Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Review

August 4, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 is a new wide-angle prime lens designed specifcally for Sony Alpha 25mm full-frame mirrorless cameras. It features an aperture range of f/2-f/22 and a 9-bladed circular diaphragm for smoother bokeh blur in out of focus areas. It features 10 elements in 8 groups, a precision-engineered full-metal casing, weighs in at 335 grams, and has the world’s first OLED depth-of-field display. The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 is also able to focus as close as 20cm and it takes 67mm filters. The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 retails for $1299 / £979 / €1149.

This lens was supplied for review by our friends at Hireacamera - they’re definitely worth checking out if you want to hire or rent camera kit in the UK.

Ease of Use

With a maximum diameter of 78mm and a 92mm length, the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/24 is a a wide-angle fixed focal length optic that's well-suited to Sony's full-frame mirrorless camera bodies. Weighing in at 335g, it's also not too heavy, with the lens proving to be very well-balanced on the equally new A7R II camera that we tested it with.

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA TThe Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens alongside the Sony A7R II

The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 boasts superb build quality. The lens’ all-metal casing is dust and moisture resistant and it features a metal E-mount bayonet. With no need for a zoom ring, the manual focussing ring spans a significant width of the lens barrel and is exceptionally smooth to operate, complete with a innovative OLED depth of field display which clearly shows the current focus distance and depth of field.

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA The side of the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens

The 25mm f/1.4 has 10 lens elements in 8 groups with a floating elements design to reduce aberrations throughout the focusing range. A 9-bladed rounded diaphragm, combined with the fast maximum aperture, helps provide smooth bokeh blur. It accepts 67mm filters via metal threads.

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA The front of the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA The rear of the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA The front of the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA The rear of the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens in-hand

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

There’s no optical image stabilisation, but the lens’ short focal length and very fast maximum aperture alleviate the need for it. A special sealing ring on the bayonet also protects the interface between the camera and the lens. A petal-shaped lens hood is supplied in the box.

Focal Range

The 25mm focal length gives an angle of view of 82 degrees on a 35mm full frame sensor.

 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Field of view at 25mm

Focusing

The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2's manual focussing ring spans a significant width of the lens barrel and is exceptionally smooth to operate, complete with an innovative OLED display that shows the depth of focus scale and the distance of the focal plane from the camera. It also has a large rotation angle which enables precise focusing and moves smoothly without any play, thus also supporting the intuitive interaction with the focal plane. The OLED display is visible even in low-light and helps make manual focusing a veritable pleasure, especially in conjunction with the excellent Peaking feature offered by the Sony A-series cameras. Polariser users should be pleased that the 67mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 is a quiet and quick performer on the Sony A7R II that we tested it with, taking about 0.1 second to lock onto the subject. We didn't experience much "hunting", either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time, and it's also a quiet performer thanks to the linear motor driven internal focusing, making it ideal for movie shooting.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberration (purple fringing) is not really an issue with the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2, only appearing in very high contrast situations.

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA

 

Light Fall-off and Distortion

Light fall-off is noticeable wide open at f/2, though this is to be expected for such a fast lens and can easily be corrected in Photoshop. Stop down to f/2.8 and the vignetting is already less prominent, but it is still visible when shooting pale scenes that fill the frame.

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Light fall-off at 25mm

Macro

A 20cm minimum focus distance makes the lens useful for shooting close subjects. This image is uncropped and shows how close you can get to a Compact Flash card.

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Close-up performance

Bokeh

A major appeal of fast, wide-aperture prime lenses is their ability to produce an eye-catching separation between a sharp subject and a very soft out-of-focus background. The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 generates very smooth out of focus areas through its use of a 9-bladed diaphragm. Bokeh is however a fairly subjective part of a lens’ image quality, so check out these 100% crops to see the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2’s bokeh quality for yourself.

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA
   
Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

Entry Tags

review, samples, test, sample images, lens, compact system camera, mirrorless, csc, sony, jpg, jpgs, full frame, sample, full-frame, 25mm, sony a7r, a7, sony a7, Sony, a7r, a7s, 35mm full frame, carl zeiss, batis, zeiss batis 25mm, 25mm f2, batis 25mm

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