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Zeiss Lenses for Sony Mirrorless— My Top Picks for Field Usage

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See the full B&H Photo Black Friday deals page.

See my in-depth reviews of all these lenses discussed in diglloyd Mirrorless.

Below is my list of top picks for Zeiss lenses for Sony mirrorless.

For field work, I take the Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 to complement the Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 and since both neither is heavy, this is not an issue. The Batis 18/2.8 is a better choice if one needs autofocus, such as hiking with others and such where fast AF is of use. But in terms of form factor and operability, I love that Loxia 21/2.8—I recently showed it to a friend, who really had not understood just what a gem it is in fitting to the Sony. I think it has to be seen on the camera in person to understand just what a gem it is.

Similarly, though I do not own it yet, the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 is a lens I covet. While its rangefinder-based design has performance disappointments for a few stops at the edges, its drawing style and visual impact are terrific. It is just like the 21/2.8 in form factor also—tiny. I’ll take it any day for field work over a very large and heavy Sony/Zeiss 35/1.4mm (even if one without lens skew can be found). The form factor just rocks if you have to carry it, whether in the pack or on the camera around the neck.

There is no 50mm choice that satisfies me. The classic design of the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar is appealing in many ways and very strong when stopped down. What I really want is a highly corrected Loxia 50mm f/2.8 APO. The Sony 50/1.4 is large and heavy, but like its sibling I value lack of lens skew and a friendly form factor for field work, so I’m not keen on it. All that said, the Loxia 50/2 is on the list because of its tiny form factor.

The Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 is the newest Loxia and a state of the art performer. I wish it had less pincushion distortion, but its performance is extremely high—Otus grade. I look forward to seeing what it can deliver with pixel shift on the Sony A7R III. Like its siblings, the form factor and weight are extremely friendly to hiking/travel.

Going quite long, the Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 offers the most friendly size/weight proposition I have ever seen in a high performance 135mm, with outstanding performance. So it too can fit in the bag, though I do not yet own it. At a stop slower, it is much lighter than the Milvus 135/2, but I wish there were a Milvus 135/2.8 APO for that reason.

This kit as shown below is quite manageable for field work—compact and not very heavy.

Zeiss for Sony — Lloyd’s 'carry' list for field work
$1274 SAVE $225 = 15.0% Zeiss 18mm f/2.8 Batis in Lenses: Mirrorless
$1274 SAVE $225 = 15.0% Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Loxia in Lenses: Mirrorless
$1189 SAVE $210 = 15.0% Zeiss 85mm f/2.4 Loxia in Lenses: Mirrorless
$1699 SAVE $300 = 15.0% Zeiss 135mm f/2.8 Batis in Lenses: Mirrorless

Below, the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 and Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 are excellent choices, but I gravitate to the 21/2.8 and 85/2.4 for field work because I focus manually most of the time, and the form factor is better with Loxia for field work.

Zeiss for Sony — Other Excellent Choices
$1104 SAVE $195 = 15.0% Zeiss 25mm f/2 Batis in Lenses: Mirrorless
$1019 SAVE $180 = 15.0% Zeiss 85mm f/1.8 Batis in Lenses: Mirrorless

Sony and other

What about Sony? There are Sony lenses and other that I like of course, but they get into the large/heavy issue as well as often having symmetry issues (offhand, I’m having trouble thinking of *any* high-end Sony lenses free of symmetry issues, I really wonder about cherry picking by Sony over at some of the big test/review sites). Still, here are my picks *if* a sample without symmetry issues can be obtained.

The Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Aspherical is an outstanding lens. The focal length fit is a bit tight against 85mm and too loose versus 35mm, but nonetheless it is a lens that can slot in between 35mm and 85mm.

The Sony 35/2.8 and Sony 55/1.8 can be very strong performers, though bokeh can suffer with the 35mm in particular. Being autofocus, they slot in nicely for AF choices of very light weight. The Sony 100/2.8 STF has some field usage scenarios including vignetting, so I include it here as well.

I am not generally a fan of zooms, but the Sony 12-24mm f/4 is an ultrawide and covers a range otherwise uncovered. The Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 is a do-it-all wide, but with both of them I saw symmetry issues—nice lenses and not too heavy but dang it, I want symmetry. Good samples should be really great choices.

 

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