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02-08-2011, 02:42 PM   #1
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Experience of Zeiss Distagon T* 18mm f3.5 on Pentax?

I know this lens in the ZK mount is discontinued by Zeiss, probably because they realised there was no prospect of a full-frame digital Pentax which removed the biggest segment of the likely market.

I've been toying with the idea of getting it for my K-7 because I want a 28mm equivalent high-quality prime. All the reviews I've read of the lens have been on FF cameras
(opinions on the optical quality of the lens are mixed).

Has anyone used the 18mm f3.5 on a K-7, K20D or a K-5? Would love to hear some opinions as I'm worried I may be spending a lot of green on something that doesn't deliver for a purpose it wasn't intended.

The alternative I'm considering is the Ricoh GRX with 28mm module though that comes with its own issues like sensor obsolescence and high cost. Anyhoos, I digress...

Thanks!

Niall

02-08-2011, 05:19 PM   #2
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Consider the 16mm Zenitar.
02-08-2011, 05:23 PM   #3
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How about the 21 mm distagon?
02-09-2011, 12:50 AM   #4
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Re: the Zenitar I'm not looking for a fish-eye and 16mm is too near the DA15mm Limited I just sold on this forum. The 21mm Zeiss is amazing but not quite wide enough and costs even more than the Zeiss 18mm (though I confess I'd love to own it.) :P

02-09-2011, 01:44 PM   #5
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Recently purchased the Distagon 18mm, first impression, nice but yet to fully put it through its paces. Lets just say work commitments of late haven't given me much opportunity for taking pics.
02-10-2011, 12:41 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by xjjohnno Quote
Recently purchased the Distagon 18mm, first impression, nice but yet to fully put it through its paces. Lets just say work commitments of late haven't given me much opportunity for taking pics.
You're the only person I know of who owns this lens in the Pentax mount - would dearly like to hear from you on your impressions, even deeply unscientific ones! Especially if you can give a sense of comparison to certain other Pentax Limiteds for quality.

Thanks in advance!
02-10-2011, 12:54 AM   #7
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Similar lens size in Pentax I can't compare to Pentax equivalents as I haven't used and any around that focal length. Zeiss build quality is excellent.
I suppose some sample pics will have to suffice from the len's first outing.
[IMGWIDELEFT]http://www.xjgarage.org/photos/qvmarket7/slides/KFYV7858.JPG[/IMGWIDELEFT]
[IMGWIDELEFT]http://www.xjgarage.org/photos/qvmarket7/slides/KFYV7872.JPG[/IMGWIDELEFT]
[IMGWIDELEFT]http://www.xjgarage.org/photos/qvmarket7/slides/KFYV7931.JPG[/IMGWIDELEFT]
05-14-2011, 06:15 AM   #8
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This may be too late. But let me tell you my recent experience with the Zeiss ultra-wides for Pentax.

I tried for more than a month to purchase a Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Distagon. I even paid for one twice (once from a shop in Scotland, and then from a shop in Hong Kong) only to have my money refunded. The fact of the matter is this. The Zeiss ZK 21s are gone--and nobody who has purchased one is cutting loose with it.

My fallback purchase was the Voigtlander 20mmm Skopar. Not a bad lens. Especially since it's one third the price and one third the size of the Zeiss 21mm Distagon.

But with my tax refund money burning a hole in my pocket, and watching the 18mms quickly disappear, I decided to act. I purchased a new 18mm on ebay for $1,000. This purchase, along with my Voigtlander 20, still came to less money (by about $100) than I would have had to pay for the Zeiss 21mm alone. And my logic was that I could always get my money out of either lens (especially the Zeiss) should I decide to sell.

Well, the Zeiss 18mm arrived and I quickly made some test shots. The early verdict is this: this lens is sharp! It is sharp right from f3.5, and it stays sharp out to the corners of the aps-c frame. On my my K-7, there is no vignetting. And the colour is--well, it's Zeiss colour. I haven't shot film with this lens yet. However, this lens will primarilly be used on the cropped sensor of my K-7.

Let's remember, the field of view on this lets is essentially that of a 28mm lens on film/FF. That's not that wide. And if you are looking for a high performance wide angle for your Pentax digital, I would act quickly.

One additional note: this is a surpisingly compact lens. It is much smaller than the Zeiss 21mm (which is huge by comparison). And at about sixty percent the price, it is a bargain.


Last edited by Byrd-2020; 05-15-2011 at 08:35 PM.
05-14-2011, 07:03 AM   #9
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I haven't been able to use any Zeiss glass in K mount but I do have several Zeiss RF lenses and they are superb. Then again so is some of the Pentax glass

Another alternative might be the Pentax A 20/2.8. Not easy to find but a cracking lens both full frame on film and on the digitals. It is also very compact. If you need wider, the Pentax A 15/3.5 is also very food but big!

Kim
05-14-2011, 01:00 PM   #10
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its currently available from Adorama for $1,340 - and the shipping is free..

05-18-2011, 07:01 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Byrd-2020 Quote
This may be too late. But let me tell you my recent experience with the Zeiss ultra-wides for Pentax.

I tried for more than a month to purchase a Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Distagon. I even paid for one twice (once from a shop in Scotland, and then from a shop in Hong Kong) only to have my money refunded. The fact of the matter is this. The Zeiss ZK 21s are gone--and nobody who has purchased one is cutting loose with it.

My fallback purchase was the Voigtlander 20mmm Skopar. Not a bad lens. Especially since it's one third the price and one third the size of the Zeiss 21mm Distagon.

But with my tax refund money burning a hole in my pocket, and watching the 18mms quickly disappear, I decided to act. I purchased a new 18mm on ebay for $1,000. This purchase, along with my Voigtlander 20, still came to less money (by about $100) than I would have had to pay for the Zeiss 21mm alone. And my logic was that I could always get my money out of either lens (especially the Zeiss) should I decide to sell.

Well, the Zeiss 18mm arrived and I quickly made some test shots. The early verdict is this: this lens is sharp! It is sharp right from f3.5, and it stays sharp out to the corners of the aps-c frame. On my my K-7, there is no vignetting. And the colour is--well, it's Zeiss colour. I haven't shot film with this lens yet. However, this lens will primarilly be used on the cropped sensor of my K-7.

Let's remember, the field of view on this lets is essentially that of a 28mm lens on film/FF. That's not that wide. And if you are looking for a high performance wide angle for your Pentax digital, I would act quickly.

One additional note: this is a surpisingly compact lens. It is much smaller than the Zeiss 21mm (which is huge by comparison). And at about sixty percent the price, it is a bargain.
Thanks for this contribution. Someone on the forum emailed me recently asking if I'd bought the ZF 18mm and my opinion of it.

This was my reply. Hope it's useful to someone, painful as it is for me!

"Thanks for dropping me a line.Unfortunately you're bring up painful memories for me because not 3 weeks after finally pulling the trigger on a new 18mm Zeiss I lost the SOFAB in the street in London! 1,000 wasted.

What I can tell you from my brief time with it is that all round it's very good: good contrast,resolution,sharpness good in the corners,no significant abberations in everyday use though I'm told it has some.I used it on my K-5. One downside (apart from the lack of AF which is a given) is that the lens diameter at exit extends below the base of the camera and it us heavy-therefore better suited to putting on the camera for that scene that requires it rather than a walkaround lens.

It's not as good as the FA Limiteds but then it's a more challenging design. If I see one at a knock-down price I MIGHT get it again but it would be with much knots in stomach and grumbling,given what happened!

Hope this is helpful.

Regards.

Niall"
05-19-2011, 08:34 AM   #12
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I got one from popflash just a month ago. Haven't really put it through its mill but I can tell its a damn fine lens. Very sweet in design and size too. Color rendition is as promised, same as the rest of the other zk's.
One thing that wows me is the number of elements it has got within that small compact body. You've got to see the lens diagram to appreciate that.
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