Monday, 20 May 2013

Zeiss Touit - Review and Mini Shoot Out

So after a hectic weekend with still not enough time using the lenses, it is time to share my results and findings.

As a 'health warning' this should not be considered a full on review, more an extended hands on, in the real world, also it will be from a Fuji users perspective, as I am not a Sony user.

Touit, why?

Looking at it from the perspective of the Fuji and Sony, it was a good way of increasing the reach of the brand, offering more choice for the consumer.

Interestingly I was speaking to one camera dealer who was recounting to me how he gets a fair few prospective Leica M owners coming in to his shop. Firstly he breaks the news to them that supply is an issue and then there is the small matter of the price...So he offers them the Fuji X Pro1, quite a few have  opted to buy the Fuji, one can imagine that to the discerning customer, the option of a Fuji X Pro 1 sporting Zeiss glassware will be even more compelling.

From the the perspective of Zeiss, it is a huge untapped market, one which was ripe for it to enter.

The Zeiss 32mm in all its cutaway glory.

Construction and Appearance.

When comparing Zeiss 32mm to Fuji 35mm what strikes you straight away is the quality.

Perceived by the user, or otherwise, this is a factor.

The Zeiss is a little bigger, a little heavier which lends it a jewel like quality, the controls being better damped on the Zeiss with the movements on the aperture ring very crisp.

I have spoken about the importance of physical lens size previously and how the physically quite big Canon 'L' series 35mm F1.4 is a perfect fit as a result, lending great balance.

So it is with the Zeiss 32 F1.8 fitting a little more comfortably in my hand than the Fuji 35 F1.4.

The Touit range is a departure for Zeiss when compared to the ZE and ZF lenses, that they utilise rubber aperture and focusing rings.


A first for Zeiss - Autofocus.

It works well too, in my hands it felt every bit as good as the Fuji X lens, but then so it should this lens range is made with the full support of the camera manufacturers.

As a result of the co-operation with the manufacturers you will see that they do not step on the camera manufacturers toes, 32mm v 35mm....F1.8 v F1.4

Manual focus is via electronically coupled focusing ring, in something which has worked with varying degrees of success and something I have been suspicious of.

I'm happy to report that the Touit manual focus works very well on the Fuji and though I have no scientific data on this I was able to manually focus more easily than with the Fuji lenses.


Fuji make good lenses, I remain impressed by the performance of the Fuji lens on my X100, in-fact if you have been anywhere near a Hasselblad H series camera you will have used a Fuji lens, as they design and make the lenses.

So in the face of  good Fuji lenses why did Zeiss enter the fray?

I became more familiar with Zeiss lenses when I shot a short earlier this year and I was immediately impressed, to such an extent I have adopted Zeiss lenses for key assignments, this comes after decades of using Canon lenses. The Zeiss lens which I am using nearly everyday for panorama's is the Zeiss Distagon 15mm F2.8, lens so good that it displaces the Canon glass - Zeiss do make the best wide angle lenses, more of that in a future post. The important thing is my very positive experiences with Zeiss glass led me down the path of trying these lenses out.

Zeiss lenses have a look and feel about them which is just that little bit different, with lovely colours, contrast and sharpness, you have to try them to really 'get' what they are about, for there are subtleties which make a considerable difference.

Mini Shoot out.

All images shot on a Gitzo 5562LTS tripod with Manfrotto 405 head, using Fuji's own jpg straight from camera with no adjustments.

Firstly the Fuji 35mm wide open at F1.4.

At 100 percent

Now the Zeiss 32mm

Wide open at F1.8

At 100 percent

Not exactly comparing 'apples with apples' but I wanted to do a 'real world' test at each lenses widest aperture, something we all use when up against it in super low light. Advantage Zeiss - a massive difference just about everywhere you look.

 Fuji 35mm at F5.6

At 100 percent

Zeiss 32mm at F5.6

Now at 100 percent

Advantage Zeiss again but not by quite such a big margin, that said, you are seeing a degree of detail here that is not present with the Fuji.

Fuji 35mm at F16

Now at 100 percent

Now for the Zeiss 32mm at F16

Now at 100 percent

Close, very close. A comeback from the Fuji in the final 'round' really not that much in it.


Best you draw your own as you will be the one who buys and uses these lenses, one is very good, the other is excellent, the Zeiss clearly ahead until they hit F16.

The winners and the losers in this? A win for Zeiss lenses but a win too for Fuji, for it will be a shooter who is a real Leica fan with a fat wallet who buys a M series over a Zeiss equipped Fuji X Pro1(the X Pro2, along with some of the cool new features from the X100S, cannot be all that far away either)

The X pro 1 has been considerably enhanced by this funny sounding but great performing glass, which has a quality look and feel which is rare these days.

No matter when I finally hand them back it will be with a heavy heart.

With a keen eye on the launch date of the Fuji X Pro 2.

Keep an eye out for more real world samples I'll be posting later this week.


ohnostudio said...

Funny you mentioned Balance. That's one of my big pet peeves as well.

Test in real life - absolutely! I have a standard regimen here for new lenses that in no way involves any test charts ;-)

Should you go this way in the future, what will your end goals be for use? Will you replace the X100? JUst curious.

odalbak said...

A comparison at 1.8 would be most interesting.

Pedro Barros said...

Thank you for this very useful comparison. Any plans for a similar shootout between the Fuji 14mm and the Zeiss Touit 12mm?

Drew Gardner said...


Yes, sorely tempted instead of an X100S as i prefer the slightly longer focal length.

I will be posting a comparison at F1.8 later this week.

Sadly I do not have access to the Fuji wide lens for a comparison.


Steinar Knai said...

It would be nice to see the images side by side, not interrupted by the 100% crop, to better compare. But frankly, it is hard to see any difference and I have a really good screen!