It was announced ahead of this year’s NAB but we’ve been able to get our hands on the new Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 lens and take it for a quick spin around the show floor, avoiding construction workers and dodging forklift trucks as the exhibitors construct their stands.
It’s a welcome addition to the Batis range, offering a wider field of view for Sony E-mount users than has been available up to now. Despite this, distortion is well controlled and, even on faces, it’s not too unflattering (check out Dan’s face at 01:25 in the video above).
The lens itself is solidly constructed but the focus wheel is fly-by-wire rather than mechanical, which isn’t to everyone’s taste – so possibly one to try before you buy, especially if you’re going to be using it for video work. It’s not so much of an issue for stills shooters, as it means the lens offers AF on E-mount cameras.
Having said that, Newsshooter’s Simon Glass, who shot the footage above, couldn’t tell there wasn’t a mechanical linkage on the focus ring, so Zeiss have clearly done a good job with the electronics in the lens.
Zeiss is accepting pre-orders for the lens now and anticipate it will be available in May, for a recommended retail price of £990.84+VAT.