Comparison: Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8 and 25mm 2.4

Introduction

comparison zeiss loxia 21 24 2.4 2.8 21mm 25mm
Zeiss Loxia 25mm 2.4 and Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8

Specifications

Loxia 25mm 2.4Loxia 21mm 2.8
Diameter62mm62mm
Length69mm67mm
Filter Thread52mm52mm
Weight380g370g
Max. Magnification1:6.41:7.8
Min. focus distance from sensor25cm25cm
Number of aperture blades10 (straight)10 (straight)
Elements/ Groups10/811/9

These comparisons are a lot of work and take quite a bit of time, so if you want to support our independent work please consider using one of our affiliate links when you make any purchase. It won’t cost you more but we will get a small comission. Thank you!

Loxia 21mm 2.8, 1499$ new:  amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links) | our review

Loxia 25mm 2.4, 1299$ new: amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links) | our review

Handling / Build quality

These lenses are almost the same. I always have to look at the aperture ring to be sure to pick the right one.
Only difference: the focus ring on the 25mm has less resistance than that on my 21mm and the spacing between 2m and oo is a bit narrower on the 25mm which made precise focusing at infinity a little harder with this lens.

Sharpness Infinity

Center


100% crops from center, A7rII

The 21mm has a bit more edge acuity at f/2.8 than the 25 at f/2.4 and f/2.8. Both reach their peak resolution at f/4.0, after that you can notice the impact of diffraction.

Midframe


100% crops from midframe, A7rII

Pretty much the same as the center.

Corner


100% crops from corner, A7rII

Both lenses have a slight field curvature which seems to hurt the 25mm more until f/2.8. At f/4.0 the 25mm looks better in the corners, at f/5.6 the 21mm catches up a bit again.

Both are very high resolving, well corrected lenses, you will be happy with either in terms of resolution.
If you want to nitpick: the 21mm looks better to me at f/2.8 than the 25mm at f/2.4 and f/2.8. At f/4.0 the 25mm looks better across frame. At f/5.6 there barely is any difference.

Sharpness Close up

Center


100% crops from center, A7rII

In the center the 21mm looks better to me and you barely gain anything from stopping down. The 25mm needs to be stopped down to f/4.0 at least to show a similar performance.

Far midframe (12mm from center)


100% crops from midframe, A7rII

In the 12mm region the Loxia 21mm faces some astigmatism issues wide open and really needs stopping down to f/4.0 for decent performance. Both lenses fare worst in this region of the frame and should better be stopped down to f/5.6.

Border (17mm from center)


100% crops from border, A7rII

In the border region it is pretty much a draw, they both look very similar to me.

All in all a good performance for both lenses as they focus rather close.

Coma


100% crops from corner, A7rII

Similar performance at shared apertures. Despite the high vignetting both can be used for shooting stars, which are less demanding than this cityscape I am showing here.

Bokeh

Scene 1

Scene 2

Scene 3

Scene 4

Scene 5

Scene 6

Scene 7

When adjusting the distance so the subject has the same size (e.g. Scene 1 and 6) the differences in terms of bokeh (quantity and quality) are not really meaningful in my view and I would not base my decision for or against either lens based on this.

The shots from this comparison can be found in full resolution in this album.

Chromatic aberrations (longitudinal)

close up


50% crops from center, A7rII

Both lenses feature the same minimum focus distance (25 cm) so the crops of the 25mm show a larger magnification.
The correction of loCA looks pretty similar to me at shared apertures in this comparison.

Strong backlight


100% crops from center, A7rII

The shots from this comparison can be found in full resolution in this album.

Conclusion

These two lenses are both so good, you can base you decision on what focal length you prefer. Simple as that.

These comparisons are a lot of work and take quite a bit of time, so if you want to support our independent work please consider using one of our affiliate links when you make any purchase. It won’t cost you more but we will get a small comission. Thank you!

Loxia 21mm 2.8, 1499$ new:  amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links) | our review

Loxia 25mm 2.4, 1299$ new: amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links) | our review

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My name is Bastian and for many years I have been mostly shooting Nikon DSLRs. As of today I have made my transition from Nikon to Sony and I am mainly using small but capable manual lenses. My passion is landscape photography but I also like to delve into other subjects from time to time.

16 thoughts on “Comparison: Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8 and 25mm 2.4”

  1. Thank you a lot for this article Bastian.
    It seems these two lenses are wonderfully made.
    I loved the job you did on the Bokeh comparaison. It would have not believed this slight difference of focal lens makes a huge impact on the perspective, especially on the scene 6!
    Have a good day,
    Thomas

  2. Thank you very much, this is a great comparison!
    I’m now officialy saving up for the 21mm 🙂
    Collecting data, sample images and infos here and there on the net I had a slight sense that I like the performance of the 21mm better (especially because of CA), but nowhere else is it nearly as clear as it is in this comparison, however similar the two lenses are.
    Best regards

  3. I like the review, particularly the outcome. As i view the images, i couldn’t see much differences at a glance, but somehow the 21mm looked sharper in the center of some of the images. It’s also tricky to judge as the pictures have a slightly different composure due to the focal length.
    To summarise that both lenses are equally as good and it’s down to preference of focal length, is good to read (as a 21mm owner), but also brings back the question as to why they made a 25.

    1. At f/2.8 in almost every comparison the 21mm looked sharper to me as well.
      Whether that is actually field relevant, I am not so sure.
      The 42mp sensor is really quite revealing and for most people these subtle differences will rarely – if ever – be visible, that is my guess at least.
      The choice of focal lenghts though is a bit of a mystery to me, too.

  4. Great work as always, Bastian, and very much appreciated. Do you have plans to do a similar comparison vs. the Batis 25? I’m sure the Loxia 25 will have an advantage, though I’m dying to know whether it’s enough of an advantage to warrant selling my Batis to make the switch.

    1. Thank you!
      I won’t be doing such a comparison. The Loxia 25 we already had to send back to Zeiss and seriously, whether someone leans more towards the Batis 25 or the Loxia 25 is mostly a question of AF, form factor and sunstars, less so a question of image quality.

  5. Thanks for the detailed test. However, I was wondering this strange slight loss of sharpness between 4 and 5.6. I think it’s not diffraction, it’s a slight focus jump. I’ve repeated the test on my Loxia 21 and can confirm: 5,6 and 4 are equally sharp if you re-focus at 5,6

  6. I’m getting the sense that the 21 is still better for astro due to the flatter field wide open, but as a landscape lens they’re even.

    Looks like I’m back to looking for the 21 or waiting for the rumored 24 GM.

  7. Bastian, Many thanks for the review. I am quite interested in the 21mm but would like your opinion on how much better it would be than the Nikon 20mm 2.8 AFD which I already own, if you have ever used one.

  8. Thank You
    To my eye the 21 is sharper in the dollar bill close ups. In the Bokeh scenes the 21 has a 3-D quality missing in the 25. Maybe it is because the more gradual drop off in definition creates more perceived dimensionality. In the search for the ultimate in lens quality I think the 21 wins.

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