View Full Version : Zeiss 18mm VS 21

05-27-2013, 06:03 PM
I'm really in doubt on this one since I want to buy one or the other in ZF format.

Many seems to prefer the 21 Distagon which is a legendary lens. For what I can read many users are somewhat fundamentalists towards this lens when comparing both. I've read many saying "21mm, period!".

Well... Sorry but I just don't find it that easy (I wish it was).

Photozone says that the 21 is in another league even if they tend to give a Highly recommended to the 18mm (but they didn't). Anyway, using the 18mm on the upcoming 4K production camera (which I've pre-reserved), I'm going to end with a 26mm VS 30mm when using the 21mm.

I don't know about you guys but from 30mm to 26mm seems almost nothing but indeed it is a difference that pays off on some tight sets. 21mm MTF chart is better but then again I'm not going to use the 18mm on a full frame but on a S35 sensor.

Besides all this, the 18mm is cheaper.

If I did make a survey out of this which way did you lean on? 21 or 18?


05-27-2013, 06:21 PM
Please moderators... Move this thread to the appropriate section (lenses), and I'm sorry for not seeing that in advance

Adam Roberts
06-03-2013, 09:40 AM
You also need to consider that the 18mm is 2/3 stop slower (f/3.5 vs f/2.8).

From what I've read and seen the 21mm is pretty good wide open but the 18mm needs a bit of stopping down and gets better from f/4. So in low light situations that 1 stop could be a big difference.

06-04-2013, 04:37 AM
I have the 21mm on the current EF BMCC and I use it quite often, plus the barrel distortion is minimal.

06-11-2013, 12:21 AM
I have the 18mm on an EF BMCC and enjoy it quite a bit. You can see it in action here:


06-17-2013, 09:43 PM
zeiss 21mm is way better than the 18mm, if you want as wide as can be go 15mm. Distortion on the 18mm gets ugly sometimes and will show its face on even the small sensor of the BMC if you are shooting at straight lines on the edge of the frame.

06-17-2013, 10:43 PM
Hmmm, well I haven't seen the distortion you're describing yet. Below are some other examples of the Zeiss 18mm with the BMCC that I've shot recently. Sorry, I generally record longform concerts and the shooting/framing is probably very unspectacular but it does show the very lens and camera we're discussing in action:


This one shows the camera and 18mm lens in various "low light" situations. Although this was done on a theatrical stage, many times during the performance it was pretty dark:


Again, I apologize for the genericness of this type of shooting...I'm generally archiving events that I'm involved with. Hopefully this provides more opportunity to see the lens in use in different situations. Best regards