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Reader Comments: Zeiss 15/2.8 Distagon

Laurence S writes:

Beautiful write up on the new Zeiss 15/2.8. Looks like a very exciting and outstanding lens. This one will be very hard to resist, although I did briefly try a 15mm lens on my Zeiss rangefinder and was not too happy with my results, but I think I gave up too quickly and had not yet learned to properly take advantage of the focal length (and framing with the external viewfinder was dubious at best).

And am I correct in reading all of your comments and the Zeiss release that a center filter is not necessary for this lens? That's pretty remarkable. Your vignetting examples certainly support shooting the lens without a CF, and suggest that the ability to dial in different degrees of vignetting with the aperture may offer some very nice imaging possibilities.

I thought the bokeh in your closeup of whatever those pink flowers might be was outstanding for any wide angle lens, much less a 15mm ultrawide. And as you point out, the color rendition looks absolutely outstanding.

I'll be clicking through your link to Lens Rentals to see if I can book their first lens at its arrival. I can't wait to try this out.

DIGLLOYD: Using a 15mm well is a challenge, as I quickly discovered. It requires real effort to fill the frame without extraneous or boring areas. In this regard, I felt stimulated, as in being forced to learn from something new and different.

The Zeiss ZM 15mm f/2.8 Distagon is a design for Zeiss Ikon and Leica M rangefinder cameras, It is completely different lens design from the all-new design of the Zeiss ZF.2/ZE 15mm f/2.8 Distagon. The ZM version is optically superb, but it is not not rangefinder-coupled (guesstimate focusing) and it has a very steep ray angle. The ZF.2/ZE version is of course focusable by various means including by eye and Live View, and it has an ideal ray angle for a DSLR (light rays strike the sensor at no more than 11° ray angle, nearly perpendicular).

Regarding vignetting, it is correct that no center filter is needed for the ZF.2/ZE 15/2.8 Distagon. All examples are unfiltered and my aperture series show how the illumination changes with aperture.

Yes, the bokeh of the 15/2.8 is superb to begin with, and the impressively well corrected color aberrations (hardly visible) lend a purity to the image even when out of focus. This is very much a part of bokeh— no hard-edge colors on out of focus areas. Very impressive for any lens.

Color saturation is amazing, but I wish I had more than drab stuff (and some nice greens) to photograph— all this rain and not many flowers yet.

None of these images have any extra saturation; this is the native lens performance! The color saturation and the amazing contrast have a combined effect that is stunning.

Nikon D3x + Zeiss ZF.2 15mm f/2.8 Distagon @ f/11
Nikon D3x + Zeiss ZF.2 15mm f/2.8 Distagon @ f/11
Nikon D3x + Zeiss ZF.2 15mm f/2.8 Distagon @ f/11
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