Zeiss has just announced the Loxia 2.4/25. Here is some basic info from the press release.
Price: 1299€ / $1299
|Close Focusing Distance from the sensor
|Number of aperture blades
||10 / 8
Available from: March 2018
Compared to the Loxia 2.8/21.
And at f/5.6
Well, I am the only one in the team who doesn’t own (and love) a Loxia 2.8/21 but that is only for financial reasons and until now I was close to buying one. Now I might go for the 2.4/25 instead but I am not sure yet.
So far all we have is the press release but it comes with MTF curves which show that at f/5.6 the 25 has even better off-center sharpness than the Loxia 2.8/21 which until now defined the standard for a E-mount wide angle. Since the other specs are very similar to the Lox 21 and Zeiss knows how to make lenses I would be quite surprised if the 2.4/25 would behave any worse than the awesome 21. This is one of the rare cases where I am pretty sure that I know well enough what to expect just from a press release. But of course aspects like flare resistance or bokeh still need to be tested.
So the most important question for me is how well it would fit into my lens kit. I own the CV 2/65 APO and it is my favorite lens still. I have ordered the CV 1.2/40 which will most likely replace my CV 1.7/35. So far I had planned to add the Loxia 2.8/21 but now I think that the 2.4/25 could be more attractive for me because I would gain half a stop, a little better corners (not that I really care) and save 200€ (if I buy new). Looking at the images taken with my 16-35 I use it most often at 16mm and a little more often at 21 mm than at 25 mm but more often around 28 mm than 18 mm. The difference isn’t that significant though so that gives no real indication. I should probably plan to get a Laowa 2/15 in the future once they manage to put 10 aperture blades into it and then a 25mm lens would sit nicely in the middle while the gap between a 40 and 21 would be rather big.
The MTF charts of the new Loxia 25mm 2.4 look really promising, and the optical design is very similar to the Loxia 21mm 2.8, so I am not expecting any bad surprise.
The Loxia 21mm 2.8 has probably been my most used lens since I bought it (some samples here) and together with the Loxia 85mm 2.4 it is the one lens I can’t really find any flaw with. While I welcome a new lens at a different focal length with similar qualities, I never felt like I would prefer a slightly less wide version of the 21mm.
Being half a stop faster does not really matter to me at this focal length either; if you want to throw the background out of focus you have to get really close to your subject and even f/2.8 will often not be enough in terms of depth of field.
And if you are thinking about environmental portraits f/2.4 is not fast enough to visibly throw the background out of focus, I would rather use an f/1.2 to f/1.4 lens for that.
I also don’t plan on replacing my Voigtlander 35mm 1.7 + 5m PCX filter with the Voigtlander 40mm 1.2, as Phillip does, because I think the 35 is the better corrected lens (when he performs a comparison we will see whether I am right about that or not 🙂 )
So I am very fine with the 21-35 spacing in my bag.
So while I welcome this lens, as an owner of the 21mm version I am going to pass on it and hope the next one will be something longer or wider.
I was going to sit this one out. Although I have and love the Lox 21, I do find that the small difference between 21 and 25 is surprisingly significant. 25 is a much more general purpose lens, 21 (at least for me) is the first ultra wide. 21 is not an alternative to 25, it’s an alternative to 18. 25 is an alternative to 28. But I have been pretty happy with my current 25 solution, which is the Batis 25. It gives a usable f2 option for environmental portraits and the like, and is excellent stopped down.
Then along comes this new Loxia! At f2.4 it’s way better than the Batis at f2, and a touch better than the Batis at f2.8, where the Batis is very good indeed. And it’s still better, by what is probably a noticeable amount, at f5.6. And will have lovely 10 pointed sunstars. Hmm. This makes it pretty tempting. All of this is from the published MTF, but then Zeiss is one of a very few manufacturers where you can pretty much tell what the lens will be like in many respects from the published MTF chart. But of course the Batis is AF and faster, both of which matter a little for portraits, though not otherwise. Then it occurred to me: the rumor is that Sigma is planning a full range of FE Art lenses. If that range includes 24mm f1.4, that’s a better speed for environment portraits: at this focal length even f2 doesn’t give masses of separation. So Batis could be replaced with the new Lox and this hypothetical future lens. I hope no-one in my family is reading this….