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Thread: Looking for 20mm - The Zeiss Brothers

  1. #1
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    Looking for 20mm - The Zeiss Brothers

    20mm is my favorite focal length.

    Firstly, for introduction, I have a 5DmkII, 16-35/2.8, 24-105 and 70-200/2.8II. I've owned the fishy and 24-70 previously. After spending a long time with these lenses at various focal lengths I've found that 20mm is what I like best. I can even take y 16-35 and shoot through the range, and I find that 20 exactly pleases me the best. It 'fits' my inner view of the world.

    Anyhow, I'm thinking of ditching some lenses and just sticking with what I like, or just shooting it for a year or something. Looking at the 20 options in primes, the

    • Canon 20mm is out as it is too poor a lens
    • The 24's are out - too cramped for me
    • The 16's are out - too much in the frame
    • My 16-35 is quite nice, but bigger and more general purpose then I need (I keep putting it at my favorite focal length)


    So that seems to leave the Zeiss brothers, the 18mm and 21mm

    • I'm OK with manual focus, since at least I have a focus indicator (but AF is preferred)
    • Love the apparent build
    • 21mm is a bigger prime then I'd like, the 18 is more a size I'm looking for
    • 18mm on the 16-35 seems too wide, but the 21 seems close enough to what I want


    So I'd like to go Zeiss 18, but Zeiss 21 seems like what I should get. I prefer just buying a lens and not renting, I can never figure out how I feel about a lens until I actually own it for a few months.

    Thoughts? Any owners of these lenses? Any other choices I've missed?

  2. #2
    Moderator Steve U's Avatar
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    I have the 21, just buy it. If you want the most usable highest IQ wide it can't be beat. Once you've gone Zeiss you'll never go back.
    Steve U
    Wine, Food and Photography Student and Connoisseur

  3. #3
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    It's easier to crop an 18mm than to step back with a 21mm. Don't suppose you'd lose too many pixels that way. But the 21mm IQ is better than the 18 from what i've read and seen.

    There's also the Sigma 20mm f/1.8, read Bryan's review, I think he absolutely loved it
    ...
    *cough*

    Zeiss also had 20mm in f/2.0, f/2.8, and f/4.0 flavours, mostly in C/Y mount (which you can adapt to EF for a few $). Some have better IQ and barrel-distortion than the others, google for reviews (nothing standard, just user reviews i've found). Most go for less than $300-400 on ebay, you could always buy one, try it out, and sell it for what you paid afterwards if you don't like it.
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
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  4. #4
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    The 21mm does work great for ya anonymous
    Words get in the way of what I meant to say.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mark Elberson's Avatar
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    Dare I say:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Elberson View Post
    Guess who's back, back again
    Americo's back, tell a friend
    Guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back...

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    Well, looks who's back!

  7. #7
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    That`s one freakishly large Sackboy. I wish him well in his newly announced Kart racing adventures.

  8. #8
    Moderator Steve U's Avatar
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    Welcome back Americo. Looking forward to seeing your posts on the suitable threads. Back on track now.
    My dog with the 21mm.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Steve U
    Wine, Food and Photography Student and Connoisseur

  9. #9
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    Meanwhile, seems I was wrong on the old versions of Zeiss 20mm, there were only ever f/2.8 and f/4.0 versions, no f/2.0 (maybe I dreamed that). And they came in m42 as well as C/Y mounts.
    Anyway, read this thread for opinions on the f/2.8 vs f/4.0, third post down is useful. In short, the f/4.0 is apparently sharper, but not great, somewhere I've read that the Nikon 20mm is better than both.
    Also, I read something yesterday but now i've lost the link, comparing the 20mm Zeiss to the 16-35L (mk1 i think). The 16-35 won easily for wide-open sharpness, and much better contrast and colours (but then, the 20mm is only $300 or so).

    In short, from what i've read reviews and such, if you can afford the 21mm ZE Zeiss, go for it, I wish I could. 1mm longer probably won't make too much difference to your framing I hope...
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
    Gear Photos

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mark Elberson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gojira1976 View Post
    Awww shucks Mark, thanks for that warm welcoming, sorta reminds me of Paul Revere xD I really wish I could afford that flash, and I am still considering, as long as it continues to be available, you can consider it mine
    If you want it, it's yours :-) Let me know when you are ready.

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