Zeiss Touit 12mm & 32mm First Impressions
Zeiss Touit 12mm & 32mm Lenses – Fuji X-Mount
My Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 and Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 lenses arrived from PopFlashPhoto this morning! I will be shooting with them for the next week, and writing several articles with plenty of sample images to give you a better idea of what kind of images they can produce. Please keep in mind that what I am writing here are my ”initial” impressions upon first handling the Touit lenses.
The first thing I thought when taking the lenses out of the box was “they are smaller than I expected.” For some reason, the sample images make them look huge, but they are actually the perfect size for the mirrorless systems, in my case, the Fuji X-Pro 1. Upon handling them, I quickly noticed the metal barrel since it immediately felt cold in my hand and unmistakably metal. Nice. The rubber focus and aperture rings are very “grippy,” and both lenses feel very solid and well made in my hands. The finish on the Touit lenses is very, very nice, and it matches the X-Pro 1 finish well. The apertures have a nice “old-fashioned” clicking sound to them and most will be happy to hear that they are a bit stiffer than their Fuji counterparts. On my copies, the aperture ring feels slightly stiffer on the Touit 32mm than on the Touit 12mm. The lens hoods, which are supplied with the lenses, snap on very snugly and their is no worry whatsoever that they will rotate or come off when in use. That’s good news to me. I owned many lenses (even high-end, expensive lenses) that I had to use gaffer’s tape to hold them on with. That’s no fun. Finally, both the front (I never use front lens caps) and rear caps are of high quality materials, and the rear caps fit very snugly giving the assurance that it will not fall off in your camera bag. Front lens caps are made in Japan.
The 12mm is a mini tank. It feels super solid and compact, yet not heavy. The aperture ring is smooth, has a nice clicking sound and feels similar to that of the Fuji 35mm f/1.4, but slightly smoother but about as “loose.” The aperture ring is very easy to move with only one index finger or thumb under the lens. When holding my X-Pro 1, my hand rests in the perfect position to easily change the aperture without thinking about it.
The plastic lens hood is crafted to perfectly fit the 12mm lens, and is very ergonomic. I cannot see using a third party lens hood with the 12mm since the supplied Zeiss hood is as flush as it can be. It fits very snugly, and feels fine when on the lens. But it feels slightly flimsy and a bit cheap when off of the lens. You can set the lens face down on its hood, but I wouldn’t advise it. It’s flat on the two longest sides, but it can easily tip over.
The focus ring is smooth, and about what you’d expect from a focus-by-wire (which I hate), mirrorless lens. It’s rubbery, grippy and well dampened, but gives you absolutely no pleasure when turning it. Unlike the sheer pleasure of turning the barrel of a Leica or Voigtlander lens. This is not a fair comparison, I know, but there is really nothing special about the feel of the focus ring other than it grips very well. It also has no hard stops on either end.
When mounted on the X-Pro 1, the 12mm Touit blocks just about the entire bottom right 1/4th of the optical viewfinder with the lens hood attached, and slightly less without the hood. So shooting the 12mm with the optical viewfinder is not as inviting.
Mounting and unmounting the 12mm is a pleasure. It grips so nicely, has more surface area to grab, and doesn’t feel as loose and spindly as the Fuji 35mm or 18mm when putting it on or taking it off of your camera.
Finally, the 12mm feels very well balanced when mounted on the X-Pro 1, and doesn’t seem to add a lot of extra weight. However, because of the design of the lens, and the way it flanges out on the end, my hand (which is a normal sized hand) feels slightly cramped. Again, all of these thoughts are initial impressions and I will have more to say on this once I use it in the field. But given the extremely wide field of view, and Zeiss quality, I think that most people will totally overlook these slightly negative points.
The 32mm is lighter, and feels a bit more “hollow” like the Fuji lenses, yet it’s still solid and feels very well made. The aperture ring is slightly stiffer on the 32mm, but it’s still possible to turn with a single index finger or your thumb.
The lens hood is again very form fitting and perfectly sculpted to fit the 32mm lens. It feels good on the lens, although a little longer than I would like. It’s however made of thicker plastic and feels more in line with the higher quality Zeiss lenses.
The focus ring feels no differently than on the 12mm, and is about the same width.
On the X-Pro 1, the 32mm Touit only blocks a small portion of the bottom right corner of the optical viewfinder, and is perfectly acceptable for a rangefinder “style” camera. With the lens hood removed however, the entire optical viewfinder window is visible and nothing is blocked. A third party lens hood may be desirable to some. Personally, I prefer metal hoods. However, there is a catch 22. When mounting the 32mm Touit on the X-Pro 1, the optical viewfinder zooms in and uses a considerably smaller rectangle than when using the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 lens.
Mounting and unmounting the 32mm is also a pleasure. It grips so nicely, has more surface area to grab, and doesn’t feel as loose and spindly as the Fuji 35mm or 18mm when putting it on or taking it off of your camera.
Finally, the 32mm also feels extremely well balanced on the Fuji X-Pro 1, it is the perfect size and feels very nice in your hands when in the shooting position. The smooth finish combined with the rubber focusing ring and aperture ring make it a real pleasure to hold. Again, all of these thoughts are initial impressions and I will have more to say on this once I use it in the field.
Lastly, the fit and finish of each lens is superb, but I think the top lettering, which is engraved into the lens barrel, that reads “Touit 2.8/12″ (and “Touit 1.8/32″) is a bit large and slightly silly-looking. I think writing just the focal length on the barrel would have been sufficient. Also, the lettering that reads “x-mount” near the lens mount is totally unnecessary.
Unboxing Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 Distagon
Unboxing Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 Planar
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I will be posting lots of sample images and more thoughts on each lens soon, so please check back.
The wonderful folks at PopFlashPhoto have loaned me the two Zeiss Touit lenses through their TRYOUT PROGRAM. To learn more CLICK HERE