ZEISS Touit

Christian Dandyk likes to work with compact system cameras. And he appreciates the excellent imaging quality of ZEISS Touit lenses. He also feels the new Sony Alpha 7R with full-frame sensor can be easily combined with Touit lenses, which are optimized for APS-C sensors. 

Touit 2.8/12 with the Sony Alpha 7R
Touit 2.8/12 with the Sony Alpha 7R

Alpha 7R, Touit 2.8/50M, f/8, 1/25 sec, ISO 200
A dry cleaner somewhere in Berlin-Neukölln
Full resolution on Flickr

Christian Dandyk is a versatile photographer. Dance photography, street photography, portraiture and landscapes, as well as test images with the newest lenses and cameras are all part of his wide repertoire. Around two years ago, he started to switch to compact camera systems with E-mount; previously he had used a full-frame single-reflex camera. “The cameras are nice and light, and ideally suited to my type of photographic work.” The Touit 2.8/12, Touit 1.8/32 and most recently the Touit 2.8/50M became a permanent part of his gear. Since the Sony Alpha 7/ 7R was introduced in the fall of 2013, lenses with E-mount are now for the first time available for full-frame – an enticing option for Dandyk. The larger CMOS sensors offer twice as much light-sensitive surface as the APS-C sensors. This reduces noise, improves the rendering of colors and gives the photographer a higher dynamic range. Moreover, the Alpha 7R does not have an anti-aliasing filter, which increases the sharpness of the images even further. “I simply didn’t want to miss out on such a significant improvement in quality.”

Tele-Tessar T* 4/85 ZM, adapted for the Sony Alpha 7R
Tele-Tessar T* 4/85 ZM, adapted for the Sony Alpha 7R

Since he knew the lenses should have no problems matching this quality, it was clear to Dandyk that he could continue using his existing portfolio of ZEISS ZM lenses and adapt them to the Alpha 7R. “The time-proven ZM series not only covers full-frame, but also delivers excellent imaging performance and high build quality. I particularly liked the quiet click-sound when setting the aperture.”

Given these many benefits, Dandyk is prepared to accept some limitations, such as the lack of an electronic connection to the camera. The fact that he has no autofocus when using ZM lenses he also does not see as a disadvantage — quite the opposite: “The long focus throw in combination with the focus peaking and focus magnifier of Sony cameras makes your work as a photographer a lot easier, enabling you to focus more precisely. That even exceeds what many autofocus lenses can do.”

Alpha 7R, Tele-Tessar T* 4/85 ZM, f/4, 1/250 sec, ISO 500
Holocaust Memorial, Berlin
Full resolution on Flickr

Images like this still-life, detailed shot of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, in which the transition from sharp to out-of-focus areas as your eye moves towards the back underlines the oppressive mood of this memorial site, demonstrate the performance of the adapted ZM series. “The Tele-Tessar T* 4/85 ZM and the C Sonnar T* 1,5/50 ZM are excellent lenses for the Alpha 7 and Alpha 7R, and as such are my absolute favorites and tip for these cameras. On the other hand, I must say that ZM lenses below a focal length of 35 millimeters can’t be ideally adapted for the A7 and A7R because discolorations can appear at the edges. Also, the sharpness in the edges can weaken with decreasing focal length. This deterioration, however, has nothing to do with a lack of quality of the ZM Biogon, but with how the construction as a whole is adapted. The flat angles of the main beam path of these wide-angle lenses, which were originally developed to be used on rangefinder cameras, cannot be used optimally when adjusted for the image sensors of compact system cameras. In the focal range of 35 millimeters, I like to use the Sony RX1R. This camera, which has a ZEISS Sonnar T* 2/35 that fits perfectly and is already firmly built-in, is hard to beat for this focal length.”

Alpha 7R, Touit 2.8/50M, f/5.6, 1/160 sec, ISO 100
Roof construction in the Sony Center, Berlin, detailed view
Full resolution on Flickr

Even in situations where adapting would have been a good option, Dandyk decided to keep using the Touit lenses on the Alpha 7R: “I didn’t want to have to do without my Touit lenses. They not only create excellent images, but taking pictures with the Touit lenses is simply really fun. I have 36 megapixels at my disposal, but only use 15. You might say that’s a waste. But for me and many other photographers it’s usually more than sufficient because you seldom need to make large prints of the images. If, however, you do need to, you can still rely on the FE lenses from Sony/ZEISS, which were developed for the Alpha 7/7R and illuminate the full format: the Sonnar T* FE 2,8/35 ZA, the Sonnar T* FE 1,8/55 ZA and the Vario-Tessar T* FE 4/24-70 ZA.“

Touit 2.8/12 with the Sony Alpha 7R
Touit 2.8/12 with the Sony Alpha 7R
Alpha 7R, Touit 2.8/12, f/11, 1/50 sec, ISO 100
Roof construction in Sony Center, Berlin, total view
Full resolution on Flickr

Dandyk also likes working with the Touit lenses when taking pictures of buildings. The Touit 2.8/50M allows him to accentuate details, whereas the Touit 2.8/12 lets him capture total views better. “For anyone who wants to photograph city architecture, for example the Sony Center in Berlin, the Touit 2.8/12 is the ideal lens. The images are by and large distortion-free and sharp into the edges.”  With 99 degrees (diagonal), the Touit 2.8/12 currently has the largest angular field of any E-mount lens when used on Sony cameras with an APS-C sensor or on the Sony Alpha 7/7R in crop mode. As a result, it corresponds to the angular field of an 18-mm full-frame lens. Larger angular fields on a Sony Alpha 7/7R are currently only possible with adapter solutions (for example Distagon T* 2,8/15 ZE or ZF.2).

Alpha 7R, Touit 2.8/12, f/8, 20 sec, ISO 250 (taken with tripod)
Olympic Stadium, Berlin
Full resolution on Flickr

This interior view of the Olympic Stadium in Berlin was rather a casual shot, but according to Dandyk shows very clearly the performance of the Touit 2.8/12. “What fascinates me about this picture are the details. When you enlarge it, you can see an enormous amount of detail. The sharpness is simply phenomenal, from the rows of seats in the foreground, where I got up very close, all the way into the far corners of the stadium.”

Alpha 7R, Touit 1.8/32, f/7.1, 1/500 sec, ISO 500
“Samuels Crew” from Berlin, ready for the shooting in a dance school
Full resolution on Flickr

For studio photography, too, Dandyk prefers the Touit lenses. While taking pictures of the street and breakdance group “Samuels Crew”, he used the Touit 1.8/32 for the first time in such a setting – and was impressed. “Fantastic sharpness, great color contrasts, simply ideal for this kind of shooting.” For the location, Dandyk chose a dance school in Berlin with a unique atmosphere: With the aperture almost  closed, the flash, which was reflected in the mirrors of the dance floor, appeared as stars.

Alpha 7R, Touit 1.8/32, f/11, 1/125 sec, ISO 500
Dancers from ”Samuels Crew“, caught between the lights of a Berlin dance school
Full resolution on Flickr

“The Touit 1.8/32 creates really wonderful stars. Taking pictures with these lenses in the studio is so much fun. The sharpness is incredible and everything just works perfectly: the colors, the contrast. Also, when I use ZEISS lenses, I know I’ll always achieve a consistent look. If I change a lens during a shoot, the colors and contrasts remain constant across all images. That’s why I’m prepared to make some compromises – good compromises – between the APS-C lenses of the Touit family and the full-frame of the Alpha 7R.”

 

About Christian Dandyk

Christian Dandyk was 13 when he learned the craft of photography from a professional. From that point on, his dream was to become a photographer himself. But life can often go in a different direction and Dandyk first worked for a management consultancy. He finally fulfilled his original goal at the age of 40. Today he has his own studio, organizes the Alpha Festival for photographers in Berlin in cooperation with Sony, and gives photography workshops.

http://www.berlin-backstage.de/

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13 Comments

  1. Hannes

    Funny - just found some photos from Berlin Backstage while looking for samples of the new Touit 50/2.8M yesterday.

    And he's right - you should shoot with whatever is the most fun to you. For me, that's the NEX-7 (love the Tri-Navi!) with Zeiss primes. Not only Touits though - I love my 24mm Sonnar. It's such a versatile, fast lens which renders beautifully, and I prefer it's AF motor over the Touit 32 because it's silent. Also, the maximum magnification of 1:4 is a beautiful addition to the lens.

    Just wanted to say that it's great to have options nowadays - you don't need to shoot full frame anymore to being able to fully appreciate the quality of Zeiss lenses.

    Also, some very good photos here. The Olympic Stadium photo looks awesome. Oh, and the Touit 2.8/12 on the A7r looks bad ass too.

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Hi LEPIDI,

      At the moment, we are working also on manual focus lenses for Sony's full-frame CSC. These lenses will be equipped with an interface to provide EXIF data to the camera. These lenses will be in stores end of 2014. However, we cannot provide any additional details right now.

      Best regards,
      Your ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
      1. When you design the new ZM manual focus lenses please keep the old school design with the silver and black versions, not the modern plastic looking designs.

        As for aperture please make fast aperture versions with a compact housing, not big like the otus, but small like the zm.

        Reply
  2. fullmoon

    Two questions:

    Why buy a 36 MP camera if you don't need 36 MP in the first place?

    Why buy a full frame camera if you don't need full frame?

    That's exactly what happens when using the Touits on a A7R. In that case one would be much better off with a NEX7.

    PR nonsense...

    Reply
  3. PH Lasky

    Hey full moon, why buy the 36m.p. A7r ? Because you can use Voightlander or Leica lenses and achieve truly world class wide-angle or normal focal dist. images with a sensor that can record all the image info passed by the lens. That's why. With either the A7 or A7r you are investing in Sony's E system that can accept world-class lenses including the above and Cannon.

    Reply
  4. jediphoRin

    everyone knows you don't want make a digital ikon ZM but maybe situation's changed: sony made A7s camera with a 12mp sensor and ISO409600. If ikon ZM would be with the A7s sensor it will be a real hit. And if it will be the monochrome camera i will buy it at once :)

    Reply
  5. David Robin

    Last year (or was it already the year before?), Zeiss announced that a new lens for M-bayonet was soon to be announced.
    Since then, I have not read any more words about this lens, some Zeiss internals declared that it would be a wide-angle lens. What happened with that lens? please.

    Thanks in advance

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Post author

      Dear David!
      Yes, it has been a while since we announced a new ZM lens, right. And it has been a busy time for us with the development and the launch of our Touit lenses and the Otus 1.4/55. At the moment, alongside many other products, our developers are currently working on a new lens for the ZM series. The lens is currently scheduled for the end of 2014. Due to the complexity of the product development, the exact date of availability may change to 2015. Therefore, we cannot as yet publish details on the technical characteristics at the present time, sorry. Please tune into our communication channels (e.g. http://www.zeiss.com/photo, http://www.zeiss.com/clnblog) to find out about our current product launches. Thank you for your patience and best regards
      your ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
  6. Stephen

    I would very much like to see a lens line announced for the new sony E mount full frame system that is similar to the current ZM or ZF2 lens line, the classic design is much more desirable. Ideally the lenses I would like to see first would be an 18mm, 35mm and a 50mm all with good aperture ranges.

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Post author

      Dear Stephen!
      We are currently working on manual focus lenses for full-frame CSCs like the Sony Alpha 7R. They are expected to be in stores by the end of 2014, However, we cannot provide any additional infos right now. Please keep yourself informed via the usual channels.
      Best regards
      ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
      1. DavidDavid

        How about a version for the Fuji X-mount. I found the X-T1 manual focus modes very attractive and it deserved Zeiss MF lenses for the X-mount too. I am quite convinced Zeiss would be very successful with the X-mount MF lenses.

        Reply
        1. Phil Dickinson

          Or better still, how about a T* 0.66x focal reducer so we could use ZE lenses, with all exif data, on our fuji x-series cameras? You could call it the aMutar.

          Reply

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