First Impressions: Zeiss Loxia 85mm f2.4 (Sony FE)

The Zeiss Loxia lineup of lenses are designed for the Sony full frame E mount, and the newest edition is the Zeiss Loxia 85mm f2.4. This lens is currently the company’s longest offering and is targeted at portrait photographers and video shooters. It’s also designed as compact a size as possible and to that end, has relatively slow aperture for a Zeiss lens.

At Photokina 2016, we got a chance to play with the lens–though we must warn you that the environment around the trade show floor isn’t anywhere as exciting as any of the locations where we’d typically test them.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the website

Focal length 85 mm
Aperture range f/2.4 – f/22
Focusing range 0,8 m (31.49‘‘) – ∞
Number of elements/groups 7 / 7
Angular field, diag./horiz./vert. 28,63° / 24,05° / 16,23°
Coverage at close range 257,9 mm x 172,6 mm
(10.15‘‘ x 6.80‘‘)
Filter thread M52 x 0.75
Dimensions (with caps) 108 mm (4,25‘‘)
Weight 594 g (1.31 lbz)
Camera mounts E-Mount

Ergonomics

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The Zeiss Loxia 85mm f2.4 lens is a lens portrait photographers will find useful for many reasons and considering the f2.4 aperture, it will make getting a subject in focus even simpler while twisting the focusing ring.

In fact, the only two main controls on the Zeiss Loxia 85mm f2.4 lens are the aperture ring and the focusing ring.

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The lens overall is pretty long for a Loxia offering, and with the lens hood it seems a lot larger than it really is. Essentially, if your intention is to poke someone in the face with the lens, this would be the one to do it with. The metal lens hood is flat–so it will mean that the chance of a fatality is really slim.

Editor’s note: Don’t do that…

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The front of the Zeiss 85mm f2.4 has a 52mm filter thread and, you’ll be delighted to know, doesn’t extend out very far from the body itself when focusing back and forth.

Build Quality

All Zeiss Loxia lenses are designed with a metal body and all have weather sealing. The 85mm f2.4 is no exception here. This lens and its build quality will really appeal to photographers who shoot portraits, though I don’t think weather sealing will be the most important feature to these photographers. Instead, they’ll care most about the focusing ring and just how smooth it is.

Focusing

The focusing experience is pretty smooth overall–and if you’ve used a Zeiss lens then you should know it’s a similar experience to all the rest out there on the market now. Of course, this is a manual focus optic, but the fact that the focus throw isn’t very long means you won’t be twisting and twisting the lens–and therefore it will be easier to maintain focus on a subject.

As with all Zeiss lenses, you’re best off using focus peaking.

Image Samples


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The only sample that I’d really like to publish is this one at the moment. It was shot wide open on the Sony a7 and shows that the lens is pretty sharp. It also has great bokeh, but my sensor got ditty from changing lenses all day at the show.

However, we’re going to be working on our review when we return to the states.

First Impressions

The Zeiss Loxia 85mm f2.4 is built very well and so far offers one of the most interesting focusing experiences I’ve had with their lenses due to the short focusing throw and the fairly slower aperture. What this means though is that it could be the easiest manual focus portrait lens to use.

Stay tuned for our full review.