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Carl Zeiss 35mm F2 Distagon T*

Reviews Views Date of last review
6 32,347 Sun October 28, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $716.67 9.83
Carl Zeiss 35mm F2 Distagon T*

Construction with 9 elements in 7 groups
Minimum focusing distance of 0.3m
Image ratio at close range 1:5.3
Dimensions (with caps): Approx 99mm (L) x 72.2mm (D)
Weight: Approx. 570g
Manual lens
Mount Type:
Price History:

Add Review of Carl Zeiss 35mm F2 Distagon T*
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-6 of 6

Registered: September, 2007
Location: Near Seattle
Posts: 2,743
Lens Review Date: October 28, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build quality, sharpness, micro contrast, ease of focusing, unique 3D rendering wide open
Cons: Purple fringing, weight, manual focus, cost
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 8   

The Zeiss Distagon f2 is considered one of the greatest 35mm lenses evermade. The build quality and ease of focusing makes this a pleasure to use. Thesharpness from f2 onward is remarkable.I only use this lens at f2 because of the inherent distortions that create anartful 3D effect. At smaller aperturesthe rendering is more conventional and excellent.
The micro contrast which is a signature Zeiss characteristicis superb. These lenses are still available for a semi-reasonable price. Highlyrecommend for achieving an artistic look for prints.
Forum Member

Registered: July, 2016
Posts: 53
Lens Review Date: August 10, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build Quality, Sharpness, Crisp Micro Contrast, Ease of Manual Focus with focus alert and auto aperture
Cons: None

Better Clarity than any Pentax lens I have ever shot.
New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 14
Lens Review Date: April 16, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, color, bokeh
Cons: CA
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5, K-7   

New Member

Registered: December, 2011
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 11, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: image quality, micro contrast, build, feel, focus ring
Cons: size, weight, lack of AF

This is my overall favorite lens. I just wish I could use the aperture ring on my k-5.

In terms of overall image quality, this lens kills the DAL 35mm and the DA 40mm ltd. It is better than the FA 43 as well, especially wide-open. The saturated colors, the clarity/micro-contrast are incredible right from f2.0. All the talk about 3-D, well it's crude, but it's the best way to put the image quality into words. The DA 70mm f2.4 seems soft wide-open in comparison, even though I often shoot it wide open and enjoy the results. I haven't experienced any flare trouble with it, and with the hood on, the contrast is well maintained, even in the high noon sun. In fact, in checking my shots, I seem to use this lens primarily in the worst hours of the day, but with very satisfactory results. Dark rooms or blanching sunlight, it never fails to make run-of-the-mill shots look special.The bokeh has a "look" that I haven't seen on any Pentax lenses. It maintains the color saturation without being smeared or mushy.

In terms of build, this thing is rock solid, and heavy. It balances perfectly on the k-5 and just feels like it belongs. The focus ring is extremely well damped with a long turn to ensure precise focus.
Used with the magnified LV or catch-in focus, I have had no problems making shots that aren't fast-action, but even then, I've been pleasantly surprised with what I've got of 2 small kids running around. There is absolutely no wiggle or wobble in either the focus or aperture rings. The hood is also metal and clicks into place with total confidence that it is not going to fall off. I feel no need for a protective UV lens. The cap is plastic, but fits similarly to the way the Pentax plastic clip-ons do. It's not as convenient as the push-ons like the Pentax limiteds, but it works fine.

The size and weight can be an issue, so if you carry around a lot of lenses, this may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. For me though, it travels very well with the Pentax 21mm and 70mm ltd lenses (thanks mainly to their diminutive size and weight, but also their decent image quality).

Finally, the lack of AF is always addressed in reviews, and in this age cannot be left out. The Zeiss lens is not for fast action due to the lack of AF, however depending on your camera's abilities you may be able to capture more than you think.

If I had the money, I would buy more of these beautiful Zeiss lenses. Everyone should be able have the experience.
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2011
Location: The Canadian WetCoast
Posts: 379
Lens Review Date: April 19, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ. Construction. Smoothness. Value
Cons: Metal focusing ring.

After trying in vain to find the 3-blade Rollie mount Zeiss 35mm F1.4 Distagon as reviewed by fourmiX, I bought this 35/2 ZK version instead. I have also considered the FA 31/1.8 Limited, but the rather loud screw drive focusing mechanism excluded it from my shooting. With the recent price increase, the ZK35 actually cost less than the FA31 now!

This lens reminds me of the Hasselblad lenses which Zeiss made in Germany- solid construction, low profile, smooth operation, phenomenal IQ with a warm overtone. It is best use for small group portrait or video in low light, as it is totally usable even at f/2. I am more concern about the shallow DOV than loss of IQ at this maximum aperture. Itsí use in landscape, however, is severely curtailed due to the cropped sensor on Pentax dSLRs.

One minor gripe about QC on ZK lenses - 2 of mine need hood replacement and 1 was a "total recall". Fortunately those occurred within warranty period, and Zeiss services in US & Germany are impeccable. They take all complain seriously & courteously. This lens performs flawlessly right out from the box.

I would like to rate this lens at 9.5, but being a manual focus lens limited its' appeal in general, so I can only rated it at 9. As I have mentioned in other ZK reviews, the unique metal focusing ring design really bother someone who live a cold country like me. On the other hand, this lens would probably still perform brilliantly for my great grandchildren.

Here is a sample of what it can capture at a dim lighted kitchen party. Taken with Kr at ISO 3200 f/2 1/250 second. Famoso Pizzeria in Vancouver.
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Queensland
Posts: 35

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 18, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Beautilful micro-contrast and warm colour tones
Cons: Manual focus; so difficult to focus in low-light

The lens is typical of a Carl Zeiss lens, in that it displays micro-contrast well and appears as though some post-processing was done to achieve the results straight from it. Whilst I have tried in creating the same micro-contrast from an ordinary photo in Photoshop I could not, though others more proficient with Photoshop may be more successful. It was this feature of the lens that was one of the reasons I got it in the first place. When I compared it with the excellent Pentax 31mm Limited lens, I could see a difference in the overall contrast in small but vital areas of preview images.

The other beautiful features are the unique warm tones and smooth bokeh. Whilst these are good features, there are times when manual focusing becomes frustrating particularly in action or low-light situations. I was tentative at first to get the lens because I had heard of this but could not get away from the cinematic quality of the images produced. I found after working with the lens for a while I've become used to focusing quite quickly, so it is less of an issue now.

The construction is impeccable; solid metal provides for a heavy lens but it makes it feel strong, sturdy and powerful in your hands. Though it can be expensive and now hard to find (as Carl Zeiss stopped producing for Pentax in 2010), I would recommend it strongly to those game in having fun with a unique manual focus lens.

Visit the link below to see two sample images un-edited:
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