.

The Batis 18mm is perfect to use ND filters. The adapter ring fits quite in the 77mm lens diameter. I have a few lenses, but not one lens has a smooth thread like the Batis – every time it´s a positive surprise to me when I am in my first act of shooting that begins with screwing the adapter ring on the filter. It is so handy!

BMW Munich Museum - I BMW World - I BMW World - II Hans Otto Theater - I Hans Otto Theater - III

How heavy is the Batis?

I cannot describe how wonderful it is, when the lens does not weigh a kilogram but instead only 330g. 330 GRAMM. If you can’t follow just mount this lens on your Sony A7 and what you will feel right in that moment is that you don’t want to unlock the lens, but instead you want to put a padlock between the lens and camera.

Quality? It’s a Zeiss

This was my first ZEISS lens and I had just heard the praise from other photographers about the quality. I tested it hard to find a point of criticism. Sorry but I cannot deliver.

It has an integrated lens profile. You can see this when you import the raw files into the Lightroom. Until that day I did ´nt even know that there is such a thing. It is pretty amazing that you don’t have to deal with chromatic aberrations in post production. It’s a release! Especially in the super wide-angle focal length you always have to worry about it. I double checked my photos and I couldn’t find green or purple colorations on the edges of buildings or in the trees. Praise the ZEISS Batis.

My final words: You really get what you payed for – perfect quality with low aperture with a ridiculous low weight.


About Timon Först:

Profile Timon Foerst

© Alexander Heinhold

The young photographer Timon, based in Bayreuth (BY) in Germany, quickly became a passionate architectural photographer.

Ultramodern and minimalist buildings are his favorite motifs. His photographic style is characterized by minimalism and the highlighting of the materials used in the building. His images are often long exposures that give the immobile and massive buildings a certain lightness.

“I do not just take photograph of buildings. I see it as a kind of art to give buildings an emotion. People Photography is not only reduced to head portraits, it is much more…just as it is with architectural photography.”




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