#414. Zeiss Loxia 21. And then there were 3!

By pascaljappy | News

Oct 12

Sony A7x users rejoice, a new Loxia is born.


Loxia family protrait

Loxia family protrait (c) Zeiss


The newcomer is a 21mm ultrawide based on the Distagon design. It consists of 11 lenses in 9 groups, has a 91° diagonal field and weighs just under 400g (0.9lb for those who drive on the left). The rest of the specs are below.


Zeiss Loxia 21 specifications (c) Zeiss

Zeiss Loxia 21 specifications (c) Zeiss


So much for the identity card, here’s what important about the lens.

First of all, image quality promises to be very high. The MTF curves below tell an interesting story.


Loxia 21 MTF

Zeiss Loxia 2.8/21MTF curves (c) Zeiss


What I see here is a lens that’s not ultra fast, which keeps it small and affordable, but can be used with absolutely no second thoughts wide open. At f/2.8, the Loxia 21 performs as well as the (excellent) Loxia 35 at f/5.6! To put this into perspective, take a look at the images in Bob Hamilton’s recent post in the Faroe Islands. Bob is a Leica S user ans adores his Loxia 35. It’s easy to imagine the 21 will please anyone looking for a stellar performer.

If you still need convincing, here are the MTF curves for the (truly excellent) Leica Super Elmar 21/3.4. The Loxia at f/2.8 is comparable to the Super Elmar at f/3.4, a lens that Ken Rockwell calls “Leica’s best ultrawide lens ever made at any price”. Although the Leica seems to control Astigmatism a tad better in the extreme corners, it also costs twice the price and focuses 4 times less close. It doesn’t get much better than this.


Leica Super Elmar 21 MTF curves (c) Leica

Leica Super Elmar 21 MTF curves (c) Leica


Another bonus of all Loxia lenses is that they are considered native lenses by Sony, ensuring EXIF data is recorded and in-camera image enhancements are automatic. This is shown in the distortion curves below.


Zeiss Loxia 21 distortion

Zeiss Loxia 21 distortion


The corrected curve is essentially perfect. Although I’m in two minds about this. It would seem logical that post-processing software with adequate lens profiles running on a home computer might have more number crunching power than a camera’s processor and would make a better job at correcting lens aberrations. But maybe not and, at any rate, both options are offered to the user, so all is fine.

Whatever the case, this looks to be a very versatile lens. It’s use for landscape photographers is obvious. The consistently lovely colours of all recent Zeiss offerings should delight as much as the anticipated sharpness.

With essentially zero distortion, and good correction of astigmatism, this should also prove very useful for architecture specialists.

And given its small size and very fast focusing, it should be ideal for street photographers as well.

A 16cm min working distance also hints at fun possibilities with extreme near-far relationships.


(not made with a Loxia 21)

(not made with a Loxia 21)


The great feature of the Loxia range is that all of the lenses are the same size and all use the same filter diameter. Brilliant.

So, essentially, an almost-perfect lens, with only one flaw. And a HUGE flaw: where is my review sample ? 😉 😉 Guys, a news release is fun, but we’re in this for the real stuff. Please send one this way !

This huge and unacceptable flaw aside, the Loxia 21 seems set to be a huge success. It is also reasonably priced (relative to the market) at 1260 € (plus tax), lens shade included and available from December. Can’t wait!


NEW: Signup for DearSusan’s new tutorial on lens testing in the field. 7 aberrations explained plus tips on how to test for them and how to fix their effects in post-processing. It’s totally free and totally awesome 😉

  • Yudi says:

    Just want to share a quick Zeiss Loxia 21/2.8 Review by Alexander Wätzel

  • Ironymous says:

    Fantabulous news! One of the lenses I have been waiting for. Now Zeiss just needs to provide a Loxia 85mm, and my trinity for video is done. Although I’d rather have a 25mm for video, a 21mm is good, too. Especially at f2.8.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Ironymous ! Super happy you like the news. I rather like what that lens promises to be, too. There are a number of great 85s out there if you can’t stand the wait, most of which have to be adapted. But there’s also the brilliant Sony 90G 🙂

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