After purchasing the Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8, it quickly became my favorite and most used lens. I loved the Batis 18mm (see review) so much that I started looking at the other Zeiss Batis offerings, the 25mm f/2, 85mm f/1.8, and 135 f/2.8. The 85mm and 135mm focal lengths are a bit too long for my preferences, but 25mm is right up my alley, so I started there. The only issue was that I already owned and loved the Sony 28mm f/2 (see review). Without ever using it, I knew the Batis 25mm would be a solid lens based on reviews and my experience with the Batis 18mm…but, would it be good enough to justify the $850 price premium over the Sony 28mm f/2? I decided to rent the Batis 25mm for a few weeks to find out, and will document my experience in this review.
Lens Construction, Handling, And Build Quality:
As I mentioned above, the Zeiss Batis family of lenses includes the 18mm f/2.8, this 25mm f/2, the 85mm f/1.8, and the 135mm f/2.8. The Zeiss Batis range is designed for Sony e-mount cameras. For those wondering what ‘Batis’ means, it’s a genus of passerine birds in the wattle-eyes family. Zeiss uses this bird family nomenclature for each family group of it’s mirrorless lenses, ie. Touit and Loxia.
All of the lenses in the Batis family share an attractive and minimal tulip bulb design. There is a simple elegance about the Batis design language that really makes these lenses stand out from a crowd and make the alternatives look rather utilitarian.
The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 is constructed using a combination of metal and plastic, just like my Batis 18mm. The Batis 25mm comes in at 11.82oz, and feels incredibly well built and solid in the hand. In the center of the Batis 25mm, you’ll find an infinite scroll rubberized focus ring for the moments you’ll want to focus manually.
The Batis 25mm comes in at 3.19 x 3.07″ and takes a 67mm filter. The tulip shaped lens hood adds an extra inch of length when attached, and does a great job preventing stray light from creating flares.
The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 has a metal bayonet and is weather and dust sealed. I shoot the vast majority of my photos outdoors and am occasionally in harsh weather. Having a lens with quality weather sealing is a major bonus. When I mount the Batis 18mm or 25mm to my Sony a7rii, I can feel the blue rubber ring create a seal with my lens mount. This keeps much more dust out than my non-sealed lenses, which means less sensor cleaning and spot-removal in post processing.
The Zeiss Batis 25mm was designed via collaboration by Sony and Zeiss, and manufactured by Sony in Japan. Quality control is then done by Zeiss to ensure that the high Zeiss standard is met and held.
This lens is constructed using 10 elements in 8 groups. The elements are coated using the superb ZEISS® T*. This anti-reflective coating minimizes flares and other aberrations. The T* (T-star) coating can sound like a bunch of marketing talk, but I’ve found this 25mm to be extremely resistant to flares. The color rendering, contrast, sharpness, and resolution is also second to none. This is the same T* used on my superb Sony Zeiss 55mm and Zeiss Batis 18mm.
Like the Zeiss Batis 18mm, the 25mm comes with the OLED screen for focus distance and depth of field readouts.
Specs and Stats:
Dimensions: 3.19 x 3.07″
Weight: 11.82 oz (335 g)
Filter Thread: 67mm
Focal Length: 25mm
Aperture: f/2 -f/22
View Angle: 82°
Minimum Focus Distance: 7.87″ (20 cm)
Size Comparison With The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2, Zeiss Batis 18mm, and Sony 28mm f/2
Many people looking at the Zeiss Batis 25mm will be shopping it against the Batis 18mm and Sony 28mm. In this section I’ll do a quick size comparison between these lenses. You can read my other reviews to compare sample photos
The Batis 25mm comes in at 3.19 x 3.07″, making it just taller than the Sony 28mm, and just shorter than the Batis 18mm. At 11.82oz, the Batis 25mm is a tad heavier than the Batis 18mm, and 4oz heavier than the Sony 28mm.
The Batis 25mm takes a 67mm filter, which is 10mm smaller than the 77mm on the Batis 18mm. The Sony 28mm has a 49mm filter, making it the smallest lens of the group.
The Batis 18mm will give you 99° of coverage, the Batis 25mm 82°, and the Sony 28mm 75°.
Find the Zeiss Batis 25mm Online: Amazon | B&H Photo Video
Image Quality And Performance:
With a focal length of 25mm, this Batis lens provides a versatile 82° field of view. At this focal length I can shoot landscapes, architecture, and street portraits without having to switch lenses. The fast maximum aperture of f/2 allows me to capture sharp shots in low light and also shoot portraits at a shallow depth of field with background bokeh. This lens is the perfect middle ground for those looking to live in between the frames of an ultrawide and a more standard 35mm or 50mm focal length.
I spend a lot of time hiking, backpacking, and traveling in my free time, which means I spend a lot of time outdoors shooting landscapes. The Batis 25mm is an incredible landscape lens as it’s tack sharp from corner to corner even without stopping down. I shoot a lot of handheld shots in low light, so this is a critical feature for me. There is also very little color fringing, and as I mentioned above, this lens is very flare resistant.
The Batis 25mm has very little distortion, and the distortion that exists is corrected using the lens profile in Lightroom. I walked around Downtown LA, and took a few shots that came out quite well.
Portraits and Bokeh:
At 25mm, this lens isn’t well suited for portraiture, but it does a nice job when shooting environmental portraits. With a max aperture of f/2, you can create a shallow depth of field around your subject, for some nice background bokeh. The bokeh on this lens isn’t the best I’ve seen, and at times can be a little distracting.
Autofocus on a wide angle lens isn’t really all that necessary for most usage cases, but it’s still nice to have when shooting moving subjects. The Batis 25mm nails the target almost every time from my experience, just like my Batis 18mm.
We got hit with a few consecutive storms during the month I rented this lens, so I didn’t get outside to shoot as many long exposures as I’d hoped. The few shots I got from a night out at Alabama Hills came out pretty decent though, despite the hazy skies.
Low Light Handheld:
The maximum f/2 aperture on the Batis 25mm pairs well with the image stabilization of my Sony a7rii and allows me to shoot handheld shots in low light without issue.
This is a new section I’m adding to my lens reviews that evaluates performance in harsh lighting conditions. Many photographers prefer to take photos at sunrise/sunset, and during the golden and blue hours or the day (myself included). That’s great if you’re a professional or photo enthusiast that structures your day around photography, but not always possible while traveling and on the go. As a hiker, backpacker, and traveler, I can’t always choose to wait around for the perfect lighting, which means I take a lot of photos at midday under a cloudless sky. Here are a few examples of how the Batis 25mm performs under these conditions. Even in the harsh direct light of Death Valley, I was still able to shoot a few “keepers”.
The Zeiss Batis is a super sharp lens even when shooting wide open. As you stop down, things will just continue to sharpen. I have nothing but good things to say here for sharpness.
The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 is undoubtedly an incredible lens, but after a few weeks of using it, I decided it wasn’t worth spending a minimum of $850 to upgrade from my Sony 28mm f/2. The Batis 25mm has much better build quality, is slightly sharper, has a wider FOV, and has weather sealing…but that’s not enough to justify an $850 price premium over the high value Sony 28mm f/2 in my eyes. I prefer the lighter, smaller, and more affordable Sony. If I didn’t already own the Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 I would probably feel differently, as the Batis 25mm could conceivably fill the usage needs of the Batis 18mm and Sony 28mm on most occasions.