First date with ZEISS Batis

You know, when you meet something new and interesting there is lot of excitement in the air. Those classical symptoms like beating heart, shaking and sweaty hands…They are familiar to all of us.

This time the feeling was caused by the long waited rendezvous with two pieces of glass the whole photographing world has been waiting. ZEISS launched new pro level lens series for Sony a-frame cameras in the spring. As I wrote earlier I had an opportunity to see first protos in Finland in May. In that moment started a long and restless wait, which ended yesterday. First official lenses arrived to Finland in last Friday. Thanks to Focus Nordic Finland I had an honour to be one of the first ones to actually test these lenses in whole Scandinavia.

So, here we are. During the wait there was lot of expectations in the air. Pre-marketing was made so well that ZEISS build also sort of a trap to themselves. “The New Pro Era” sounds quite bold statement and to redeem expectations there really need to be something great in these lenses.

At the same time I also personally feel the heavy weight of expectations in my shoulders. I should now open the curtains and tell whether the wait has been worth of it.

How should I start? When I yesterday received the notification from post office in the afternoon I drove tens of kilometers extra to get Batis in my hand immediately. The box was calling me from the back seat of my car when I drove back home. Finally, when I got the first objective (Batis 2/25) from the box and attached to the camera I was surprised. Even before taking any photo. The lens is actually lighter than expected. The large diameter tube makes you think that this lens would be heavy. Also compared to other pro level ZEISS lenses Batis is light. Naturally the first reaction was suspicion. Is there some plastic lenses inside?

Well, after first shot it didn’t matter anymore. Already the first press of the button raised the first top finding: The autofocus is working like a silk glove. Fast, smooth and silent. Just a short focus and there it was. My first real photo with Batis. Actually the autofocus was another big question mark before the test. ZEISS has been avoiding making autofocus lenses under their own production. There are ofcourse many autofocus lenses with ZEISS logo in them but may of them are manufactured by some Sony subcontractor. Ofcourse under ZEISS license and control but anyway. For example Touit is something totally different from these pro lenses.

Anyway, at the first experience the autofocus is brilliant in Batis 2/25. In the bigger 1.8/85 the autofocus is little bit slower and especially with big apertures it pumps a bit. This is natural because the short depth of field makes it challenging. So, with free hands, large aperture and in short focus range the depth of field is so short that fitting the subject to the depth of field makes the portrait Batis might pump a bit. In generally the autofocus does the work well, actually better than other autofocus lenses I have been using in my Sony.

What about the image quality? Well. I have been using lot of mid range and also cheaper lenses during my career so this kind of pro lens ofcourse raised high expectations. Well, the first image made it far beyond expectations. The depth of colors and the contrast are superb. With these lenses there is much less work for the saturation setting in Lightroom. Also the image sharpness seems to be great from corner to corner with the 2/25 version. The bigger 1.8/85 I need to test more to say anything about that topic.

So, first dates went well. I spent whole evening and half of the night out there and in the gallery below you see some first examples. There are more to come soon so stay tuned! These babies are promising!

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