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

Product:

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 – Verdict

Zeiss has meticulously designed the styling of this lens to ensure it compliments Sony’s Alpha 7-series cameras. It’s not only a lens that looks fantastic, but also backs up its minimalist design with a robust build quality and a superb image quality performance that will tempt portrait, event, wedding, and documentary photographers into taking a much closer look. Just like the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2, it’s a lens that excels when coupled to cameras boasting the highest resolution sensors and I’m impressed by how accurately and silently the autofocus went about its business in use.

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The Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 looks right at home mounted to Sony Alpha 7-series cameras

Shooting at f/1.8 creates images with an extremely attractive depth of field. Though it’s not at it’s sharpest in the centre or at the edges when it’s used wide-open, things start to sharpen up very quickly when it’s stopped down to f/2.8 and beyond.

There’s been a demand for a high-quality medium-telephoto prime for Sony Alpha 7-series cameras for a while and Zeiss has managed to hit the nail on the head with the Batis 85mm f/1.8. The price might be hard to swallow, but for serious enthusiasts and professionals specialising in portraiture it’s a lens that’ll see regular use and deliver results to be proud of.

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Smooth, flowing lines are preserved even when the lens hood is attached

There’s always the try before you buy approach to consider too, and if the price of buying the lens outright puts you off there’s always the option to hire it from companies such as Hireacamera. Hiring the lens for a day will cost you £29, while you can expect to pay £108 for weeklong hires.

 

TESTBENCH GOLD 5

Details

Filter diameter:67mm
Lens elements:11
Groups:8
Aperture range:f/1.8-f/22
Minimum focus:80cm
Length:105mm
Diameter:78mm
Weight:475g
Mount:Sony E-mount
  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.