Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 (Sony FE) - Review / Test - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha (Full Format)

Sample Images & Verdict

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Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/10.0
Exposure 1/250s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/10.0
Exposure 1/320s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure 1/320s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure 1/250s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/60s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/80s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 3200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/60s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/640s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/6.3
Exposure 1/500s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure 1/500s

Competition

There aren't any really obvious competitors in Sony FE mount yet. The new Laowa 15mm /2 may possibly come into mind or the Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 III. However, these are much wider and "just" manual focus lenses. Most users will probably compare the Zeiss to Sony's gang of ultra-wide zoom lenses. Below is a size comparison to the Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G, Zeiss Vario-Tessar 16-35mm f/4 OSS and the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM. The Zeiss lens has one obvious advantage - it is smaller and more light-weight. While we haven't tested the 16-35mm f/2.8 GM yet (the 12-24mm f/4 G is already in the lab), it is also very unlikely that these zoom lenses can beat the Zeiss in terms of overall quality.

Visual comparison courtesy of camerasize.com.

Verdict

The Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 is an excellent ultra-wide prime lens. Most of the image frame is already very sharp at fully open aperture although there is a bit of softness in the far corners. The corner softness is gone at f/4. The range between f/4 and f/5.6 is also the sweet spot where the quality is truly outstanding for a lens in this class. It may be a little surprising but you should stick to f/8 (if possible) instead of f/11 for the best quality in infinity DoF scenes because diffraction is a limiting factor already. Very low lateral CAs and marginal field curvature also contribute to the very high quality. Image distortions aren't overly pronounced but complex (mustache-style). In critical situations you may prefer to enable image auto-correction for this. That also applies to vignetting which is on the very high side (typical for Zeiss). A real differentiator is the flare resistance. You can, of course, produce a few ghostings if you push it but the Zeiss is about as good as it gets in terms of contra-light performance in this segment.

The build quality is up to professional standards - a metal body, no wobbly parts, weather sealing - but at this price level we expected no less, of course. That being said, we are not a big fan of the slippery surface coating and the dismal quality of the lens cap. The AF speed is good albeit not extremely fast but that's perfectly fine given the typical usage patterns with such a lens. Zeiss is quite proud of the new OLED display which shows you the focus distance and depth-of-field. Yes, it's nice, it's cool but the real killer argument is the image quality.

So should you buy one? We'll do some more testing of ultra-wide lenses soon but we'd be surprised to see a lens that could outperform this Zeiss lens - therefore highly recommended!

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