Carl Zeiss presents the Distagon T* 2/25 ZE and ZF.2

The previously rumored Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2/25 lens is now official ($1,699.00). Full press release and samples:

OBERKOCHEN/Germany, 27.10.2011.
Carl Zeiss presents the Distagon T* 2/25 ZE and ZF.2 moderate wide-angle lenses. The large image angle allows photographers to capture exciting perspectives. With its excellent imaging quality at all aperture settings, the lens flexes its muscles particularly for photo documentaries in interior rooms where space is at a premium, as well as for pictures of objects, architecture and landscapes. In many situations, a flash is an unwelcome feature — at family gatherings, in a museum or in a church for example. To capture the mood in such places, photographers gladly do without aggressive lighting and instead work with particularly high-speed lenses that enable short exposure times even under difficult lighting conditions.

The optical experts have now virtually eliminated the chromatic aberrations on these lenses through a special design and selection of materials. Selected types of glass and two aspheric surfaces prevent color fringes from appearing on high-contrast edges. "The Distagon T* 2/25 elegantly combines a compact design with a large initial aperture," explains Christian Bannert, Senior Director of Product Development in the Camera Lens Division at Carl Zeiss AG.

Lens elements meticulously crafted to minimize stray light and reflections in the lens, and theCarl Zeiss T* anti-reflective coating to increase light transmission enable high-contrast image rendition and color saturation.

The previously available Distagon T* 2,8/25 ZF.2 will continue to be on stock and supplements the new Distagon T* 2/25.Therefore, this new lens is also the first 25-mm lens of Carl Zeiss for theEF-bayonet.

The Distagon T* 2/25 will be available end of 2011 at a recommended retail price of €1217 (excluding VAT)*.

Technical Data:

Focal length 25 mm
Aperture range f/2 to f/22
Number of lens elements/groups 11/10
Focusing range 0.25 m - infinity
Angular field**
81° / 71° / 51°
Coverage at close range** 219 × 144 mm (close-up)
Image ratio at close range 1 : 5.9 (close-up)
Filter thread M67 × 0,75
Length with caps 95 mm (ZF.2)
98 mm (ZE)
Diameter 71 mm (ZF.2)
73 mm (ZE)
Weight 570 g (ZF.2)
600 g (ZE)
Mounts ZF.2 (F bayonet)
ZE (EF bayonet)

Sample images taken with the new Carl Zeiss presents the Distagon T* 2/25 (click on image for larger view):



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  • al

    Horrible samples!! The banding in the night sky is really not very flattering . Are we sure this are actual samples from the lens????

    • The banding has nothing to do with the lens. All of these images are way over-compressed which results in tons of artifacting (banding, macro-blocking, etc). Now the question arises who compressed them down this far? PhotoRumors or Zeiss? I’m guessing PR did to save bandwidth.

      • No, I published the full size images Zeiss sent to their dealers, you still have to click on the image to get the hi-res version. I did not resize them to save bandwidth.

        • I was talking about file size, not image dimensions (and yes I viewed the them at full resolution). I really have a hard time believing Zeiss sent out 21MP images compressed to less than 1MB.

  • Mark

    So they gave a guy in D.C. a 25mm f2 lens and he went out at night drinking with his 5D? Too funny!

  • photo quality sucks

    • the mean guy

      The quality of your photos sucks

      • bumble

        What do you want? Professionally lit shots in perfect conditions and actors acting like they’re having fun? This is a walk-around lens. Nice to see some real world shots for once.

  • Chad

    I can’t believe those are Zeiss sanctioned sample images. That would just be too embarrassing.

    I’m sure this is a fantastic lens but total marketing fail.

  • That’s it, I’m totally buying it 🙂

  • Sounds like a nice lens, would love to see how it compares with the Nikon 24mm f/1.4

    • The Zeiss Alpha (ZA) 24mm f/2 doesn’t seem to have anything over the Canon or the Nikon 24 1.4s. But this ZF/ZE version seems significantly different (11 elements in the ZF/ZE vs. 9 in the ZA) in a good way. The Canon and Nikon 24 1.4s are 13 element designs, which is expected since they’re f/1.4 lenses.

      Unfortunately this version is almost the same weight as the DSLR f/1.4 versions and what’s worse is it’s actually over 1cm longer! The latter is very disappointing!

      As for the image quality, we’ll just have to wait and see until a decent review comes up.

  • Hmmm…. I do not own anything but nikkor lenses. Is this normally a decent 3rd party lens? What lens type is this manufacturer normally good at making?

    • Chris

      Lenses for the movie industry is their major market. As well, Zeiss lens designs are the basis for the standard prime and zoom lenses used my Nikon, Canon, and everyone else today. They’re expensive, manual focus only, and have incredible mechanical feel and build quality. But usually, they don’t give significant, if any, real performance gains over the Japanese manufacturers.

      • Chris,

        Do you honestly think that Leroy can have his own website and still not know how to google Zeiss? 🙂

      • Benjo

        “They’re expensive, manual focus only, and have incredible mechanical feel and build quality. But usually, they don’t give significant, if any, real performance gains over the Japanese manufacturers.”

        That pretty much sums it up, well put, except that these lenses are also technically Japanese, and made by Cosina. They have excellent feel, and I rented the 21mm and 100mm models just to see if they might suit me. I stuck with the 14-24 and my old 105mm f/4 AI-s.

    • Shame on you.

    • Thanks Chris for the short explanation.

      @slow gin
      Sorry to upset your day and assuming that NikonRumors readers were more qualified to give a quick & concise comparison to nikkor lenses than the sea of Internet opinions with a generalized Google search. Hope I did not ruin your day too much.

    • david distefano

      carl zeiss makes the lenses for hasselblad, all the testing equipment that camera makers (nikon, canon) use to test their lenses, lenses for spy satellites, etc. its only drawback for most people is its lack of auto focus. zeiss lenses for nikon and canon are made in japan, if they were made in germany, like the hasselblad lenses are, you would pay double the price.

  • LoneBear

    Actually, talking about fast lenses, I always prefer AF ones.
    Paying so high amount of money for a manual lens has no sense for me, more with the knowledge about the Nikkor 24/1.4G, awesome technically speaking.
    Zeiss 25/2 ZE would be a nice piece of lens… but is huge for just f:2, manual focus, and…. made by Cosina in Japan.

    • Les

      Wow, I have the exact opposite opinion.

      I don’t understand paying big money for an autofocus lens, knowing that it won’t focus where I want it to, unless there happens to be a focus sensor right there and I’ve taken the time to tell the camera which focus sensor I wanted to use, and my subject hasn’t just walked away in boredom waiting for me to convince my camera that I really do want the left eye sharp, not the freckle on the cheek, and even then, the focus sensor is only calibrated to f:4.0 lenses, so it’s not really 100% in focus anyway…
      Screw that, I’ll focus myself; but I can’t with an AF lens because it’s built so loose (in order to AF faster) that the depth of field is smaller than the slack on the lens barrel.

      I’m O.K. with AF on a cheap walkaround zoom, but a real lens has to be manual focus-only. AF just doesn’t have enough precision (unless you exclusively focus on flat test charts using live view).

      • Jodiah Jacobs


        • Banksie

          There a are lot of “photographers” who have never used manual lenses or manual cameras. They have only lived in the automated digital age and have no idea how manual lenses and cameras work, nor what their advantages are over automatic cameras and auto focus lenses. It’s like a manual shift car over an automatic transmission. They probably have never driven a manual shift transmission, either.

          So I do see their side of the issue. But they are missing out on understanding the full scope of all the tools available. Manual focus is like a manual transmission, you’re in full control. And the Zeiss lenses are the best manual focusing lenses currently available. The focus throw is long and very precise. The 100mm Makro Planar is a dream to use for close ups because of this.

          As far as resolution characteristics, that’s more subjective than anything else. They are warmer and also tend to have more depth (3-d effect) to them. They also have an excellent proprietary coating (T*) that is very good. But not everybody can see that and so it kind of becomes a bit moot. And if the photograph is good and well-executed, then it won’t matter if it was done with a Zeiss or Nikkor, or a cheap $50 lens. But if you like warmer renditions, and appreciate the feel of the focusing ring and the aperture click stops along with a very precise f/stop and distance scale, and you appreciate the weight and balance of the lenses, then they are a very fine choice. And those of us who have been making images for decades can focus a manual lens very fast, and so manual focusing is really not an issue at all.

          • Theo

            @ Banksie & @ Les
            I also “grew up” with manual lenses in the analogous times. But back then the cameras had a different screen – split field (I’m not sure if that is the right expression in English) However, puting manual glass on my cam in these days I find it much harder to find the precise focus point.
            So let me ask you, what are you doing? Getting a different screen for your Camera?

          • Les


            Yes, I do use a Canon-made “manual focus” screen. It’s a little darker, but a lot easier to focus.

      • LoneBear

        Tell me as you focusing your camera on manual… just with le green led on the viewfinder? Turning left/right the focusing ring until find the right focus? Modern AF systems are fast and acurate enough (at least in Nikon System).
        Tell me as you find the righ focus with an f:1.4 lens when you want to work fast!
        If you want to take a picure of a dead pigeon, MF may be right for you, but for anything else AF is always better!

        • Banksie

          Lone Bear, I’ve been making images most likely long before you were born. I don’t use any electronic aids, I focus with my eyes through the viewfinder. My work is published in several museum catalogs and books (I teach at a major university and have exhibited worldwide.) There are more photos from the history of photography that have been made on manual cameras and manual lenses. There’s nothing wrong with automation and I use auto focus lenses also. But there is nothing wrong with manual lenses either. They both have their place. btw, the current Leica M9 system has no electronic focusing aids. This system is used like it was 50 years ago when it produced many of the world’s best known images. War, sports, street action, etc.. Not dead pigeons. If I were photographing a project of pigeons in flight, I would probably use an automated system. But pigeons in flight were photographed decades ago using analog cameras and lenses, and with skill.

        • Les


          Here’s an example from a few weeks ago. I’m assisting at a wedding, which I never do, but it’s a favor for a friend who’s a top-rated wedding pro. She asked me because of my cinematography background; it’s a huge client for her and she knows I can deliver under pressure.

          The bride and groom are walking down the aisle (no reshoots!). She’s got the primary straight-on angle, and I’m providing coverage from the side, about 12 meters away with a 2.0/135. That lens has about 6 inches of real depth of field at that distance, the shot needs to be off center (so you see ahead of them and not behind).
          There’s guests in the frame ranging from 7-15 meters, which will confuse the hell out of AF. If your camera picks the wrong focus, you’ve lost the shot. By the time you’ve re-framed and re-focused, the moment is gone.
          The result, out of approximately five seconds where the framing is just right, I’ve got 6 freckle-sharp shots and two slight duds.

          There isn’t an AF system in the world that can make that shot, tracking an off-center moving subject in a busy frame within a couple of inches. Sure, something would have been in focus, but not the bride’s eyelashes and freckles, which is what makes the sale.
          You could theoretically go through the camera menu and pick a focus spot in advance, but then you loose the shot before and the shot after, and you have to compromise your composition in order to place your subject right where the camera maker chose to put an AF sensor. That means framing wider and cropping back to the shot you really wanted.

          Off-center AF sensors are probably only good for F:4.0, not 2.0, so it’s a crap shoot even if the camera thinks it got focus.

          My suggestion: get a manual focus lens (plenty of great AI-S for your Nikon) and practice tracking on moving targets. Kids are great for this; they never stop moving. Keep practicing until focus becomes instinctive rather than reactive. Then practice some more.

          You may find yourself taking your photography to the next level. There’s a huge difference between getting “something” in focus and nailing the focus right where you want it.
          Even if it doesn’t work for you, you can flip the AI-S for what you put into it and go back to AF.

  • LoneBear

    And be sure I’m takin’ photos since 30 year ago.. I really know that “manual focus” means, but I never will look down modern tecnology. A 24 lens isn’t a macro lens, so I like to take benefit of AF systems if they are capable enough.

  • Brad

    I bought a Voightlander 58mm and a Zeiss 35mm, which are both made by cosina recently. These lenses don’t perform on paper as well as the new Nikon primes, but they are almost as sharp if that’s what you are looking for. What I am impressed with is the feel of the lens and the pictures they make. I was impressed with the color rendition of the Voightlander and the “microcontrast” of the Zeiss. My experiences with these two lenses shows that lens tests don’t tell the whole story. Hopefully the 25mm Zeiss will work out for some people. In the meantime I’ll stick with my Nikon 24mm PC-e for this focal length.

  • thommyorkk

    i have a kit zoom that could do better than those samples (outside of the thin DOF).

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