Zeiss Lenses - what makes them so special?

Zeiss have been producing lenses since 1890 – so what makes the Zeiss name so legendary and why should you consider adding a Zeiss lens to your collection?

Read this short post where we explain the different ranges available in the ZEISS range, and which lenses may suit your needs best.

Zeiss is a name that is synonymous with quality and craftsmanship, and the current lens line-up caters for just about any photographic requirement.

With autofocus models available for Sony E-Mount and Fujifilm X-mount, the rest of the Zeiss range is manual focus.

So why use a Manual focus lens? For video, manual focus is actually advantageous and most Zeiss lenses can be adapted for video using the lens-gear adapters. For stills photography, manual focus takes some practice – live view is quick and easy with most cameras offering magnified view for precise placement of the focus point and many also offering focus peaking. Focus peaking highlights areas of contrast – normally in white or red – enabling you to very quickly see the plane of focus in your image as you twist the focussing ring. Conventional manual focus through the viewfinder is assisted by the AF system in both Nikon and Canon, and obviously you can judge the focus point through the viewfinder yourself and place your focus point anywhere in the frame without having to move an AF point.

There are three ranges of Zeiss lenses for SLR cameras.

The Zeiss Otus range of manual focus f/1.4 prime lenses are available in Nikon and Canon fittings and are manual focus only. Both fittings have electronic contacts to transfer aperture and focal length data to your camera. Otus lenses are designed without compromise to produce superb results even at maximum aperture allowing no-compromise low light shooting and superb subject isolation- medium format quality on a 35mm size sensor. Available in 28mm, 55mm and 85mm focal lengths these are the ultimate tool for high resolution photography in any lighting.

The Zeiss Milvus range is again available in both Nikon and Canon fittings with electronic contacts transferring data to your camera. The lenses are manual focus and covers from 15mm to 135mm and includes two macro lenses in 50mm and 100mm focal lengths. All Milvus lenses are sealed against dust and moisture and have an all-metal housing with a superb tactile coating for excellent handling. Zeiss T* antireflective coating ensures ultimate flare suppression combined with black coating of all lens elements to prevent internal reflection.

The Zeiss Milvus 15mm f/2.8 is a superb quality super wide-angle lens but still allows use of filters with its removable lens hood and 95mm filter thread. The latest addition to the Milvus range is the outstanding 25mm f/1.4 but the whole range 15/18/21/25/28/35/50/85 and 135mm are superb quality. The Zeiss 50mm f/2 Milvus Makro Planner is currently the fastest 50mm macro lens available and allows you to highlight even the smallest detail while the legendary 100mm f/2 offers superb subject isolation for macro or portraits. A video on the 25mm f/1.4 Milvus is shown below

The final range for SLR cameras are the “Classic” range available in 25mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm focal lengths. These lenses offer ‘classic’ optical design in an all-metal barrel with legendary bokeh.

For mirrorless cameras, Zeiss again offer three ranges.
The Zeiss Batis range of lenses are designed for the full frame Sony E-mount and are designed without compromise for ultimate performance - both mechanically and optically. The range currently consists of an 18mm f/2.8, 25mm f2, 85mm f/1.8 and 135mm f/2.8 – the 85mm and 135mm with built-in stabilisation. Each Batis lens includes an innovative OLED display showing subject distance and depth of field and features fast and reliable AF performance.

The Zeiss Loxia range of full frame manual focus Sony E-mount lenses are compact companions to your Sony A7 series camera. Available in 21mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm focal lengths the Loxia range are also ideal for video and feature a unique DeClick feature for smooth aperture adjustment. The video below shows the Loxia range used for video.

Zeiss Touit lenses are designed for the APS-C sensor size and are available in Sony E-mount and Fujifilm X-mount and offer high speed autofocus and superb optical quality. Available in 18mm, 32mm and 50mm (Macro) focal lengths.

The Zeiss OtusMilvus and Loxia range are also compatible with the Zeiss ND Lens Gear system for easy follow focus for video use.

Zeiss also offer a range of ZM lenses for Rangefinder cameras with Leica M-Mount. Available in a range of focal lengths 15mm, 21mm, 25mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm the Zeiss ZM range offers superlative optical and mechanical quality with pricing competitive with the Leica’s own lenses.

Both Park cameras stores in Burgess Hill and London have a large range of Zeiss lenses in stock and on demonstration, and the full range is available online.

Steve Marley
Park Cameras

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