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Zeiss adds 85mm portrait lens to Loxia line

Create: 09/15/2016 - 20:05
Zeiss Loxia f/2.4 85mm


  • Can be used with Sony E-mount full-frame or APS-C cameras
  • A portrait lens, it uses a Sonnar design
  • Manual focus with manual aperture ring

What's been missing from Zeiss’ Loxia line of manual-focus lenses for the Sony E-mount is a portrait lens.

It's missing no more, as Zeiss has filled that vacancy with a f/2.4 85mm lens.

While the lens is intended for the Sony full-frame A7 cameras, it also can be used on models with an APS-C sensor, where it becomes a 127.5mm full-frame equivalent.

The 85mm Loxia is a Sonnar, and this lens has long been in the Zeiss lineup, going back to the original f/2.0 8.5cm Sonnar for the Contax I.

The lens has a metal barrel and all-glass construction. It uses seven elements in seven groups, including three lenses made of special glass with anomalous partial dispersion to control chromatic aberration.

It accepts 52mm filters, and a deep cylindrical lens shade is included to block stray light. The lens shade bayonets to the outer part of the front barrel, allowing for filters to be attached.

The lens has manual focus and aperture rings to provide as much control as necessary for the photographer. A special tool allows the aperture click stops to be disengaged, allowing for smooth rotation of the aperture ring. This will be useful for videographers who might want to change the aperture while shooting.

All markings are engraved and filled, rather than painted. Painted markings have a tendency to wear away. There is a small gasket at the base of the lens that provides a weather-resistant seal with the camera’s lens mount.

The electronic pins on the rear of the lens provide EXIF information about aperture and distance, while it also can trigger the viewfinder magnification function when focusing.

Close focus distance is 31.5 inches (0.8 meters). Without its hood, the lens is about 4.2 inches (108mm) in length and weighs 1.3 pounds (594 grams).

The Loxia 85mm is expected to begin shipping in December 2016 for US$1,399.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.