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Sunday, 25 January 2009


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Do you have any images you could show us which demonstrate this lens at its best?


Where are the images?

Please tell us "how to see curvature of field in pictures".

Best regards


"golden-eyes syndrome"?

I've never heard the term. How does curvature of field produce golden eyes?


Thanks for the brief write-up Mike. It's always good to get your impressions of the many lenses I'll never get to use. Many Pentaxians will want to hear how this compares with the FA31 Limited lens - have you had a chance to use that lens?

Thanks, Mike. A very timely review, as I'm looking at replacing my current 28 with something better. I'd been thinking of the 31 Limited, with the Zeiss being a possible contender. The 31 sounds better to me.

"'golden-eyes syndrome'? I've never heard the term."

It's not a real term. I was referring to what audiophiles call "golden ears" syndrome, which is the ability to detect fanatically nit-picky electrical and acoustic artifacts when listening to what would otherwise be enjoyable recorded music. I, for instance, can sometimes hear individual instruments recorded out of phase in a soundfield, and I'm particularly susceptible to hearing bass standing waves if they exist. This sort of thing generally doesn't contribute to enjoyment, all things considered.

Mike J.


Thanks for this review. You have some of the only reviews I ever read online that don't equivocate in any way. This lens has problems, you describe them accurately, and you pass your judgement. I can't tell you how many reviews I see that seem to be afraid to make a judgement. They show you sample shots, show images that clearly illustrate shortcomings, yet somehow completely fail to say what is apparent to anyone with a pair of eyes: "This lens is a stinker".

The last one you panned was the truly awful 24-120 Nikkor zoom that Nikon is inexplicably packaging with its D700 kits. That one still boggles my mind because anyone buying the kit will be sure that the D700 is a piece of junk, when it really is that dog of a lens they sell with it. I owned one, unfortunately, and you were spot on.

Take my word for this...you really don't want to start looking for curvature of field in pictures. (Sigh.)

Mike J.

Thanks, but your comment prompted me to add another sentence to the review, right after "Recommended? No." Take a look.

Mike J.


I would love to see your thoughts on the 25mm Zeiss, that's the one that really interests me!

I appreciate your clarification, and let me add one of my own: I realize that you were not pronouncing this particular lens 'a dog', but rather one that does not have match up to comparably priced lenses in this category. But that is exactly the sort of clarity that is so hard to find in lens reviews, both printed and online.

But I will stand by my (and your) assessment of the 24-120 nikkor as a dog. That lens IS a dog. Not good at all, and not bad in any good way ( as in a Diana lens ).

"Take my word for this...you really don't want to start looking for curvature of field in pictures. (Sigh.)"

A burden shared… :)

I'm not an owner of the 28mm, but do have the ZF 50mm and 25mm. I got the 50mm F1.4 after succumbing to camera lust for Nikon FM3a. As a Canon user I had no Nikkor lenses, and frankly didn't want any. The Zeiss appeared ideal; both with the company's reputation and the lack of auto-focus. Who wants a sloppy auto-focus lens on a manual focus camera? Well the 50mm shined. I don't know quite what it is, but slides and scans both look better than with my trio of Canon L zooms. The 25mm quickly followed but here things were not so simple. The 25mm is a big lens, heavily retro-focused (for digital users?), and wide open shows some dramatic purple fringing. It probably has distortion too, but who's looking! Still, in the right circumstances it has that Zeiss thing; and in the end both lenses are better, lighter and faster than all my Canons.

It is one thing to criticise a lens. But one has to compare it to others.
The FA31 has been mentioned. Is it better?
Or the K28/2 or the M28/2?

What is your alternative?

For some reason I thought curvature of field was always "concave", meaning closer in the corners than in the middle, but from the example this lens seems to be "convex". Is this unusual?

"The FA31 has been mentioned. Is it better? Or the K28/2 or the M28/2?"

If you'd like to send any of those to me, I'll give 'em a workout.

Mike J.

I have a painting that I believe was uncritically made from a photograph, because the buildings on the right side of the painting show barrel distortion (one of the problems with the Zeiss.) Somehow, I don't notice it so much in photos, because it's something you expect in certain shots, and my brain simply buys it. But in the painting, it drives me nuts. The buildings look like they're about to topple into the street.


Hold on. In Carsten's photo it is apparent the camera is not perpendicular to the axis of the screen/wall on which is located the filigree work. And not only in the lateral plane (obvious from the architecture of the church), but also vertically, as there is noticeable perspective distortion. So I don't think this image illustrates the lens flaw.

It does. It's just not an *ideal* illustration, being a real picture....

Mike J.

Is there a reason lenses such as this are always Manual focus and not auto-focus?

What I was wondering is how much better this lens performs againts the "wünderplastic" FA 28 2.8 or the "wündermetal" FA* 24 2.0 [which retails for 645 Euros approximately second hand].

´cos sometimes you find that those "wünderplastic" pentax lenses are truly keepers when compared to the most expensive competition [ie, the FA 35 and FA 50].

I can see it in the example. Kind of like the bad tilt/shift copy pics you see things in or out of focus you shouldn't.

Thanks for the review, Mike. I've long been itching for a high-performance 28mm lens, and I had hoped this one came closer to the Zeiss 35. Reports on the 28 have been very hard to find on the web, so this review is particularly worthwhile. Looks like I'll have to keep waiting for Nikon to get off its butt and make a new 28.

If you're looking for a thorough evaluation of the Zeiss 28/2 (and other Zeiss lenses), http://www.diglloyd.com/ is an excellent source. It's a paysite, but well worth the money IMHO.


I have the Zeiss 25mm on my K20D and love it... here's some shot's from my stream:


All of these have been played with colour wise, but the lens seems to have great contrast, and very good flare rejection in my experience.

The 28mm is reviewed here actually :


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