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Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon T*

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Reviews Views Date of last review
40 51164 Aug 7, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
98% of reviewers $1,566.56
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.98
8.62
9.7
21mm

Specifications:
The new horizon
This legendary super wide angle lens will set new standards in its focal length class. Exceptional color control allows for extraordinary high contrast pictures without any color fringes. Thanks to the Carl Zeiss T * anti reflection coating and its outstanding attenuation of stray light, the Distagon T * 2,8 / 21 provides brilliant results under all lighting conditions. With a close focusing of only 0.22 m (0.72 ft) it is as attractive for landscape photography as for subjects with dramatic perspectives. The Distagon T * 2,8 / 21 with F bayonet (ZF), EF bayonet (ZE) and K bayonet (ZK) is suitable for analog or digital full-frame SLR cameras. The large front fi lter diameter even allows for the use of standard screw-in fi lters when combined with the standard lens shade.

Focal length 21 mm
Aperture range f/2.8 f/22 (1/2 steps)
Focusing range 0.22 m infinity
Number of elements/groups 16/13
Angular field, diag./horiz. 90/81
Coverage at close range 18 x 12 cm
Filter thread M 82 x 0.75
Dimensions (with caps) 87 mm, length 109 mm
Weight 600 g
Camera mounts F Mount (ZF & ZF.2) EF Mount (ZE) K Mount (ZK)


 


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Wheaty
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Registered: Mar 3, 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 69
Review Date: Jun 30, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness (edge to edge!), Contrast, Close focus (9"), Build Quality
Cons:
Expensive, Large, Some Vignetting (but that's to be expected at this focal length)

Simply put, probably the best 21mm lens ever made. It puts any other lens I've tested in this range to shame. Sure, it's pricey, but in this case you get what you pay for!

I would say don't bother with this lens unless you're shooting FF and can take full advantage of the edge-to-edge quality.


Jun 30, 2011
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mohamed alfari
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Registered: Sep 5, 2006
Location: United Arab Emirates
Posts: 1125
Review Date: Feb 6, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness , build quality, smooth focus ring, color, contrast
Cons:
well sometimes I wish it was 18mm at least.

I used to fear manual lenses as I thought it as hard to focus, but with the confirming sound and little practice its so easy to use. this lens is a joy to use, the focus ring is so smooth you feel the build quality when you turn it. this thing is build from metal all over it no plastic anywhere. highly recommended.

Feb 6, 2011
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akronzip
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Registered: Feb 26, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 12
Review Date: Nov 6, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build quality & image quality.
Cons:
Dangerously addictive images.

I rented a Zeiss Distagon 21mm for a trip to a shrine in Missouri. After I shot the planned panorama, I took some shots from behind the alter. I used the Distagon 21mm along with my 17-40 L and 24 TSE L.

When I viewed the images in photoshop, I was simply amazed the image quality from the Distagon. They were images beyond what I thought I could take. The detail, colors, the pop.

I sent a file to a friend and he felt compelled to print it @ 13 x 19. I showed the print to my wife and she had it framed and hung in the guest room.

I've rented Zeiss glass before and found it interesting, but the 21mm was compelling. I was compelled to buy it. I'm planning trips to Yosemite and Big Sur just to use it again.







Nov 6, 2010
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dstraton
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Registered: Jan 17, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Oct 22, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,732.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outresolves my sensor (5DMk2), amazing color and clarity, presence. Sublime build. Amazing.
Cons:
Seriously? None. Maybe AF but I don't miss it.

I have had a number of wide angles, and this mops the floor with them. It is a special lens. The "3D" effect posted by almost all users does exist. Sharpness is exemplary, right to the corners pretty much from 2.8 up.

My poor, poor 17-40 didn't stand a chance. While sharp in the center, the edges are no match for this lens...the 21 is in fact so sharp that even a tiny bit of sharpening cuts through the anti-alias filtering and you can't start to see some pixelation on very very fine details - I have no doubt that this lens is "future-proof" in terms of resolution.

Green and blues are amazing, and I find this lens renders colors much more accurately in the subtle tones than even my L lenses. Hard to explain, but it's there.

Price? Well you get what you pay for.


Oct 22, 2010
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dave chilvers
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Registered: Jan 11, 2002
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1691
Review Date: Oct 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Simply the best
Cons:
None

This is the original version of the lens just for comparison in case any body is thinking of getting the old Contax MM version.

There is absolutely nothing I have ever used to touch this lens at that focal length. I did have a chance to try out the latest upgraded version and they are very close but IMHO I still come down on the side of the old magic. I was lucky and managed to pick up a new lens, still boxed and unused and although I had to pay the premium I will never regret it.


Oct 13, 2010
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PratyushPandya
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Registered: Sep 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 24
Review Date: Sep 26, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,843.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: SHARP, Dreamy Bokeh, Great Contrast and Colors, MF is so easy to get used to on this one.
Cons:
Nothing for me personally. Some people may not like that it lacks AF, or its price.

Just a few short weeks ago, I couldn't have imagined buying a non-Canon optics. Once I came to know about Zeiss, however, it was an easy decision.
I don't mind not having AF, since it's really not needed on an UWA lenses such as this.
Selling Canon 16-35L II for this was relatively an easy decision. And I don't regret it at all. Zeiss 21/2.8 is THE BEST UWA lens available for a Canon FF system. Period.
If you're on the fence, jump the fence. You'd be glad.


Sep 26, 2010
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pilmanok
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Registered: Aug 24, 2010
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 24, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,840.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: colors, sharpness
Cons:
expensive

i am happy with this lens :-)

Aug 24, 2010
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rji2goleez
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Registered: Jun 24, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 4671
Review Date: Aug 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredible sharpness, rendition is like no other. Very quickly my favorite lens. I have the ZE mount and now thinking I might sell my 16-35mm f/2.8L II. I can't wait to go out and shoot with this lens. Suffice to say, I have the Zeiss bug.
Cons:
None to date



Aug 23, 2010
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adam_j
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Registered: Mar 5, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 14
Review Date: Aug 11, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid Construction, Smooth Focus Ring, Sharpness
Cons:
Large Front Element (fingerprints or worse)

So far so good, I'm still getting used to having to manual focus again but that will come back. Sharpness is great and the almost circular aperture blades make for some cool out of focus bokah. It's really the build quality and smoothness of it that stand out at the moment, you can see they really take pride in the construction and usability of the lens.


Aug 11, 2010
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mahonet
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Registered: Nov 30, 2008
Location: Finland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 11, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: excellent image quality, colour, contrast and bokeh
Cons:
big, quite heavy, expensive.

Best wide angle lens for Canon body! Especially for FF. Excellent sharpness already at f2.8. also in borders. There is distortion, but usually it doesnt bother or it is not easy to find.

Aug 11, 2010
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Schoenberg
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Registered: Mar 29, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 6
Review Date: Aug 9, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Fast. Built like a tank!
Cons:
1. Bulky 2. distortion. I can see distortion on this lens. 3. Over-priced. It should be priced same as 35mm f/2. 4. Not really sharp at corners. Many people say that it is very sharp. But at this price, such a prime lens should be better than it is.



Aug 9, 2010
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JORDI350D
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Registered: Dec 7, 2005
Location: Spain
Posts: 31
Review Date: Jul 1, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Best wide angle lens for Canon bodies. Incredible difinition even at 2.8.
Cons:
Lens cap. Litle vigneting and distorsion if your use is architecture or similars; not my case.

As many lens users know, nothing to comment about this lens, just excellent.
Best wide angle for Canon body so far.

B/R,

Jordi


Jul 1, 2010
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Ajay C
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Registered: Apr 30, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 674
Review Date: Jun 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: incredible image quality and sharpness, close focussing and exceptional build.
Cons:
wave distortion, hard to correct.



Jun 29, 2010
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denoir
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Registered: Feb 11, 2010
Location: Sweden
Posts: 4212
Review Date: Jun 14, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: the ultimate UWA. sharpness, colors and contrast
Cons:
wave distortion

The 21/2.8 is the master of fine detail. It is amazing how much this lens picks up. Coming from a Canon 16-35 UWA zoom, this was a massive improvement. Sharpness across the frame wide open both in terms of resolution and micro contrast. The colors and overall rendering style is in line with the rest of the Zeiss Z* line.

The only optical drawback is that it has a wave distortion which may affect architectural photography. I have personally never had any problems with it and it is difficult to find examples where it is apparent.

Up close it can produce some very cool painterly bokeh that basically look like van Gogh on drugs. I absolutely love it, but that's a personal preference.

The bottom line is that it's a first class UWA prime that has no equal when it comes to superb performance at all apertures. Its ability to pick up fine detail is just remarkable.


Jun 14, 2010
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zombii
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Registered: Apr 10, 2009
Location: N/A
Posts: 1071
Review Date: Apr 18, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Stunning images that make you feel like you're there. Wonderful color. Super sharp.
Cons:
Size

If you're considering this lens and are unsure whether it's worth it, rent one or try one on at your local camera store. Even relatively mundane scenes will show its ability. I find myself looking for reasons to use it which I've rarely done with a lens this wide. Had I bought this before the ZE 28, I probably wouldn't have bought the 28. The 28 is an excellent lens. The 21 is spectacular.

I've only barely seen the infamous mustache distortion. All other distortions typical of UWA's are very low. Used correctly, this lens can fool you into believing it's not as wide as it is.


Apr 18, 2010
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teh_rebel
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Registered: Aug 2, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 710
Review Date: Apr 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,699.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: color rendition, sharp all the way through, IQ, etc ...
Cons:
distortion (like others have mentioned)

legendary sounds about right for this lens. MF is not a problem with this lens and sharpness is just amazing. Not to mention the colors and "3-D". Not just for landscape, this works great as well for that wide angle portraits which I have used alot on.

Apr 13, 2010
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Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon T*

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
40 51164 Aug 7, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
98% of reviewers $1,566.56
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.98
8.62
9.7
21mm


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