Loxia 21mm f\2.8 Review (Pt. 1 – Preliminary Comments)

I received the lens Tuesday and took some preliminary shots on Wednesday.  Today I went out to do some infinity-focus landscape shooting to test the corners.  I used 45 degree angle shots to test all four corners at apertures 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8 and 11.  That allows you to test for de-centering or any kind of wavy focus characteristics.  I just got finished inspecting those test shots.  This copy of the Loxia 21mm is extremely good in all four corners across the whole aperture range tested.  As expected, it does improve from 2.8 up to 5.6.  But even wide open at 2.8 the corners are very good.  I’ll provide samples soon to demonstrate what I mean.  But until I put together some jpegs to show the results consider this simple proof.  I’m not going to return this manual focus lens that costs $1,500.  That’s quite a tribute right there.

Now for some subjective comments.  I’m using this on the A7S.  Not a super high resolution camera, but one that seems to highlight a lens that renders color and micro-contrast well.

The images look great.  The colors are punchy and the contrast makes the images pop.  So of course within a day of this lens showing up on my doorstep, Zeiss announces the Batis 18mm.  Normally this would have annoyed me.  But honestly, auto-focus is almost completely superfluous on a lens this wide.  And the mechanical focus is truly satisfying compared to the focus by wire that Batis provides.  Plus I’m still waiting for the Voigtlander 10mm to debut.  I think that lens will tick the box for ridiculous wide angle that I actually find uses for.

So while I’ll add to this review with more stuff (including photos), the short answer is the Loxia 21mm is a real keeper.