This is the conclusion of a test of the following lenses on the Sony a7RII:
- Zeiss 85mm f/1.8 Batis.
- Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Otus.
- Leica 90mm f/2 Apo Summicron-M ASPH.
- AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 G.
- Sony 90mm f/2.8 FE Macro.
The test starts here.
It’s been a long journey, and there are some loose ends that I may get around to, but it’s time for me to wrap up this lens test. I’ve got a Sony a6300 arriving today, and I want to get started testing it.
Drawing broad conclusions about these lenses is bound to be subjective, if only because I need to pick out the things worth commenting on, but also that my conclusion in each area of inquiry are based on my interpretations of the results. If you want objectivity, I’m afraid you’re going to have to pore through all the tests and draw your own conclusions.
My first conclusion is one I’ve stated earlier. There’s not a bad lens in this test. Keep that in mind as you read on. Criticisms of one aspect of one lens are relative to all the other lenses, and don’t mean that any lens is a poor performer in an absolute sense.
The Otus is an incredible lens at a very high price. It shows its advantages over the other lenses mostly at the widest three apertures. LoCA is an exception; the Otus performance is far ahead of any of the other lenses at all tested apertures, although as depth of field/focus increases, LoCA is less of a concern.
The Summicron is a conundrum: an expensive lens that tests well, but by no means great, that manages to make images that are good, and often startlingly so.
The Batis is a great match for the a7RII, or any a7x camera. It produces good to great results under almost all circumstances. Its tendency to autofocus on the red channel under some circumstances is a minor concern, but the errors are small, and, in applications like portraiture, are unlikely to be a problem. To put these errors in perspective, they are smaller than the focus shift errors that you’d likely experience using a DSLR, focusing wide open, and shooting a couple of stops down from that. Remember that focus shift is not a problem with the Batis on the a7rII with Setting Effect on.
From all the hype, I expected the Sony 90/2.8 to be a sharper lens. Not that there’s anything wrong with what it delivers, it’s just that the word on the street was that it was the greatest thing since bottled beer, and I found it merely excellent.
I wouldn’t use the Nikon 85 on an a7x camera, given the choice, although it’s fine on a Nikon body. The big reason is the fact that there’s no AF and only an approximate setting of aperture with currently available adapters. There’s one that has just started shipping that purports to fix that, but it’s a work in progress at this point.