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New Zeiss Batis 85mm F/1.8 Similar to Otus 85mm MTF Results!

By Anthony Thurston on May 3rd 2015

The upcoming Zeiss Batis 85mm F/1.8 shares not only a similar design style with the legendary Otus 85mm, but if you look closely at the MTF charts of both lenses, you will see that the Batis lens results also pretty closely resemble those of the Otus’s MTF as well.


This is an impressive feather for the Batis’s cap, as the Otus – as legendary as it is – comes in around $5,000. While the Batis comes in for only $1,200, is stabilized, and includes AF – both feats the Otus cannot claim.

Obviously, the Otus has the advantage of being an F/1.4 lens, and is of a much higher build quality. But the fact that this $1,200 Batis lens will offer you similar results for a fraction of the price is great news for Sony FE shooters.


If you are interested in the Batis lens,  you can learn more about it in our announcement post here. You can also get yours pre-ordered now from B&H and be one of the first to receive one.

What are your thoughts on the results from this new Zeiss Batis lens? Are you thinking about adding one to your kit? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

[via SaR]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Binh Huynh

    Can someone advise please about the distortion on the batis about 3%. Software correction would reduce the sharpness in the center about 5-10%, middle about 12-17%, corner about >15%. So how batis can be compared with otus with such reduction in sharpness after distortion correction by software?

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  2. Clint Milby

    We had an interview with Zeiss’ Richard Schleuning who showed us the Batis lenses first hand at NAB 2015. Check it out here:

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  3. Austin Swenson

    I think I just had another “shut up and take my money!!!” moment.

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  4. Matthew Saville

    How to read an MTF chart, for those who are wondering:

    The left is the center, the right is the corner. That is why lines always start up towards the top (sharper, plus other aspects of IQ such as overall contrast) …and then fall away towards the right.

    If you look at the MTF chart for a big expensive telephoto prime lens, for example, you’ll see almost perfectly flat lines, because the images are so perfectly projected onto the image sensor that they’re equally sharp from center to corner.

    If you look at the MTF chart for a complex super-zoom, on the other hand, you might see some pretty wobbly lines. Often times they go back up before they go down; this is indicative of advanced engineering that is attempting to maintain sharpness in the 2/3 areas of the image, while possibly sacrificing a slight amount of sharpness between there and the center. Or, it could be a clue (though not necessarily related) about some sort of horrible field curvature that you might have to put up with down the road, when one of the lens elements gets de-centered.

    In other words, this is the reason why zoom lenses that reach exotic focal lengths and apertures, such as the Nikon 14-24 and Canon 11-24, are so freaking expensive. It takes tons and tons of optical engineering hours to get the images sharp center-to-corner, at all apertures.

    BTW, the differential between a solid and dotted line is, to keep it simple, a half-decent indicator of coma. So for example even though a lens like the Sigma 24 1.4 Art does maintain sharpness right up towards the very edge of the frame, which is clearly indicated by its MTF chart, you can also guess that coma and extreme corner IQ are going to leave something to be desired. Which, it turns out, was indeed true. The Rokinon 24 1.4 is still the coma king, of all 24 1.4’s, despite being slightly softer than the Sigma across the entire image frame.

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  5. Scott Trombley

    Just today, after a few weeks of contemplating on what lens to get next i finally decided on the Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm F1.4 ZA. Then my friend refers me to the press release on these. Now my life is complicated again.

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  6. J. Dennis Thomas

    Apples and oranges. The Batis was designed specifically for the Sony. If there was away swap out mounts and try it on another system I doubt it would fare as well.

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    • Lauchlan Toal

      True, but the MTF curve doesn’t take into account how the lens plays with any given sensor, it’s pure optics. Hence, I’d imagine that the Batis works even better in comparison to the Otus on a Sony thanks to it being better optimized for Sony’s sensor stack and flange distance. Maybe not a big enough difference to surpass the Otus, but tests will tell.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      Still apples to oranges. Different optical designs, different speeds. The M- mount Zeiss 85mm Sonnar shows better MTF scores than both of these lenses. Why not include this lens as well?

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    • Anders Madsen

      I’d say it’s still pretty relevant for someone trying to decide whether the difference between f/1.4 and f/1.8 is worth the USD 3.800,- difference, especially given the relative similarity between the MTF curves.

      As for the 85 mm Sonnar in M-mount, I don’t think it’s available any longer – B&H lists it as unavailable, and the Zeiss website has no mention of it.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      They aren’t the same lens. They aren’t designed for the the same types of cameras. The Otus is designed for DSLR’s the Batis is designed for SONY mirrorless the Sonnar for M-mount rangefinders.

      The fact that they can all be used on the Sony doesn’t really make them comparable lenses.

      And the fact that the Sonnar is discontinued doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It just means you have to buy a used or NOS copy, not to mention it’s closer in size and aperture to the Batis. It’s more comparable to the Batis than the Otus is.

      The Sonnar is optically superior to both the Batis and the Otus (or just about any 85mm lens ever made).

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    • Joel Richards

      I would disagree. Those MTF charts were takes from and so we’re looking at a D810 vs an A7R, which every test I’ve ever seen puts them at about equal for resolving power (if anything the A7R can fare worse in the corners due to adapter tilt or the fact that Sony failed to properly optimize the micro lenses). Of course both Nikon and Sony process the data coming off the sensor differently so there are variations in dynamic range, noise, etc. but both cameras use the same sensor without and AA filter.

      As for the ZM 85mm, Diglloyd also have MTF’s of that: (again to keep things are close in comparison as possible) and while that lens has amazing uniformity even wide open it does not seem to resolve as well as these two. I will concede that it is a difficult comparison because of the differences in the cameras probably used for testing but you brought it up.

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