Review: Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis (Sony FE)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis lens product image (1 of 1)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 3.5

The Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis is one of the company’s lenses designed for the full frame Sony E-mount (FE), but unlike the Loxia lenses, the Batis line has autofocus. Beyond this, they have a new and very unconventional feature: a HUD on top of the lens that displays information in the right situations.

With 10 elements in 8 groups and a minimum focusing distance of just under eight inches, the lens is one that many photographers can keep in their kit for a variety of reasons. Food? Cool, use it! Architecture? Sure! Adventure! You got it! And what makes this all possible is Zeiss’s stamp of approval when it comes to being more resistant to abuse and the elements.

And if you’re a Sony user, you’re bound to become smitten with the colors.

Pros and Cons

Pros

– The straight out of the camera color rendition we’ve seen with any single lens that we’ve ever tested. Tied right up there with the Zeiss 85mm f1.8 Batis lens.

– Pretty compact for what it is–a full frame wide angle prime lens

– Weather sealing

– Quite sharp with great bokeh

Cons

– That display thinger really is superfluous.

Gear Used

We tested the Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 with the Sony A7r Mk II, Sony A7, and the Flashpoint Li-Ion Flash with radio trigger.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the B&H Photo listing

Focal Length 25mm
Aperture Maximum: f/2
Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount Type Sony E (Full-Frame)
Format Compatibility 35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor
APS-C
Angle of View 82°
Minimum Focus Distance 7.87″ (20 cm)
Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:5.2
Elements/Groups 10/8
Features
Autofocus Yes
Physical
Filter Thread Front:67 mm x 0.75 mm Pitch
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 3.19 x 3.07″ (81 x 78 mm)
Weight 11.82 oz (335 g)

Ergonomics

Taken from our first impressions post.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (21 of 24)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

The Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 lens is pretty large for a mirrorless camera lens but pairs well with the Sony A7. The front of the lens sports a 67mm filter thread–which is quite large. The lens hood is petal style and helps protect that large front element.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (24 of 24)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

Take the hood off of the lens and it becomes a much smaller package. The lens’s body is comprised of a metal exterior, a large rubber focusing ring, and the display screen readout.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (23 of 24)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

The Batis lenses don’t have controls on them like aperture rings or MF/AF switches. Instead, you’ll set that via the camera.

Build Quality

During our testing period, we weren’t able to take it out into the rain as the skies didn’t quite shower us in either NYC or Portland, but considering that Sony cameras are marketed as dust and splash proof we’re very positive that these two will pair together quite well. For what it’s worth, we wouldn’t take the duo out into a hurricane, but we did take it out onto the top of a very ashy mountain. They stood up to the dust and elements better than the allergies of some journalists could.

The Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis lens is also very well constructed that it’ll fit comfortably in the hands of many different photographers. It’s not too chunky and it slopes at just the right parts to make it comfortable to hold in real life situations.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (22 of 24)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

The only really weird thing about these lenses is the display on top. When in full automatic focusing modes, the lens won’t display a single thing there until it starts up and the display shows off the company’s logo. When in manual focusing mode, information like the depth of field and distance away that the lens is focusing will show up.

As far as practicality goes, I honestly found this rather useless. A dedicated depth of field scale would have been much more sufficient and easier to use.

For what it’s worth though, we didn’t see any big effect on the battery life.

Autofocus

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (17 of 29)ISO 2501-100 sec at f - 2.0

As some of the company’s first autofocusing lenses (the only other ones are the Touit) the Zeiss 25mm f2 focuses quickly and accurately with both Sony cameras that we performed the tests on. No matter whether the focusing point was selected or set to full auto point selection, the performance was always speedy.

When manually focusing, you’ll simply use the focusing ring–which isn’t anywhere as smooth as what Zeiss has offered before. Instead, it has the equivalent amount of tension as many other autofocus lenses. In this way, it really doesn’t feel like a Zeiss and is nothing like the company’s previous offerings.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (22 of 29)ISO 2001-80 sec at f - 4.5

The Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis is overall an incredible lens when we’re talking about the image quality. It’s sharp, not very contrasty and gives some of the best color rendition that we’ve seen. It can only be tied with its sibling: the 85mm f1.8 Batis.

In fact, we’re very tempted to call it the best (if not one of the best) Sony FE mount lenses.

Bokeh

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (15 of 29)ISO 1251-320 sec at f - 2.8

Though it’s tough to get any sort of bokeh with a wide angle lens of any sort, it’s not impossible. When you get that bokeh, you’ll see that it’s quite lovely and significantly better than any other equivalent wide angle offering that we’ve tested. In comparison to many 24mm f1.4 lenses or 25mm lenses, the bokeh here is beautiful and creamy though hazy in some situations.

Bokeh fiends will be happy indeed.

Sharpness

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (27 of 29)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 2.5

When it comes to sharpness with this lens, it’s fairly sharp wide open but it really starts to fine at f5.6  and can even make your jaw drop at f3.5. To get even better results from this lens, we really suggest using a flash and find a way to make its light output look as natural as possible.

Trust us, you won’t regret it.

Color Rendition

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (21 of 29)ISO 2001-30 sec at f - 4.5

Here is where this lens is the king and end-all-be-all of all other lenses–and it has to do with color rendition. This is the very first time that anything and everything that I saw come from the Sony cameras needed little to no color work. This is especially true with the new Sony A7r Mk II.

Color Fringing

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (3 of 29)ISO 1001-125 sec at f - 3.5

In our tests the color fringing that we found was very, very slight and can easily be nerfed with Adobe Lightroom. Beyond this, you won’t see the fringing unless you were look at your images at 100%. As we’ve always stated, no one on the internet that is willing to pay you money or care about your work will look at your images at 100%. No bride will ever want to see her nose hairs.

Extra Image Samples

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (1 of 29)ISO 8001-40 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (2 of 29)ISO 1001-1000 sec at f - 3.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (4 of 29)ISO 4001-25 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (5 of 29)ISO 2001-40 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (6 of 29)ISO 2001-160 sec at f - 3.2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (7 of 29)ISO 2001-160 sec at f - 3.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (8 of 29)ISO 2001-160 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (9 of 29)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (11 of 29)ISO 5001-60 sec at f - 3.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (12 of 29)ISO 1251-500 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (13 of 29)ISO 1251-160 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (14 of 29)ISO 1251-320 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (16 of 29)ISO 2001-320 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (18 of 29)ISO 2001-100 sec at f - 3.2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (19 of 29)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 4.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (20 of 29)ISO 2001-100 sec at f - 4.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (23 of 29)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (24 of 29)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 2.2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (25 of 29)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 2.2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (26 of 29)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 2.2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (28 of 29)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 5.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (29 of 29)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 3.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (1 of 24)ISO 1001-125 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (4 of 24)ISO 1001-250 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (3 of 24)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (6 of 24)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (5 of 24)ISO 1001-100 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (8 of 24)ISO 1001-4000 sec at f - 2.0
Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (10 of 24)ISO 1001-3200 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (9 of 24)ISO 1001-100 sec at f - 5.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (12 of 24)ISO 4001-20 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (13 of 24)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (14 of 24)ISO 4001-25 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (16 of 24)ISO 8001-80 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (17 of 24)ISO 8001-320 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (18 of 24)ISO 8001-40 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 first impressions (19 of 24)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.0

Conclusions

Likes

– Great size

– Excellent colors with the correct metering methods

– Weather resistance

– Lightweight if not a bit chunky in the bag

Dislikes

– Nothing really too terrible about this lens

The-Phoblographer-Editor's-Choice-Award-Logo

The Zeiss 25mm f2 is a lens that offers top notch image quality–and that’s what Zeiss customers have come to expect. In many ways, the Batis line represents the pinnacle of what’s possible with this company.

You’ll fall in love with the image quality for many reasons. Not only is the lens sharp, but it offers excellent bokeh. Even better, the lens is just genuinely sharp without the need for micro contrast. Add onto that the absolutely spectacular color rendition and you won’t have a single reason to complain.

If you can get over the weird HUD on top of the lens, then you’ll be happy to pick one up.

Phoblographer-Star-rating

The Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis receives our Editor’s Choice award as well as a rating of five out of five stars. Want one? Check out the B&H Photo listing for more details.

Recommended Cameras and Lenses

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first impressions (1 of 8)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 6.3

Sony A7r: One of the company’s highest megapixel bodies doesn’t have such a great autofocusing system, but it surely does have a heck of a lot of versatility when it comes to the RAW files.

Sony A7r Mk II: Sony’s latest and greatest camera can give you the best image quality of any of the company’s cameras. You won’t have a single reason to complain here.