Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 Versus Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8

For many photographers, a good 85mm lens camera is simply indispensable. For full frame cameras, there are plenty of options; however, for those that shoot with an APS-C camera, options are somewhat limited. Fujifilm is one of the companies that offers something brilliant in this range, and I wanted to test and compare it to a full frame "equivalent." 

In our latest video, Anete and I compared the Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 to the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 lens on the Sony a7 III. We picked the a7 III because of its brilliant autofocus system and the fact that it has a very similar resolution compared to the Fujifilm X-T3, which was also part of the comparison. The most immediate thing we noticed between both systems was the fact that the Sony camera felt much faster and seemed to be far more responsive when it came to autofocus. It seemed to find the subject far more quickly than the Fuji, which did seem to get a little confused at times, especially with its eye-detection features. The other thing I noticed was that the results in terms of the look between both lenses were very similar, and in a real-world shooting scenario, the differences were not significant. Considering the price difference between the two, it's incredible how well the Fuji system compares to the Sony. Of course, there are some notable differences between both in terms of performance, which could be important for some photographers. 

Check out the full video linked above, and if you're based in the UK, make sure you check out the Hire a Camera website. 

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Deleted Account's picture

The 56mm 1.2 was the only reason I hung onto the Fujifilm stuff for so long.

Usman Dawood's picture

One of my all time favourites :)

Cool, im going back to apsc

I shot sony for a while, rented a xt1 as it was free at the time and loved the feel of it. Eventually I got an xt20 as a back up camera, and found that I was using it almost all the time. My sony was just sitting in my bag. I just find the fuji is so much more enjoyable to shoot. I'm now using the xt3 for everything and dont regret it at all.

I think I prefer the autofocus of the Sony. Also, the Sony is quite good with the cheaper Sony 85/1.8 lens. No need for the expensive Batis lens.

Usman Dawood's picture

The FE version of the lens is such a great option.

Timothy Turner's picture

Didn't we just here about the impending death of the 50mm, now here's a 56mm. Ok whatever

dred lew's picture

It’s APSC, a 56mm is ~85mm FF equivalent.

Usman Dawood's picture

The article in question was about the nifty fifty and not all 50mm lenses.

Go with the illogical choice Fuji for me,all the way!

Is there really people bothered by cat eye bokeh? Never understood why, I think it actually frames the subject nicely, the weird shape on the fuji at 5:50 on the other end looks way uglier.

Usman Dawood's picture

Personally I've never really cared too much about what bokeh looks like in my own images but it's something people seem to want to know in reviews.

Robert Montgomery's picture

Lol that's because some "influencer" overhead 2 photographers using the Japanese word, googled it, and used it to explain why he is only able to shoot wide open with poor technique and framing thinking he sound intellegent and edgy. Not realizing it only means out of focus in translation.

I love both systems. The silver XT-3 is a thing if beauty. It inspires me to want to go shoot whereas my Sony just looks meh. However I love the way the Batis lens look and they end up inspiring me, too. And the output of the Sony system is just incredible. So yeah I'm done fighting trying to own one system, lol.

The Zeiss is obviously sharper but the last sharpness test does both lenses a disservice. Focus shifts towards edge of the frame compared to the center. It looks like he focused on the center once and then compared both lenses center and edge, which means that both lenses were ever so slightly out of focus in the last comparison. It's a valid criticism on wide angle lenses because you want everything as sharp as possible everywhere but for portraits? No one really cares...

Usman Dawood's picture

Looking at the images this very moment and that's not true. The focus does not shift.

Having said that, I agree about corner sharpness and portraits.This is why in the real world shooting environment, the differences between both lenses were minimal.

Focus shifts occur in almost every lens. If you want the geeky details:

For us APS-C shooters, we've long known that a superb 50mm lens is our "85mm lens", just as a superb 85mm lens is our "135mm lens".

Etc. These focal lengths aren't a problem. Now then, finding an APS-C superb very-wide...

William Salopek's picture

The nice young lady said it best...paraphrasing...the Fuji has soul and character and is an ergonomically enjoyable tool to use, AND creates quite pleasing images...the Sony is technically more accurate/sharp but tends to leave an empty feeling in a photographer's heart...and costs more and weighs more.

Also, worth pointing out that the X-T20's sensor is virtually indistinguishable from the X-T30's/X-T3's, meaning the same Fuji quality (X-T20/30) can be had for WAY less bulk/size/cost than the Sony. That said, when I am shooting birds and surfers and need to crop a lot and extract the most detail possible, I use my A7R2. so the best tool for the job, like we all know, varies quite a bit between shooting environments and photographers.

Autofocus on X-T20 sucks in low light and Eye AF as well but otherwise it's a great camera

Fuji cameras are real gems.
Recently bought X-T30 and find myself using it more than Canon FF even for paid jobs.
It just has this magic touch, real "camera for photographers", not just a tool.

So I totally understand that girl's choice.

What is "this magic touch"?