[HANDS-ON REVIEW] Carl Zeiss Touit Distagon 2.8/12mm T*


Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
19,105
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#1
Recently, Zeiss was kind enough to lend me a Sony E-mount Touit 12mm UWA lens for a review. Do note that this lens is available in the Sony E-mount (APS-C, not full-frame) and the Fuji X-mount. This is NOT a Sony co-branded Zeiss lens, which is why you won't find it on the Sony Singapore home page.

The Touit Distagon 2.8/12mm T* is an ultra wide-angle autofocus lens that has a full frame equivalent field-of-view range of 18mm. It has a minimum focus distance of 18cm, has nine circular aperture blades for smoother bokeh, and and 11 elements in 8 groups including two floating aspheric lenses. It has a non-rotating 67mm filter thread.


CONSTRUCTION AND BUILD QUALITY

It's pretty obvious that this is a Zeiss lens, even though it's geared more for mass production. Build quality is smooth and solid, with a nice mix of aluminum and very high quality plastics. The focus ring uses smooth rubber which is very tactile and easy to use. The lens hood just curves perfectly with the lens. It all looks very "cool organic" which I actually quite like.

The lens is made in Japan, so in that sense it's not a "true" Made in Germany Zeiss lens. However, the standards of the Japan factory are extremely high as well and the lens goes through 60 (yes, SIXTY) steps of quality control for these HAND-BUILT lenses (yes, you will need to pay for that quality though).

What surprised me was how lightweight the lens is! I was expecting a heavy chunk of metal and glass, but Zeiss managed to kep the weight down which really makes this lens easy to carry around all day.



 

Likes: catchlights

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
19,105
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#2
I do own a Sigma 12-24 on my full frame camera, so I know how fantastic a UWA perspective can be. So shooting at 18mm equiv. on APS-C is a great experience, especially with a high-resolution sensor like on the NEX-7.

IMAGE DETAIL AND DISTORTION

One big issue that comes with the territory of UWA lenses is the usual distortion at the edges. The Touit does a fantastic job here:

Scene (ISO 100, f/9):
Note: This is SOOC JPEG, not RAW. So with RAW and some sharpening this could be EVEN SHARPER.





100% crop from the bottom-left:
Fantastic detail remains, no noticeable distortion, very very mild purple fringing on the reflected sunlight




100% crop from the left edge:
Tons of detail, no issues with distortion.



So what about at f/22? Again, a 100% crop from the bottom-left:



At f/22, we see the effects of distortion blurring away the details, but it's not as bad as I thought it would be. This is not noticeable in the full image. Do note however that with a high pixel sensor like on the NEX-7, distortion tends to kick in from about f/11 onwards.
 

Likes: kei1309

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
19,105
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#3
CHROMATIC ABERRATION
In the previous image we saw some very mild purple fringing on the sunlight reflected off the water in the corner of the image. In general purpose use, it's essentially nonexistent:

Scene:




100% crop:



FLARE
Another common issue with UWA lenses is that many tend to be very prone to flare. The Touit definitely isn't. I had to really carefully position the sun just in the corner and get it at juuuuuuust the right angle to even produce this minor amount:




Goot job by Zeiss, we can really see the T* coating helping here.
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
19,105
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#4
BOKEH
Bokeh? On a UWA lens? Well why not! I'll admit that due to the UWA nature of the lens I had to get really really close to some of these flowers. How close? Well, basically they were almost touching the front lens element!











Well I would have to say the bokeh is ok. It's not stellar, but decent. Especially for a UWA lens.
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
19,105
12
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#5
CONCLUSION
The Zeiss Touit 12mm is a fantastic UWA lens, definitely one of the best available for the E and X mount systems. If you are a landscape shooter and enjoy the 18mm full frame equiv. field of view but own a NEX or Fuji X series camera, this is a very very good lens to consider.

So.... What about the $$$? What's the damage:

Singapore RRP is:
SGD 2199.

From the friendly shops you could get it cheaper. In the USA though from sellers like BH, Adorama, etc, it's USD 999... Which makes it a much more attractive buy if you don't mind the more tedious RMA process if there's an issue. Then of course if you don't need autofocus there's always the legacy Zeiss lenses.
 

rakurai

New Member
Oct 7, 2009
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behind you..
#6
Very nice and well written review.
Thank you for sharing.

How about the performance wide open at f/2.8?
Would you kind enough to share some picture as well?
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
19,105
12
0
#7
Very nice and well written review.
Thank you for sharing.

How about the performance wide open at f/2.8?
Would you kind enough to share some picture as well?
At f/2.8 it's quite good! I used f/2.8 for all the "bokeh test" shots. But for landscape, you would not shoot at f/2.8 anyway.
 

ageha

Senior Member
Apr 29, 2011
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Earth
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#9
Nice lens but $2199, seriously? That's excessive. [For that money I would rather buy a full-frame equivalent.]
 

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Achim Reh

New Member
Nov 1, 2011
407
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#11
Thanks for the nice review. I specially like your 100% corner crops , thats where you really see the difference in quality. Fantastic lens.
 

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