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Mini Review: Zeiss ZF/ZE 28mm f/2 Distagon

Last updated February 09, 2010 - Send Feedback
Mini review of Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon

The Zeiss 28mm f/2 Distagon is a workhorse lens that is easier to focus in dim light than the 25/2.8 Distagon while giving up only a modest amount of angular coverage.

Unlike the 25/2.8 Distagon, the 28/2 Distagon is corrected for close distances, utilizing a floating element for improved close-focus quality.

The 28/2 Distagon is a superb choice for all-around indoor/outdoor shooting where apertures f/2 – f/4 will be used, and high imaging quality is demanded.

The main feature of note is field curvature, which can be exploited to excellent effect, but will not test well on a resolution chart (close up). Other lenses fare less well in this regard, so maintain perspective. I love this lens for walk-around shooting at dusk or dawn.

Specifications

Canon and Nikon and Pentax versions are optically identical.

Specifications for Zeiss 28mm f/2 Distagon
Focal length: 28.5mm
Aperture scale: f/2 - f/22
Focusing range: 0.24m - infinity
Angular field, diag./horiz./vert 74° / 65° / 46°
Coverage at close range: 18 X 12 cm
Image ratio at close range:            1:5
Number of elements/groups: 10 elements in 8 groups
Filter thread: M 58 X 0.75
Weight:

530g

Dimensions (with caps): 65mm in diameter, 94mm w/ caps 
Entrance pupil: 29mm behind the front lens
List price: $1283 street price

Zeiss 28mm f/2 Distagon distortion

The distortion is wave-type distortion: first barrel distortion (bowing outwards), then reversing to faint pincushion distortion.

Distortion — Zeiss 28/2 Distagon
Distortion — Zeiss 28mm f/2 Distagon

Examples

Much larger and more numerous examples are found in the full review.

The machine seen below is used to pound rice into elastic material for making Japanese “mochi”. I can testify that it does an impressive job, so long as the operator is skilled enough to avoid crushing his hand in the process. There is a lot to be appreciated about such elegant machinery, and the skilled person who can operate it.

Mochi Machine, brilliant results at f/2! Zeiss 28/2 Distagon
Mochi Machine, brilliant results at f/4!
Zeiss 28/2 Distagon
Rocks and sand — Zeiss 28/2 Distagon
Rocks and sand — Zeiss 28/2 Distagon
Field curvature is readily evident (click)
Friendly Horse Zeiss 28/2 Distagon
Friendly Horse
Zeiss 28/2 Distagon

Conclusions

If you were to pick one great all-around lens for shooting, you could hardly do better than the Zeiss 28mm f/2 Distagon. A moderate wide angle, it can be applied to everything from portraiture to landscape to documentary photography. It’s high brilliance and fast f/2 aperture make it a great lens for shooting at dusk or night also.

You can get the 28/2 Distagon at B&H Photo for Canon or Nikon.

Learn more

Guide to Zeiss ZF/ZE lensesFor in-depth coverage to these Zeiss lenses for Nikon and Canon, please subscribe to our Guide to Zeiss ZF/ZE Lenses.

The Guide has numerous examples at much higher resolution, along with actual-pixels crops for each and every lens, in most cases several pages of examples per lens.

New material is constantly being added to the Guide, so don't wait, subscribe now!

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