I had the opportunity to use the Zeiss Loxia 2/35 for some days and want to share my experience with this lens.
As you know I’m not into MTF charts and lab results. I want to experience and feel the use of the lenses I review.
The Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2.0 is a Biogon design and is made specially for the Sony E mount cameras. It has all the features we know of Zeiss. Weather sealed (blue ring), “DeClick” feature of the aperture ring and because it’s designed for the E mount you have full Exif data available.
It features a total of 9 lens elements in 6 groups and it’s a really small lens, making it an ideal choice for the Sony E mount cameras.
And last but not least it’s a manual focus lens.
It’s made of a full metal casing and virtually distortion free.
Again a lens that can withstand the roughest environment so you won’t have to hesitate to go out in extreme weather.
(you just have to care about your not weather sealed Sony camera…..)
|Performance||Focal length||35 mm|
|Aperture range||f/2.0 – f/22|
|Camera mount||Sony E-Mount*|
|Format compatibility||Full Frame|
|Focusing range||0,30 m (11.81″) – ∞|
|Free working distance||0,23 m (9.06″) – ∞|
|Angular field** (diag. | horiz. | vert.)||63° / 54° / 38°|
|Diameter of image field||43 mm (1.69″)|
|Coverage at close range (MOD)**||210 x 139 mm (8.28 x 5.49″)|
|Image ratio at minimum object distance||1 : 5.8|
|Lens elements | groups||9 / 6|
|Physical||Filter thread||M52 x 0.75|
|Rotation angle of focusing ring||180°|
|Diameter max.||62 mm (2.44″)|
|Diameter of focusing ring||62 mm (2.44″)|
|Length (with lens caps)||66 mm (2.60″)|
|Length (without lens caps)||59 mm (2.33″)|
|Weight||340 g (0.75 lbs)|
Lens Handling and Build quality
Zeiss makes lenses to last a lifetime and the Loxia series is not an exception.
A full metal casing, metal aperture and focus rings, metal filter thread and lens hood, you feel that it’s a quality build.
The focus ring is very smooth to operate, which makes precise focussing a joy. The only thing that is different to the Milvus line-up is the travel direction. This is opposite to the Milvus and Nikon lenses that I use. Not a problem but something to get used to.
An other neat feature of the Loxia is that it can make use of the zoom feature when you focus.
This means that when you focus the camera can zoom in automatically so you can easily fine tune your focus. (this feature can also be disabled in the camera, if you prefer)
The aperture ring is also very smooth to operate and clicks every 1/3 of aperture stop. If you are using the lens for video you can also “DeClick” the aperture ring so it moves smoothly, which is required for video.
Weighing 340 grams, the Zeiss Loxia is heavier than the native Sony FE35mm f/2.8 but it feels well balanced on the body.
Zeiss Milvus 2.8/21 vs Zeiss Loxia 2/35
Lens Sharpness, contrast and flare resistance
The lens is of a Biogon design, which delivers excellent performance and minimises chromatic aberration and distortion.
Sharpness is good, especially in the center of the frame. Wide open sharpness is bit less than the Milvus but when stopped down to f/4 the sharpness is outstanding in the center of the frame.
Bokeh is very pleasing and soft.
Sunstars are very important to me, especially when photographing at night I hate bad sunstars from the lights.
The Loxia 35mm produces very pronounced 10 spiked sunstars which I really like. The are well defined and can be controlled perfectly.
Contrast is amazing with this lens, as with any other Zeiss lenses I have used. Micro contrast is very good, giving the image the punch which I like so much. To read more about why micro contrast is so important have a look here: Micro contrast explained.
Flare resistance is good. When in the least favourable situation, there is a small flare visible. All in all it’s well controlled.
Distortion is practically zero. Which make this lens a joy to use for city photography as all the verticals remain vertical.
- Small size
- Minimal distortion
- Build quality and handling
- Sharpness and contrast
- soft corners wide open
- flare resistance
Although the majority of people wouldn’t consider the Loxia or don’t even know the Loxia for their Sony mirrorless cameras, it’s a very good fit for the Sony E mount. The lens is small, has a good weight and produces very pleasing images.
The softness in the corners below f4 make it a bit less ideal for night cityscape photography, but when you take it out to the city and use f4 or higher you will love the images it produces. The sunstars together with the contrast and slight vignette together make up for very nice images. On the other hand when you use it for street photography it gives a rather pleasing feel to the image when the corners are a bit soft.
Like all lenses you have to consider how you are going to use it.
Because the lens is so small in size and produces beautiful bokeh, it’s an ideal candidate for street photography.
The smooth movement of the focus ring combined with the zoom feature and focus peaking on the Sony, you won’t have to worry about manual focus. You get to nail it every time.
I’m sure when you take this lens out for a day, you will love it.
Give it a try!
Join the discussion 2 Comments
I fully agree with your review. The Loxia 2/35 is a wonderful lens. One of my favourites. It has lots of character that’s not to everyone’s liking (see the mixed reviews elsewhere). You have to take your time setting it up for the photo that you want and also to get to know its characteristics. The softness in the corners at wide open can be used to your advantage to give a photo a special look. And if you don’t want that softness, just close the lens and everything becomes sharp. Although it can be done, this lens is not optimal for street photographhy if you want to catch that fleeting moment. But the beauty of the Sony A7/A9 is that you have a wide choice of other lenses for this work.
If you can embrace the way of working with this lens, it will never let you down for sure.