PHOTOOG Photography writings by Olivier Giroux

Zeiss 2.8/21 Distagon T*

I've been researching this legendary lens ever since I became aware of Carl Zeiss.  Up until recently there were no signs that I could one day enjoy shooting one.  Then Photokina 2008 came, and gave me something else to desire.

Whoopdeedoo, 2009.

Comments (7) Trackbacks (1)
  1. BUT….You never bought one right ;-)?

    And you will not in the future too as you will rather use the Biogon 21 ZM that bests the ZF right ;-)?

  2. Ha! No, but I haven’t really had the opportunity to buy one either (no money for it). Your story is probably right, I’m likely to get a 21mm Biogon ZM.

    Still, I am attracted to the Distagon ZF. As a first step, next week I am going to receive a rental 21mm Distagon for a 2-week test drive. This should tell me if I _MUST_ have one, or if it’s merely a nice lens I can live without.

    I plan to write a review of it after the 2 weeks are up.

    • It would be great to hear/read your opinion!

      For what it is worth I am in the same position: I can spend my money on the Biogon 21 (but without the digital option as I have no M8) or on the ZF (that I can use both analogue and digital. So far I invested most of the money in ZF but I am tempted, very tempted….

      Looking forward to your review!

  3. Hi Olivier .. please, tell me one thing. What’s going on in your comments? I don’t understand you. Why do you need make a statements around Zeiss lenes?

    Thanks for reply.

    • Hi Stanley,

      Basically I’m a fan. There is also frustatingly little information out there for some of these lenses that is based from first-hand experience. You can find the launch press releases in 250 copies in an instant, but maybe 1 or 2 reviews after days of searching. The Zeiss lenses are unusual enough products that not every photographer has seen or used one – much less owned one.

      So I make these comments, put up links, and gather this information in the hopes that someone else like me will find it useful. I’m compelled to do it because I think they are wonderful to use, and produce wonderful images. That’s all.



      • Hi Stanley,

        I can second Oliver’s remarks. Being the owner of four ZF lenses my experiences are identical to Oliver’s: you fall in love. After some months of using the lenses both digital and analogue I can say that:
        –It seems I have a new sensor in my camera. That big is the difference to my Nikkor lenses (12-24/80-200/50-1.4)!
        –Zooming in to 200% in PS does not get unsharp as with my Nikkor’s.
        –I tend to use less sharpening in PS: the files are already much sharper and need less artificial sharpening.
        –I tend to use less color correction in PS: the files are already stunningly beautiful.
        –I tend to make more elaborate pictures: you always now the lenses are more capable then yourself so it is the challenge of this that will eventually make you a better photographer. All YOUR mistakes are visible!
        –I always tend to want more of them. Simply because they deliver and are a joy to use!

        Not to say my Nikkor’s are bad. Definitely not. But the ZF’s are better! By a great margin.



  4. I appreciate the work that you have put in, in this page. Really good,

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