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