Carl Zeiss is a brand that needs no introduction. Their lenses are highly prized by photographers and cinematographers, providing the sharpest images and most accurate color reproduction available in the industry.

When you hear the words “Carl Zeiss” what do you think of? For most photographers, it’s a name synonymous with a standard of optical excellence.

In fact, when I was in college, it was almost like a badge of honor when you could say that your equipment had been developed to Carl Zeiss standards.

But what exactly is a Carl Zeiss lens?

Technically speaking, it’s any lens manufactured by the German company Carl Zeiss AG. But the term has become synonymous with high-end lenses that have been designed to meet exceptionally high standards and specifications.

While there are many companies that manufacture lenses that are considered to be of excellent quality, Carl Zeiss is one of the few names that is well known throughout the world and has been associated with some of the best photographic lenses ever made.

There’s a reason why Carl Zeiss has become a byword for quality optics — Carl Zeiss lenses are known for their precision and quality.

If you want to buy a new lens, then Carl Zeiss is the way to go. Here are just some of the best Carl Zeiss lenses available on the market today.

Best Carl Zeiss Lenses

Let’s kick off our list of the best Carl Zeiss lenses.

1. Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF

The Batis 40mm f/2 CF is the fourth Zeiss Batis lens, after the 85mm f/1.8, 25mm f/2 and 18mm f/2.8. It’s a compact, weather-sealed lens with an autofocus system powered by a linear motor and optical image stabilization.

It’s also the first Zeiss to feature a new chip that enables full Sony E-mount compatibility and in-camera autofocus microadjustment.

The Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF is a high-end standard prime lens for Sony’s full-frame E-mount mirrorless cameras.

As you’d expect from a lens of this type, the Batis 40mm is designed for use on both high and low resolution cameras, and features an optical design optimized for resolution across the entire frame.

The wide f/2 aperture allows for shooting in lower light conditions as well as producing shallower depth of field effects, with a maximum magnification of 0.14x and minimum focus distance of 0.3m (11.81in).

The lens is small and light, weighing just 305g (10.76oz) thanks to its all-metal construction with a dust and moisture resistant design.

ZEISS Batis 40mm f/2.0 for Sony E Mount Mirrorless Cameras, Black
  • Versatile Full-Frame Lens: The Powerful Lens For The Mirrorless Full-Frame System Of Sony Fulfills...
  • Excellent Resolution And High Contrast: Richly Saturated And Vivid Colours Are A Must In The...
  • Robust And Weatherproof Metal Construction: Thanks To Features That Are Designed To Keep Out Dust...
  • Innovative Oled Display: For The First Time, You Can Accurately Read The Focus Distance And Depth Of...

2. Zeiss Milvus 15mm f/2.8

The ZEISS Milvus 15mm f/2.8 T is a wide-angle prime lens designed for Canon EF mount full-frame DSLR cameras.

It offers the maximum field of view that you can get on a full-frame camera using a 15mm lens and will also work on APS-C cameras.

The ZEISS Milvus 15mm f/2.8 was announced in September 2015, along with the rest of the Milvus range of lenses.

The lens features a robust build quality and weather sealing to help handle any weather conditions.

Autofocus is not supported, but the manual focus ring has been improved over previously released ZEISS lenses to offer a more smooth and quiet action

The lens can be used with EF-mount cameras from Canon that feature in-body image stabilization (IBIS) such as the EOS 5DS R, 5D Mark IV and EOS 6D Mark II.

Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon T ZF.2 Series Lens for Nikon F Mount SLR Cameras
  • ZF.2 Support all-important operations such as the automatic exposure for shutter priority, aperture...
  • The CPU also supports manual exposure settings, including those for camera casings that are not...
  • The lens transmits the EXIF data such as manufacturer, date, metering system and exposure settings
  • Control of flare and ghosting are outstanding, so that even extreme highlights in the image field do...
  • Precise mechanism enables exact manual focusing

3. Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 Apo

The ZEISS Batis 135mm f/2.8 Apo is a medium telephoto lens with a fast, fixed aperture.

It offers a longer focal length than the 85mm and 100mm lenses in the ZEISS Batis range, and it’s also got the widest maximum aperture of any lens in the Batis family.

The Batis 135mm is slightly weighted towards portraiture. It has an equivalent field of view to a 203mm lens on full-frame 35mm cameras, so it has a lot of reach for shooting subjects that are some distance away from you.

It can also provide some nice background blur (bokeh) thanks to its wide maximum aperture.

It’s not designed exclusively for portrait photography though. You can also use it to take pictures of details like flowers or other small, close-up subjects.

4. Zeiss Batis Distagon 18mm f/2.8

Zeiss Batis Distagon 18mm f/2.8 is the widest lens in the Zeiss Batis lineup. It is a manual focus only lens, optimized for the high-resolution sensors of Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras.

It is a large, heavy lens, much bigger than the Sony FE 16-35mm lens, and it has a bulbous front element that does not accept filters. It is also very expensive, but it delivers outstanding image quality.

The Zeiss Batis Distagon 18mm f/2.8 is a compact, weather-resistant wide-angle prime lens for Sony mirrorless cameras.

The lens offers a 15mm equivalent focal length on APS-C bodies and 27mm equivalent on full-frame E-mount cameras like the Sony A7 series.

Like its sibling, the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8, the 18mm f/2.8 features an OLED display that indicates the focus distance and depth of field for the current aperture setting.

The display can be turned off via a dedicated switch if desired.

The lens also has a customizable focus hold button which can be programmed with one of 14 different functions.

Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 Wide-Angle Lens for Sony Full Frame E-Mount Cameras Bundle with Hoya 77mm NXT Circular Polarizer Filter + Hoya NXT Plus 77mm 10-Layer HMC UV Filter + Cleaning Kit + Cap Tether
  • KIT INCLUDES: Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 Wide-Angle Lens for Sony E-Mount | Lens Caps | Lens hood |...
  • Super wide-angle lens for full-frame E mount cameras, with a 99° diagonal field of view
  • New floating element design based on the Distagon style, with 11 elements in 10 groups
  • 7 lens elements comprised of special glass with 4 aspherical elements
  • Weather sealed barrel for moisture and dust protection | WARRANTY: Zeiss Authorized Reseller....

5. Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8

The Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 is a moderate wide-angle prime lens designed for full-frame Nikon and Canon DSLRs.

The Milvus line, introduced in August 2015, replaces the long-running Zeiss ZF.2 and ZE series of lenses, offering better weather sealing and an updated design that makes it easier to use on mirrorless cameras via adapters.

The Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 is a manual focus lens only, so you’ll have to use the camera’s focus confirmation features (typically a magnified view) to ensure accurate focus.

However, some third-party adapters with chips can send information about the lens’ distance setting to help autofocus systems perform better.

Carl Zeiss 2111-637 Milvus 35mm F/1.4 ZF.2 Lens for Nikon F Mount
  • CREATIVE STILL AND VIDEO PHOTOGRAPHY THROUGH PRECISE MANUAL FOCUSING: ZEISS Milvus lenses feature a...
  • FUTURE-PROOF SOLUTION FOR HIGH-RESOLUTION CAMERA SYSTEMS: The excellent image performance of the...
  • EXCELLENT IMAGERY, EVEN IN DIFFICULT LIGHT CONDITIONS: All lenses features ZEISS T* antireflective...
  • STABLE IMAGE PERFORMANCE OVER THE ENTIRE FOCUSING RANGE: State-of-the-art camera systems and...

 

BEST CARL ZEISS LENSES

What Are Carl Zeiss Lenses?

Carl Zeiss lenses are made by a company that has been in the business for more than 100 years.

They were originally founded in 1854 and have since become a global powerhouse when it comes to optics.

It’s no accident that Carl Zeiss lenses are often found on DSLRs, as they produce stunning images with exceptional clarity and color accuracy.

Today, there is a wide variety of focal lengths available ranging from 8mm all the way to 500mm (and everything in between).

Though this lens is pricey, it will provide you with excellent service for many years thanks to its bulletproof build quality and high-end materials used throughout construction.

If you’re looking for an investment piece of equipment or just want something better than what is available for the average consumer, these lenses might be of interest to you.

 

 

6. Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4

The Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 is an excellent standard portrait lens for professionals and serious enthusiasts who shoot full-frame Canon or Nikon DSLRs.

The Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 is a fast, short telephoto lens designed for full-frame cameras. It’s available in Canon EF and Nikon F mounts.

The Milvus 85mm f/1.4 is the first fixed focal length lens from Zeiss in their premium Milvus lineup, which launched in 2015 with seven lenses.

The Milvus lenses are designed to be used with modern high-resolution DSLR cameras, such as the Canon EOS 5DS and Nikon D810, which means they’re optically optimized for filter stacks at the rear of the lens instead of closer to the front element.

Despite its plastic barrel, the Milvus 85mm feels very solid thanks to its metal mount and weather sealing.

The lens itself is quite large: 4.7 x 3.1 inches (120 x 80 mm) and weighing 1.7 pounds (770g). This makes it almost twice as heavy as the already large Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 — a lens that’s about twice its price!

Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Milvus ZE Lens for Canon EOS DSLR Cameras, Black, Model: 2096-561
  • Eve mount lens/full-frame Format
  • Aperture range: f/1. 4 to f/16
  • 7 anomalous partial Dispersion elements
  • Complex planar optical design
  • Zeiss T anti-reflective coating

7. Zeiss Milvus 21mm f/2.8

The Zeiss Milvus 21mm f/2.8 is an ultra-wide prime lens designed specifically for use with full-frame DSLR cameras.

In terms of its construction quality, the Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 features a robust all-metal build, with rubberized focus and aperture rings. It’s also fully weatherproofed, so you don’t need to worry about shooting in inclement weather.

It has a minimum focus distance of 0.25m and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:8, which means it can be used for close-up work as well as landscape photography.

The lens weighs in at 620g, which is a little heavier than some other lenses in its class (most notably the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM), but it’s not overbearingly heavy and can still be used handheld without too much trouble.

Sale
Zeiss Milvus 21mm f/2.8 ZF.2 Lens (Nikon F-Mount)
  • CREATIVE STILL AND VIDEO PHOTOGRAPHY THROUGH PRECISE MANUAL FOCUSING: ZEISS Milvus lenses feature a...
  • FUTURE-PROOF SOLUTION FOR HIGH-RESOLUTION CAMERA SYSTEMS: The excellent image performance of the...
  • EXCELLENT IMAGERY, EVEN IN DIFFICULT LIGHT CONDITIONS: All lenses features ZEISS T* antireflective...
  • STABLE IMAGE PERFORMANCE OVER THE ENTIRE FOCUSING RANGE: State-of-the-art camera systems and...

8. Zeiss Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA

The Zeiss Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens is a fast, normal-length prime lens for Sony’s full-frame E-mount mirrorless digital cameras.

Its optical design incorporates one aspherical element to reduce chromatic aberrations and distortions for improved sharpness and clarity.

Super Multi-Layer Coating has been applied to individual elements to minimize lens flare and ghosting for greater contrast and color accuracy when working in strong lighting conditions.

Additionally, a rounded nine-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality.

The lens’s manual focus design permits working with subjects as close as 2’ away and a floating element system is used to maintain consistent image quality throughout the focusing range.

The robust all-metal barrel construction is complemented by physical aperture control rings that permit intuitive adjustment over exposure settings.

Furthermore, the lens barrel is designed with a focus lock switch, which locks the focus at the minimum distance and allows you to change lenses without losing the focus setting of your previously attached lens.

Sony SEL50F14Z Planar T FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens
  • 50mm wide aperture Prime lens with ZEISS Planar design, Center to corner sharpness with outstanding...
  • Sony E-mount.Filter Diameter (mm): 72 mm.ZEISS T coating delivers superior contrast and resolution,...
  • 11-blade aperture and aspheric elements for smoothly defocused backgrounds, 12 Elements in 9 Groups...
  • Aperture ring with a selectable click ON/OFF switch, AF/MF switch for direct auto/manual focus...

9. Zeiss Otus Apo-Sonnar 100mm f/1.4

The Zeiss Otus Apo-Sonnar 100mm f/1.4 is a short telephoto lens designed to produce beautiful results when used on a high-resolution full-frame DSLR.

It’s manual focus only, and doesn’t have weather sealing or a focus limiter, but does have an aperture range of f/1.4 to f/16, plus an 86mm front filter thread, 72mm filter thread for the rear cap, and a removable hood.

The Otus series lenses are ultra-expensive premium optics targeted at professional photographers who demand the highest possible image quality with no compromises.

The Zeiss Otus Apo-Sonnar 100mm f/1.4 is available in Canon EF and Nikon F mounts, and was announced in February 2015 alongside the Otus 28mm f/1.4, both of which are reviewed here (including handling, performance, and sample images).

The Zeiss Otus 100mm is a large and very heavy lens, weighing in at 1570g (3.5lbs) on our scales – nearly twice the weight of Canon’s L-series 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II USM zoom lens, and around 300g heavier than Nikon’s AF-S VR Micro lens.

Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4 Apo Sonnar ZE Series Manual Focusing Lens for Canon EOS Cameras, Black
  • Zeiss 100mm f/1.4 Apo Sonnar Lens - Zeiss Front & Rear Lens Caps - Metal Lens Hood - Zeiss Warranty
  • Apochromat: Because this lens is an apochromat, chromatic aberrations (axial chromatic aberations)...
  • The ultimate in image contrast: Aberrations caused by extreme differences between shadows and...
  • No colour fringing: Sources of light located in front of or behind the plane of focus present...
  • The medium format look: Thanks to its exceptional sharpness, the ZEISS Otus exploits the full...

10. Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2

The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 is a wide-angle prime lens designed specifically for Sony’s E-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras.

What’s remarkable is that the autofocus lens manages to minimize the size and weight of its design, while still offering a fast f/2 aperture speed, excellent optical performance, and a five-stop image stabilization system.

The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 has an impressive build quality, with a sleek aluminum alloy housing and high-quality construction throughout.

Although the lens isn’t heavy by any means, it does have a satisfying heft to it and feels durable enough to withstand some abuse in the field.

The weather sealing is good but doesn’t match the standard set by Sony’s own G Master lenses.

This lens is perfect for architecture photography.

Zeiss Distagon T 25mm f/2.0 ZE Lens for Canon EF Mount
  • Front & Rear Lens Caps
  • Lens Hood
  • Warranty
  • Lens not zoomable

11. Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4

The compact Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Distagon lens is designed for Sony a7 series cameras and provides a full-frame field of view equivalent to a 50mm lens (35mm format).

The Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Distagon offers excellent sharpness, even at its widest aperture setting. This makes it ideal for low-light shooting or for isolating the subject from the background with a shallow depth of field.

As with other Loxia lenses, the manual focus ring on the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Distagon is coupled to a fly-by-wire system that allows smooth, precise focus adjustments when shooting photos and video.

The aperture ring features an “A” setting for use with cameras that provide electronic control over the aperture.

Sale
Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Lens for Sony E Mount, Black
  • DECLICK FEATURE: One completely new feature of the Loxia lens is that you can "declick" the...
  • IMMENSELY COMPATIBLE: The ZEISS Loxia lenses are suitable for use with the mirrorless Sony Alpha...
  • VIRTUALLY DISTORTION-FREE OPTICS: Dramatic perspectives and a view from extraordinary image angles -...
  • PRECISE MANUAL FOCUS: Manually focusing a lens means controlling the image result from your...

12. Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8

The Batis 85mm f/1.8 is the second lens in Zeiss’ line of autofocus lenses designed for full-frame E-mount cameras.

It’s a portrait-length prime that offers very good image quality, with a sharpness that’s on par with the best from Sony, and low distortion and lateral chromatic aberration.

The lens is large for a portrait prime and doesn’t support in-camera stabilization, but it does feature an OLED display to show focus distance and depth of field information.

We recommend it for its image quality, but you’ll pay more to get it than most other options.

Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Lens for Sony Full Frame E-Mount Cameras Bundle with Hoya 67mm NXT Circular Polarizer Filter + Hoya NXT Plus 67mm 10-Layer HMC UV Filter + Cleaning Kit + Cap Tether
  • KIT INCLUDES: Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Lens for Sony E-Mount | Lens Caps | Lens hood | Bundle with...
  • Fast, quiet auto focus drive: Linear motors, Manual focus override
  • Unique, OLED display on the lens barrel: Electronic display of focus distance and DOF, Easily...
  • Electronic aperture with 9-blades: Natural looking out of focus highlights
  • Modern styling: Rubberized focus ring, Similar to the Zeiss Otus lenses | WARRANTY: Zeiss Authorized...

13. Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO

The Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO is a high-grade prime lens for Canon and Nikon full-frame DSLRs.

The manual focus design has been developed with an emphasis on minimizing aberrations and distortions, particularly at the edges of the frame, to produce images with high contrast, resolution, and clarity.

The optical construction includes 11 elements in 10 groups, with aspherical and special low dispersion elements to control chromatic aberration and reduce color fringing.

The wide f/1.4 maximum aperture enables shallow depth of field effects, selective focusing techniques, and working in low lighting conditions without requiring the use of flash or a tripod.

The minimum focusing distance is 35cm (1.15′) while the nine aperture blades contribute to smooth bokeh quality when working with shallow depth of field techniques.

The lens also features a large 82mm filter thread which can be used to mount screw-in filters or the separately available Zeiss Lens Shade 82 (ZE).

Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T Lens for Nikon F Mount
  • Apochromat: Because this lens is an apochromat, chromatic aberrations (axial chromatic aberations)...
  • The ultimate in image contrast: Aberrations caused by extreme differences between shadows and...
  • No colour fringing: Sources of light located in front of or behind the plane of focus present...
  • The medium format look: Thanks to its exceptional sharpness, the ZEISS Otus exploits the full...
  • Aspherical design: The aspherical lens design ensures consistent imaging performance throughout...

14. Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4 APO

The Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4 APO is a manual focus only, all-metal, high-performance wide-angle lens for full-frame cameras.

It has an aperture range of f/1.4 to f/16 and features 12 elements in 10 groups, with floating elements and an apochromatic (APO) design to correct optical aberrations.

The Otus 28mm f/1.4 APO has no optical imperfections at all; it’s completely flawless in every way.

From f/1.4 to f/16, there is no chromatic aberration or distortion; all you get is sharpness and resolution across the frame from corner to corner even at wide apertures (e.g., f/1.4).

All focal lengths, even wider ones like 14mm, seem to look better on 50MP and higher sensor resolutions, but the 28mm Otus makes even more ordinary sensors look their very best.

The Otus 28mm f/1.4 APO delivers a creamy bokeh wide open that smooths out background details while keeping them recognizable.

Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 Apo Planar T ZE Manual Focus Lens (Canon EOS-Mount) (2040-292)
  • Mounting type: Canon EF
  • Lens Hood
  • Front and Rear Lens Caps
  • Max focal length: 85.0

Zeiss Batis Lenses

Zeiss Batis lenses are a new type of lens that was designed to be used on mirrorless cameras.

These lenses have been tested and approved for use with Sony A7 series, Fuji X-T1, Olympus OM-D E-M5II, Leica M (Typ 240), Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, and Samsung NX3000 Mirrorless Cameras.

Zeiss Lenses For Mirrorless System Cameras

Many photographers are looking for a replacement to their DSLR camera system, but don’t want the hassle of carrying around heavy equipment all day.

Mirrorless cameras are a perfect solution to this problem because they offer many features and quality that is comparable to DSLRs while still being lightweight.

Zeiss lenses have been known as some of the best in the industry for decades and now you can get these same amazing optics on your new mirrorless system camera from Sony, Fuji or Olympus.

Zeiss Lenses For SLR Cameras

The Zeiss Lenses for SLR Cameras are the perfect lenses to help you capture high-quality photos.

These lenses are made of premium materials and offer up to four times more light transmission than other lenses as well as the ability to reduce flare and glare in images.

The lens is compatible with all types of cameras but does not cover Sony’s E-mount system, which means that it can only be used on Canon or Nikon DSLRs.

Zeiss Classic Lenses

Zeiss is a German company that manufactures cameras and other optical products. The Zeiss Classic lenses are designed for DSLR cameras, with the aim of producing high-quality images.

These lenses have been around since 1975, so if you’re looking for something new or just want to try out a lens from an old time favorite camera brand, then these may be what you need!

Zeiss Lenses For Videography

In the world of videography, there are a lot of factors that go into making a video look great. For starters, you’ll need to make sure your camera is top notch and filming in HD. This will ensure that your footage looks crisp and clear.

The next major factor is the lens you use for filming. You can’t just film with any old lens; it needs to be high quality and made specifically for this type of work.

There are many different lenses on the market today but one name has risen above them all: Zeiss Lenses.

Zeiss Lens vs. Leica Lens: Which Brand Is Better

I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the opportunity to use a Zeiss lens or a Leica lens, but I’ll share some of my personal experiences with both.

Both are high-quality lenses that offer great clarity and sharpness across the field of view.

People often have strong opinions about which brand is better and it all boils down to what type of photography they do most often and what their budget can accommodate.

For me, I found the Leica lenses to be much more expensive than Zeiss so I only buy them when I need one specific focal length for an event that doesn’t allow me any flexibility in selecting equipment beforehand.

What Makes Zeiss Quality So Special

The Zeiss company has been around for over 150 years and is one of the most well-respected brands in the world.

They produce a wide range of lenses including some that are considered to be among the best on the market today.

They have an extensive line with something for every need, from wide-angle to telephoto shots and everything in between.

Digital Lens

When people think of digital lenses, they often associate them with virtual reality headsets.

However, these devices are not just for video games and computer applications.

Digital lenses have many practical medical purposes such as measuring eye pressure in glaucoma patients or checking retina thickness in diabetics to ensure that blood vessels are functioning properly.

Best Carl Zeiss Lenses – Wrap Up

The Zeiss lenses are made for photographers that want to take the best quality photos. The lenses come in many different sizes and shapes, with all sorts of specifications.

For example, the Zeiss 25mm F2 is perfect if you’re looking for a good lens for night photography because it has an aperture of f/1.8 which allows more light to enter into the lens than most other standard lenses.
 

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