|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
Regular readers of OP will know that we love mirrorless cameras, except for the name "mirrorless" (see "In This Issue" in the November 2013 issue). As a class, mirrorless cameras have everything most of us want—large, high-resolution image sensors, powerful onboard image processors, a compact design that makes them good traveling companions and the ability to shoot RAW files for maximum control over the images.
One area where the mirrorless models fall short compared to their DSLR kin is in the breadth of lenses and accessories. That's only natural. DSLRs and SLRs have been photography mainstays for more than 50 years. Mirrorless digital cameras have been around for just a couple of years, and mirrorless models arrived in an era when photography technology is evolving at an incredibly rapid pace. More accessories are coming to market, and lens lineups are getting more complete every year.
As mirrorless cameras expand their foothold, lens manufacturers have started developing models. This is excellent news for photographers. It means that not only are mirrorless mounts being seen as here to stay, but there's more choices of focal lengths. Participation from these independent lens makers is so important because it means other perspectives on the market are entering the fray. A camera maker might make a decision that some focal lengths or lens types only have a small demand and it's not worth their time to develop and manufacture a lens at that scale. On the other hand, an independent lens maker might find that size demand to be an excellent opportunity. The upshot for us as photographers is that we get more niche focal lengths and more options overall.
Available in 12mm and 32mm focal lengths, the Zeiss Touit lenses are compatible with APS-C-sensor Sony E-mount and Fujifilm X-mount cameras.
Zeiss has worked closely with Sony for several years, so it's perhaps no surprise that the company would come out with some very intriguing lenses for the Sony E-mount, which are now also available for the Fujifilm X-mount. The Zeiss Touit 12mm ƒ/2.8 and 32mm ƒ/1.8 lenses were designed specifically for mirrorless cameras. The 12mm Touit on an APS-C-sensor camera gives us perspective that's similar to an 18mm lens on a full-frame camera. That's wide without being excessively wide. Think Stanley Kubrick rather than Hawaii Five-0. The 32mm Touit yields a perspective similar to a 48mm on a full-frame camera. It's a solid "normal" lens that's good for everything from street photography to landscapes.
In creating these lenses, Zeiss wasn't out to make ordinary run-of-the-mill optics. Both lenses have nine-blade irises, which, when combined with the ƒ/2.8 and ƒ/1.8 maximum apertures, respectively, give you the ability to create beautiful, smooth bokeh effects. Of course, the fast maximum apertures give you low-light shooting opportunities, too. Each lens also has the Zeiss T* multicoatings for maximum light transmission, edge-to-edge sharpness and even exposure. These are high-end lenses for serious photographers. Estimated Street Price: $999 (12mm); $720 (32mm).
Contact: Zeiss, lenses.zeiss.com.