Sony and Zeiss are frequent collaborators and together they've come up with some fantastic lenses such as the ZA line of lenses for Sony's A-mount cameras. Zeiss of course, has a very long tradition in both the world of photography and cinematography for manufacturing some of the world's finest glass for both still and moving images. The Zeiss CP.2 dedicated Cine prime lenses have been extremely popular among the filmmaking crowd, and the Touit line have found their audience in the world of APS-C E-mount photography enthusiasts and professionals.
Recently, Zeiss announced a new addition, or rather expansion to their line-up of lenses called BATIS. The new family currently comprises of 2 focal lengths - 25mm f2.0 and 85mm f/1.8. The Batis line, features a very slick design and immaculate construction reminiscent of the Touit line-up with fine metal finish and slick focus barrel.
The Batis line has some pretty unique features up its sleeve - mainly are they are the first Full-Frame autofocus lenses for Sony's E-mount system designed and manufactured exclusively by Zeiss. This is great news for Sony A7s / A7 Mark II and A7R shooters for both stills and video.
Looking rather like some future technology one would expect to see on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Zeiss Batis lenses are the world's first to feature a built in OLED display, in lieu of a more traditional mechanical focus distance scale. The futuristic OLED screen displays focus distance as well as depth of field information. Autofocus operation is accomplished by linear motors, which is good news as it technically should provide faster, quieter Auto-focus performance.
Zeiss recently published a full Q&A on the new Batis line of lenses, which you can see below.
Why do the ZEISS Batis lenses have an electronic display?
In response to many customer requests received after the introduction of ZEISS lenses, we have decided to integrate a display for the focus distance in the new ZEISS Batis lenses. To keep the size and complexity of the lenses within acceptable proportions, it was decided to use an innovative OLED display for information display. The electronic display can also be reliably read in poor ambient light or in the dark. In addition, the depth-of-field range can also be more precisely displayed, regardless of the set aperture.
What is shown on the display?
The lens is equipped with an electronic OLED display which shows the distance of the focal plane from the camera system (“focus distance”) and the depth of field. The depth of field is the extension of the focal plane and is partly dependent on the focus distance, the aperture setting and the image sensor of the camera type used.
Are the ZEISS Batis lenses weatherproof?
The ZEISS Batis lenses are protected against dust and splashes (not waterproof) and are therefore suitable for use in everyday weather conditions. They are designed for use at temperatures ranging from -10 °C to +55°C.
How does the manual focusing work on the ZEISS Batis lenses?
The manual focus on the ZEISS Batis lenses is not directly mechanical, but is configured via the focus ring supported by servomotors. The movement on the focus ring is translated electronically into a movement of the focus (element) group. Here, the change in the focus distance is dependent on the speed at which the focus ring is changed: if the speed is high, the focus distance will also change more quickly. This has the benefit that the photographer can perform coarse focusing very quickly, but can nevertheless do the fine tuning very precisely.
The focus is set electro-mechanically (also called focus-by-wire). The direct and mechanical focusing of autofocus lenses equipped with an E-mount would require considerable technical work which would result in higher weight and costs. Therefore, no manufacturer of autofocus lenses featuring an E-mount have selected this technical solution.
What mounts are currently supported/ available?
ZEISS Batis lenses are designed exclusively with E-mount for use on mirrorless system cameras with Sony E-mount.
Are there examples of pictures taken with the Batis lenses?
In the next few weeks ZEISS will show pictures that have been taken with ZEISS Batis lenses on the Flickr online platform.
Flickr Album ZEISS Batis 2/25: https://www.flickr.com/photos/carlzeisslenses/sets/72157651844166930/
Flickr Album ZEISS Batis 1.8/85: https://www.flickr.com/photos/carlzeisslenses/sets/72157651844166820/
Where does the name Batis come from?
Since 2013, new ZEISS lenses in a series have a uniform family name that conveys a common identity. For this reason, we have decided to derive these family names from the Latin names for birds. In doing so, we are not establishing a direct reference to the characteristics of special types of birds.
Why don’t these lenses have the typical ZEISS names? Will the proven names (Distagon, Biogon, Planar, Sonnar) be discontinued in the future?
The names of the optical concepts (Distagon, Planar, etc.) used until now in the product names, as well as the T* designation for the antireflective coating stand for properties of the lenses, but are not actually the name. Furthermore, they are engraved on the front ring of the lenses.
What do the ZEISS Batis lenses come with?
Lens, lens shade, user manual, test certificate, lens caps, warranty card.
Is the lens shade of the ZEISS Batis lenses made of metal?
No, the lens shade of the ZEISS Batis lenses consists of high-quality plastic.
Where are the lenses made?
For the manufacture of ZEISS lenses, we use a global production network of trusted partners in the optical industry that has been built up over many years. ZEISS Batis lenses are made in Japan.
Can the ZEISS Batis lenses also be used to record videos?
The ZEISS lenses are primarily intended for still photography. In principle, the smooth and precise manual focus and the quiet autofocus motor of the ZEISS Batis lenses also permit video recordings. However, the ZEISS Batis lenses do not feature an aperture ring and the manual change of the focus distance is dependent on the speed at which the focus ring is turned.
What is the service life of the display?
The service life, and the luminosity in particular, of an OLED display is primarily influenced by the amount of use. The luminosity decreases with the duration of use.
If the luminosity ever deteriorates to the point that the display cannot be read, the OLED display can be simply replaced by ZEISS Service.
What type of autofocus motors are used on Batis lenses?
The ZEISS Batis lenses feature specially designed, high-performance linear motors.
Do the ZEISS Batis lenses feature image stabilization?
The ZEISS Batis 1.8/85 features optical image stabilization. The ZEISS Batis 2/25 does not. At shorter focal lengths stabilization is not absolutely essential as minor movements of the camera cause less disturbance due to the larger image angle.
Are additional focal lengths planned? If so, what are they?
Additional focal lengths will follow. Right now, we do not wish to publish any further details.
What is the price of the ZEISS Batis lenses?
The recommended retail prices are €1,092 or US$1,299 (excl. VAT)* for the ZEISS Batis 2/25 and €1,008 or US$1,199 (excl. VAT)* for the ZEISS Batis 1.8/85.
When will the new lenses be available?
The ZEISS Batis 2/25 and ZEISS Batis 1.8/85 lenses will be available for purchase now and starts shipping in July 2015.
We are yet to have UK pricing confirm, but can certainly help you with any Zeiss requirements. If you are on the lookout for some cine glass, we have a few Zeiss Super Speeds sets for sale here and a full set of 5 here.
Get in touch at 0208 977 1222 for all your Zeiss needs.