Back at Photokina 2014, we held a very interesting question and answer session with Zeiss product manager Christophe Casenave. During the interview, he stated in passing that Zeiss was really excited about the Sony FE series. Knowing this, we were almost certain that the next Zeiss announcement this year would have been a third Loxia lens, with a 25mm being the most logical choice. But we were certainly not expecting this…
Today, Carl Zeiss caught us all by surprise by announcing its first full-frame autofocus lenses for the Sony E-mount. This new family of lenses is specifically designed for the Sony’s full-frame mirrorless line-up (A7, A7r, A7s and A7 Mark II). And the good news is that Zeiss has started with two focal lengths that are currently missing from the FE line-up, the most exciting being the 85mm portrait lens. They will be exclusively developed and distributed by Zeiss itself.
Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2.0
The Batis 25mm f/2.0 is a wide-angle lens that is best suited to landscape, architecture and astro photography thanks to its fast aperture. It has 10 lens elements in 8 groups, with four of the lens elements being aspheric on both sides and five being made from special types of glass. The aspherical design ensures both sharpness from edge-to-edge and consistently high image quality across the frame. It has a minimum focussing distance of 0.2 metres that can help you create an interesting composition with a shallow depth of field at the fastest apertures. The design is based on the Zeiss Distagon.
Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8
The Batis 85mm f/1.8 is a moderate telephoto lens, making it the perfect choice for wedding and portrait photography. It features 11 lens elements in 8 groups, all of which are made from special types of glass to ensure the highest image quality. It features the Sonnar optical design and incorporates optical image stabilisation, allowing it to function even in difficult light conditions.
The two lenses feature rubber focus rings just like the Zeiss Touit line-up for the Sony APS-C system but they should prove more robust thanks to the dust and weather seals. According to Zeiss, the AF system will be fast, silent and reliable. Manual focus is achieved fly-by-wire. And one thing is for sure: they don’t look like small lenses.
An innovative feature of both these new lenses is the illuminated OLED display on the barrel that shows the distance of the focal plane from the camera system and the depth of fields. It will replace the conventional focus scale found on most lenses. I am really curious to see how this innovative idea will prove on the field. It could certainly proved useful in low light conditions.
Zeiss has stated in its press release that the launch of the Batis lenses is the company’s “way of acknowledging this trend [of professionals switching to mirrorless cameras] and providing creative and ambitious photographers with the expert tools they need.”
The new 25mm and 85mm will be made available for purchase in July 2015. To briefly see the lens in action, you can check out the Zeiss Batis teaser below.
What do you think of these new Zeiss Batis lenses? Will you buy them for your Sony full-frame camera?