Carl Zeiss Touit Reviews (NEX Mount)

I have just shipped back the Carl Zeiss Touit lenses a few days ago and would like to take a few moments to reflect on these little gems in my typical non-geek talk. (Follow links for more info on each - and all images can be clicked for larger sizes, as always).

Carl Zeiss Touit 2.8/12
Carl Zeiss Touit 2.8/12

Several weeks ago, the fine folks at Zeiss sent me the Distagon T* 2.8/12 and the Distagon T* 1.8/32 models to mount to my Sony NEX travel camera (the 12mm is pictured above).  These are built solid, but not as solid as the all metal and glass beasts I used on my Nikon.  I was honestly a little sad to pull these Touit's from their gorgeous packaging to find the lenses and hoods were plastic aside from the glass and rubber grip.  But then I realized, these are designed to be light weight for very small cameras.  Would be kind of funny to try and steady something like 850 g 35mm ZF.2 mount on a small NEX.  So, to shave weight on the 32mm down to 200 g, plastic was the weapon of choice.  (The E-Mount 12mm is a mere 260 g when compared to the 820 g ZF.2 mount 15mm).  So yes, there are quite light and plastic, but for a reason!

Carl Zeiss Touit 1.8/32
Carl Zeiss Touit 1.8/32

The 32mm

Above and below are a couple snaps with the 32mm (48mm full frame equivalent).  I had these wide open to check sharp and auto-focus on the NEX system.  They seemed pretty fast, though would sometimes hunt for the right focus.  I blame that more on my inexperience with auto-focus cameras than anything.  I am not a fan of autofocus anything and find myself quickly reverting back to MF - which for me was faster.  The barrel focus is fairly long and smooth and the range was nice from 0.3 m to ∞, allowing me to be nice and close when I wanted.  Aperture range is a nice creamy f/1.8 - 22.

Bonus Image!
Bonus Image!

I have to say that this would be a perfect walk around portrait lens for me if I only carried the NEX.  On my Leica, I always keep a 50mm on there and find almost no limitations in the way I shoot.  The 32mm on the NEX is a fantastic match, as I really hoped it would be.  The weight was just right and you quickly forget the plastic feel (that you almost never get with Zeiss). I had a Nikon adapter at one point and used all my Zeiss glass on it, but it was just nuts (weight wise).  Again, the move to plastic here makes absolute perfect sense.

Carl Zeiss Touit 1.8/32
Carl Zeiss Touit 1.8/32

The 12mm

The next four images are from the 12mm (18mm full frame equivalent) with only the slightest edit on the one of my dog, Riley as I botched the aperture on it (too dark).  The rest are straight from the camera examples so you can get an idea of their performance.  Focus range on the 12mm is from 0.18m to ∞ - very nice for an ultra-wide such as this. Aperture is f/2.8-22 - again, a massive range for this little gem.  I admit, I was blown away with this lens.  It was so fun to use, especially having restricted myself to the 35mm Zeiss and 50mm Leica for the last 6 months.  I really miss shooting so wide - and man, this lens does it SO well - 99 degrees field of view, baby!  Scroll down and check for edge distortion - you'll find some, but oh so very little. I really challenge you to find a better ultra-wide for the NEX than this guy.  IQ is awesome.

Carl Zeiss Touit 2.8/12
Carl Zeiss Touit 2.8/12
Carl Zeiss Touit 2.8/12
Carl Zeiss Touit 2.8/12

And I mentioned it was fun, right? Yeah, my dog thought so too (below).  This is the one photo I was saying I had to tweak due to my amateur-like massive underexposure. But I loved the image so much that I correct the exposure and WB in post.  I didn't muck with the sharpness or lens corrections - and you can see how this lens just shines (yes, I am a Zeiss fanboy, I admit it.  But how can you not be with results like these?)  I want you to check out the speed (1/4000) / depth (2.8) here - right on for me!  I am sure I could have bumped the speed down, but I wanted those crisp little droplets.

Carl Zeiss Touit 2.8/12
Carl Zeiss Touit 2.8/12

Ah, and for those that know my reviews - here's the standard SOOC swamp shot I do with just about every lens:

Carl Zeiss Touit 2.8/12
Carl Zeiss Touit 2.8/12

2 bonus SOOC shots with the 32mm:

Carl Zeiss Touit 1.8/32
Carl Zeiss Touit 1.8/32
Carl Zeiss Touit 1.8/32
Carl Zeiss Touit 1.8/32

Conclusion

So, I have to say that these are fantastic lenses.  I do plan to save up to eventually get them (after I get the Zeiss Sonnar 1.5/50 for my Leica).  After returning the lenses and putting the shitty kit lens back on, I don't want to touch the NEX.  If you have a NEX and want some quality glass on there, do yourself a favor and pick up this set.  If your serious about your art, they aren't ridiculous in price at around a grand a piece.