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Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon T* Review

John Riley reviews the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 wide-angle lens for Sony full-frame E mount cameras.


|  Zeiss Batis 2/25mm in Interchangeable Lenses
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 On Alpha 7The Batis range of lenses from Zeiss is intended for Sony E-mount full frame cameras, reviewed here with the Sony Alpha 7 camera body. The name of Zeiss gives us a high expectation of quality and performance, so let's see how the lens lives up to the reputation of its marque.

Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Handling and Features

Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Three Quarter View Front
The Batis lenses are minimalistic in appearance, with a dark window, a smoothly operating electronic focusing ring and inlaid plaque either side of the lens barrel showing the Zeiss name being the only things to disturb the total black of the design. Removing the pinch-type lens cap reveals the lens name to be a Zeiss Distagon 2/25 T* lens, with a 67mm filter thread. Removing the bayonet rear cap reveals the electronic contacts on the metal mount and a baffle to protect the rear element from stray reflections. The petal bayonet-fit lens hood is an object lesson in smooth, slick operation, fitting with a feeling of precision that reflects the overall superb construction of the lens.

Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 OLED Distance Display Close
OLED Distance Display Close

When the lens if fitted via an equally smooth bayonet mount and the camera powered up, the name ZEISS appears briefly in the window cut out on the top of the lens. If in manual focus mode this crisp OLED display then shows not just the distance set, but also the depth of field limits for the aperture set. If this is also required in AF modes, then rotating the focusing ring 360 degrees anti-clockwise reveals the option to have the display active in AF and manual modes, manual mode only or off. Rotating the focusing ring 360 degrees clockwise gives the option of distances in metres or feet. The default is metres and MF only. The only thing that spoils this system a little is the caveat that it is an approximation only and may not be totally accurate. Still, a very impressive and potentially useful feature.

Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 OLED Distance Display Distant
OLED Distance Display Distant

The Distagon is a retrofocus, classic design, this version having 10 elements in 8 groups. It weighs a modest 335g, and is certainly best described as chunky. The OLED display is the only adornment that gives any information. The seal around the rear of the lens reveals this to be a weather resistant design, something which seems increasingly important and does enable us to keep shooting when the weather turns bad.

Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Three Quarter View Rear

Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Performance

The sharpness of the lens is truly excellent, and even more creditable is the total evenness across the frame, where centre and edge are amazingly close from f/2 right through  to f/11. Even at f/16 the image still borders on excellent, and it's only at f/22 that the sharpness tails off to being very good in the centre and fair to good at the edges. It is still worthwhile to offer f/22 as an option as sometimes maximising depth of field is necessary.


 

 
MTF
MTF
 

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. 

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution as LW/PH. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Sony Alpha A7 using Imatest.

CA is minimal at the centre of the field, less than half a pixel being unlikely to be noticed. The edges do show some clearly visible CA, and this shows in the images with branches against sky. This can be corrected in software.


 

 
CA
CA
 

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimise the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Sony Alpha A7 using Imatest.


As expected for a wide aperture, wide-angle lens, there is some barrel distortion evident, measuring -1.17%. This is actually very reasonable and should not present much of a problem. It is the right way to err, as we are all well versed in expecting wide-angle lenses to show barrelling to some degree.

Smooth bokeh can be seen in the out of focus areas, perhaps not so obviously in a wide lens then it might be with the more selective focus of a telephoto. Very often wide-angles are used at small apertures for increased depth of field, but there are always exceptions. It is worth noting that where the background is out of focus and there are lights included, these are reproduced almost perfectly rounded, which again is impressive, thanks to the almost circular diaphragm opening.

The effectiveness of the T* coating means that flare is virtually banished. Even shooting directly into the sun the images are sharp and well defined, with good saturation and colour. An exemplary performance.

Mechanically, the electronic focusing ring is smooth and even, making manual focusing very easy. The speed of focusing can also be controlled, depending upon whether we rotate the ring slowly or quickly. The AF system is fast and precise, with no hunting or hesitation.


Zeiss Batis 2/25mm Sample Photos

Value For Money

The Batis 25mm is priced at around £979, which is of course expensive. However, it is a beautiful piece of minimalist design and high-performance technology, a premium product in every respect. Most similar lenses are 24mm rather than 25mm, but for Nikon users there is the Nikon 24mm f/1.4 at £1379. Canon users have a choice of 24mm lenses of f/1.4 (£1179) and f/2.8 apertures (£455). This serves to put the Zeiss cost into some sort of perspective.

For Sony E fit, alternatives to the Zeiss lens might include the Samyang 24mm f1.4 ED AS IF UMC (£449), although this is manual focus only.

Pitched against other premium quality lenses from major marques a case can be made for the Zeiss Batis being very good value for money. Pitched against the lower cost alternatives this is less clear cut, depending very much on the requirements of the individual photographer.

Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Verdict

The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 is just a lovely lens. The design and handling are a pleasure. The results ooze quality. The OLED display is an innovation that looks to be actually quite useful. The construction quality is impeccable. The only thing not to like is perhaps the price, but to be fair it looks as though it's at the right level for what it is. Sony Alpha 7 series owners have a lens here to aspire to.

Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Pros

Minimalist design
High construction quality
Excellent, even sharpness
OLED distance display showing DOF
Fast and silent focusing

Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Cons

Price
CA at edges

 

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 is an exquisite premium lens for full frame E-Mount users.

 

 

Zeiss Batis 2/25mm Specifications

ManufacturerZeiss
General
Lens Mounts
  • Sony FE Mount
Lens
Focal Length25mm
Angle of View82
Max Aperturef/2
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size67mm
StabilisedNo
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingYes
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus20cm
Construction
BladesNo Data
Elements10
Groups8
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight335g
Height78mm

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Comments


10 Nov 2015 10:33AM
I am wondering why you have changed the scale on the left side of the MTV graph. There is no way to compared to other lenses (7 steps vs 10). I am questioning...

JD

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joshwa Plus
8 885 United Kingdom
11 Nov 2015 9:31AM
Hi JD,

We have switched to showing the actual MTF figures in reviews, as this lets you compare with other sites, and is used by a number of other people in the photographic industry. It also lets you know the performance of a lens and camera system, so for example, when testing on a higher resolution camera you should be able to see how much additional resolution you can get compared to a lower resolution camera system.

We have continued to use the same words such as Excellent, Good, etc in the text where we talk about the sharpness of the lens.

Hope this helps,

Josh
11 Nov 2015 1:27PM
Thank Josh for uour prompt response. What is important for me on such a lens is its' hability to produce sharp sides and corners at lower apertures down to f/16. I use my Canon lenses on my A7R II for landscapes and have the Canon 24/70mm f/4 which is the Canon lens best after the TS-E 24 for such task. I was wsiting for the Batis 25 review to see if I would gain in the corners; I alreadyknow it's a blast in the center.

Thx

JD

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