Last week I've had the pleasure of being able to shoot and test with the new Zeiss Batis 25mm. I’m mainly a land- and cityscapes photographer so I’ve tried it a lot in this field. Unfortunately, last week in the Netherlands has been extremely hot (hottest weather in ages, literally) with very ‘boring’ weather meaning pure blue skies, no exciting sunsets and no beautiful light to take photos of. That obviously did’t stop me from taking this lens into the field. The lens has been on my Sony A7II since monday. I took it through (extreme) heat, rainy and misty conditions. This post will be aimed at the real world use of this lens. Therefore I’m not going to talk too much about technical stuff. So is this a review? Not really because I haven't been able to test this lens long enough. I'd say it's in between a review and a 'Hands On'!
First thing I can say is that this lens is extremely versatile. If you’re creative you can shoot almost anything with it! It’s great for landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, indoor architecture but I can see this lens also being used a lot for weddings and street photography. You can even use it for a form of macro photography because of it’s close focusing distance of only 20cm.
The lens itself looks -for my taste- extremely nice. I love hi-tech looking stuff and this lens is just that. The lens hood flows beautifully with the lines of the design and shape of the lens. On top of all this, the Batis has an OLED display that shows the Aperture and the actual focus plane (more on that later) Traditional Zeiss lens fans may dislike this design, but I love it! It makes a beautiful package with my A7II and regarding weight feels ‘just right’.
- Left: Zeiss 16-35 f4, middle: Zeiss Batis 25mm, right: Zeiss 55mm f1.8 -
Right when I was driving this lens home, I saw a nice flower field to to test this lens on. I made my way through several stingy plants to get here, but anything for the purpose of a good photo! I made several shots on different apertures and checked them zoomed in on my EVF. The sharpness looked incredible and when I came home I could only confirm that. I’m usually using my 16-35 Zeiss F4 for landscape work. This lens is sharp, but I know that it loses some sharpness at lower apertures. Of course this is very acceptable because it’s a zoom after all. The Batis just doesn’t lose sharpness. All the way down to F2 this lens is absolutely tack sharp from corner to corner. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a lens so sharp wide open.
f13, 1/250s, ISO 100
Here’s an architectural image with a lot of lines and textures. Shot at f2. The corners basically look like my 16-35 lens at f8! There is some vignetting at f2 though, but this is extremely easy to correct in post so obviously not a big deal.
f2, 15s, ISO 125
100% (corner) crop:
There's also very little distortion. In wide landscapes the horizon sometimes came out distorted in my photos but was easily corrected in LR. There are no LR profiles available for this lens yet so I'm sure this will automatically be solved when or shortly after this lens hits the market. You would expect to use this lens for landscapes, interior shots, maybe street or wedding because of it’s wideangle. But wide open this lens opens many creative possibilities. Mainly because it’s bokeh looks beautiful and super smooth. Here’s a shot of my cat, taken wide open. Look at the beautiful bokeh rings and the extreme sharpness on the focus of the hairs just above the eye.
f2, 1/500s, ISO 100