Review: Zeiss Batis lenses 25, 40 & 85 in Hong Kong

In this review about the Zeiss Batis lenses I try to report my personal experience about the Batis Lenses during real working conditions as a professional photographer and videographer. Last March I realized a shortfilm project “Moving” about Claire Lim, a local Hong Kongese. I tested the trio of ZEISS Batis lenses – a 25mm f/2, a 40mm f/2 CF, and a 85mm f/1.8. Review the versatility in the area of photography and video production capabilities. Here you can find some samples of the Batis Lenses about my documentary of Hong Kong. At the end of the article you can download RAW samples to get your own impression. (Shot with Sony A7RIII + Batis Zeiss Lenses)

INTRODUCTION | Behind the project in Hong Kong

On the way as a Travel photographer and videographer, I make every effort to pack as lightly and efficiently as possible. The key point of the weight is your photo gear. During the planing I focused around which lenses I would be taking for this short film project. I knew I would be using my workhorse camera – a Sony a7R III, but I had carefully weighed my options when it came to lens choices.

Just few month before my projects starts Zeiss released the new BATIS lenses. I knew I would be shooting in a wide range of environments and lighting conditions. Especially it was a video-project where a fixed prime lens is the first choice. You might think 40mm is a weired focal length? This lens surprised me in all the best ways. I only had 3 production days to get all the footage we needed in Hong Kong the weather can be bright and sunny while other days can be draped in rain and fog. Through the weather sealed Batis lenses I had never to worry about it. This city has many tight, narrow quarters to contend with along with distant subjects requiring longer focal length lenses.

I easely could fit the Zeiss Batis Lenses, which are typically smaller, lighter, and faster compared to zooms of comparable focal ranges into my Backpack.

 

WEIGHT, BUILD & LOOK | Zeiss Batis lenses – a 25mm f/2, a 40mm f/2 CF, and a 85mm f/1.8

So back to review the Zeiss Batis lenses – a 25mm f/2, a 40mm f/2 CF, and a 85mm f/1.8 are designed specifically for Sony E-mount cameras, I knew they offered speed, quick autofocus response times, and enough resolving power to satisfy the needs of my camera’s 42MP imaging sensor.

A great lens kit for my camera and perfect fit with a gimbal. Not only is it light, but the Batis series is beautifully balanced for the Sony body. I use the lens on a Sony a7 Riii, and I can hold it without any problems, shoot all day, and probably never get tired. That’s a big deal when you’re working all day. With a weight between 335g to 452g, my camera and all three lenses came in well under the 1,8 kg cap in my backpack. During production you have to consider holding this gear for at least 8-12 hours a day incl. All accessories like gimbal, screen, batterypacks.

The optical quality is more then sufficient for professional use cases and has their own unique look, which I really love. Here are some photos I took during these days and I hope there can give you a good impression of this lens kit.

OLED DISPLAY | Zeiss Batis lenses at night

Hong Kong is a visual paradise in many ways but it has its challenges. The visual moods and textures of the Hong Kong are mesmerizing, from Sunset on the Victoria Point to the night skylines of Hongkong Metropolis,  which are visually speaking magical.  Here comes the OLED Display in handy.

It’s a feature that shows the focus distance and depth of field range on the top of the lens barrel. For someone working on a tripod and shooting still subjects at night, I can see how this display could be incredibly helpful.

 

RAW SAMPLES DOWNLOAD | Zeiss Batis lenses

RAW Samples of ZEISS Batis lenses – a 25mm f/2, a 40mm f/2 CF, and a 85mm f/1.8 with Sony A7RIII:

Zeiss Batis 25mm F2

RAW File download via Google Drive
Download here Zeiss Batis 25mm

Zeiss Batis 40mm CF F2

RAW File download via Google Drive
Download here Zeiss Batis 40mm

Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8

RAW File download via Google Drive here
Download here Zeiss Batis 85mm

PERSONAL CONCLUSION | Zeiss Batis lenses

Finally, I’m more then pleased with my choice of ZEISS Batis lenses. I could trust the smooth autofocus during the video productions on the gimbal. There is nothing more important than being able to rely on your equipment during the production and thus return home with a peace of mind after exhausting days with very little sleep.

I missed any opportunities due to being ‘limited’ to the fixed focal length of my 25mm f/2, 40mm f/2 CF or the 85mm/f2 Batis. As my favorite the 40mm f/2 CF Batis – I can’t say enough about it. The 40mm focal range and close focus option makes it my everyday lens for travel projects . I would also recommend this lens to portrait, wedding & documentary photographers who love to work on location, stay flexible, shoot in a photo journalistic style to capture their subjects without the more obvious distortion of a wider lens.

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