The nicest wideangle lens I have used.
April 03, 2014
This is the nicest wide angle lens that I have used!
A very close second is the Leica 24mm Elmarit-M ASPH. The Zeiss to my eye matches the Leica's incredible sharpness and contrast, and the wide angle images just beg to be scrutinised and perused for every last tiny morsel of detail.
Another similar lens that I still own and currently use is the Canon 24Lmk2. The Zeiss' contrast and sharpness, again, just feel a little bit higher and compelling, and the out-of-focus areas are a bit smoother. The 24/1.4 a very good lens, but the Zeiss, again, just possesses a certain added quality.
Above all, though, shockingly, I find the Zeiss 21mm is able to exhibit that 3D look that so many other lenses in the lineup are fabled for, despite being a wide angle lens with 2.8 maximum aperture. The effect isn't as pronounced as it is with higher focal lengths, but is still very present. The quality of the out-of-focus areas, in tandem with the terrific sharpness would seem to play a large roll in this. It is in this regard that the lens really wins out over all of the other wide angle lenses that i have mentioned.
The Canon 24LmkII is able to do a good job at creating depth with its 1.4 aperture, but the Zeiss still wins out, to my eye, in making it seem real. The Canon 24/1.4 is able to emphasize the focal plane apart from the fore- and backgrounds, but the Zeiss still makes me feel more as though I am looking at a real scene. It isn't a matter of the one feeling more or less out-of-focus, it is a matter of the sense that if I move my head to the side a bit, more of the background will reveal itself behind the subject.
Architectural photographers might notice some funny distortion in the corners. In street and landscape photography, I have never, ever noticed this. I gather that Adobe lens profiles for the lens solve the issue satisfactorily.
For landscape work, the Zeiss 21mm handles being stopped down to f/16 very well.
The front of the lens, which takes an 82mm, is a little wide, and even moreso with the hood. I find I have to be a bit more organised with packing my shoulder bag, as the bulk does affect the ease with which the lens can be quickly stowed or grabbed. I find the weight to be quite nice and appropriate. The focus is very smooth, and the narrower barrel around the focusing ring is especially comfortable and quick to adjust.
All in all, if you are in search of a wide angle prime lens, I would recommend this lens without reservation, so long as you are not in need of autofocus.
It is, again, the very nicest wide angle lens that I feel I have ever had the pleasure of using!
found this review helpful. Was this review helpful for you?
Report As Inappropriate