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Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 Aperture Series: Frosty Wood Round

Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8

See my Zeiss DSLR lenses wish list and other wish lists at B&H Photo. Get Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 at B&H Photo.

See also last year’s Understanding the new Zeiss Milvus Lineup.

The new-new kid on the Milvus block is the Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8, a long overdue all-new optical design that replaces the weakling in the ZF.2 lineup, the Zeiss ZF.2 18mm f/3.5 Distagon. Its size and weight and angle of view are just about perfect for landscape use: not so wide as 15mm, but very wide and thus more applicable more of the time, at least for my shooting.

It is a lovely match to a Nikon D810 in terms of size/weight/balance; it feels right at home on the D810. The Milvus 18mm f/2.8 looks to match and maybe even beat (very slightly) its superb Batis 18/2.8 sibling (the MTF is close enough that this is a sketchy proposition, but on the whole the Milvus looks to have a slight edge). But a bonus is that the Milvus 18/2.8 has substantially less distortion than the distortion of the Batis 18/2.8. That matters, because if distortion must be corrected, it drops the MTF (because of pixel stretching).

The about $2300 Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 delivers eye-popping contrast, wholly in keeping with its lineage and similar to its venerable 21mm f/2.8 sibling, but I deem it another step up on the performance curve, as this series and more to come will show.

Its 21mm f/2.8 ZF.2 sibling has similarly delicious contrast, see the several Nov 2015 examples pages.

This series looks at close range performance and overall visual impact using white frost on dark wood to critically assess color correction and sharpness.

This was one of the first images I made with the Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8, and what struck me here and in the other images was the tremendous visual impact. So much so that the f/2.8 image, in spite of having only a shallow zone of sharpness at f/2.8 nonetheless is eye-grabbing in its visual impact. THAT is why photographers buy Zeiss (or Leica) lenses—for that visual impact “pop”.

Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2/8 Aperture Series: Frosty Wood Round (Nikon D810)

Includes images up to 28 megapixels with large crops from f/2.8 through f/11. Also includes a 5-frame focus stacked image at f/9.

I want a Zeiss Milvus 11mm f/4 next!

f2.8 @ 1/80 sec, ISO 64; 2016-12-17 11:01:28
NIKON D810 + Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8

[low-res image for bot]
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