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Zeiss' latest Sony a7 lens has a flair for manual controls with classic focus

The lens options for Sony full-frame shooters is rapidly expanding — Zeiss introduced the 85mm f/2.4 Loxia on Thursday, a high-end manual focus prime designed for maximum quality.

Prime lenses are becoming more popular options for their quality and the Loxia line capitalizes on that, trading an autofocus system for enhanced clarity in what Zeiss describes as “virtually distortion free optics.”

Related: Sony’s new Zeiss 50mm prime and 70-200mm zoom will please a7-series owners

Designed specifically for the Sony a7 family, the lens can communicate with the camera body electronically, allowing users access to features like manual focus assist options. The lens also sports a classically inspired design, with a manual aperture control ring instead of controlling the aperture with the dials on the camera body.

“In terms of its technology and the feel of its surface, the Zeiss Loxia 2.4/85 fits perfectly with the existing focal lengths, and is particularly well suited for portrait photography,” said Zeiss camera lens product manager, Christophe Casenave. “Precise manual focusing with hard stop and the mechanical setting of the aperture (working aperture priority mode) provide sophisticated photographers who don’t want to leave everything to the camera abundant possibilities for composition,”

The lens is also designed for portability, making it an option for street and travel photography as well as portraits. Weighing in at about 1.3 pounds, the lens measures just over four inches long.

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Zeiss

Like the other lenses in the Loxia family, the 85mm is designed just as much for videography as it is for stills, with a design ideal for using with a follow focus. Since the aperture is adjusted manually using the de-click ring, the videographer can make the adjustment silently mid-shoot, Zeiss says. The lens includes a tool to lock the de-click aperture ring in place to prevent accidental changes.

The 85mm, considered by many photographers to be an ideal portrait focal length, joins the other 21, 35 and 50mm options in the Loxia family. Introduced just ahead of Photokina, the 85mm Loxia will be available in December with an expected list price of $1,399.