Zeiss Distagon T* 18mm f/3.5 ZE (Canon EOS) - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Sample Images

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Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/400s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/320s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/640s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/3.5
Exposure 1/3200s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/3.5
Exposure 1/2500s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/640s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/500s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/640s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/3.5
Exposure 1/2000s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/500s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/200s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/200s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 400
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/80s

Verdict

The Zeiss Distagon T* 18mm f/3.5 ZE may live in the shadow of the more popular Distagon T* 21mm f/2.8 but it is definitely worth to be taken into account when shopping for an ultra wide-angle prime lens. The resolution figures are slightly worse compared to its cousin but it is obviously also wider and as such more difficult to design. The lens is already pretty good at max. aperture and capable of very good results across the image frame at medium aperture settings. There's some field curvature but regarding the immense field of view its basically only somewhat relevant at f/3.5. The amount of barrel distortion is only moderate but a bit complex (mustache style). Lateral CAs are comparatively well controlled albeit visible at times. A real weakness is the amount of vignetting which is extreme at f/3.5 - a rather typical flaw of the Zeiss Z-series it seems. However, it's not overly annoying at mainstream aperture settings (around f/8).

Just like the rest of its family the Zeiss lens is build to the highest standards. Some users may complain about the lack of AF but this isn't really a significant flaw for a wide-angle lens. The focus confirmation is available in the viewfinder (ZE version) and in very critical (close focus) scenes Live-View can give you the needed guidance. That said it remains a bit of an anachronism these days. The price level is quite steep in absolute terms but it's not all that bad in comparison.

The lens showed a few weaknesses in our lab tests so we can't really provide exceedingly high ratings here but it did actually more than convince during the field tests. I'm darn close to suggest a "Highly Recommended" actually.

Optical Quality:    
Field Quality:(Landscape Photography)
Mechanical Quality:
Price/Performance:
      
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