Distagonal

And now for prime time – the one lens I intended to buy in 2010!


Meet the Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 SSM ZA.


It’s a lightweight companion to the A900, perfect for street shooting.

Well, okay, maybe the Sony NEX-5 with Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake is better… I have to admit, I am a lot more comfortable doing thorough street photography with it. I have to get back in tune with street photography using much more noticeable cameras.


Here it is, on the Sony SLT-A55. Because its SSM in-lens focusing motor is silent, it makes for great normal video in low light.

So what is the point of it being just F2.0 when Canon and Nikon have 24mm F1.4 lenses?

Optical quality. Zeiss makes very little compromise on contrast and detail. The lens is already great wide open – stopping down just increases depth of field. The lens is not less contrasty wide open, like my Minolta 50mm F1.4!


Oh, and of course, one very cool thing – being a F2.0 design, it is much more affordable compared to the Canon/Nikon counterparts, and it can focus a lot closer.


This is 19cm away from the sensor! (Shot with the SLT-A55, as per the setup above.)


This is pretty darn close, too. Note that it is a wide-angle macro!


It is nicely paired with the SLT-A55 because it gives the angle of view of 36mm on full-frame – which is the same as your phone’s camera angle of view! This makes it a very handy focal length.

I know, I used to say I hated this focal length because it was so common, but it is indeed practical.


Anyway, here are some other primes I saw at Sony Style KLCC.

From left to right: Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 SSM ZA, Opteka 85mm F1.4, Sony 35mm F1.8 DT SAM, Sony 85mm F2.8 SAM, Minolta 50mm F1.4 (Original), Sony LA-EA1 A-mount to E-mount adapter.


This is the Sony 35mm F1.8 DT SAM on the A55. Very, very nice focal length, and very detailed wide open. This lens made a far better impression than the online samples I’ve seen of plain stuffed toys and doorknobs and bottles and batteries that people have been using this lens to take pictures of!


Meanwhile, here is the A900 with the Sony 85mm F2.8 SAM. Pretty portraity, I’d say, while retaining that detail.


What about the Sony 35mm F1.8 DT SAM on full-frame? I pressed the lens release button on the A900 to disable the lens checking, so it would not automatically switch to APS-C mode. When focused at infinity, you can see vignetting.


So I went home and took a family picture.

Left to right, back row: Minolta 50mm F1.4 (Original), Sigma 70-210mm F4-5.6, Minolta 70-210mm F4 “beercan”, Cosina 70-210mm F2.8-4 1:2.5x Macro, Opteka 85mm F1.4, Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA, Tamron 200-400mm F5.6.

Left to right, middle row: Peleng 8mm F3.5 circular fisheye in M42 mount with A-mount adapter, Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG, Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4 EX, Sony 18-70mm F3.5-5.6 DT (gear-stripped and disassembled donation to science), Vivitar 24mm F2.0 adapted to A-mount, Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 SSM ZA, Minolta 24-50mm F4 (Original), Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5(D).

Left to right, front row: Sony LA-EA1 A-mount to E-mount lens adapter, Teleplus MC4 1.5x teleconverter, Teleplus MC4 2.0x teleconverter.


And now, just the primes.

Left to right, back row: Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 SSM ZA, Opteka 85mm F1.4, Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA.

Left to right, middle row: Peleng 8mm F3.5 circular fisheye in M42 mount with A-mount adapter, Minolta 50mm F1.4 (Original), Vivitar 24mm F2.0 adapted to A-mount.

Left to right, front row: Sony LA-EA1 A-mount to E-mount lens adapter, Teleplus MC4 1.5x teleconverter, Teleplus MC4 2.0x teleconverter.


Moving on…


Yes I did take pictures. The close focus really helped with this shot.


It also makes a cool toy-shooting lens.


Of course, I did go out with this lens…


Here’s geekster! The lens goes much closer but I’ll leave those shots out.


And so I went to the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show 2010 at Putra World Trade Center.


Shot with the A55 and Zeiss 24mm F2.0. Great for the grab shot.


Shot with the A900 and Zeiss 24mm F2.0. All shots from this one onwards were with this combo, at F2.0.


I love how this lens makes you get close, and they pose differently as a result.


It’s like they know – aha! Portrait orientation! Turn to the side!


She didn’t get that memo, but it’s okay, because she looks good.


You do get an exaggerated perspective sometimes. DxO Optics Pro had not come out with the Zeiss 24mm F2.0 lens correction module yet unfortunately (though, I can’t spot barrel distortion, if any, to be honest.)


And that is all for today.


Alright, maybe a 50% crop. (100% crop, resized down to 50%.)

8 thoughts on “Distagonal

  1. Albert Ng Post author

    ewin: Thanks! RM4699 retail, RM3xxx street price (have to check with Mr. Chin heh.)

    Will: Oddly, it’s actually an orange cardboard sheet, but I increased the exposure to bring out the shadows on the camera.

    Reply
  2. JaccoW Post author

    Very nice lens.
    A completely unrelated question though.

    Why are those girls wearing blue contacts?
    It gives them an unnatural glow and takes all the depth from their eyes.

    I never understood why a lot of Asian women are wearing them.

    Reply
  3. Albert Ng Post author

    JaccoW: Thanks!

    It brings detail in the pupils to look at, I guess, instead of just plain black. Like a frilly dress instead of a plain white T-shirt.

    Reply

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