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 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.
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
- Mount Type: Nikon, Canon
- Focal Length: 35mm
- Maximum Aperture: f/1.4
- Minimum Aperture: f/16
- Lens Construction: 11 Elements in 9 Groups
- Angle of View: 63º
- Number of Diaphragm Blades: 9
- Minimum Focusing Distance: 30cm/11.8in
- Filter Size: 72mm
- Dimensions (Diameter x Length): 78x120mm
- Weight: 830g