src=" Sony 85mm GM 1.4 vs Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8: Portraits with E-mount lenses

Date: 11/07/2016 | By: Mathieu

Sony 85mm GM 1.4 vs Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8: Portraits with E-mount lenses


Sony 85mm GM 1.4 vs Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8: Portraits with E-mount lenses

Now that Sony full-frame E-mount users have a choice between a f/1.4 and f/1.8 portrait lens, they naturally wonder what differences there are in terms of optical quality and performance. If on one hand the Sony G Master lens promises superb sharpness and perfect bokeh, the Zeiss Batis 85mm proves a serious portrait lens despite the slower aperture.

In our comparison video below, you will find all the most important differences between these two lenses, including bokeh, sharpness wide open and at slower apertures, AF and other important aspects.

In a nutshell:

The Sony 85mm G Master 1.4 lens has better ergonomics thanks to its AF/MF switch and aperture ring that can be de-clicked. The “fly-by-wire” focus ring is excellent, one of the best I’ve ever used: it is precise and reliable for manual focus in video mode, just like the 24-70mm f/2.8 GM lens too.

The Sony lens is heavier and larger than the Batis lens but the latter has a less precise focus ring and no other buttons. The OLED screen on top is a nice addition but in our opinion is more useful with wide-angle lenses.

We found the Batis 85mm to be sharper at f/1.8 than the Sony GM at f/1.4. However the Sony 85mm gives you more separation between subject and background for full body compositions.

The 85mm G Master has a better bokeh rendering thanks to its almost perfectly rounded bokeh balls that start from f/1.4. The Zeiss lens is less uniform at the fastest apertures with a swirly effect and “cat’s eye” shapes. However whether you like one or the other better is a matter of personal taste.

Another small advantage of the Batis is the faster autofocus motor that becomes relevant in C-AF mode and is valid for video and still images.

Additional read:

What do you think about these two lenses? Which one would you choose?

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About the author: Mathieu Gasquet

Mathieu Gasquet is a professional photographer with French and Italian origins. Besides running his own video and photography studio 3Dit Lab, he is also the official photographer for the National Cinema Museum in Turin. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Mathieu

    On the a6000, the Batis would give you a similar field of view of a 135mm lens on full frame and that is another popular focal length for portraits.
    Otherwise you have the 50mm 1.8 or even better the 55mm 1.8 which works really well on APS-C for portraits. You can see some examples here:

  • Claude B.

    You mention for fast action the Bâtis is better for my Sony A6000, but what about for portrait, isn’t better with 50mm or 60mm for portrait (Sony or Sigma)? Sure I would be very happy to own a Zeiss.

  • Alex

    Of Course not. It is just for my Personal Choice !!!!

  • GF

    I did notice a warmer and more saturated color coming from the Zeiss in both my computer and my smartphone (which has better calibration), and just as Zuikocron, I found the Zeiss to be more pleasing.

    On the other hand, I don’t know if the Sony has some focusing problems due to larger aperture, or if it’s the large aperture that grants a slightly less sharp image at f/1.4; in any case, that gives the G Master a smoother face rendering, which some may like better than the sharper rendering of the Zeiss (personally, again I prefer the sharper rendering of the Zeiss).

  • Mathieu

    Yes but in some situations the light was changing constantly so that’s why you can see some differences. But when the light remained exactly the same, I didn’t notice a relevant difference with colours.

  • Zuikocron

    Have you manually set the white balance? Because there is a noticeable difference color (and the batis one looks much more pleasing to me).

    The Bokeh of the GM looks better to my eye, but that lens is insanely huge! :O :O

  • Keno40

    So we should only speak about Olympus right?
    That’s weired because for a lot of Pros, Sony gives better specifics options now.

  • Alex

    This has nothing to so with mirrorless in my opinion! ( Sorry) still think m43( OLYMPUS) is The best Choice / compromise!!!

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