Last week was the start of the New York Autoshow and of course that there was no way we’re going to miss that. But would the Batis 18mm f2.8 be up to the task?
Before I got into the Sony system, I was a Nikon user. I had the mainstream nifty fifty but I also had the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8. A wide angle zoom lens which is insanely sharp at its price point. I truly loved the lens, bringing me into tight spot and exploiting that wide angle. Since moving to the Sony A7ii, the Tokina left a void, a craving for a new wide angle lens.
So with the NY Autoshow it was the perfect time to get back into tight spots (that’s what she said) and see what the Batis 18mm had in store for me.
The Batis line-up has been receiving praising reviews of being very sharp and giving a nice tone to the picture. They are designed to be very sharp but still fit in to the mirrorless advantages of shrinking down the gear without compromising on the quality. And although the Batis 18mm is quite the big guy on the A7ii but it features OSS which works very well with Sony’s 5-axis IBIS.
To give it credit, the Batis 18mm was crazy sharp. Even wide open in low light it still managed to perform amazing. The wide-angle was perfect in tight places and delivered. However there were a few things that did bother me when using this lens. First of all, lens flares. It gets lens flares way to fast and they’re hard to control.
And it happened a bit too often than I would’ve wanted or expected from a lens with a 1.500$ price tag. I’m mostly not interested in all those mtf charts. You could easily look those up on the internet instead of reading it here. No the Batis 18mm didn’t give me the same satisfaction as the I got from the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8. It didn’t feel so good and with more than double the price tag of the Batis 18mm.
The Batis 18mm wasn’t the show stealer
No it was the Helios 58mm f2 actually. A lens that I bought a few weeks ago on Ebay. It’s an old Russian manual focus lens which only costed 40$. And that includes the adapter needed to use it on the Sony A7ii.
For a lens that is this old and cheap, I didn’t have too much expectations but it just blew me away with how sharp it is and how it renders the colours so nicely. I was using the Batis 18mm the first round and after that started working with the Helios. Squeezing it in between the public (I missed out on the press days) and trying to provoke that dreamy bokeh. Vintage glass can be so cheap yet perform so well. Get one if you can. They’re lovely
So in the end, I think I’m going to wait and see what Tokina comes up with for E-mount. Until then the Batis 18mm is a very good option but in my opinion, it’s too expensive due to its small flaws.
Also thank you to LensRentals for supplying us with a quick and swift rental with nice service.