Image Quality: Sharpness
Zeiss has a reputation in the industry for creating stunningly sharp optics with high contrast and rich, saturated color. The Touit 12mm upholds that tradition…mostly. In the sharpness department, there is little to complain about. The lens is sharp across the entire frame right from f/2.8, even providing satisfyingly sharp corners at this wide aperture. Unfortunately, it falls just a little short of the lofty expectations I had for this lens. While resolution is generally high and very even across the frame, even stopped down, it falls short of the sharpest lenses available for the Fuji X-mount, including its closest competitor, the Fujinon 14mm f/2.8. There’s none of that ‘cuts like glass’ level of detail in the 12mm’s images, though you also won’t be disappointed by the sharpness of the images you get out of it either. On its own, it’s a very fine lens with great detail. Click on the image to the right for a large size example to get an idea of how the lens resolves. Click on the green arrow at the bottom of the screen once the enlarged view opens to see it even larger.
Image Quality: Bokeh
Being an ultra-wide lens, there is minimal ability to blur the background with the Touit 12mm, but when you focus close up, you can achieve some level of blurring. The bokeh out of the 12mm is generally unremarkable. It isn’t great; it isn’t terrible.
There’s a slight nervousness to the bokeh, and specular highlights have some bright ringing, but overall, the effect isn’t ultimately distracting.
Image Quality: Color, Contrast, Flare and Distortion
The Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 has a very pleasing contrast curve and color response, yielding natural images with good color and even contrast. It actually renders much like most Fujinon lenses in that department. It’s not quite the normal “Zeiss-like” rendering featuring high microcontrast and deep, saturated colors, but it’s quite pleasing to the eye. The Zeiss tolerates flare quite well in most instances, though it is possible to get it to provide some complex color orbs under the right circumstances. For the most part, it’s just fine.
The Touit 12mm has quite low distortion, especially for a lens this wide. It’s not quite zero, but in practical use, it may as well be. Distortion is nothing to worry about when using this lens, aside from the perspective distortion that such a wide lens offers, though this is a function of the focal length rather than any issues in the optical design.
13 thoughts on “Review: Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 Distagon (Fuji X-Mount)”
nicest article ive seen so far on the web about this new touit…..its nice ,but ill keep my 14
thanks for your effort
Very nice review, Jordan! And nice pics, too. Your findings, however are slightly at odds with mine (on a NEX 7). My Touit is definitely sharper at f:4.0 and beyond than wide open, to the extent that I only use f:2.8 when I have to. Conversely, it is really sharp (for a UWA lens, that is) at that point, to the extent that I wondered whether this extra measure of sharpness was not at the expense of micro-detail. My findings is that it is more biased towards putting color first than detail or sharpness, which is not unlike the “traditional” Leica rendering.
But the context for NEX is slightly different from that on a Fuji, because the only competition is the Sony 10-18 zoom, in itself, almost as expensive as the Zeiss, and not quite as good on all fronts. But, of course, it is a zoom for those who need it/prefer it.
What camera bag did you decide on to carry all your fuji x equipment.Ihad think tank mirroless mover 2.0,but with the addition of xf55-200 don’t know what small bag to purchase.Thanks,david.
Thank you for your superb assessments of these fine lenses. You are very accurate and fair. I appreciate your site.
Nice review. It would be nice an optical comparison of this lens with the same focal distance, one stop brighter, Rokinon 12mm f2. Just a suggestion.
Since the price has dropped to about USD/EUR 800 the Touit 12mm has become a very interesting alternative to the Fujinon XF 14mm. Esp. now with the stunning Fujinon XF 16mm it is a much better focal length combination. As the Rokinon/Samyang 12mm is manual focus only and doesn’t support automatic aperture, it’s no viable alternative to me.
Justin, thanks for this review. I did purchase an open-box 12mm for my X-T2, and agreed with your review on all points. I’m curious if you have ever tested it against Fuji’s 10-24 at 12mm, just for IQ, flare and contrast.
Thank you for your honest and detailed review of a lens that I’m seriously considering at the moment. I had always assumed that Zeiss lenses were completely out of my own price range, but for the next couple of weeks or so in the UK there is hardly any difference between the cost of this lens and the Fuji 14mm f2.8, which I’ve previously owned and been very satisfied with. Of course price is a factor for practically everyone and I suppose your own expectations would also have been partially influenced by comparable results from the same manufacturer on alternative camera systems. For what it’s worth, none of the five lenses I’ve thus far tried with my X-Pro1 have delivered much in the way of micro-contrast and so I wouldn’t have expected this one to be any different. It’s interesting though that many other Fuji users with prior knowledge of Zeiss have come to broadly similar conclusions as yours, but to be honest I find it puzzling how a previous Canon shooter, for example, could hope to mirror results from a Fuji camera by simply adding a Zeiss lens. It’s unrealistic and rather unhelpful for everyone else, but I found your own thoughts, by contrast, to be reasoned and most valuable. So thanks once again.