Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 Wide Angle Lens for Sony E Mount Review

The Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 lens for Sony E mount full frame cameras is capable of amazing landscape and astrophotography images in a lightweight package.  This is my brief review of it after six months of use for those considering buying one primarily for those reasons.

My product photography image of my *used* lens ended up as Amazon's listing image for the new version...

For my landscape and astrophotography needs a wide-angle lens must be sharp across the frame, take filters, and be f/2.8 at a minimum for night photos.  I often do significant hiking to reach my photo locations and before this lens was getting tired of carrying the Sony FE 16-35 f/4 along with a Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 and/or 24mm f/1.4.  Since it met my requirements I jumped all in, selling the Sony FE 16-35 f/4 and Rokinon 24mm f/1.4…

18mm, 1/320 at f/11, ISO 100

Overall the lens did everything I wanted, images were sharp from center to corner.  The weather sealing is great as it’s often used for close up waterfall images and being outside for hours at a time during night time timelapses.  Also it is very light and easy to carry.

18mm, 1/100 at f/11, ISO 100

However I found trying to photograph landscapes in the Carolinas with a prime lens too difficult.  Other than the coast…we have few wide-open areas that allow you to frame a composition easily by moving around.  This is nothing against the lens but more a function of the subjects I’m photographing.

18mm, 1.6 sec at f/16, ISO 100

Also I did not like the manual focus-by-wire feedback, especially for night photos.  Manual focusing in the dark is hard enough through the Sony’s electronic view finder but I felt like I never knew how much the focus would adjust every time I turned the focus ring.

18mm, 10 sec at f/2.8, ISO 400

While I was happy with the images I did get with the lens, I only used it when I thought I needed it.  I'm sure I missed some shots where I could have used it creatively but not in a safe spot or just too lazy to swap it out.  Therefore I've sold it in favor of a 16-35mm f/2.8 zoom.  The convenience of the zoom allows me the freedom to create more of the composition I want.

18mm, 20 sec at f/2.8, ISO 800

Happy trails Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 lens...a great lens but too specialized for this photographer.

Thomas Moors1 Comment