Zeiss’s second shortest prime lens from their Batis series, the 25mm f2.0, is a cheaper, smaller, and lighter alternative to the Sony 24mm f1.4 GM without compromising on build quality. Its compact curved design fits snugly on the Sony A7 bodies and it will be interesting to see when Zeiss offers the same Batis design for the new mirrorless bodies from Nikon and Canon. The lens is very sharp in close quarters and at longer distances with little coma and longitudinal CAs. It also features a unique OLED display, indicating the focusing distance and depth-of-field range at a glance. The lens focuses quickly and reliably and its resistance against flare and glare in strong contra light is very good. But its Bokeh is not the most desirable: It suffers from having only an f2.0 focal ratio and produces very visible onion rings.
Let’s put this into perspective and have a closer look at how the Zeiss 25mm f2.0 Batis compares to some alternatives.
Compared to Sony FE 24mm f1.4 GM
The Sony FE 24mm f1.4 GM is a very good lens: Sharp into the corners of a full-frame sensor, with the center being sharper than the Zeiss Batis. And although the Sony GM is not as light and small as the Zeiss Batis it is still pretty smallish for a wide angle lens with a large f1.4 focal ratio. It produces a much nicer background Bokeh than the Zeiss Batis, and has equally good resistance against flare, glare and ghosting. The de-clickable aperture ring and linear focus response are a boon for videographers and the lockable lens hood and focus lock button are nice bonuses. And although the Sony GM produces more longitudinal CAs than the Zeiss its price premium over the Zeiss Batis is justified.
For more details see my Sony FE 24mm f1.4 GM review where it earned a Highly Recommended.
Compared to Sigma 24mm f1.4 Art
The Sigma Art AF 24mm f1.4 DG HSM came highly recommended in 2015 and is now available in E-mount. But the original DSLR design shows: The E-mount version of the Sigma Art is over 400g (15oz.) heavier than the Sony GM and almost 5cm longer. Plus the hunger for resolving power of modern sensors reaching 50MP and the advent of newer lens designs has not been kind to the lens: What was then a comparably minor deficiency in resolution, contrast, and coma outside the APS-C image circle in the meantime turns to a visible handicap when compared to the Zeiss Batis or Sony GM lens. But the Sigma Art remains a very usable lens: it offers a one stop larger f1.4 focal ratio, is very sharp in the center, produces only little longitudinal CAs, and costs much less than the Zeiss Batis. And although its background Bokeh is nervous towards the borders of a full-frame sensor the Sigma Art is still a worthy contender.
For more details see my Sigma 24mm f1.4 Art review.
Compared to Zeiss 28mm f1.4 Otus
A few years ago Zeiss produced three large aperture primes for DSLRs under the “Otus” moniker that are still at the top of their game even with the latest 50MP full frame bodies. Their 28mm f1.4 Otus is one of them and it has well earned a Highly Recommended in my review. But it has deficiencies too: It can only be focused manually, has an exorbitant price, and is substantially larger and heavier then even the Sigma Art: putting it via adapter on an A7 body simply shows that the Zeiss Otus is not made to be a good match for Sony’s mirrorless bodies. The main advantages of the Otus over the Batis are a sharper center, better Bokeh, larger f1.4 focal ratio, and better build quality.
See my detailed Zeiss 28mm f1.4 Otus review.
Zeiss 25mm f2.0 Batis final verdict
The Zeiss 25mm f2.0 Batis is a nice, sleekly designed compact but large aperture wide-angle lens. It may not sport an f1.4 focal ratio nor the most beautiful Bokeh either but its other optical qualities are top notch: Sharp into the corners of a full-frame sensor, very little coma, only little longitudinal CAs, and good resistance against flare, glare and ghosting. All in all the Zeiss 25mm f2.0 Batis earns a Highly Recommended!
- Very small and light.
- Very good resolution and contrast.
- Very good resistance against flare, glare, and ghosting.
- Very little coma and low loCAs.
- Weather sealing, display for focus distance and depth of field.
- Focal ratio of f2 and onion rings spoil the Bokeh.
- Watch for decentering, get a well aligned copy of the lens.
Check prices on the Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!