The Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 is an impressive portrait lens. The quality and unique features of the lens are like no other e-mount lens and they make for beautiful portraits.
Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 Portraits
The Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 is a strong choice for portrait photography. It features a smooth outer design paired with a unique OLED focus screen at the top lens. The lens features a weather gasket for shooting outdoors and a light weight design compared to other 85mm lenses from the Sony e-mount lineup.
I recently had a chance to do a natural light portrait shoot with local model Hanna in a small downtown area in north Dallas. For this shoot, I used the Zeiss Batis 85mm exclusively for this portait session.
Make sure to check out the great results I got from using this lens.
Table of Contents
- Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 Portraits
- Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 portrait photography
- Model test shoot with Batis 85mm f1.8 lens
- Batis 85mm f1.8 first impressions
- Batis 85mm f1.8 on the Sony a7 camera
- Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 lens specifications
- Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 portrait gallery samples
- Shooting natural light portraits with Batis 85mm f1.8 lens
- Batis 85mm f1.8 bokeh and rendering
- Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 vs 85mm alternatives
- What I liked about the Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 lens
- What I didn’t like about the Batis 85mm f1.8 lens
- Does the Batis 85mm f1.8 have chromatic aberrations
- Would I recommend the Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 for portraits
- Is the Batis 85mm good for beginner photographers
- Conclusions on the Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8
Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 portrait photography
We kept it simple and walked the beautiful old downtown area so I could get some natural light portraits with the Batis 85mm f1.8.
I loved the results, and I loved using the Batis 85mm for this portrait shoot. Let’s breakdown this portrait shoot in detail and I’ll give you my initial impressions of this e-mount lens for Sony mirrorless cameras.
Model test shoot with Batis 85mm f1.8 lens
For this shoot, I had friend and local Model Hanna come join me. I knew she wouldn’t need much direction as she has been modeling for a few years.
I kept Hanna in the shade most of the time as it was pretty hot outside and the sun was shinning bright in the Texas daylight.
We stayed close to the small buildings so I could capture as much color as possible. Then I moved her out slightly more to the sidewalk as the sun started to set for us.
Batis 85mm f1.8 first impressions
When I received the lens (rented) I couldn’t help but compare to my Sony 55mm f1.8. The lens was larger and slightly longer but both were f1.8 apertures at the widest.
The lens features the Zeiss blue logo on the side and an OLED screen featuring focusing distances. I find that I wasn’t using the focusing distances much on the screen so I turned them off for the shoot.
I was also shooting using auto-focus so using the OLED screen didn’t make much difference to me.
The sleek and simple lines of the Batis 85mm made this a simple lens to hold and control. One thing I didn’t like was the rubber focus ring. Seemed very cheap to me, but that’s just a personal opinion.
Batis 85mm f1.8 on the Sony a7 camera
I paired the Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 with my original Sony a7 mirrorless camera for this portrait shoot.
The Zeiss Batis 85mm didn’t have lens stabilization and neither did my Sony a7 so I knew I would need to keep my shutter speed slightly higher than normal to combat any camera shake.
The overall setup of the Sony a7 and Batis 85mm was light but front heavy.
The lens felt heavier than the camera, even with the battery grip attached. Then adding the front lens hood it made the camera look small in comparison.
Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 lens specifications
While I’m not a technical photographer and I don’t care for exact specs of a lens, there are a few things to consider.
Here are the manufacturer specifications for this lens for reference:
- Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8
- Focal Length: 85mm
- Price: $1199.00
- Weight: 15.94 oz / 452 g / 0.99 lb
- Size: 3.62″ x 3.62″ / 92 x 92 mm
- Filter Size: 67mm (Front of lens)
- Focus Type: Autofocus
- Minimum Aperture: f1.8
- Max Aperture: f22.0
- Full-Frame E-Mount Lens
- Minimum Focus Distance: 2.62′ / 80cm
Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 portrait gallery samples
Shooting natural light portraits with Batis 85mm f1.8 lens
The Batis 85mm focused very quick and allowed me to capture very detailed portraits in the natural light.
As you can see from this cropped version of this image with Hanna, the details are very clear and the colors are very vibrant.
I used single spot focus mode when shooting. I found this to be most helpful when I had Hanna posing and not moving around too much for the shoot.
Batis 85mm f1.8 bokeh and rendering
The bokeh from the Batis 85mm f1.8 is oval and cat-eye shaped. I noticed this when shooting wide open and I had small lights in the background.
There is a small swirling effect with the bokeh that I notice with this lens and not with my Sony 55mm f1.8.
I have also shot with the Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master lens and I notice that lens has more of a round bokeh ball for smoother background blur.
The bokeh on the Batis 85mm f1.8 is nice and works well in separating the subject from the background.
Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 vs 85mm alternatives
You now have a few options when looking for an 85mm lens for the Sony e-mount system.
There are a few including:
- Sony 85mm f1.8 FE lens
- Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 Lens
- Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master lens
- Sigma 85mm f1.4 Lens
Here is a quick comparison for you to check out:
You will see that the Batis 85mm is not the heaviest and not the most expensive option, but there are other things to consider when making a purchase.
What I liked about the Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 lens
- Small body design
- Light weight lens
- 8 aperture
- Zeiss optics color rendering (3D pop)
- Sharp details for portraits
What I didn’t like about the Batis 85mm f1.8 lens
- Price – $1099.00
- Cat-eyed/Oval Bokeh
- OLED screen – I tried to use but it didn’t come in handy for my shoot
- Lens hood seems large for this lens
Does the Batis 85mm f1.8 have chromatic aberrations
Yes, like many lenses, the Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 does suffer from chromatic aberrations. I was not shooting directly into the sunlight or in high contrast areas to notice large amounts of chromatic aberrations on this lens.
I checked DXO mark and this has less CA than my Sony 55mm f1.8 which can get pretty bad when shooting wide open.
I will need to test more in the natural light and high contrast areas to see how well this lens performs so stay tuned for more.
Would I recommend the Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 for portraits
You can’t go wrong with the Batis 85mm. It is sharp, small and helps you create some beautiful images. The downside is you are going to pay for that quality Zeiss name and 3D pop.
For beginner photographers, I would actually recommend trying the Sony 85mm f1.8 as a more budget friendly option. There have been tons of reviews on that lens and it is a great choice for beginners.
If you have the budget and are looking for a lens that will give you a unique look, then you consider picking up the Batis 85mm.
Is the Batis 85mm good for beginner photographers
This lens carries a large price tag but you can find used versions if you look on the used market. It’s not as expensive as the Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master, but it might still be out of reach for some beginners.
I think this lens would be a great addition for beginner photographers but only if your budget can handle it. If you’re only looking for a single lens to invest in for long term, then this is a great lens.
If you don’t have that kind of money, then consider the Sony 85mm f1.8. It’s a smaller lens but still has that f1.8 aperture for subject separation and great bokeh.
Conclusions on the Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8
My overall impressions of the Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 are pretty positive. The lens is a part of a great lineup of prime lenses from Zeiss. Theses include the Batis 25mm, 40mm 85mm and 135mm.
With this lineup, the Batis 85mm fits in perfect for portrait photographers. This prime lens is a super sharp lens that will allow you to get some beautiful portraits when shooting with available light.
I recommend giving it a try and seeing if it is a good fit for you. Best of luck!
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