Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 Review

November 8, 2018 | Mark Goldstein |

Introduction

The Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 is a new short normal-length prime lens designed specifically for Sony Alpha 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 is comprised of 9 elements in 8 groups, a precision-engineered full-metal casing, weighs in at 361 grams, and has an OLED depth-of-field display. The Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 is also able to focus as close as 24cm and it takes 67mm filters.

The Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 retails for £1129.99 / $1299.99 / €1,299.

Ease of Use

With a maximum diameter of 91mm and a length of 93mm, the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 is a "standard" fixed focal-length lens that's well-suited to Sony's full-frame mirrorless camera bodies. Weighing in at 361g, it's not too heavy, with the lens proving to be very well-balanced on the A7R II camera that we tested it with.

The Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 boasts superb build quality. The lens’ all-metal casing is dust and moisture resistant and it features a metal bayonet mount.

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

The Zeiss 40mm f/2 has 9 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. Polariser users should be pleased that the filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Zeiss Batis 40mm 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.

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

With no need for a zoom ring, the manual focusing ring spans a significant width of the lens barrel and is exceptionally smooth to operate, complete with an innovative OLED depth of field display which clearly shows the depth of focus scale and the distance of the focal plane from the camera.

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

 

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

It has a large rotation angle which enables precise focusing and moves smoothly without any play. 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 and manual focus assist modes offered by the Sony A-series cameras.

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

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 high quality circular-shaped lens hood is supplied in the box.

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Focal Range

The 40mm focal length gives an angle of view of 57 degrees on a 35mm full frame sensor.

 Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberration (purple fringing) is not really an issue with the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2, only appearing in very high contrast situations.

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

 

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 Batis 40mm f/2

Macro

A 24cm minimum focus distance and a a magnification ratio of 1.3.3 makes the lens useful for shooting close subjects. This image shows just how close you can get to your subject.

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

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 40mm 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 40mm f/2’s bokeh quality for yourself.

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Carl Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2

Sharpness

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