Thursday, 26 June 2014

Zeiss Touit 12mm | Fuiji X-Pro 1

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
Well, I succumbed.

I've been think about another prime lens for my Fuji X-Pro1 for quite some time, and having the XF 18mm f2.0 "pancake", I just couldn't make up my mind between the XF 35mm f1.4, the XF 23mm f1.4
or the XF 27mm f2.8.

I tossed around the pros and cons of various Fujifilm X Mount Lenses, and finally decided on the Zeiss 12mm f2.8 Touit.  It’s a solid, all glass lens that feels well made, and while it's manufactured in Japan (as if that is a downside), it feels 'German Zeiss'. It's essentially an 18mm f2.8 equivalent on the Fuji X-Pro1 1.5x crop sensor. And it's hand-built.

The decision was made based on my heavy reliance on my Canon 17-40mm f 4.0 lens during the past 2-3 years. I went back to my images from the Oracles of Kerala Photo Expedition, the Vietnam: North of the 16th Parallel Photo-Expedition/Workshop, The Sufi Saints of Rajasthan & Kashmir Photo Expedition-Workshop, The Sacred Cities: Varanasi & Vrindavan Photo Expedition-Workshop and remembered my lens usage statistics, which confirmed my preference of using my wide angle zoom and get really close to the subjects I'm photographing.

To underscore the point; most of my photographs on The Birth of Color photo essay were made with the Canon 17-40mm, at its wider the following photograph demonstrates.

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
Canon 17-40mm f4.0
While the Zeiss Touit's 12mm wide angle is perfectly suited for landscape and architectural photography, I'm certain it'll suit my style of photography whether for environmental portraiture, or street photography.

It'd be superfluous for me to to review this lens in any depth as there are many more qualified photographers who have already done so. For an eminently readable and succinct review of the lens, take a look at The Phoblographer

As for street photography, I've snapped a couple of 'from-the-hip' photographs yesterday, and although it's a little too early, I was pleased with the results. One of these photographs (below) was made in front of the Papaya King on Sixth Avenue, and there are a few more on The Leica File.

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
Fuji X Pro-1/Zeiss Touit 12mm.
The Zeiss Tuit has smooth rubber for the focusing and aperture ring, and while this doesn't bother me, I did find the aperture ring moves easily, and I had to make certain that the aperture was set on my chosen f-stop. The lack of a depth of field and distance scales are also disconcerting, but I managed to get by. It'll take some practice to get used to it, as most of my street photography is by shooting from the hip.

As I said, it's a little too early, but my gut feel is that this lens -while having marvelous optics- is better suited for environmental and documentary photography. I'll keep using it on my wanderings in New York City for some time, and see if I will change my mind.