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Shootout: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM vs Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 Distagon: First Ice on Beaver Pond, Lundy Canyon

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

UPDATE: this comparison did not play out well for the Batis. I now have a working theory of why that it so, bolstered by a similar comparions shot two days prior of the same scene delivering identical A/B conclusions—see the notes in the comparison.

How does a modern 18mm prime lens compare to a state-of-the-art zoom lens? Can the Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM act as a do-it-all and not only outclass a prime lens, but trounce it? For those of us looking to carry one fast lens over the 12mm to 24mm range, this is a sort of holy grail, so even matching the prime would be a big win.

Compared here on the 60-megapixel Sony A7R IV are the diminutive Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 Distagon and the relatively large and heavy Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM.

Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM vs Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 Distagon: First Ice on Beaver Pond

Includes images at up to full camera resolution from f/2.8 through f/13 with extensive crops and analysis.

The about $2998 Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM might be the best zoom lens of its kind ever.

First Ice on Beaver Pond
f9 @ 1/5 sec EFC shutter, ISO 50; 2020-10-27 09:06:05
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM @ 18mm
ENV: Lundy Canyon, altitude 8050 ft / 2454 m, 23°F / -5°C
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, +50 Shadows, +30 Whites, +10 Contrast, +15 Clarity, diffraction mitigating sharpening, vignetting corrected (50)

[low-res image for bot]
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