Looking deep into the starry sky with almost no optical weaknesses – the ZEISS Distagon T* 2,8/15 at night
Night pictures are challenging for any lens. The enormous contrast between dark areas and small bright dots of light can lead to optical imperfections such as spherical and chromatic aberrations, astigmatism and coma. In particular super wide-angle lenses have to overcome this test, something that the Distagon T* 2,8/15 does remarkably well.
Color fringing is almost completely corrected by this lens’s technically sophisticated correction of color aberrations. Tiny spots of light on the image field show almost no trace of spherical aberrations, coma or astigmatism — something that independent tester Lloyd Chambers can confirm. “A hallmark of the Distagon T* 2,8/15 is its outstanding contrast, superb color saturation and near-freedom from chromatic errors.” This high performance is achieved through a sophisticated optical construction, using two aspheric lens elements and special glasses with anomalous partial dispersion that correct chromatic aberrations.
A clear, starry sky is without doubt the ultimate discipline in night photography. So it is not surprising that users of the Distagon T* 2,8/15 have taken on this challenge to produce some exceptionally beautiful pictures. One such photographer is Dan Barr: “I chose the Distagon T* 2,8/15 to make this image because the 15mm focal length is ideal for capturing large swaths of night sky, and because this lens has many features that make it the perfect ultra wide-angle lens for night photography. It is sharp across the frame at the large apertures that are necessary here, and chromatic aberrations are almost undetectable. Coma aberrations, an aberration where points of light appear smeared and distorted, particularly at the edge of the frame, are a real problem for most lenses when capturing starry skies. The Distagon T* 2,8/15 excels here.”
The starry sky in this image taken in a remote location far from civilization is particularly beautiful. There is no haze or smog to fog the view, and no ‘light pollution’ from artificial sources to disrupt the image. Then again, in some contexts such ‘light pollution’ can add an extra something to an image like this one by Loscar Numael. “It was a cold and clear night at Zion National Park, which helped to display its beauty. A very majestic sight for sure, which I managed to capture with the help of the Distagon T* 2,8/15. At the lower-left corner some clouds and light pollution from the neighboring town peeked in, which helped to add an ethereal feeling to the whole image. Certainly the focusing precision, optical quality and CA control offered by the ZEISS lens helped me achieve the desired quality and final result I was looking for.”
Anthony Lau went so far as to make an eight-hour journey by horseback to a remote village in the north of Xinjiang, China to indulge his passion for photography. “I had to keep my luggage light and the excellent Distagon T* 2,8/15 earned a place in my backpack. Upon arrival I scouted for a good location. I composed this photo towards the Polaris for the circle trail; and in order to add some local flavor to the photo, I decided to use an abandoned farmhouse as my foreground. Whenever I come across an opportunity to shoot wide-field night-sky photography like this one, the Distagon T* 2,8/15 is always my top choice. I really appreciate the effort that ZEISS has put into this lens. In particular, chromatic aberration and color shift are basically minimal.”