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

Product Overview

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 – Test results


Our Applied Imaging tests tell us the lens resolves reasoanble sharpness at its maximum aperture, with sharpness at the corners only appearing marginally softer. Closing the lens down to f/8 delivers optimum sharpness in the centre and at the edges. Pushing beyond these settings will introduce diffraction and produce softer results. While f/16 is more than useable we’d recommend staying clear of closing it down to f/22.

Zeiss Batis 85mm web

Optimum sharpness across the frame is found at f/8


Vignetting is obvious at the corners at f/1.8, rendering approximately 1.7EV darker than the centre of the image. Close the lens down to f/2.8 and the vignetting becomes much less obtrusive with it clearing up almost completely by the time you reach f/4. Those who apply the requisite lens profile (available for Lightroom 6, Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CC) will be able to correct vignetting in their files very easily.

MATLAB Handle Graphics

Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 shading at f/1.8

MATLAB Handle Graphics

Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 shading at f/2.8

MATLAB Handle Graphics

Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 shading at f/4

Curvilinear distortion

A close look at our results revealed the lens exhibits pincushion distortion, with straight lines towards the edge of the frame bowing inwards. This type of distortion isn’t unusual for a medium telephoto prime lens. Again, it’s a relatively quick fix in software by applying the relevant lens profile that’s available in Lightroom v6.1.1 and Camera Raw v9.1.1.

MATLAB Handle Graphics

Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 distortion TV SMIA = 2.0%


  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.