Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon T* ZF.2 All discussion

MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
edited April 2013 in Other Manufacturers
Carl Zeiss had such a phenomenal customer service response to a question I asked, I began lusting after one of their lenses. And, this is it.

Does anyone on NRF have this lens? Or had an opportunity to use one? It looks impressive on the MTF Chart when compared to some good Nikon glass, and the sheer size 103mm in diameter and 132mm in length along with a 95mm front filter thread....should capture someone's interest.

Of course for about $3,000 it should be a winner

So if anyone wants to admit they have one, used one or is dreaming about it, this is the thread.

Msmoto, mod


  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited April 2013
    Once again this is one to lust after. From the images I have seen taken on this lens it is "chaw dropping." Yet, once again the whole notion of manual focusing this lens does hold a buyer back, not to mention its usage. This is a very special lens that I can see weeding, high end landscapes, and architecture photographers seek.

    Having said that, I would be more than happy to put it to a test vs my 14-24 2.8 at 18mm. I think you will find the 14-24 2.8 is by no means second best.



    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • autofocusautofocus Posts: 625Member
    It is an impressive lens. I have a CZ Makro Planar 100mm ZF.2 and love it. Just wish it was AF which would make it a more useful lens. I'm lusting after the newly announced 55mm. It looks incredible! Again, would be much better if it had AF. I"m just not quick enough to catch the moment with MF lenses.
  • GodlessGodless Posts: 113Member
    Yet, once again the whole notion of manual focusing this lens does hold a buyer back, not to mention its usage. .. I think you will find the 14-24 2.8 is by no means second best.
    I don´t get your reasoning behind those two sentences at all. The Zeiss is the new king of ultrawides, and it is so wide no one really needs AF with it anyway. It is optically better than the 14-24 and can take normal filters which the 14-24 cannot. And that is the truth of it.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Another piece of the truth you forgot to mention: At 50 % more costs and without the costs of AF and zoom mechanism it better should be great in at least some aspects. And one of them is for sure it can take more direct light withoput flaring.

    Now, maybe one would like to waste some words about the costs of decent 95mm filters? :) Especially a high quality polarizer? Is it cheaper than the superduper special filter holder of Lee's, togetehr with filter?
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited April 2013
    @Godless: Sorry for the confusion, but the best way I can express to you what a challenge any manual lens is for you to try it out yourself and see what I mean. If you posses a wide angle lens by all means pull it out, put it in manual mode and start to shoot with it on subject from many different angles...really low angles, low, medium hight, then up high fully standing...with subject both close and far. Shoot with it for about 30-40 minutes for all subjects...then go and see your results. Tell me (us) how many of the shots were out of focus...all the while keeping in mind the amount of time it took you in setting up and getting the shot that beard no fruit.

    For me, AF is very much appreciated. I know many of our members that own Ziess lenses (i.e. SquamishPhoto) and their results are fantastic as is their technique. My hats off to them. For My style of photography (no studio work here or subjects that are trained or hired for a shoot) AF is a God send. Hence, "holding a buyer back." The buyer being: ME!

    My second comment was in relation of the focal length: 15mm. The only lens that I own that covers that focal length is the 14-24. Getting a filter for it is very easy, much like any other...should one care to get one...so that point of yours is mute. That said, I will not turn this topic into a tit-for-tac conversation. We all know about this lens and it's legendary performance. I was only drawing a comparison.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • BesoBeso Posts: 464Member
    Tommie - Zeiss makes great glass. I have the 100 mm Macro Planar and I cannot wait to get the upcoming 55mm. Currently Zeiss is planning to launch at least three very high end lenses specifically designed for the latest high MP cameras (d800 is one). The 55mm is one and I suspect we will see one on either side of that - say something between 12 and 35mm and something in the 135 range. I personally have no problem with manual focus. My photography background dates to many years ago so manual focus was the order of the day. i like the convenience of autofocus but i would take glass quality over convenience any day. Personally I would wait until this fall to see what the other two lenses will be and when they will be released. Beyond that, I love my D800 but Nikon should have brought out some new lenses specifically designed to maximize the potential for 36 mp. For 35mm I wouldn't hesitate to buy the superior Zeiss glass. The intangibles of color and contrast coupled with IQ are clearly visible.
    Occasionally a decent image ...
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    edited April 2013
    Zeiss lenses are just gorgeous, and that's a word I usually reserve for our female Earth companions. I too have the Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF .2T and absolutely love it. It's probably the only one I'll own. The image clarity that it produces on the D800 is truly remarkable. I do think that manually focusing a lens takes a bit of practice but once the eye-hand aspect is learned then it's almost 2nd nature. I read on someone's website that the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 (which I also own) should now have to be tweaked because of soft edges on the D800 out near 14 or 15mm. I must say I have noticed that but on the other hand, when shooting that wide I'm doing it more for the artistic look of the image - and that bit of softness doesn't matter. At $3000 for the Zeiss I'm expecting that softness to be near non-existent. I'd have to make money with such a lens to justify buying it. She does look sweet though!

    In relation go Golf007sd's comment about manually focusing an ultra wide angle lens at various angles and heights I can totally understand his point in the context of "how" an ultra wide angle lens can be used. I love shooting the 14-24mm by stooping down then lowering the camera to ankle height, pressing the shutter, and assume the camera will auto focus on the desired field of view. When I had my Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 manual focus lens I couldn't do that. Pre-focusing at or near infinity didn't always work either. With auto focus it's so easy to get keepers with that style of shooting. Needless to say, I don't use the Zeiss 100mm that way so no comparison there.
    Post edited by Rx4Photo on
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator

    The B & W polarizer is a bit over $300....or 10% of the cost of the lens... I would imagine the sky will sing with this lens and a polarizer.
    Msmoto, mod
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    @Msmoto I was just checking the price, too. The dealer I got my Ø 77mm B+W KSM slim from for 180$ doesn't list it anymore. Also, this price was a mistake I found out after buying it. Should have been near 300$. But I asked twice before, because I expected it to be more expensive (and I'd like to be fair to dealers).

    I could not find a new series B+W KSM nano XS Pro digital Ø95mm. They end at Ø 86mm but probably B+W provides 95 after request as well, The SIgma filters go up to 105mm.

    If the sky is singing it will be in various voices, the angle of view is so huge that you get all situations of polarizing: completely poilarized and none at all, that looks quite interesting. But not all pictures would benefit of that. Here I checked the effect, but at the wrong place. I was in the wrong position to the sun.


    10-24 @ 10mm (equiv. to 15mm FX)
  • ChappieChappie Posts: 1Member
    I am probably a day late and a dollar short in this conversation and as a hobbyist with only 4 years shooting experience, my voice may not hold much wait here. Still, I am a diehard Nikon fan. Specific to this conversation, I noticed some of my Nikon glass was coming up a bit short on my D800 as compared to similar captures using the venerable D700. A little frustrated I had two choices, go back to the D700 which was my first love; or give the D800 one final chance with recommended glass. I settled in on the Zeiss 100 f2 makro and for me, the rest is history because the union of the D800 with the 100 f2 was a match made in heaven. I now own the 135 f2 zf.2, the Otus 55 1.4 zf.2 and I am seriously considering dumping the Df and getting the 15 2.8 zf.2. Zeiss has actually accomplished what the Df was supposed to do. It has slow down my shooting. I frame better. I am enjoying myself even more and as for MF -- Stevie Wonder could focus this lens. It is easy handheld, it is a dream with a tripod. This is my first time with this or any other forum. I found you while trying to weigh the pros and cons of the 15 vs 14-24. There were some really good arguments here and I thank you all for that. Comparatively however, and given my experience now with the Zeiss, D800 combination; the 15 is the winner. Of course, if it weren't for the money the Df bought in, I would be forced to look for this lens in my dreams. :)

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator

    "I am seriously considering dumping the Df and getting the 15 2.8 zf.2. Zeiss has actually accomplished what the Df was supposed to do."

    What are you referring to when you say "Df"?
    Msmoto, mod
  • BesoBeso Posts: 464Member
    @Chappie - As an owner of a Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 (plus Zeiss 100mm f/2, and Otus 55 f/1.4) I can assure you it will not disappoint. I also own the holy trinity of Nikon lenses (14-24, 24-70, 70-200 all f/2.8) plus the Nikon 85 f/1.4G. While the Nikon lenses are decent and provide some flexibility I have chosen to look mostly elsewhere for the best quality of glass. Sadly, even Sigma is now producing better glass (35mm f/1.4). Hopefully Nikon will wake up and rise to the optical challenge but until then I will give up autofocus in many situations to have better tonality, sharper focus, better contrast, and the superior lens coatings that Zeiss lenses provide.
    Occasionally a decent image ...
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Since the 1960's, the German glass was rumored to have better contrast, especially seen at sharp edges. No actual scientific data to support this, primarily subjective. But, the Nikon F was about the only body to own if one wanted a versatile system. So, I went Nikon and have stuck there since.

    If one looks at the DxOMark ratings of the 14-24 Nikkor and the Zeiss 15, one sees no significant difference. So, it may come down to what one has a personal preferences. Mainly the subjective impressions, not really measurable. I still like the idea of the Zeiss 15 in my kit, but at present am on hold for new acquisitions.

    The decision between the Nikon 14-24 and Zeiss 15 would IMO be primarily on whether one wanted versatility or panache. Unless one is doing 1 m x 1.5 m prints, the difference would be difficult to see.
    Msmoto, mod
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 665Member
    edited February 2014
    I started out with Zeiss glass on a Contax RTS in the early days, but just as msmoto found, it didn't work out. I couldn't borrow or buy what I needed do the kind of shooting I was trying to do with the budgets I was trying to do it in, so I sold it all and switched to Nikon (the F2) for versatility and availability. (The buyer was very happy to get the lot.)

    15 mm is a very special place in wide angle photography. It corresponds to the natural field of view plus peripheral vision of many people, myself included. So it is a good choice for work, especially for large prints.

    Since I already have a 14-24, I would want to spend a lot of time down there at 15, really getting to be good at my art, before I spend 3K on a lens to use there and there alone. When I use my Nikkor, I spend more time around 18 to 20 mm than down at 14 to 15. Possibly, if I started getting to be a great WA photographer, Zeiss vs Nikon wouldn't matter all that much. But just as likely, Beso is correct: I could start looking for more tonality, focus, and contrast. But for now, i'll go with the versatility and excellent results I get with what I have.

    @msmoto: panache is a good enough reason to buy a lens. Anybody can have money, but not just anybody can have panache.
    Post edited by Symphotic on
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • ANTCT1ANTCT1 Posts: 11Member
    I started with a Zeiss Ikon Contarex in the late 60's and that F2 Planar rendered many impossibly beautiful images, especially of people. Nowadays, I'm a straight Nikon shooter except for a gifted Samyang 14mm F2.8 which I find an excellent landscape lens. Since I have not had the pleasure of using the Zeiss 15mm F2.8, how would this lens significantly improve upon the Samyang mounted on a D600?
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