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Zeiss 25mm f/2 — Ideal Focal Length for Landscape

See my previous notes on the Zeiss 25mm f/2 Distagon.

I shot hundreds of frames today, here are just a few from the morning. There is little doubt that the new Zeiss 25mm f/2 Distagon is an ideal lens for landscape. It has tremendous “3D” image quality and the 25mm focal length is not so hard to fill the frame with as with wider focal lengths, and that might be enough of an explanation for the readers who have written to ask “21mm or 25mm”.

It’s not an optical quality decision between 21mm and 25mm (and dubious to ask given the distinctly wider field of view of the 21mm), but is strictly about what you prefer to shoot, with a 21mm being an ultra-wide, and a bit harder to work with compositionally because of its wider angle of view.

For those who want my take: I find a 25mm easier to work with as an all-around lens, and thus it would be my first choice on that basis if I had to pick between the Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon and 25mm f/2 Distagon. I also like the extra stop for its additional blur options.

I love shooting the Zeiss 25mm f/2 Distagon wide open, where it produces stunning results. But you must get exact focus and only then you will be rewarded— it’s odd how many emails I get from readers who don’t focus a lens accurately, and then wonder why it isn’t sharp. See Making Sharp Images for a variety of instructional material on that.

I’ll be presenting these images in my usual large size in my Zeiss Guide late this week, once I get home and get organized from travel.

Bristlecone Pine in gentle snowstorm
Canon 5D Mark II + Zeiss 25mm f/2 Distagon @ f/2, 1/8000 sec
Bristlecones Pine in gentle snowstorm
Canon 5D Mark II + Zeiss 25mm f/2 Distagon @ f/2, 1/3200 sec
White Mountain Rd in snowstorm
Canon 5D Mark II + Zeiss 25mm f/2 Distagon @ f/11, 1/200 sec
Frost-coated bristlecone pine
Canon 5D Mark II + Zeiss 25mm f/2 Distagon @ f/2, 1/3200 sec
Frost-coated bristlecone pine
Canon 5D Mark II + Zeiss 25mm f/2 Distagon @ f/2, 1/8000 sec
Intermittent sun and snow over Patriarch Grove
Canon 5D Mark II + Zeiss 25mm f/2 Distagon @ f/13, 1/800 sec

Leica M9

Images below were with the Leica M9 and 21mm f/3.4 Super-Elmar-M ASPH.

Intermittent sun and snow near Patriarch Grove
Leica M9P + 21mm f/3.4 Super-Elmar-M ASPH @ f/8, 1/4000 sec
Don’t get stuck because no one is around to help
Leica M9P + 21mm f/3.4 Super-Elmar-M ASPH @ f/11, 1/1000 sec

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