October 12, 2015

Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 is the Newest Addition to the Full-Frame E-Mount Lineup

Zeiss Loxia 21mm f2.8
A little over a year ago, Zeiss announced the Loxia line of mirrorless lenses, designed to work on the Sony E-Mount and cover full-frame sensors.

The first two lenses out of the gate were the 35mm f/2 and 50mm f/2, and now they've added a brand new 21mm f/2.8, which rounds out the line at the wide end — though they're still missing some nice long lenses, which I have no doubt are coming eventually. If you're using these lenses in APS-C/Super 35mm mode this is a nice set as-is, but in full-frame you're probably going to want something longer like an 85mm (and if you've invested in some of the longer Zeiss lenses for Nikon/Canon they should match well). 

Zeiss Loxia 21mm f2.8 on Alpha Body

Here are the specs for the 21mm f/2.8 (you can see some sample images here):

  • Focal length: 21 mm 
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 – f/22 
  • Full-Frame 35mm Coverage
  • Min. Focus Distance: 9.84"
  • Number of elements/groups: 11 / 9 
  • Angular field, diag./horiz./vert.: 91° / 81° / 59° 
  • Coverage at close range: 11.06"  x 7.36″ (281mm x 187 mm)
  • Filter thread: 52mm
  • Dimensions: Approx. 2.44 x 2.83" (62.1 x 72 mm)
  • Weight: 0.87 lbs. (394 g)
  • Camera mounts: E-Mount
  • Aperture Can Be De-Clicked
  • Availability: December 2015
  • Price: $1,500

Zeiss explaining the Loxia line:

Essentially these lenses take the stellar image quality of previous Zeiss still lenses and adapts them for mirrorless cameras like the Sony Alpha series. Since the distance to the sensor (flange distance) is much shorter for the Sony E-Mount, these were able to be reengineered to be smaller and lighter, while still retaining everything that's solid about Zeiss, like the all-metal housing and smooth manual focusing. It's also very possible that these are rehoused from the Leica M-Mount Zeiss line, as that flange distance is only slightly longer. One of the best parts of this lens line, and something that works great for video, is the fact that you can de-click these yourself with a simple notch on the bottom:

Zeiss Loxia 21mm f2.8 De-Click

This is a great feature that Zeiss has begun incorporating into their lenses, and it's especially good for video shooters who want smooth aperture pulls while shooting. Zeiss tends to wait to get things right before they release products, so it's probably safe to say we will see most, if not all, of the EF/F-Mount stills line shrunken down to the Loxia line at some point in the future. 

At $1,500, this certainly isn't cheap, but you're paying for both image quality and build quality with Zeiss. If you shoot a lot of different formats you might be better off adapting the larger still lenses, but if you shoot a ton in the Sony E-Mount family these could be a great option. You can pre-order right now and we should be seeing the lens available in December.      

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2 Comments

I don't think Zeiss is shrinking anything to make these. I'm pretty sure they're just rehousing key lenses from their ZM line. They might need a new optical design for the 85mm because the ZM is an f4 which is probably why they put out the 21mm first. They never usually release lenses this way, usually they cover the long end and work backwards.

October 13, 2015 at 3:35PM

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You know that's probably what they're doing, I honestly have never been involved in the Leica world in any way so I'm less familiar with those.

October 13, 2015 at 4:25PM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department