Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 ZF.2 Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 ZF.2 lens, a manual focus prime lens for the Nikon F mount. The same lens exists in “ZE” version for the Canon mount, which shares identical optical design, but with a slightly different body design (no aperture ring). I had a chance to test the Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 when evaluating other 35mm lenses, specifically the new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and the Samyang 35mm f/1.4. Having already reviewed the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G and the Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/2 ZF.2 lenses in the past, I wanted to cover most of the modern 35mm lenses for the Nikon F mount. After this and the upcoming Nikon 18-35mm review, I am planning to also cover the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX lens, along with two additional older Nikkor lenses – the 35mm f/2D and the 35mm f/1.4 AIS, which will pretty much complete the 35mm prime selection for the Nikon mount.

Zeiss 35mm f/1.4

Zeiss is known to make high quality manual focus lenses for Nikon and Canon camera mounts. Because of a strong partnership with Sony, Zeiss has been making lenses with autofocus capability for the Sony / Minolta mount as well, and has recently started getting into the mirrorless market with its new “Touit” line of lenses.

The Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 was announced in 2010 at the Photokina imaging show in Cologne, Germany. Targeted at enthusiasts and professionals that want a high-quality manual focus lens, the Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 is designed for a variety of needs, from landscape to travel photography. With its maximum aperture of f/1.4, the lens has excellent subject isolation capabilities and is well suited for portrait and low-light photography. Thanks to its all-metal legendary build quality and advanced optical design, the Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 is one of the heaviest and sturdiest 35mm lenses on the market. The lens is designed to work on both APS-C / DX and full-frame FX sensors, so it will work on DSLR cameras like Nikon D7100 (with a similar field of view as a 52.5mm lens) and D800. At a price tag of $1850 USD, this is also one of the most expensive modern 35mm lens for the Nikon F mount.

Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Sample (13)

NIKON D800E + Zeiss Distagon T* 1.4/35 ZF.2 @ 35mm, ISO 100, 13/10, f/16.0

Does the performance of the lens justify its $1850 price tag? How does it perform wide open and when stopped down? How does it handle? In this review, I will do my best to answer these and other questions and will show you image samples from the lens, with comparisons against the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G, Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and Samyang 35mm f/1.4 lenses.

1) Lens Specifications

  1. Mount Type: Nikon, Canon
  2. Focal Length: 35mm
  3. Maximum Aperture: f/1.4
  4. Minimum Aperture: f/16
  5. Lens Construction: 11 Elements in 9 Groups
  6. Angle of View: 63º
  7. Number of Diaphragm Blades: 9
  8. Minimum Focusing Distance: 30cm/11.8in
  9. Filter Size: 72mm
  10. Dimensions (Diameter x Length): 78x120mm
  11. Weight: 830g
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Sample (15)

NIKON D5200 + Zeiss Distagon T* 1.4/35 ZF.2 @ 35mm, ISO 3200, 1/100, f/8.0

Other technical information about the lens can be found in the Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 page from our lens database.

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