Lens review

Carl Zeiss Batis 25 mm f/2

15 September 2016
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

The following chart allows you to compare the tested Batis to other full frame 24-25 mm instruments as fast as f/1.8–2.0. Low physical weight of the Batis and its relatively simple optical construction stick out immediately. Contemporary, very well-corrected lenses got us used to a high number of optical elements whereas the Batis has less of them than the elderly Pentax or the Distagon T* 25 mm f/2.0 designed for reflex cameras. The low weight of the tested instrument makes us worry about its build quality. So far, while dealing with many Zeiss lenses we’ve always had an impression we were handling something heavily armoured and practically indestructible – not this time, though.

In the photo below the Batis 2/25 is positioned next to its 2.8/18 brother and the Sonnar 1.8/55 FA.

Carl Zeiss Batis 25 mm f/2 - Build quality

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The tested lens starts with a metal mount surrounding a contact plate and a black, plastic window as big as 29×24 mm. The window reveals the inner tube of the lens which is nicely blackened and matted but also made of plastics. To some degree it explains why the lens is so physically light: its outer casing is made of metal but inside there are a lot of plastic parts.

The rear element of the lens is immobile and about 2.5 cm in diameter. Its cross-section is not circular, though, because it was put in another widow, a bit larger than the element itself. From the side of the mount there are no slits or electronic parts visible – the lens seems to be properly sealed, splash and dust-proof.

Carl Zeiss Batis 25 mm f/2 - Build quality

The proper body of the lens starts with a black, metal ring which diameter increases with the distance from the mount. You see there a blue dot, making an alignment with a camera easier, the inscription with the mount type (E-mount), the name and serial number of the lens with information that it was produced in Japan.

Further on there is a manual focus ring. It is 15 mm wide, completely covered by smooth rubber armour. The rubber sticks to your fingers very well so the ring is a joy to use but it has one slight flaw – it catches dirt easily as well. The working range of the ring depends on the speed of your turning: if you do it fast you get an angle of about 130 degrees, if you turn it slowly you are able to reach almost 360 degrees. Both values allow you very precise settings.

Carl Zeiss Batis 25 mm f/2 - Build quality

Above the ring there is a window with a distance scale and a depth of field scale. The window is nothing less than an OLED display which is switched on only when you start the camera and chose the manual focusing mode; then it shows the focusing distance and the depth of field range.

To be honest I am not a big fan of such flashy gadgets. Not only because they make the lens consume more energy, and the accumulator of Sony A7R II is already a bit overused by the electronics of the camera, but also because the scale itself shines. It is not a problem in daylight but it might be annoying at night.

Carl Zeiss Batis 25 mm f/2 - Build quality

On the same smooth, metal ring which features the distance scale window you see two Zeiss logos positioned on both sides.

The lens gets larger near its end and turns into a hood mount. Its front element doesn’t move and is 41 mm in diameter. It is surrounded by an inscription reading „ZEISS Distagon 2/25 ⌀67 T*” and a non-rotating filter thread, 67 mm in diameter.

Carl Zeiss Batis 25 mm f/2 - Build quality

When it comes to the inner construction you deal here with 10 elements positioned in 8 groups with three special glass elements, two aspherical ones and two others which are both aspherical and made of special glass. Inside there is also a round aperture with nine blades which can be closed down to f/22 at the maximum.

Buyers get both caps and a petal-type hood in the box. It’s a pity there is no case or pouch of any kind. Taking into account the fact that you have to pay $1300 for this lens such an accessory would be rather expected.

Carl Zeiss Batis 25 mm f/2 - Build quality