Zeiss Distagon T* 28mm f/2 ZF (ZE) (on Canon EOS) - Lab Test / Review
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)
Article Index

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published April 2010

Lens kindly provided for testing purposes by Markus Stamm!


The Zeiss Distagon T* 28mm f/2 is a fast wide-angle lens available for Nikon (ZF.2), Pentax (ZK) and Canon EF (ZE). In terms of execution and style it is almost indistinguishable to its nearest cousins - the T* 35mm f/2 and T* 25mm f/2.8. Typical for all Z-series lenses it's a manual focus lens. The focus indicator in the viewfinder remains active (ZE) so there's a little guidance here at least. The ZE versions use an electronically controlled aperture so it can be operated via the camera (the ZF.2/ZK variants feature also a classic aperture ring).

Unfortunately we weren't able to get our hands on the ZE version so we had to use the ZF variant via adapter. However, there aren't any differences apart from the mount specific aspects so our conclusions regarding the optical performance will be fully valid for ZE lenses as well.

According to the Zeiss naming convention "Distagon" refers to a "retro-focus" lens based on an asymmetrical design. The asymmetry in necessary to provide the required space for a SLR mirror. The first Distagon lens was introduced in 1953 - a 60mm f/5.6 for the Hasselblad 1000F. The design evolved over time, of course, and it's no longer just used by Zeiss but across the whole industry.

The build quality of the full-metal Zeiss (brass with chromium-plated brass front bayonet) is superb. The fluted focus ring feels exceptionally well damped. The front element does not rotate. However, the physical length changes (extends) when focusing towards close distances. If anything the front cap leaves something to be desired - it doesn't provide much confidence that it'll stick to the lens if nudged a little.

Optical construction10 elements in 8 groups, Floating elements
Number of aperture blades9
min. focus distance0.24 m (max. magnification ratio 1:4.7)
Dimensions64 x 93 mm
Weight520 g
Filter size58 mm (non-rotating)
HoodIncluded, barrel shaped (snap-on)
Other features-

Disclosure: When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network and Google Adsense.