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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Overall rating:

Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8


Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Review


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Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Review – Build and handling

The price of this lens indicates it’s a premium optic, for which you’ll receive excellent build quality. It’s diameter is the same as the Batis 25mm f/2 (78mm), and between the mount and front of the lens there’s a point where it gets slightly wider before you reach the rubberised manual focus ring. Just ahead of this is an OLED panel that electronically displays the focus distance and depth of field markings we’re typically used to seeing printed on the barrel. The idea is to provide better readability in low light or at night – which it does very effectively.


The OLED panel is positioned just ahead of the rubberised manual focus ring

Towards the front, the barrel curves out slightly to ensure that when the lens hood clicks into place the lens’s flowing lines are maintained. Again, unlike a conventional autofocus lens, there’s not a single button or switch in sight. Instead users are required to switch between autofocus and manual focus via the camera.


The Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 coupled to the Sony Alpha 7R

The embossed Zeiss badges on both sides match the colour of the rubber seal at the rear of the mount, which is designed to prevent dust and moisture creeping between camera and lens. From behind the camera the lens feels very nicely balanced when coupled to Sony’s Alpha 7-series cameras. It doesn’t feel too heavy, and the barrel is long enough to rest your palm underneath to offer some additional support.

  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.