Zeiss 28mm f/2 Distagon: Classic Rendering Style (D800E, Mossy Green Boulders Amid Water Polished Rocks)
B&H Photo has all the Zeiss lenses for Canon and Nikon.
The Zeiss 28mm f/2 Distagon doesn’t get much love these days, but it has a classic rendering style that can be an excellent choice for environmental portraiture and similar.
But here I examine its performance on an outdoor scene, instructive for showing the contrast and sharpness behavior across the f/2 - f/11 aperture range, as well as the field curvature characteristics.
See also how the 28mm f/2 Distagon fared in a monochrome shootout against the Leica M Monochrome with the Leica M 28mm lenses (Guide to Leica).
Eric P writes:
I noted your disappointment with the 28mm f2 for traditional landscapes and wanted to mention that you are on the right track with your idea that its better suited for environmental portraits.
It is commonly called the "hollywood" lens because of its notoriety with cinematographers, it is as wide as I will go on a medium close up or medium shot (head and shoulders/head to waist) for the appropriate subject. The field curvature you describe lends itself well to separating a human form and increasing the "3d-effect" when framed appropriately.
The other thing to keep in mind with regards to this lens is that most cinematography is done with the Super-35 format. With this format you negate a lot of the aberrations and other issues you are seeing near the edges of the 24x36mm aperture on the D800.
I have a special surprise up my sleeve with the 28mm when my client wants something more intimate and the subject lends itself to being filmed from <4' with a "wide" lens. Makes some real magical images.
DIGLLOYD: agreed, all my portrait style shots I am very pleased with using the 28/2. But see it on the Sony A7 and “disappointment” is definitely not included.