Michael Topham couples the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens to the Sony Alpha 7R II to find out if it is an ideal wideangle companion for full-frame users
Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Review – Build and handling
You might think that the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 is a fairly small lens because it is designed for compact system cameras, but it’s not as compact as you might imagine and is both larger and heavier than I’d originally envisaged. Out of the box, you immediately realise that its design is different from most other lenses, and as you run your finger from the lens mount to the front of the lens there’s a point where the lens gets wider before you reach the rubberised manual-focus ring. From this point forward the barrel is cylindrical until you reach the front where it curves out slightly to ensure that when the petal-shaped lens hood is fitted the smooth flowing lines of the lens are preserved. The hood is made from plastic, as opposed to metal, and it doesn’t feature a soft felt lining as on some other lenses. On the subject of the lens hood, there’s a small white line on the hood and the front of the lens to initiate a quick connection, while it can also be reversed for easy storage and transportation.
Rather than switching between autofocus and manual focus via the lens, users are required to make this change via the camera. Just as on the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8, there are no buttons or switches on the barrel, which contributes to its clean and minimalist appearance. Those with an eye for detail may spot a blue rubber gasket around the lens mount and it’s this that creates the weather-resistant seal between camera and lens.
The overall build and quality of the finish are sublime, although I will admit I slightly prefer the way it looks coupled to the older Alpha 7-series cameras than the very latest models. The reason I say this is based on the fact 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 the lens. This is a very minor point, though, and shouldn’t be an off-putting factor for Alpha 7 II or Alpha 7R II users, as the lens still looks good on these models and performs admirably.
In use, the manual-focus ring was quick to find from behind the camera and rotates very smoothly with what I’d class as just the right level of resistance. The fact that it’s rubberised is also excellent if you happen to get caught in a rain shower but want to continue making fine focusing adjustments with precise control.