Zeiss Touit 12mm e 32mm

Categoria: English Pubblicato: Lunedì, 17 Marzo 2014 Scritto da Max Angeloni

Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 T*, 1/320, f/4, Iso 200


However it is undeniable that many photographers decided to build a new CSC camera system in parallel to their own DSLR gear. The reason for this is to be found in the size and convenience of such systems rather than on the pure performances.

Since then many things have changed and almost every big manufacturer has its own CSC system. There is a huge variety of choices, and is still difficult to determine the exact target of such cameras but evolution did not stop at all and this means that nowadays it is possible to think that a CSC system can replace a DSLR one. One of the symptoms of this is the presence of the Zeiss brand in this camera segment. Zeiss has always been synonymous of quality products designed for very demanding photographers. It's clear that with these new two lenses Zeiss is focusing on the high end CSC camera market.
Both lenses (the 32mm F1.8 and the 12mm F2.8) under the Touit name hide the famous Distagon and Planar optical schemes. Those schemes wrote the history of photography and were fine tuned in order to match the modern APS-C sized sensors.
You immediately recognize the attention to details as soon as you see the retail package. It's not the usual box, but a sleek white case with a blue foam on the inside. The lens construction looks impeccable, and it's free of play. Both lenses have an inner focusing system that does not allow the lens to change size while focusing and both feature the T* coating system and a 9 blades aperture.
Certainly there are all the reasons to tempt even the most demanding photographers, at least on paper.

Zeiss Touit 12 mm f/2.8 T*, 1/250, f/4.5, Iso 200


Touit lenses are available for both Sony NEX and Fujifilm X mount. The differences between them is the mount itself but also the presence of the aperture ring for the Fujifilm X Mount lenses. 
For my field test I decided to use an X-Pro1 and an X-E1 for two particular reasons. The first one is that the X-Trans sensor with its peculiar design is the most demanding for a lens, while the second one is that Fujifilm has lenses that are somehow comparable with both the Touit lenses.



Description

Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 T* is a lens based on the Planar Optical Scheme. It is compact and it is tough despite its lightweight.
The construction quality is almost perfect and features some interesting solutions. One of them is the inner focusing system explained in the introduction above.
The addition of some optical elements compared to the original Planar design allows a better resistance to the chromatic abberation. The focusing ring is rubberized and is well dampened allowing a great control while the aperture one is a bit too loose and it's easy to find that your aperture setting is different from what you selected. The lens hood is effective and well designed, but it's big. Because of its size when using the X-Pro1 Optical viewfinder the magnification is different from that of the Fuji 35mm F1.4 and therefore the frame inside the viewfinder is smaller.


Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 T*, 1/50, f/1.8, Iso 200

Zeiss Touit 12 mm f/2.8 T* is an extreme wide angle lens based on the Distagon optical design. Despite its compactness, the lens is rather "showy" on the front, especially with the lens hood attached. 
As usual the construction is outstanding and thanks to the 6 floating elements placed behind the aperture the lens does not change size while focusing. The sophisticated optical design is complemented by two aspherical elements and three glasses with anomalous partial dispersion. All of this translates into an exceptional image quality across the entire picture and a great chromatic aberrations resistance. 
For what concerns the rings we can copy and paste the same words written for the 32mm lens. 
When used with the X-Pro1 the lens has a slightly wider field of view compared to the that of the X-Pro1 optical viewfinder.

Zeiss Touit 12 mm f/2.8 T*, 1/30, f/2.8 Iso 320


Zeiss-Fujinon Comparison

If the presence of these lenses is a welcome addition that completes the E-mount lenses lineup, this becomes an headache for the Fuji owners that will have to decide what lens to choose between comparable focal lenghts and aperture choices.
Reality is that you don't have to choose the best lens, but rather the one that better matches your needs.


Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 T* Vs Fujinon XF 35mm R f/1.4

Construction:

Both lenses are well built, with no traces of shortcomings. 
The Fujinon is more compact, especially with the lens hood attached and this allows a higher magnification and a larger frame in the X-Pro1 optical viewfinder.
On the Zeiss side there the interesting focusing system, that allows an almost silent operation and the feeling of not  having moving parts. This feeling is enforced by the perfect match with the lens hood that does not allow any movement of the hood itself.
On the same level is the the feeling for what concerns the rings (both focus and aperture).


Image Quality.

It's not easy to compare the lenses in this regard. The rendering is completely different and this should let us to think that these lenses are to be considered as compatible on the same system rather than alternative one to the other. Something like the Leica 35mm F1.4 Summilus and the 35mm F2 Summicron.
The Fuji lens has a wider aperture and is capable of giving more bokeh than the Zeiss, even at the same aperture settings. It does not show distorsions, it is a geometrically corrected lens and its sharpness, especially in the center of the frame is exceptional even at F1.4. The Quality/Price ratio is outstanding. It has a strong character and this forces you to accept some compromise.
On the other side, the Zeiss 32mm lens shows an exceptional regular performance between the center and the edges of the frame across the entire range of the aperture settings. Even if the bokeh is not as visible as the one of the Fujinon lens, it is exceptionally smooth (except the F1.8 setting, where it isn't that smooth) thanks to the 9 aperture blades. The rendering has a three dimensional feeling thanks to its bokeh. It is a very sophisticated lens in construction and performance. The regularity is its main feature.


Zeiss Touit 12 mm f/2.8 T* Vs Fujinon XF 14mm R f/2.8

In this case it's not so easy to compare the lenses. Those 2 millimeters difference translates in almost 10 degrees of field of view on an APS-C sized sensor. The difference between an "18mm" and a "21mm" lens is huge, and the most experienced photographers know this very well. However it is important to acknowledge that both manufacturers were able to interpret the soul of these lense far better than many other manufacturer did for their comparable full frame lenses. For what concerns the construction quality we can share the same feeling we had with the 35 and 32mm lenses. The only difference is that the Fujinon lens has ha distance scale on the barrel together with that "pull-push" focus ring that allows you to easily switch between manual and autofocus. If fujifilm did a miracle building a lens like this, Zeiss was able to even add 10° on the field of view of the lens. As the Distagon name suggests, it's almost impossible to find any flaw in this lens, that features a great geometrical correction and an incredible image quality across the entire frame and aperture settings.



Zeiss Touit 12 mm f/2.8 T*, 1/30, f/4.5, Iso 3200


Zeiss Touit 12 mm f/2.8 T*, 1/110, f/3.6, Iso 200


Zeiss Touit 12 mm f/2.8 T*, 1/125, f/2.8, Iso 2500


Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 T*, 1/1400, f/2.8, Iso 200


Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 T*, 1/280, f/1.8, Iso 200

 

Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 T*, 1/125, f/2.8, Iso 1600


Conclusions

It's not a mistery my love affair with Zeiss. I think lenses are the most important things for a photographer and Zeiss is always capable of creating unique lenses regardless the size of the sensor and the mount they are designed for.
Sure, the price is higher than the comparable lenses by other manufacturers and sometimes it's not clear the reason behind that.
But trust me, there is a reason.
Zeiss's approach is to design well-balanced and high quality lenses. Don't expect a 200€ 50mm F1.8, it's not going to happen.
The design behind Zeiss lenses is based on specific optical schemes, with the "right" brightness in order to avoid any compromise. Add a perfect construction with minimal tolerances.
It's clear that those feature will not be always easy to see in a picture or in a crop, and it's clear that someone will not be able to even see them, and again some photographic conditions will not allow those features to shine, but those qualities are still there.
The important thing is that Sony users finally have a high quality lenses choice for their cameras while the Fujifilm users have the possibility to decide what to buy based on their needs.

 

Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 T*, 1/125, f/1.8, Iso 200


Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 T*, 1/50, f/1.8, Iso 1600


Zeiss Touit 12 mm f/2.8 T*, 1/420, f/6.4, Iso 200


Zeiss Touit 12 mm f/2.8 T*, 1/450, f/7.1, Iso 200


Zeiss Touit 12 mm f/2.8 T*, 1/680, f/22, Iso 200


Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 T*, 1/50, f/2, Iso 2500


Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 T*, 1/50, f/2, Iso 2500