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Guide to Zeiss ZF/ZE Lenses updated for 28/2 Distagon

To my Guide to Zeiss ZF/ZE Lenses, I’ve added three new pages of examples for the Zeiss ZE 28mm f/2 Distagon for Canon EOS: close-ups, White Mountains, and variety. Examples are on the full-frame EOS 1Ds Mark III and EOS 5D Mark II.

I’ve also added a new page discussing the differences between ZF.2 and ZF as well as updating the ZE notes page and various other minor updates.

Like the 21/2.8 Distagon, the 28/2 Distagon gets into near-macro range (1:5) making for a versatile lens near or far. Quality stays high due to the floating element. I really enjoy this aspect of the 28/2 Distagon, and it’s also one of my favorite lenses for shooting at dusk. Highly recommended and reasonably priced for Canon or for Nikon. (note that for Nikon the ZF.2 version won’t be available until 2010).

“Wonderful” pomegranate
Canon 1Ds Mark III + Zeiss ZE 28mm f/2 Distagon

Ergonomics of the 28/2 Distagon are wonderful, and build quality of the ZE/ZF lines are unmatched by anything else today. For my hands, the 28/2 and 35/2 Distagon are an unusually nice match for the Canon bodies in size and feel; just about perfect.

Having shot the Leica M9 extensively recently for my review, and then turning my attention to the 28/2 and 35/2 Distagons on Canon, I was struck by just how annoying it is to never be able to get close to a subject with the Leica M9: anything 50mm or shorter simply doesn’t get closer than about 1:16, or about ten (10) times larger than with the Distagons on the 5D Mark II! In short, the Leica M9 simply makes many kinds of images impossible and pigeonholes you into a more limited style. That is a rangefinder limitation, not something peculiar to the M9 alone. So I have tons of respect for anyone who can shoot a rangefinder well! It was sure refreshing to get closer to things with the 28/2 Distagon.

I was also struck by just how high my failure rate was with the M9— a rangefinder takes months (maybe years) of usage to really nail down the technique. Even though I have owned a Mamiya 7 II and a Linhof Technorama 617, the rangefinder experience does not come easily or quickly. Food for thought, since for the price of the M9 body alone, you can get the Canon 5D Mark II or Nikon D700 and a three terrific Zeiss lenses.

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