Field test of Zeiss Batis series for Sony camera

by Audun Lie Dahl

Photo: Audun Lie Dahl

Before I start, Zeiss has not sponsored me or asked me to write anything about their Batis series. I am a Focus Nordic Ambassador, and they gave me the lenses to try them out on the Sony Alpha 7 R III and Sony Alpha 9. So, all this is from my personal point of view.

I am a Norwegian photographer specialized in wildlife and landscape, mostly in the Arctic and colder regions. I am leading expeditions, and all these photos are taken while leading other photographers in remote areas under rough conditions.

The team from Focus Nordic were so friendly that they allowed me to try the new Zeiss Batis series with autofocus. Since I started photography, I’ve had zoom lenses in the short-range. But now it was time to try the fixed lenses. After a good discussion, we decided to go for the 2.8/18, the 2/40CF and the 1.8/85.

As a photographer, I have never been so much into technical reviews and indoor photography where the photographer has full control of the subject and the light. My work is outdoors, generally in the colder regions of the planet. I also travelled with the lenses to Maasai Mara in Kenya in rain time which meant extreme high humidity.

After unboxing the lenses, I packed my bag and travelled to Svalbard. Svalbard is an archipelago mid between mainland Norway and the North Pole. This is the real arctic, and with more Polar Bears than people.

When taking pictures of birds and animals, I love to be at the height of the subject. Before changing to Sony and Zeiss, it has been challenging for me to control this. But with a Sirui monopod, a PocketWizard system teamed up with the Sony’s and Zeiss lenses, and it is possible to get outstanding results.

I also love to shoot with the lens wide open to create a soft fore- and background on my photos. Especially the 40mm and 85mm is great for this. At wide open the pictures are incredible sharp all out on the edges.

Please have in mind that most of the time, I can’t see the back screen, and I must rely on the camera and the lenses to do the job. For handheld use out in the field, I also find this combination extremely good. The autofocus on the Zeiss Batis series is very precise, and during these six months I have had them, it just keeps blowing my mind. Attached in these series are pictures taken in 2019. Please note all settings are under each photo as well as location and other technical information.

This is a very short review in text of these magnificent lenses. But I can’t talk warm enough of them. They are extremely weather resistant, and they never fail me when I am out on work, far away from civilisation. The Zeiss will be in my bag from now on.

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