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Canon Full Frame Test: Zeiss ZF 25mm Distagon

Zeiss ZF 25mm f2.8 v Canon 24mm f1.4 L

Zeiss ZF 25 Image Circle

The following 100% crops are taken from various parts of the image. The centre frame (Zone A) is here defined as an area of the sensor 7mm in radius located in the middle of the image circle. Samples are taken from both sides of Zone B (8–16mm distant) to check for decentering. Additional samples from near-field areas of Zones B and C (17–22mm out) will also be shown. Note that, as officially intended by Zeiss, Nikon users will never get to see Zone C or even the outer half of Zone B.

Performance at f2.8 (Zone A: Centre Frame)

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Canon 24mm L / f2.8 centre frame Zeiss ZF 25mm / f2.8 centre frame
0 points
1 point

From the outset, we see all the trademark Zeiss virtues in the new Distagon 25mm: beautifully 'solid', believable 3D rendition, punchy colour (again, this new Zeiss is a little warm) and crisp microntrast. It should be noted, though, that the Canon resolving just as well as the Zeiss, and it doesn't suffer from purple fringing around the railings. By f2.8 the 24L has practically no vignetting, unlike the ZF25. The same exposure here yielded a hot spot in the ZF25's frame centre, which favours it in the 100% crops above, but won't win it any prizes in the crops below.

Performance at f2.8 (Zone B: Left Side)

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Canon 24mm L / f2.8 mid frame Zeiss ZF 25mm / f2.8 mid frame
1 points
0 points

Performance at 24mm: f2.8 (Zone C: Upper Left Corner)

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Canon 24mm L / f2.8 corner Zeiss ZF 25mm / f2.8 corner
1 point
0 points

Perhaps it isn't fair to ask an f2.8 lens to compete wide open with a 24L two stops down from maximum aperture – but the Canon design is exceptionally versatile and priced comparably, even if it does occasionally fail to shine centre frame. Here the 24mm performs consistently well across the frame: these corners contain enough information in them to sharpen up nicely if required. However, the promise of the Zeiss ZF's centre frame behaviour raises expectations for its performance in the f4–8 range . . .

Draw a straight line
and follow it.

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