The newest Zeiss Batis lens has officially arrived. It’s a ‘compact, lightweight, top-quality’ 135mm f/2.8, but what it’s lost in weight it seems to have gained back in dollar signs.
When we shared the leaked photo and specs of the 135mm earlier this week, we said the weight made the lens sound like a more portable option to the current 135mm lenses out there. And that is, indeed, this lens’ big selling point, in addition to the fact that it is the only native 135mm AutoFocus lens for Sony FE cameras at this time.
The point, says Zeiss, was to make a longer focal length portrait lens that matched the Sony’s mirrorless cameras’ diminutive size. 14 elements in 11 groups are packed into a surprisingly compact lens.
“The advantage of Sony’s mirrorless full-frame system is that despite its compact size, it delivers exceptional image quality,” says Zeiss product manager Michael Pollmann. “It was important to build a comparably handy lens—in spite of the rather long focal length. We made a conscious decision to strike a balance between compactness, weight and light intensity.”
Not everyone will be thrilled by the balance they’ve struck. The lighter lens, weighing in at just 614g, is only half the weight of, say, Sigma’s 135mm f/1.8. Add the required adapter to attach that Sigma lens to your Sony a7 series, and you’re carrying around an even heavier setup.
But the Batis falls short of its competition in two very distinct ways: speed and price.
The new Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 will cost a whopping $2,000 when it launches in May (pre-order here) while Sigma’s 135mm f/1.8, even when you buy the kit with the adaptor, costs only $1,650. Zeiss’ own excellent 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar is only $1,500, and the old Canon 135mm f/2L clocks in at just $1,000.