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Zeiss announces 18mm f/3.5 wide angle lens

Carl Zeiss AG has announced the latest addition to its ZF/ZK line, the 18mm f/3.5 Distagon, a derivative of the Contax RTS design. The new lens promises exemplary color correction (control of chromatic aberration), flare control, and color matching to the other members of the ZF line. The ZF 18/3.5 also promises superb performance across a full-frame sensor (even wide open), with the “floating” lens element design delivering optimal performance from close up to infinity.

The ZF 18/3.5 for Nikon is slated to be available in September 2008 at a price of $US1450, with the Pentax ZK mount version arriving a bit later in the year. See also the PDF brochure.

I expect to have an evaluation unit of the 18/3.5 sometime in August, so stay tuned for first impressions of this exciting addition to the ZF line. Of course, the usual in-depth review will be incorporated into Zeiss ZF Lenses. It will be very interesting to see how well corrected the 18/3.5 is for chromatic errors and field curvature. Also exciting is the prospect of a lens that can be shot into the sun or other high-contrast scenes for dramatic effect. Get Zeiss ZF lenses at B&H Photo.

Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 Distagon

Technical specifications (MTF, distortion, etc charts not yet available)

Focal length                   18 mm 
Aperture range                 f/3.5 – f/22 (1/ 2 stop intervals) 
Number of elements / groups    13 /11 
Focusing range                 0.3 m (0.98 ft) – inf. 
Angular field(diag/horz/vert)* 99 / 90 / 67 ° 
Coverage at close range        44 x 29 cm (1.7 x 1.1") 
Image ratio at close range     1:12 
Filter-thread                  M 82 x 0.75 
Length (with caps)**           84 mm (3.3") 
Diameter**                     87 mm (3.4") 
Weight**                       470 g (16 oz.) 
Camera mounts                  ZF (F bayonet) ZK (K bayonet) 
Accessories                    Lens Shade included
* referring to 35 mm format 
** dimensions and weight may vary according to the camera mount

Press release

Date: June 25, 2008, For Immediate Release

Carl Zeiss announces new 18mm super wide angle lens for SLR cameras Distagon T* 3,5/18: the super wide angle lens for dramatic perspectives.

Thornwood, New York – June 2008. Carl Zeiss expands its range of SLR lenses with the addition of the Distagon T* 3.5/18 super wide angle lens. With an impressive field of view of 99°, this new, rectilinear lens provides dramatic perspectives for architectural, landscape and close-range photography for photographers utilizing full-frame DSLRs or film-based cameras. The Distagon T* 3.5/18 is a derivative of the ZEISS designs for the Contax RTS series of cameras, but utilizing all modern materials and eco-friendly glass materials.

The Distagon T* 3.5/18 is designed with a floating lens element in the rear lens assembly, which results in impressive image quality from infinity to the closest focus range. Utilizing the superior ZEISS T* anti-reflective coating and critically designed interior elements, the lens is remarkably free from stray light artifacts and internal reflections. Images are brilliantly rendered, with extremely crisp resolution right to the edges – even at wide-open apertures under the most difficult lighting conditions. Like all Carl Zeiss DSLR lenses, the Distagon T* 3.5/18 uses the ZEISS ‘color matching technology’, which provides homogeneous color rendition across all focal lengths in the product range. The front filter diameter of 82 mm allows for use of standard screw-in filters when combined with the included lens shade.

In addition to the outstanding optical qualities, the special hallmarks of all ZEISS lenses are designed into the Distagon T* 3.5/18. This includes an all-metal mount for secure mounting to the camera, extreme robustness for professional applications in a wide range of conditions and precision workmanship which results in a ‘silky’ smooth focus rotation.

The Distagon T* 3.5/18 ZF for F-mount cameras is scheduled for delivery beginning July 2008 through authorized Carl Zeiss photo dealers. The Distagon T* 3.5/18 ZK for K-mount cameras will be available within Q3/2008. The suggested list price is $1,450 and includes the standard lens shade. For more information about this new lens, please visit:

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