Zeiss 85mm F1.8 Batis Lens Review


Hey everyone! I’m John Sison and today we’re taking a look at the Zeiss 85mm F1.8 Batis lens, for the Sony E-moun system. The 85mm F1.8 is a lens primarily targeted towards street and portrait photographers.

So that includes anything from your editorial work, all the way down to weddings and fashion and so on.

Now in keeping in line with the other Batis lenses it keeps to the same design and aesthetic as the 25mm F2 and 18mm F2.8 lenses.

Read also: Sony 85mm F1.4 G Master Lens Review

Now these lenses are designed for full frame cameras so that includes the A7 series but it can also be used on crop sensor cameras like the A6000 and A6500, although the effective focal length would change to 127.5mm.

Read also: Sony a6000 lenses – Best lens for sony a6000

Zeiss 85mm F1.8 Batis Lens
Zeiss 85mm F1.8 Batis Lens

Now in this video, I’m going to give you a brief rundown on Zeiss 85mm F1.8 Batis lens showing you its features, image quality, build and handling and of course at the end of the video, I’ll let you know what I personally think of it so stay tuned.

Zeiss 85mm F1.8 Batis lens looks to have a mix of metal and a plastic construction with a rubber focus ring in a modern sleek black finish. An OLED display like the other Batis lenses are one of its standout features.

The lens is advertised as weather sealed and is evidenced through its rubber gasket on the mount of the lens. 67mm filters can be adapted to the lens and its also supplied with a plastic barrel type lens hood.

Now Zeiss 85mm F1.8 Batis lens weighs approximately 452 grams which isn’t exactly heavy to hold for long periods of time and of course, if you are using it with the Sony A72 series cameras, its going to feel very well balanced in your hand.

The minimum focusing distance is 80cm. The lens adopts a fly-by-wire system and does
not change in physical size while autofocusing. Autofocus speed is quick, quiet and snappy.

Just a quick note to mention, eye autofocus works with this lens. To quickly explain the OLED display on the top, the advantage of having it is that it makes it a lot easier to see in any lighting conditions, especially in the dark.

I don’t imagine people needing it so much with the 85mm but its still a great thing to have. To change a few settings on the OLED display, all you need to do is turn the lens all the way to the left.

After a few turns, a menu will appear where you have the OLED display off all the time, on only during manual focus or on all the time. I prefer to have it on all the time but to
switch between these settings, all you need to do is turn the focus ring again to the left.

Now to change the metric from metres to feet or vice versa, all you need to do is turn the focus ring continuously to the right.

Now I’ve been shooting with Zeiss 85mm F1.8 Batis lens now for a while now in different conditions and it has performed flawlessly. It also has optical stabilisation which isn’t even featured on its higher end rival, the G Master 85mm lens.

While it would work great with the A72’s in body stabilisation, rest assured that if you have a camera that does not have stabilisation, the stabilisation in the lens would help compensate for any shake in photos or videos.

Speaking of video, the lens worked great for shots where I wanted to blur the background to get a more focused look on a particular subject. The autofocusing speed was quick but this is also dependent on the camera that you are using.

For this, I was using the A7R Mark 2. The stabilisation worked well for when I was
standing still but don’t expect it to replace a gimbal. Bear in mind, there is a fair amount of focus breathing.

Now the lens is impressively sharp in the centres and still does a fantastic job on the edges. I would say this is a great option for anyone who wants to take their photography to the next level if you’re upgrading from your kit lens.

Flare was well controlled but there was a bit of vignetting when shooting wide open. Also, I did notice there was a bit of pincushion distortion while I was shooting with it.

Having that F1.8 aperture is going to help you for when you’re shooting in low light conditions but it will also give you more creative flexibility when you want to control how much you want in focus or how much you want blurred when you’re shooting your photos.

Out of focus blur is smooth and the bokeh balls tended to be a bit oval shaped towards the edges of the frame. The colours and contrast from Zeiss is what I’m a big fan on and with this lens it didn’t disappoint.

Its not a perfect lens but to me it shows a lot of character. The Zeiss 85mm F1.8 Batis delivers some impressive images with a unique OLED display, optical stabilisation and a construction that’s well made to withstand the elements.

Its quick and accurate to focus, although not as quick as the G Master but I also did notice a bit of pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration while shooting with it.

Other than that, I absolutely love the classic Zeiss colours and of course, it is impeccably sharp. Alternatively you’ve got the Sony 85mm G Master that you can consider adding to your kit.

That adds an aperture ring, a focus hold button and of course you do get that F1.4 aperture. Now I’d highly recommend this lens for anyone that shoots portraits and street photography and while it is more on the expensive side, its definitely a lens worth saving up for.

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