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Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2: Data Sheets Continue to Omit Optical Distortion, Showing Only Corrected Distortion

Get Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo.

I objected to this change in Zeiss data sheets some years back, and I reiterate it now: Zeiss data sheets no longer show uncorrected distortion (sin of omission) and show only a misleading corrected distortion graph (sin of irrelevance and contradiction vs MTF).

Zeiss is not alone in this misleading behavior. For example, Fujifilm X lenses require distortion correction (in Adobe Camera Raw) and the Leica Q has horrific barrel distortion which notable impaires MTF in outer zones. Other companies do it also.

  • Correcting distortion can lead to a substantial drop in micro contrast in some areas of the frame (for example, the Batis 18mm f/2.8 is visibly inferior in the corners and mid-zones when corrected). If distortion is shown corrected by software, then why is MTF shown without distortion correction? The claimed MTF is not achievable with distortion correction enabled.
  • I rarely correct distortion because I want the full optical performance. I’d like to know the actual optical behavior.
  • What is the point of showing a corrected distortion graph, other than perhaps to mislead? Once corrected, the distortion is so close to zero as to render the exercise meaningless.
Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2: corrected distortion at 1:30
Zeiss Batis lens family

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