Back in December 2015, my primary contact at Zeiss gave me a call and said six words that, when arranged in this particular order, made me giddy with excitement. “I’ve got a surprise for you,” she said. A week or so later, I had one of the only samples of the Batis 2.8/18 lens in the world to play with…. and play I did. As a proud Zeiss Global Lens Ambassador, these unique opportunities mean a lot to me because it illustrates the level of trust between a company that I wholeheartedly support and the members of this program. It hasn’t been easy sitting on this news or these photos for all these months but that’s a simple price to pay to have early access to product development, right?
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If you’re at all familiar with Zeiss’ existing line of amazing Batis lenses—the 25mm f/2 and the 85mm f/1.8—then you’ll be right at home with the new 18mm f/2.8 little brother. The overall build quality and design features are still here and they’re second to none. You have that splendid rubberized focus ring, which is a blessing when you’re wearing gloves, and the crisp, bright OLED display giving you a focus distance readout—especially handy when shooting in manual focus under low light conditions and during the night. One difference between the Batis 2.8/18 lens and its two siblings is the filter thread size. Both the Batis 2/25 and Batis 1.8/85 support 67mm threaded filters and adapters. However, the Batis 2.8/18 has a 77mm thread, which is worth noting as you pack for your next shoot with the intention of using filters… and with a lens having an ultra-wide 18mm focal length, you’ll certainly love using filters with it.
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The combination of less-than-ideal weather and the limited time I had the lens led to only two viable shoots where I put it to use. Fortunately, it snowed on one of those shoots and I was able to get some shots at Latourell and Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. All in all, I was exceptionally impressed with the performance of this lens and the image quality it produced. All of the photos I’m sharing today were taken with this Batis 2.8/18 and the Sony a7R II back in January.
In addition to the stylized versions of these photos, I’m also including SOOC shots, too. They’re formatted in JPEG and sized to 2500 pixels on the long end at 72 PPI. I’ve decided not to provide the RAW files because these photos were taken with a pre-production sample and, as such, it wouldn’t be fair to evaluate the minutia of such a lens’ capabilities with distortion, chromatic aberration, etc. I’m sure there will be a plethora of review sites that will take care of that once they get their hands on a production version. In the meantime, enjoy these samples taken with the brand new Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8!
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