I have been an avid Sony user for a few years now, but I had never tried Zeiss’ Batis line of lenses before, so when the opportunity to try the Zeiss Batis 40mm 2/40 CF came along, I was very excited to see what it had to offer.
As a documentary family photographer, my favorite focal length for photography sessions is 35mm, which allows me to incorporate the environment in my shots without too much distortion. However, I am also a family filmmaker, and for video, my preferred focal length is 50mm, which I find better for detailed shots. I loved the idea that perhaps the Batis 40mm could bridge the gap between both focal lengths and work for both photo and film sessions. It proved to do just that and more!
The 40mm focal length works well for documentary-style images.
I used this lens at two client sessions, as well as with my family, and was pleased with the ability to photograph wide shots without distortion. Although 40mm might be a bit tight in smaller spaces, I was able to utilize it in two in-home sessions without issue. I played around with a number of different apertures depending on the scene and the available light, and the Batis shone in all situations.
Here are a few images shot in tighter, darker spaces, with apertures ranging from f/2.0-f/3.5:
And a few images shot outdoors with narrower apertures ranging from f/5.0-f/8.0 to incorporate more of the scene in sharp focus:
The Zeiss Batis 40mm lens renders beautiful portraits.
I was eager to make some portraits to test out the sharpness and bokeh of this lens, as well as learn more about the legendary “Zeiss look” (color pop and 3D nature of the image). The Batis did not disappoint. This lens opens up to aperture of f/2.0, and I was able to capture some beautiful portraits of my children, both incorporating the environment, and some close-up. Note the beautiful background bokeh and how the subjects pop in each image, creating depth and making you feel like you are right there inside the photograph.
The close-focus function allows for the capture of intricate details.
The Batis 40mm has a unique feature which allows for focus as close as 9.4 inches with the quick flip of a switch on the barrel of the lens. This effectively gives the lens a macro ability without having to add a filter or switch lenses! Although I don’t do a lot of macro photography, I appreciated this feature while photographing a grandmother’s hands at a client session. I also took advantage of this feature while capturing some images of the wildflowers we saw over the July 4th weekend in the woods of upstate New York.
I have often pondered purchasing a macro lens for use in my video work, especially for filming products in brand videos, but with the 40mm Batis, an additional macro lens is not necessary!
The Zeiss Batis 40mm lens performs well in low-light.
I brought this lens out on the 4th of July, and documented my children playing with sparklers and roasting s’mores in the dwindling evening light. With the light available to me from the campfire and the sparklers, the Batis was able to focus quite easily and capture these low-light moments beautifully. The following images were shot at f/2.0-2.8 and ISO up to 10,000!
I love that this lens is lightweight and weatherproof.
When I switched to my mirrorless system, it was my hope that my camera and lens combos would be lighter than when I was shooting with a DSLR. For long documentary and video sessions, the weight of my gear can be an issue for me. The 40mm Batis is small and light, which makes my arms extremely happy! The lens is also weather-sealed to keep out dust and water, which comes in handy for outdoor adventure sessions.
40mm is the perfect focal length for video.
I shot some video during a visit to our local farm where we have a CSA share. My kids love to explore the grounds and see what new flowers and vegetables are growing. I made a short video about a few minutes spent in the butterfly garden at the farm. I love the robustness and smoothness of the focus ring on the Batis, making manual focus for video feel like butter! The autofocus is quick and accurate, and I appreciate the close-focus option for filming details. The ability of the Batis to open up to f/2.0 gives the footage a dreamy, depth-filled look. The 40mm focal length is the perfect bridge between wide and standard – no more switching back and forth between a 35mm and a 50mm for me!
I fell in love with the versatility and performance of the Zeiss Batis 2/40 CF, and would highly recommend it. The fact that it works for so many different shooting situations and is lightweight makes it the perfect carry-around lens.
Photos and video by Francesca Russell
This is a sponsored post but opinions are those of the author.