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Carl Zeiss creates Distagon T* 15mm F2.8 super wide angle lens

By dpreview staff on Mar 16, 2012 at 16:33 GMT

Carl Zeiss has announced the Distagon T* 2,8/15, a super-wide-angle lens for Canon EF and Nikon F mounts. The lens can focus from just 25cm (10") and offers a 110° field of view when mounted on a full-frame camera. It uses aspherical elements and abnormal partial dispersion glass in order to control distortion and chromatic aberration. It features an integrated lens hood and accepts 95mm threaded filters. It will be available from May for an MSRP of €2,148 or US $2,948.


Press Release:

Infinitely Wide

OBERKOCHEN, 16.03.2012.
Carl Zeiss brings out a new super wide angle lens in May 2012. The super wide angle Distagon T* 2,8/15 will be available with an EF (ZE) or F bayonet (ZF.2). With an extra-large angle of view of 110 degrees in combination with a fast f/2.8 aperture, the lens enables the features for dramatic perspectives and performance demanded by the most ambitious landscape and architectural photographers. With a unique ability to capture events in a natural and extraordinary manner, it is also an ideal companion for advertising, journalism and commercial photography.

Thanks to the extreme angle of view of the lens, the fore- and background can be creatively emphasized in landscape and architecture photography. These applications will also benefit from the large depth-of-field, which provides a wide range of image sharpness from close-up up to infinity. With a close focus of 0.25m (10”) – combined with a wide angle view – photographers can work in tight spaces, while also allowing focus on close-up details. Distortion is extremely well controlled, producing naturally proportioned photographs which are not typical of many other super wide angle lenses. "With the Distagon T* 2,8/15, Carl Zeiss sets the standard in super wide angle photography," says Dr. Michael Pollmann, Consumer Lenses Program Manager in the Camera Lens Division of Carl Zeiss AG. "Even at full aperture it achieves outstanding detail rendition and opens up room for extremely imaginative design."

The Distagon T* 2,8/15 incorporates two aspheric lenses and special types of glass material with abnormal partial dispersion to provide an extraordinary correction of chromatic aberration. A floating elements design guarantees high image quality from close-focus through infinity. Like the other SLR lenses in the ZE and ZF.2 series, stray light and reflections are well controlled by the Carl Zeiss T* anti-reflective coating and the sophisticated treatment of the lens element edges with special light absorbing paint.

The robust all-metal barrel of the Distagon T* 2,8/15 is designed for decades of reliable service. A long focus rotation and buttery-smooth action is perfect for photographers who want to take control of their picture making, as well as for filmmakers looking for superior focus control. A nine blade aperture provides a nearly circular opening, producing natural looking out of focus details.

The lens shade is integrated into the design and helps to protect the lens surface from unintentional damage. The 95mm filter thread accepts all standard filters, including the recently released Carl Zeiss T* UV and POL filters.

The lens will begin shipping in May 2012 at a recommended retail price of €2,148 or US$2,948 (excluding VAT)*.

Specifications:

 Focal length  15 mm
 Aperture range  f/2.8 - 22
 Number of lens elements/groups  15/12
 Focusing range  0.25m – infinity
 Angular field** (diag./horiz./vert.)  110°/ 100°/ 76°
 Coverage at close range**  340 x 221 mm (close-up)
 Image ratio at close range  1:9 (close-up)
 Filter thread  M95 x 1.0
 Length with caps  132 mm (ZF.2)
 135 mm (ZE)
 Diameter  103 mm (ZF.2)
 103 mm (ZE)
 Weight  730 g (ZF.2)
 820 g (ZE)
 Mounts  ZF.2 (F bayonet)
 ZE (EF bayonet)

Notes:

* Status: 16 March 2012
** Based on 35 mm format

Comments

Total comments: 183
12
Digital Suicide
By Digital Suicide (Mar 16, 2012)

Stop moanings about manual focus.
At this super wide angle, you set it at infinity and forget about it...

12 upvotes
Ferrari_Alex
By Ferrari_Alex (Mar 16, 2012)

for this price, with manual focus....I couldn't care less.....

2 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (Mar 16, 2012)

You obviously have no idea what this lens is for or why it's beneficial to have manual focus.

9 upvotes
Mtsuoka
By Mtsuoka (Mar 16, 2012)

Alex you can always get the 20x superzoom with AF from Sony

1 upvote
Ferrari_Alex
By Ferrari_Alex (Mar 16, 2012)

I already have 35 f/1.4 ZE. Wht is the point to pay 3500 USD for super advanced AF on 5D MKIII and have MF lens?

0 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (Mar 16, 2012)

I find that very wide manual focus lenses are hard to focus precisely. And in case you wonder about me, I am an architectural shooter who uses Canon TSE MF lenses and has to resort to live view or tethering for precise focus with the 17 and 24. So an MF 15mm f 2.8 may be tricky to focus using Nikons and Canons that have screens that are not optimized for MF. (Lack micro-prisms or split image aids.)

"Infinitely Wide" seems like a pretty hyped up expression since lenses this wide have been around for some time and we can always stitch for much wider views.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Nikkorforever
By Nikkorforever (Mar 17, 2012)

In Nikon there is the focus confirmation dot, and its accurate especially for high dof lenses like a 15 mm.

0 upvotes
obeythebeagle
By obeythebeagle (Mar 16, 2012)

If you've got the money (I don't), there are worse vices. IMHO, even if the glass was parity between the top brands, the significant advantage Zeiss and Leitz still have over other wonderful lenses are their coatings. While is this is totally a personal preference issue, the T* Zeiss coating is magic. How much that additional magic is worth in dollars is a good question. (At the other end of the financial spectrum, some of the Maxxum lenses, available on craigslist for fifty bucks, have Minolta coatings that still might be the pick of the litter of Japanese optics.)

0 upvotes
Guidenet
By Guidenet (Mar 17, 2012)

I'm not sure that Minolta lenses were ever much of any little picks. A few weren't bad but essentially Minolta was more consumer based and the coatings were average.

I also don't think Zeiss T coating is any better than any other multi coating offered by most companies. Pentax SMC coatings have always been superb and Nikon's new Nano coatings are without peer right now.

0 upvotes
Nikkorforever
By Nikkorforever (Mar 17, 2012)

Naah, I prefer the T* over Nano but the difference isn't large. Have you used both?

2 upvotes
D200_4me
By D200_4me (Mar 16, 2012)

Can it autofocus?

1 upvote
Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (Mar 16, 2012)

nope, but Zeiss lenses are really good making movies on a D-SLR. This one is too expensive wish I had that kind of money.

0 upvotes
Thanatham Piriyakarnjanakul
By Thanatham Piriyakarnjanakul (Mar 16, 2012)

It will be the great lens if it can removed hood. :P

0 upvotes
Nikkorforever
By Nikkorforever (Mar 17, 2012)

Agree..it cant take graduate ND

0 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (Mar 16, 2012)

souped up cosina

3 upvotes
gordon lafleur
By gordon lafleur (Mar 16, 2012)

Good grief, how long can Zeiss rely on their name to sell their clunky, overpriced, and often inferior products to gullible amateurs. Tests comparing their lenses to the Canon and Nikon counterparts show that these lenses do not live up to their hype.

4 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Mar 16, 2012)

inferior optics? Seriously? The ZF and ZE lenses are extremely sharp, great contrast and nice metal barrels. They are popular with still and video shooters for a reason. And I can assure you it's not because of inferior optics.

2 upvotes
Douglas F Watt
By Douglas F Watt (Mar 16, 2012)

What "tests" are you talking about that reveal that CZ optics are inferior to the (non-overpriced?) Nikon and Canon lens? Your personal tests I assume? Because SLR gear's tests (including of the new Sony 16-50 2.8 (non-CZ, non-G lens) suggests otherwise. Give me ONE objective measurement site of lens gear that supports your Canikon fanboy position. One.

2 upvotes
Viggo
By Viggo (Mar 16, 2012)

http://thedigitalpicture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=480&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=4&LensComp=708&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

Canon stopped down two whole stops, Zeiss wide open, you wanna argue still?

0 upvotes
photokandi
By photokandi (Mar 16, 2012)

You've obviously never used the Zeiss 21mm then. Before making sweeping statements like that I suggest you give it a try, I'm quite sure you will be blown away. :)

4 upvotes
Douglas F Watt
By Douglas F Watt (Mar 16, 2012)

To Viggo - Good job cherry-picking your data. That particular lens is easily the softest lens in the Carl Zeiss group, particularly wide open. I personally believe that it's a bit of an embarrassment to Zeiss again particularly wide open. Are you comparing a stopped down Canon to a wide-open Zeiss? Whatever happened to the idea of a level playing field?

How about a more representative lens such as the 35mm F2 lens. http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1145/cat/98.
The problem I have here relates more to your categorical statements/dismissive tone. I can find Canon lenses including in the L group that are not particularly sharp for their high price. Does that suggest that all Canon lenses suck? Or are overpriced? Probably not.

As someone once said, life is mostly about the shades of gray we actually live in as opposed to the black and the white we prefer and believe that we see clearly. if you are happy in your black and white world, then go for it.

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
oscarvdvelde
By oscarvdvelde (Mar 16, 2012)

Except for chromatic aberration, the Zeiss 21mm does not compare so well against e.g. Tokina 16-28mm:

http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/470-zeiss_zf_21_28_5d?start=1
http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/595-tokina162828eosff?start=1

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Lenses/Compare-Camera-Lenses/Compare-lenses/%28lens1%29/369/%28brand%29/Tokina/%28camera1%29/436/%28lens2%29/326/%28brand2%29/Zeiss/%28camera2%29/483#div1anchor
(check measurements - field map)

0 upvotes
Guidenet
By Guidenet (Mar 17, 2012)

Douglas, the two stops were required to equalize the settings. The Canon has to be stopped down to get to the Zeiss's slower aperture.

You can't complain about cherry picking. You said "Give me ONE objective measurement site of lens gear that supports your Canikon fanboy position. One." so he did. You should be more specific in your challenges.

1 upvote
Nikkorforever
By Nikkorforever (Mar 17, 2012)

I love people with no idea like you.. fun

0 upvotes
Viggo
By Viggo (Mar 18, 2012)

here's another one;

http://thedigitalpicture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=724&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=1&LensComp=487&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

I think people kind of missed the point that I am serioulsy impressed wit the Zeiss lenses.... I have the 24 L II and the TS 17 which are frikkin' amazing, I'm surprised to see the Zeiss 18 match the TS 17. We all know the tS is also mf, but it can do other tricks, but as a normal 17ish lens, the Zeiss is fantastic. I use my Zeiss 28mm f2 A LOT, it's a great way to shoot with that mf-ring.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Dan Nikon
By Dan Nikon (Mar 16, 2012)

Nice, but a 14-24 Nikkor is certainly no slouch!

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Mar 16, 2012)

Understatement of the year. I would much rather have the Nikkor 14-24 than this Zeiss lens, although I'm sure the Zeiss is going to be great. Too $$$ for me, though.

2 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (Mar 16, 2012)

And Canon's 17MM TS-E is phenomenal

1 upvote
paroj
By paroj (Mar 16, 2012)

and suddenly the panasonic 7-14mm does not seem that expensive any more..

6 upvotes
Rubenski
By Rubenski (Mar 16, 2012)

Sigma 8-16: poor man's super wide angle (couldn't resist).

1 upvote
Douglas F Watt
By Douglas F Watt (Mar 16, 2012)

Agree that the Sigma 8-16 is a fine lens, esp for the $ and sharpness is pretty good for a zoom. Lots of shooting options out wide with this lens.

0 upvotes
Ian
By Ian (Mar 16, 2012)

And I've been pretty happy with my Sigma 12-24 II on a FF, but wish it were faster. Still, it's a steal at half the price of the Canon 14 2.8 and a third of this price!

0 upvotes
Mike Griffin
By Mike Griffin (Mar 17, 2012)

Been looking for an entry point and this is it. Call me a gutter snipe if you like but I have a Sigma 10-20mm and I love it, perhaps I have a good sample. Images have terrific contrast and outstanding colour saturation even compared to my Nikon 50mm f1.8 prime lens. Bonus!for those praising the Zeiss lens, my wider Sigma has filter threads.

0 upvotes
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (Mar 16, 2012)

@vividexposures Another way of putting it is that it distorts the image in the way that seems natural to a human viewer

Check out this review of the m-mount version of the lens
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/lenses/zeiss-m-mount.shtml

The images just look "right"

0 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (Mar 16, 2012)

The samples at LL were shot with an APS-C camera (Leica M8).

0 upvotes
deep7
By deep7 (Mar 16, 2012)

M8 has a bigger sensor than APS-C.

0 upvotes
oscarvdvelde
By oscarvdvelde (Mar 16, 2012)

that version isn't a SLR lens. It's for a rangefinder.

0 upvotes
PatMann
By PatMann (Mar 16, 2012)

I think they must be referring to minimizing the barrel distortion common to other Distagons and other retrofocus design wide lenses, not the natural perspective distortion of wide-angle lenses. If wide zooms with retrofocus design have a range that includes little distortion, it seems like someone could use the formula for that part of the zoom to create a prime with little distortion. We'll have to see what "extremely well controlled" means when somebody gets ahold of one to test.

0 upvotes
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (Mar 16, 2012)

Probably not a bad idea to have two separate news sections for lens news:

1. For pros who can justify $3000 for a lens; and,
2. For everyone who jumps to the bottom of the news item first, just to see if the cost merits further reading.

An alternative would be to flag the news item with a color coding system:

1. Green for go, within reason for most users; and,
2. Red for stop, don't even think about buying this!

2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Mar 16, 2012)

I prefer to read about all gear. Then decide if the price/performance ratio make's it a suitable piece of kit for my needs.

9 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (Mar 16, 2012)

It's an impressive specification, and the MTF chart is equally impressive, but I'm not sure it's legitimate to call the focus rotation "long". The cramped depth-of-field scale and sparse distance markings – note there's nothing between 0.8 metres and infinity – make zone focusing more difficult than it needs to be. This is a problem shared with the 21 mm Distagon, but the 18 mm Distagon does much better in this regard. I would love to know Zeiss' reasons for choosing the different focus "speeds" of the various Distagons.

2 upvotes
RobertSigmund
By RobertSigmund (Mar 16, 2012)

You are right. First thing for me when seeing the photo of the lens was the surprise how narrow the depth of field scale is. A pity.

0 upvotes
VividExposures
By VividExposures (Mar 16, 2012)

"Distortion is extremely well controlled, producing naturally proportioned photographs which are not typical of many other super wide angle lenses."

How is that possible?

1 upvote
ahuet
By ahuet (Mar 16, 2012)

maybe a 95mm flat front lens ?

1 upvote
David Kinston
By David Kinston (Mar 16, 2012)

I'm sure it's a fine lens. However is it better than the Tokina 116 which according to reviews works well FX when stopped down slightly? On my Nikon DX bodies gives virtually the same FOV as this one gives on FX. Maybe it's more a fashion statement than anything else!!

0 upvotes
Nikkorforever
By Nikkorforever (Mar 17, 2012)

Your Tokina will work but the edges will be soft and this Zeiss will ate it alive for supper. Jeez, comparing an FX lens and DX lens is bad enough, just having a though the DX lens will beat an FX lens in FX is ridiculous!

Have a look at the new lens MTF. People, do think before you write something!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Visionaryvoyager
By Visionaryvoyager (Mar 17, 2012)

As a professional architectural photographer I would say that for roughly $2,500 there may not be a better all around lens than the Canon Wide Tilt/Shift TS-E 17mm f/4L Manual Focus EOS.

Exceptionally sharp. Superb rectilinear geometry. Great contrast and color fidelity. Practically no halation or chromatic aberrations. And the shift function is terrific for multiple panorama exposures stitched together into an equivalent 10mm undistorted interior or exterior architectural study… the money shots that will get you repeated business.

4 upvotes
Mike Griffin
By Mike Griffin (Mar 17, 2012)

You hit the nail on the head. Distortion often works for me in a creative sense. For you it would be disaster. Like you if I need to stitch images I chose a distortion, vignetting free lens not the extreme wide angle 'fun' lens I own.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 183
12