[icon name=”e-info-circled”]This article on Sony a6000 travel photography and the Zeiss Touit lens series by Marie Bärsch first ran on our columnist Alexander Wätzel’s site, Passportsandlenses.com. It has been edited to run here. You can find the original article here.
Zeiss Germany was kind enough to let me use the three currently available Touit lenses on my trip to Asia in December of 2014. I had just bought a Sony a6000 so this came in very handy.
Since Alex had quite a hard time in 2013 [having to carry so much heavy camera gear] on our first trip to thailand I was definitely interested when he talked about getting a lighter and more portable camera system. I jumped on board by purchasing the Sony a6000 even if i was skeptical at first. (Read Alex’s review here.)
Since I didn’t really know what lens to buy right away I asked Zeiss if it was possible to try their lenses for mirrorless cameras. A few days later a package with all three lenses of the Touit line-up arrived. This included a Zeiss 2.8/12mm Touit, a Zeiss 1.8/32mm Touit and a Zeiss 2.8/50mm Touit, which would become my favorite for the trip. But more on that later.
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Zeiss Touit and Optical Appearance
From an appearance standpoint, these lenses are very understated. Apart from the soft rubberized focus ring and the blue/white zeiss logo there is nothing to distract on the outer barrel itself. All of the lenses come with a tight-fitting lens hood, which tends to be a little too big in my opinion—especially for the 12mm and the 50mm. The lens is made entirely of metal with a very smooth finish. The rubber of the focus ring is nice to feel and the focus ring is also very smooth in it’s movement. The lenses are built to last and I always found it quite reassuring to use them.
Sharpness, Color and Contrast
In my photographic work, I don’t really zoom in to 1:1 on my travel photos. Sure I want a decent, sharp picture, but it’s not the same as when I’m doing a fashion shoot for a magazine or commercial project.
With this in mind, let’s say these lenses are very sharp. This is especially true for the Zeiss 12mm. Is it the same level of sharpness as the Nikon 70-200mm? I don’t think so, but they’re sharp enough without making me miss something or want something more out of it. [Editor’s note: The difference here is likely the resolving power of the sensor. A 70-200 on a full frame Nikon camera will have a different level of sharpness than an equivalent focal length on an APS-C, and none of these were the same focal length.]
But when it comes to color and contrast even wide open these beauties shine. Even right out of the camera there is little to no editing needed to make the colors and contrast pop how I want them to do.
Oh boy, this one is getting tricky. Out of the box the 50mm is the best one. Or well, it was the best one. At least on the a6000. The problem is that the older 12mm and 32mm did not use the a6000s amazing hybrid autofocus due to firmware issues. [Editor’s Note: This has since been resolved.] The autofocus is fast enough to capture life shots, but not fast enough for sports.
I like to have a camera that does the job without getting in the way between me and the picture I want to take. It doesn’t really matter what brand is printed on it and it’s the same with lenses.
These may not be right for you if you’re on a budget, or if you into heavy post processing. Or if you’re doing action sports. But if you want to focus on your picture and you want to save it the way you saw it, then you should definitely consider throwing one of these in your bag. With their smooth optical appearance, above average sharpness, excellent color rendition and amazing contrast, they won’t let you down.
Are they worth their premium price tag? I guess you have to decide for yourself but I just love the pictures I took with them, especially with the 50mm which give me quite a hard time when i had to sent it back.
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