Friday, January 29, 2016

Carl Zeiss Loxia 21mm vs ZE Distagon 21mm

Ive finally got my hands on one of the new Loxia 21mm lenses. The ZE 21mm has been one of my most used and loved lenses for my Canon system and I was intrigued to see how this new smaller 21mm would perform on my A7RII.

The Loxia is really beautiful in the flesh. Very small in comparison and quite clearly very well made. The weight difference from my ZE with adaptor vs the new Loxia is 936 gms vs 389 gms. Quite a significant advantage! Over half a kilo in metric money.

The way I have always used the ZE is to pre focus at infinity and then back off just a touch. This give the best DOF as well as keeping the corners at near to there best. If you focus a third in etc or hyper focus you will find the lens curvature will leave your corners wanting. Focusing the way I do will give you great depth at around F11 with little in the way of diffraction and very very good corners.

Ok so after lots of tests to see if the new lens performs in much the same way the answer is, yes. In fact you can focus on infinity hard stop and F11 will give you even greater depth toward you then the ZE does. Sharpness wise, well I kept choosing one, then the next shot the other..... So its as close as close can be. They both have that lovely 3D look that the Zeiss's micro contrast brings.

Colour or color ;-), well Id say Id prefer the more real tone that comes off the Sony from the Loxia. Although I got truer colours from the ZE when used on the Canon. Not really an issue to be fair. Chromatic aberrations the Loxia wins with virtually none. The ZE was a one of the best in its time but it does show a little at the edge/corners in comparison.

To me the clear advantages are the size and the greater DOF at any given aperture the Loxia brings. One of the big advantages of the Sony system is the size and weight of gear you have to carry and in this regard the Loxia adds its part if you love 21mm as much as I do. Also the 52mm will save you some money of you use filters over the ZE's 82mm.

 Heres a couple of files from the back yard for you to compare... Let me know what you think..

Loxia 21mm
ZE 21mm