The Complete Wedding Training System is Finally Here!

Your content will be up shortly. Please allow up to 5 seconds
Gear Announcements

Zeiss Announces New Batis Line For Sony FE Mount

By Anthony Thurston on April 22nd 2015

I didn’t wake up this morning expecting to see any Zeiss announcements, but in the wee hours this morning, Zeiss officially unveiled a new lens line called Batis, designed specifically for Sony FE mount cameras.

batis_85mm_25mm_zeiss_sony-700x465

To kick off the new Batis line, Zeiss introduced two new lenses: a 25mm F/2 and an 85mm f/1.8. Both lenses feature a design reminiscent of the recent Otis lenses but feature a unique item – an LCD.

That is right, instead of a standard distance scale or depth of field scale, Zeiss has upped the game by placing an LCD on the lens which will display the distance from the focal plane to the camera and the depth of field. I could be wrong, but to my knowledge a lens with an LCD display is a first.

zeiss-85

Another great thing to hear is that both of these lenses are autofocus, meaning that you can take full advantage of the Sony FE system without having to compromise AF to get quality Zeiss glass.

Despite being fairly reasonably priced for Zeiss glass, these are still quite a bit more expensive than your average fast ~F/1.8 primes. The 85mm f/1.8 will come in at $1,199, and the 25mm F/2 will be a hair more expensive at $1,299.

zeiss-batis-lcd

Both lenses are now available for preorder, and you can find them both over on B&H here.

So what are your thoughts on this new lens line and the two new lenses introduced by Zeiss today? Will you be adding these to your Sony FE kit? What are your thoughts on the LCD? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

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

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Lester Terry

    I am getting one

    | |
  2. fotosiamo

    While I like these lenses, I’d wait for an 85mm Loxia for shooting videos. Biggest reason? Sony Alpha Rumors found out that these new Batis lenses have variable focus speeds via its focus-by-wire, meaning that when you rotate the focus ring faster, the focus distance increases. That means that you can’t rack focus consistently between 2 points:

    “SAR reader Luke managed to get an answer from Zeiss whether the new Batis lens line have focus by wire or not. Zeiss answered that:

    The Batis lenses have “focus by wire”. Like the same innovative focusing features like the Sony/Zeiss FE type lenses. To allow quick and also precise manual focusing with an AF lens, the focusing distance will change according to the speed you turn the focusing ring. If you prefer mechanically coupled focusing rings, the LOXIA lenses might be the best solution for you.”

    | |
    • Phil Bautista

      Focus by wire seems to be a good design for stills shooters. And then they go and include de-clicked apertures for the video shooters? Confused much.

      | |
  3. Suhaana Manhattan

    G00gle pay 78$ per hour my last pay check was $9240 w0rking 98 hours a week online. My y0unger brother friend has been averaging 13k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe h0w easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do.. click at this go to tech tab for more details…
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    http://www.careertoday-10.com
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    | |
  4. Austin Swenson

    As an A7 shooter, I would like to weigh in here, but also kind of give a perspective I don’t think many here are saying. Those who purchase an A7 line camera are fairly price conscious because they can get into the full frame sphere for 1300 dollars right now, and I am one of them, but lets not try to kid anyone too much here, when you have the budget option, you often get budget results. Even some of the videos here on SLR lounge show the difference between a budget 85mm and an L glass 85mm when taken with canon system glass, and I think this is a question for how and what you really care to use it to shoot with. I think it’s pretty fair to say that if you frequently read articles on SLR lounge and take photos often and/or have a business doing photography, you aren’t really one to say “oh golly, I hope this 400 dollar piece of glass is every bit as good as the 1500 dollar piece of glass” and be honest with yourself. I think everyone on here knows you get what you pay for. I think when tests come out for these lenses, people are going to see that these are good quality lenses as they tend to be in the Zeiss category.

    As far as how many lenses the A7 system has, good grief, people are going to complain about that until there are 50 lenses available and still not be happy. There are already solid options to cover most focal lengths in the e-mount ecosystem, there just aren’t a ton of “cheap-O and mid range” options that people end up buying and then find out they are still not happy with so they buy the expensive one anyway kind of lenses, so people poo-poo all over it saying it’s not ready yet.

    Personally, when I saw the announcement for the 85mm, I had one of those “shut up and take my money!!!” moments, because I have wanted a large aperture prime for the E-mount for a while. Now that I know that it’s available, (smeagol voice) we will be saving the funds to get my sweet precious and it will be ours!!!

    | |
    • Matthew Saville

      While that might be true for Canon non-L lenses versus their L siblings, it is absolutely un-true for many other lines, across the board. Especially Nikon’s f/1.8 G line. The 85mm f/1.8 G is an incredible performer, offering equal or better sharpness at less than half the price. It easily resolves the D810 / D800e, with only a slight issue with fringing wide open that is gone in less than 1 stop. Considering the $500 price tag of the lens, and considering what Sigma is currently doing in the “Art” department, …I don’t see why a $600-$700 f/1.8 85mm lens can’t exist with near-Outus quality.

      | |
  5. Will Gavillan

    I think having a quality 85mm AF stabilized lens for this system without the need for an adapter is worth the price of admission, if that’s a focal length that you need…as I do. I’m rocking a Rokinon 85 MF right now, but I’d definitely be interested in this lens to replace it. Or better yet, a 135. Do you hear me Zeiss?

    | |
  6. Richard Reed

    I’m not a Sony FE user, but an to me and LCD on lens = more drain on the battery.

    | |
    • Phil Bautista

      That shouldn’t be too much of a problem since most mirrorless users are used to draining batteries and bring lots of spares with them. I know I do.

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      “Shouldn’t be too much of a problem” to bring more and more batteries? I know for a fact that the video shooters I work with are actually lugging around MORE weight than a D810 + 1 spare battery. This might not be an issue for some, but it’s laughably un-acceptable for others.

      | |
    • Phil Bautista

      Sarcasm Matt.

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Whoops. Curse you, internet sarcasm detector.

      | |
    • Dave Haynie

      Well, a little perspective on the LCD.. that’s a tiny monochrome reflective LCD, which is going to use less power than, say, an LCD in a digital watch. Which will last a year or two on a single coin battery. So will it draw more power? Absolutely. Will you be able to measure the effect of that power draw in typical use? Nope… it would be difficult under lab conditions. Like the LCD on top of Canons. Just not significant enough to measure… maybe a couple of seconds of viewfinder power for a day’s use.

      | |
  7. Matthew Saville

    More Zeiss-priced insanity, IMO. The only thing that makes a $1200 85mm f/1.8 look like a “value” is a $4000 85mm f/1.4…. Oh wait…

    I’m sure plenty of folks will come out of the woodwork and say that $1200-$1300 is a good price range if the lenses are as flawless as Zeiss lenses often are. However Sony is just completely missing the point.

    In my opinion, they’d gain exponentially more “ship-jumpers” if they would just get off their Zeiss horse and create a full lineup of affordable lenses as close to the line of the 28mm f/2 FE as possible. (Without silly adapters.) For f/2 and decent sharpness, I’ll gladly pay $450-$650 per lens in normal focal lengths, (28-85mm) or $650-850 for slightly more exotic focal lengths. (wider than 24mm, longer than 85mm)

    So far, Sony + Zeiss are still a rich hipster’s choice of status symbol and ego boost, NOT the everyday photographer’s tool. I’m sure the Apple Watch kool-aid crowd will pony up for these lenses left and right.

    | |
  8. Thomas Horton

    An LCD display on a lens sounds cool…..but then I think, why? What is being saved over a traditional hard printed scale under a window?

    Does this LCD give more information than just the distance/DOF?

    How many photographers really need to know the distance from the FP and those who do, would they trust the lens to tell them or would they measure it as before?

    | |
    • Anthony Thurston

      I am with you 100% here. It sounds really cool, but the advantages of this over the traditional system are yet to be seen. Seems more like a marketing gimmick at this point, but we will see.

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Unless it can calculate hyperfocal distances and automatically focus your lens for you based on the aperture you choose, and/or aide in focus stacking, then yeah, this is just a gimmick to gobble up the already limited battery power. The agonizing thing for me is that it COULD be that awesome, if they had just put a little bit more R&D into the lenses, and for that kind of money they should have. But if all it does is display focus distance and your DOF, then that’s a bit underwhelming. (And remember, DOF is officially based on print size and viewing distance, most people don’t know this. In other words, what looks perfectly in focus in an 8×10 viewed at arms length may NOT be actually in focus, just “acceptably close”. If you want perfect sharpness near-to-far, you have to start doing a whole different kind of calculation…

      | |
    • adam sanford

      Matthew, it *is* showing the near and far limits of DOF for the given aperture, right? What else would be 5.7 and 6.3 be in the picture above?

      I see this is a very Apple-simple clarifier on the working DOF for that aperture. No slide rule train wreck of lines to interpret. I actually like it.

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Adam, you are right that it is going to be infinitely more useful than the horribly smooshed lines and numbers that most current lenses offer, let alone the many lenses that have given up on DOF scales altogether. I suppose you could simply set your aperture, and then manually focus until the far reading says “infinity” (if that’s what it does) and then check the near number against your scene. Done.

      Still, I’m not happy with another point of failure, another strain on the battery, etc. And certainly NOT a gimmick worth putting on a list of things that would justify such a price, if you ask me. The price / value will have everything to do with the image quality and build quality of the lens, period. It can probably deliver the goods, but it still leaves a huge gap in the sub-$1K market for FE lenses. One major selling point of the FE series of bodies is affordability, and Sony seems to think that people will magically turn around and spend their savings on exotic versions of basic kit lenses.

      | |
    • Ben Young

      From Zeiss’ website:

      “The innovative OLED display shows the distance of the focal plane from the camera system and the depth of fields, ….”

      | |
  9. Kristopher Galuska

    This is great and all for the pro level. But we really need some descent primes un the $300-$400 range for us enthusiasts.

    | |
    • Anthony Thurston

      I couldn’t agree more. Zeiss has the expensive lenses covered, Sony needs to step up and release some budget lenses for the simple folk.

      | |
    • Rafael Steffen

      I totally agree.

      | |
    • Phil Bautista

      Or you could spend a few bucks on an adapter or 2 and open up a whole world of excellent legacy lenses. If you want auto focus though, good luck cos only the Sony crop nifty fifty is in your budget range. Sigma would be your best bet. Zeiss coming out with a prime with AF in your price range? ROTFLMAO

      | |
  10. Phil Bautista

    Mitakon 85/1.2 MF at $800 or Zeiss 85/1.8 AF at $1200?

    | |
  11. adam sanford

    Can the a7 owners out there tell me your thoughts on these announcements? Are you jubilant that there are new options for you, or are you p—ed that you are stuck with (sort of) third party glass?

    Don’t get me wrong, Zeiss make fine lenses, but isn’t first-party AF preferable to this? Wouldn’t native Sony lenses make you a little happier?

    | |
    • Anthony Thurston

      Adam, I could care less who makes the lens as long as it performs well. Sony and Zeiss have a good relationship, I am sure the AF on these lenses will be every bit as good as it is on Sony’s native lenses (many of which, btw, also feature Zeiss branding).

      | |
    • Anders Madsen

      To the best of my knowledge, Sony is sharing the specifications for their mount to any third party lens manufacturer that wants to make lenses for the mount, provided that the manufacturer will sign a non-disclosure agreement. That means that these third party lenses are built to the same specifications as a native Sony lens.

      This is the main difference between Sony and e.g. Nikon and Canon, where the third party manufacturer has to reverse engineer the specifications and may experience changes in the specifications with no warning, leading to incompatibility with newer cameras.

      | |
    • Anders Madsen

      – and Anthony is correct, Sony and Zeiss has been working closely together for years, and some Sony lenses are designed by Zeiss.

      | |
    • Dave Haynie

      I don’t think first-party glass is what it used to be. Particularly now that third party lens companies have stepped up their game (Sigma Art), and that some heavyweights (Zeiss, Leica) are once again making lenses for at least some other cameras.

      I think it was more the market position of the various third parties: Soligor, Sigma, Tameron, Vivitar, Tokina, etc., all trying to be discount, consumer oriented, and in particular, before the days of lens CAD when it was even an art to make a halfway decent lens, that got many of thinking that the brand on the lens ought to match the brand on the camera. But that wasn’t the case so much in the rangefinder days. And it seems to be going away.

      Maybe some of that’s the influence of mirrorless cameras. Until mirrorless, you pretty much had to have a Canon EOS system to use a lens from another mount, you had to actually stop down to meter, and most Canon users didn’t know they could put Nikon or Zuiko or whatever lenses on their EOS bodies, anyway. But with mirrorless, every camera can use SLR/DSLR lenses, the EVF pretty much hides the dark-viewfinder problem, etc. Once you’re used to using an adapted lens, or a higher quality all-manual lens like the Cosina/Voigtlander’s or even some of the Chinese lenses doesn’t seem so odd. Then Sigma and Zeiss come out with third party lenses that just might be better than your first party options, or in some cases, lenses that don’t even exist as first party… things are more interesting now than they’ve been in some time.

      | |
    • Dave Haynie

      Oh… and Sony could really use the lenses. They have a nice system, they can crank out a crazy number of new bodies in a year, but they’re way behind every other mirrorless system, much less DSLR, when it comes to lenses.

      | |
    • Phil Bautista

      I’m pretty sure most Sony shooters prefer Zeiss or Zeiss branded lenses over Sony’s own. It’s the pricing that bites.

      | |
    • adam sanford

      Dave, I agree on Canon/Nikon third party lens *IQ* improving, but not so much for AF. Zeiss apparently is copying Sony’s AF specs with their help, but Sigma and Tamron most certainly are not.

      Sigma Art lenses’ IQ is stellar but the AF routines have been occasionally problematic. They have non-dock-correctible *inconsistency* problems on current FF bodies. That’s not a dirty rumor or third party smear — I’ve seen this reproduced from some trusted reviewers.

      I’m not calling out the Art line as a bad choice — *far* from it (they are terrific) — but I still feel that first party AF still outperforms it on the reliability front.

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Dave, I don’t know about the “until mirrorless” part. I think that as far as I know, most if not all of the highly successful third party lenses are exclusively a DSLR thing. The mirrorless phenomenon is not yet scratching the surface of the excitement that surrounded lenses like the Tamron 24-70 VC, the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8, and the Tokina 11-16 2.8 DX. Those three lenses alone probably have a total sales volume that dwarfs all of mirrorless’ adapter-ed lens users.

      I also think you’re incorrect to call Zeiss a third-party maker, at least for Sony. I think Zeiss counts as a “first-party” lens maker for the Sony mounts.

      | |
    • adam sanford

      Wow! Did anyone else catch what appears to be a *digital* distance scale on that lens? The Zeiss logo just magically popped up in the field during the video.

      Confirmed, on B&H: “OLED Display for Focus Distance and DoF”

      That’s a super slick way to simplify distance markings on a prime — it would only display the working DOF for the current aperture instead of smattering it with other apertures’ lines/info. That is super clever.

      | |
    • Dave Haynie

      Matthew… I think it’s the same exact relationship as Panasonic and Leica. Sony does some Sony/Zeiss lenses, just as Pansonic does some Panasonic/Leica lenses. But then there are “just Zeiss” and “just Leica”, that have no involvement from the Japanese. If I put an Otus on a Canon, that’s clearly 3rd party, but does it become first party when I put one on a Sony? See my problem here? These do just say “Zeiss”, not “Sony by Zeiss” or some-such… though that may well actually be what they are.

      And I was also responding to Adam, on the first/third designation. To most people, a Zeiss-branded lens would seem to be a third party lens. Of course, to anyone who knows their camera history and modern reputation, a Zeiss branded lens would always be preferable to a Sony-branded lens, at least were price no object.

      As I said before, I don’t think the dislike for 3rd party lenses was ever a premanent thing, but maybe a phenomena started back in the 1960/1970s… by then everyone had moved to a proprietary lens mount, and the only companies making third part lenses were the low-end guys like Soligor and Vivitar. The combination of better lenses from the “usual bunch of idiots” and higher-end companies like Zeiss getting back into the business has made “third party” less of a stigma… whatever you consider “Batis” to be.

      | |