Review: Zeiss 32mm f/1.8 Touit

June 3, 2013 14:20 47 comments
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The following article is a review bei Roger Cicala from lensrentals.com

I was lucky enough to be invited to New York for Zeiss’ Touit lens release and they were kind enough to loan me a 32mm f/1.8 lens in Sony E mount to experiment with. Unfortunately being away during our busiest repair season got me behind and I’ve only just now had a chance to experiment with the lenses a bit.

This is more speculative than what I usually write. Generally I wait until we have multiple copies to run Imatest, look at sample variation, etc. In this case, though, it became apparent that when we do get full stock in, it’s all going to go right back out on rental since there’s already a waiting list. So I thought it would be worth investigating the single Zeiss 32mm f/1.8 copy we had.

Background

I don’t want to repeat what everyone already knows, but there are a couple of points I think need emphasis:

1) The Touit lenses are going to be slightly different in Sony and Fuji mounts. The Sony’s have electronic apertures, the Fuji’s mechanical. The optics may vary a bit, too. Differences in flange-to-sensor distance and Fuji’s raw manipulation account for that. I mention it because you should look at reviews of the lens in the mount you are interested in. This is about the Sony E mount because, well, that’s what they loaned me.

2) These are autofocus lenses. The AF system has a DC motor, not an ultrasonic motor. It works well, but it makes a bit of noise which would probably make it a poor choice for video. It’s not a horrid noise by any means, lower pitched and much less buzzy than DC motors in other lenses I’ve used, but it’s noticeable when things are quiet.

3) The manual focus ring is fly-by-wire. Turning the MF ring actuates the DC motor, not a mechanical linkage. It’s one of the better implementations I’ve seen and I had no trouble focusing accurately (much better than, say, the Canon 85mm f/1.2). But again, video people pulling focus will have the electric motor making noise in the background.

4) These two lenses will be followed by a 50mm macro lens in the fall. There will be some other lenses in 2014 and at least consideration is being given to a zoom lens.

5) There are no immediate plans for Micro 4/3 mount Touit lenses.

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