Do I Love my Zeiss 32mm Prime?

Studying in John Rylands Library, Manchester
Studying at John Rylands Library, Manchester. Fuji X-T2, Zeiss 32mm lens, ISO800, f/2.2, 1/100″ handheld.

A couple of weeks back I mentioned that I had purchased a Zeiss 32mm prime for the Fuji X-T2. I’ve now had an opportunity to use the lens out in the field and I’m pleased, but not delighted. Here’s my reasoning:

  1. The lens is sharp, actually it’s very sharp. It also resolves lots of fine detail, even wide open. But because of this you tend to pick out even the slightest wobble when shooting.
  2. I struggled a little in low light situations and found it much better outside. For the image you see with this post, I had to shoot several frames to ensure I had a sharp one. It may be me, not being used to shooting without OIS and using a standard lens. What I do know is that I had a lot more confidence and success when using the Fuji 18-55 kit lens. Most of those images came out sharp whilst taking less care.
  3. I love the colours and tones produced by this lens. The contrast and saturation levels are pretty much spot on. I haven’t done very much editing with this image at all. I just set the camera profile and sharpening.
  4. I found the autofocus OK but perhaps a little on the slow side compared to my expectations.
  5. There was a slight audible noise from the aperture when shooting. Perhaps I only noticed this because I had the camera set to shoot with the Electronic Shutter and the sound turned. That makes the camera silent in operation, so it follows you would hear any noise, especially in a library.

In summary, this is a good lens which I’m keeping. It just didn’t blow me away, unlike the Fuji 56mm my friend was shooting with. That may be my next prime lens purchase.

4 thoughts on “Do I Love my Zeiss 32mm Prime?

  1. What a beautiful shot, Robin! And by the way, I am enjoying your new book. I consider myself “advanced” Lightroom user but I always pick up additional tricks from your books and this is no exception.

    Thank you.

    1. Thanks Jorge. It’s really great to hear you like the book and this image. Although I like to assume people don’t know much when they pick up one of my books, I try to include advanced information in there also.

  2. I very nearly bought the Zeiss 32mm but went for the Fuji 35mm instead after reading that the Zeiss was a bit noisy and slow focusing. Quality wise I don’t think there is much difference as the Fuji is very sharp and a bit smaller. I have found that I need to set the shutter to at least 1/125th on my XT-2 to combat shake with non OIS lenses unless on a monopod/tripod. This is why I’m looking at the new Fuji XH-1 with its built in OIS despite the extra size etc. as I don’t think a future XT-3 will have OIS without becoming larger. It’s a shame as it is about the only drawback of the Fuji for me (Olympus have managed it in a much smaller body) is lack of body OIS. Of course if your lenses are OIS then no problem and the XT-2 is a dream to use.

    1. Sounds like my observations about the lens may be correct. Fuji makes great lenses and had the Zeiss been a lot more (rather than a couple of pounds) I would have bought the Fuji. I agree with your thoughts about the OIS. My old Olympus EM5 had great in body stabilisation and I miss it on the X-T2.

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