by Tim Fok | 14th May 2015
The Batis lens line from Zeiss announced last month are now available for pre-order. The FE mount (Full Frame E-Mount) lenses are a worlds first to include a PMOLED screen to display focus distance for use in lowlight. Like many Zeiss lenses, it’s just nice to sit for a while and stare at the sheer beauty: Zeiss absolutely nail their aesthetics, simple sleek and classy. The Batis line is the epitome Zeiss in this regard, yet in others offer features that are unusual and “out of character” for both the company and any other lens manufacture. I’ll speak of the obvious first, the inclusion of a PMOLED screen. The same technology found in eBook tablets, the screen offers a low power solution that is viewable in bright daylight. Gone are your traditional etchings or perspex window meaning the design is sleek and minimal without the pitfall of lost information. The second glaring factor is the inclusion of autofocus and image stabilization (latter 85mm only); very rare for a Zeiss lens. It’s no secret that Sony and Zeiss have a heavy affiliation, and this partnership has produced many auto focus lenses in the past, but these are usually made by Sony under Zeiss’ specifications as Sony provides the electronics needed for the auto focus capabilities. Yet it seems the Batis line is a proud child of the main Zeiss family (unlike all other Sony/Zeiss E-mount lenses the Batis line show up on Zeiss’ main website). Zeiss are renown for their solid manual focus manual aperture lenses, so this Batis line becomes a very interesting venture. Like the Loxia line, Zeiss have announced two Batis lenses to start. Thankfully they chose two focal lengths not covered by the Loxia pair, a 25mm f/2 and a 85mm f/1.8. Both lenses are FE mount, meaning they will fit on any E-mount camera, supporting both full frame and APS-C sensors; I can’t wait to try these out on my Sony A7S. Here’s the spec of both lens: Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Aperture Range: f/2 – f/22 Camera Mount Type Sony E (Full-Frame Angle of View 82° Minimum Focus Distance 7.87″ (20 cm) Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:5.2 Elements/Groups 10/8 Auto Focus Filter Thread Front: 67 mm Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 3.19 x 3.07″ (81 x 78 mm) Weight 11.82 oz (335 g) Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Aperture Range: f/1.8 – f/22 Camera Mount Type Sony E (Full-Frame) Angle of View 29° Minimum Focus Distance 2.62′ (80 cm) Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:7.9 Elements/Groups 11/8 Image Stabilization Auto Focus Filter Thread Front: 67 mm Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 3.19 x 3.62″ (81 x 92 mm) Weight 1.05 lb (475 g) Combined with the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 and 50mm f/2 there is now a really credible set of primes available for the full frame E-mount. It’s great to see E-mount taken seriously as theirs many great cameras now sporting this lens format (Sony FS7, A7S, FS700). I’ve used a handful of FE Sony/Zeiss lenses and wasn’t impressed with the build quality or feel of the focus ring. The weather proofing on the Batis line is an immediate step forward, I just hope the focus ring is up to the usual Zeiss par, as stopless focus rings can be a right pain for video.Read more
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