Unveiled: Zeiss Expands Sony FE Options with Batis Autofocus Lenses
Zeiss continues to expand its lens family for Sony mirrorless cameras with the announcement of two autofocus lenses built specifically for full frame E-mount cameras—in other words, for the wonderful a7 series of cameras. The new Batis 25mm f/2 Lens and the Batis 85mm f/1.8 Lens are quite remarkable, as they represent the first full-frame autofocus lenses available from Zeiss for Sony cameras and provide an impressive option for a7 shooters looking for high-quality glass with the convenience of autofocus. Already available from Zeiss for Sony mirrorless full frame are the Loxia 50mm and 35mm lenses, which are manual focus, and Sony itself produces eight FE lenses, mostly zoom, for the E-mount cameras.
Filling in gaps in available focal lengths, the Batis line, named after a sub-Saharan African bird, consists of a wide-angle prime 25mm and a fast-aperture prime portrait-length 85mm. The 85mm also provides optical image stabilization to minimize the blur caused by camera shake and enable its use in low light and fast-action situations. Both lenses feature an OLED screen on the barrel for distance and depth of field.
This new line offers the polished metal barrel and gorgeous design reminiscent of the Zeiss Otus lenses for DSLRs. A simple rubber manual focus ring blends in smoothly with the sleek design of these optics. If their weather-sealed build is anything like the vaunted Otus line, they will have a solid, substantial feel and smooth, quiet AF action. Both lenses support all the operating modes and functions of the current lineup of E-mount cameras and, if used on an APS-C format E-mount camera, will provide the equivalent focal length of 37.5mm for the 25mm lens and 127.5mm for the 85mm.
The 25mm f/2 lens is based on the Zeiss Distagon optical design, utilizing four aspheric lens elements for reduced aberrations and sharpness from edge to edge, throughout the frame. Its minimum focus distance is just 7.8" enabling its use in a wide variety of situations from documentary and environmental portraiture to architectural interiors and wide landscape vistas. Its f/2 maximum aperture provides opportunities for low-light imaging and creative use of shallow depth of field.
The 85mm f/1.8, with its very fast maximum aperture and Sonnar optical design, is ideal for portraiture with very shallow depth of field and lovely out-of-focus highlights. It incorporates 11 lens elements in 8 groups and, like the 25mm Batis, has a floating-element design to control aberrations at various distance settings. Both lenses provide a standard filter thread with a 67mm diameter and both offer optional metal lens hoods designed specifically for their respective focal lengths. The hood for the 25mm has a petal-type design and the cylindrical hood for the 85mm extends far to deflect unwanted stray light.
|Batis 25mm f/2 Lens||Batis 85mm f/1.8 Lens|
|Lens Mount||E-mount (Sony Full Frame)||E-mount (Sony Full Frame)|
|Focal Length (35mm Equivalent)||37.5mm (when used on APS-C E-mount cameras)||127.5mm (when used on APS-C E-mount cameras)|
|Angle of View||82°||29°|
|Minimum Focusing Distance||7.8" (20 cm)||2.6' (80 cm)|
|Image Stabilization||N/A||Yes, Optical Image Stabilization|
|Lens Construction||10 Elements/8 Groups||11 Elements/8 Groups|
|Diaphragm Blades||Not Specified by Manufacturer||Not Specified by Manufacturer|
|Filter Ring Diameter||67mm||67mm|
|Dimensions||3.1 x 3.2" (78 x 81mm)||3.6 x 3.2" (92 x 81mm)|
|Weight||11.8 oz (335 g)||1 lb (475 g)|
|Compatibility||Sony E-mount Cameras||Sony E-mount Cameras|