Michael Topham pairs the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 by with the flagship Sony Alpha 7R II and puts its delight factor to the test

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Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8

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Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Review

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Price as reviewed:

£909.00

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Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Review – Introduction

When I reviewed the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 a few weeks ago, I also referred to the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 – a lens that, like the Batis 25mm f/2, has been created specially for full-frame mirrorless cameras made by Sony. Having been impressed by the innovative design and optical performance of the first Batis lens to pass through our hands, I’m keen to find out if the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 is just as good. Will it live up to my expectations as one of the finest medium-telephoto primes for photographers specialising in portraiture, event and wedding photography?

Unlike the Zeiss’s Loxia lenses and the newly announced Milvus lenses for DSLRs, one of the key selling points of the Batis lenses is their ability to offer full autofocus, with a similar focus-by-wire motor as used in native Sony/Zeiss lenses. Although, as we found out when we reviewed the Batis 25mm f/2, there’s a lot more besides the autofocus that makes the Zeiss Batis lenses so special. Before focusing on the handling and image quality, let’s take a closer look at its key features.

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  1. 1. Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Review – Introduction
  2. 2. Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Review – Features
  3. 3. Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Review – Build and handling
  4. 4. Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Review – Image quality
  5. 5. Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Review – Test results
  6. 6. Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Review – Verdict
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  • Maurice

    Strange. Other reviewers rate this lens as extremely sharp. Maybe you had a bad copy?

  • Michael Topham

    Couldn’t agree with you more Entoman. We’re looking forward to seeing more lenses being introduced to the Zeiss Batis line-up.

    As for the build quality and finish, it’s just as good as you’d expect from Zeiss. Personally, I like the way these lenses look on the Alpha 7-series (thus my comment about the way it compliments these cameras), but I will admit I slightly prefer the way they look coupled to the older Alpha 7-Series cameras than the very latest models. I say this based on that the older Alpha 7 cameras, namely the Alpha 7 and Alpha 7R, have a smoother body finish that’s more in keeping with the finish of the barrel of this lens.

    Thanks for your comments.

  • entoman

    It’s great to see Zeiss producing AF lenses for the Sony A7 series, and hopefully the Batis range will be expanded to include macros, wide-aperture long teles and some decent zooms.

    I must admit to being rather puzzled by the comment “Zeiss has meticulously designed the styling of this lens to ensure it compliments Sony’s Alpha 7-series cameras.” The styling of the lens is fine, but to my eyes it looks completely out of place on the angular Sony bodies.

    Sony cameras are fantastic, highly innovative machines, and very much deserve the awards they receive (e.g. DPReview product of the year 2015), but they still need another couple of iterations before they can compete with Nikon or Canon ergonomics.