Review: Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit (Fujifilm X Mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essenials the Walkabout Macro Shooter (2 of 7)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 4.5

Fujifilm has had a macro lens from the start of the X series system, but it’s not one that folks often speak about very much despite its good performance. However, with the company’s recent partnership with Zeiss they now have the 50mm f2.8 Touit offering. We initially got the play with the lens last year then had even more playtime with a production version just recently.

This lens is characterized by an all metal build with rubber for the focusing ring and aperture ring. Zeiss’s design choice has to do with what their DSLR customers said about manually focusing the lenses in frigid weather–focusing is too unpleasant to the touch. As rubber isn’t a conductor (or very much of one for the intended purpose) the company decided that this was the best choice.

But does the third party offering have the image quality to be on par to the reputation that Fujifilm has built?

Pros and Cons

Pros

– Super sharp both wide open and stopped down, though we feel like we’ve seen sharper macro lenses

– Beautiful color rendition: the way it performs with skin tones impressed us quite a bit

– Fairly fast to focus

– Great feel despite the fact that we’re not completely smitten over the rubber

Cons

– Slow focusing when in the macro range

– Lack of depth of field scale, which can make focusing at the macro range even tougher to do.

Gear Used

We reviewed the Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit with the Fujifilm X Pro 1. When it came to lighting, we also used Profoto Large Deep umbrellas and Adorama Flashpoint lights.

Tech Specs

Taken from Zeiss’s website

Focal length 50 mm
Aperture range f/2.8 – f/22
Focusing range 0,15 m (6.02 ″) – ∞
Number of elements/groups 14/11
Angular field, diag./horiz./vert. 31° / 26° / 18°
Coverage at close range 23,5 x 15,6 mm (0.93 x 0.61″)
Filter thread M52 x 0,75
Dimensions (with caps) E: 104 mm (4.09″)
X: 108 mm (4.25″)
Diameter of focusing ring E, X: 65 mm (2.56″)
Weight E, X: 290 g (0.64 lbs)
Camera mounts E-Mount
X-Mount

Ergonomics

Taken from our extended first impressions

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit product photos (2 of 7)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

The new Zeiss Touit lens is fairly large for a mirrorless camera lens. But once you consider that it is a macro lens with a true 1:1 focusing capability, then it becomes a lot more understandable. The exterior looks and feels very much in tune with what Zeiss is trying to do with this line of products.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit product photos (4 of 7)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

On the outside of the lens you’ll find metal comprising of around half of the lens with the lower half being rubber rings for control. These controls are the focusing and aperture rings.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit product photos (6 of 7)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

The aperture range goes from 2.8 to f22 or auto. Each aperture has clicks that have 1/3 stops with the full stops being clearly displayed. We’re a bit perplexed as to why the company wouldn’t go down to f32 with this lens considering that it is a macro offering.

There are no other controls otherwise on the 50mm f2.8 Touit. Additionally, the Sony version won’t have an aperture ring.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit product photos (5 of 7)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

This lens lacks any sort of weather sealing and doesn’t feel nearly as great as the company’s offering available for DSLR cameras. But this Touit lens still feels solid when held. We’re not totally crazy about the rubber on the manual focusing ring and the aperture ring, but when it comes to real life use you barely notice it and you’re often too busy trying to create better images instead.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essenials the Walkabout Macro Shooter (3 of 7)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 3.2

When it comes to full use of this lens, you’ll essentially just want to set it in autofocus, point, shoot, and enjoy the images that you produce. But we have to admit that in the moments that you choose to use this lens to focus at the true 1:1 macro focusing range that it was designed to do, then you’ll want to manually focus it.

The addition of a focus limiter switch would have been quite useful as well as a depth of field scale. Alas, Zeiss didn’t put that on this lens.

Autofocus

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit Macro review samples (2 of 2)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 22

Pro Tip: Use a flash instead of cranking up your ISO settings to get a better image when shooting macro images.

During our tests, we found the autofocus of the lens to be spot on and accurate around 97% of the time. It only caused us issues when it came to trying to autofocus at the macro level. Fujifilm cameras have the ability to increase or decrease the size of the focusing point in order to achieve faster/less accurate or slower/more accurate focusing. Even when we chose the latter setting, the lens and camera combination couldn’t always achieve accurate focusing.

As a result, getting the best images through focus stacking is going to require a lot of patience.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 touit portrait (1 of 1)ISO 4001-1000 sec at f - 4.0

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL IMAGES HAVE THE EXIF DATA IN TACT AND IN THE FILE NAME. CLICKING ON THE IMAGE BRINGS UP A NEW URL THAT CONTAINS THIS INFORMATION AS WELL.

When you say the name Zeiss, many things come to mind. Usually, folks think about two big things: price and image quality. Indeed, Zeiss has often been the company to set the stage and standard for the best results in sharpness. Though their Touit lenses we haven’t seen to perform as well as their DSLR lenses, they are by no means a slouch when it comes to pure image quality.

Zeiss’s 50mm f2.8 Touit lens is the company’s longest focal length in the series and with that said we would highly recommend it as a portrait lens partially due to the 75mm equivalent field of view due to APS-C crop factor. Additionally, at the 50mm focal length the distortion tends to go down quite a bit.

The high end enthusiasts that this lens is aimed at will surely enjoy what it can offer. The Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit has excellent sharpness, creamy bokeh in the right situations, super punchy and vivid color rendition that takes full advantage of the Fujifilm X Trans Sensor, and also does a great job in how it handles skin tones.

In fact, we don’t have a single major complaint about this lens’s image quality: and we doubt you will either when it is used in the correct settings. However, we believe that a faster aperture and maybe a longer focal length would have made this lens even better.

However, we can only always ask for so much. If you decide to purchase this lens, you won’t be disappointed at all. It’s bound to be a speciality lens in your kit though.

Bokeh

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit Review images sakura matsuri (3 of 5)ISO 4001-2900 sec at f - 2.8

As with anything Zeiss, you can always expect some beautiful bokeh. In this situation, you’ll find no major difference. The bokeh from this lens is smooth, creamy, and does a great job of working with distracting backgrounds. However, it would have been made better if Zeiss added more micro contrast to the lens. We feel like this lens is lacking quite a bit of that.

Sharpness

f2.8

f2.8

This lens’s sharpness is excellent, though we still feel like we’ve used sharper macro lenses even when we use flashes to add better specular highlights and therefore yield sharper images. It isn’t at all terrible–in fact it’s simply terrific. But it isn’t quite the king of the hill.

Color Rendition

f2.8

f2.8

Shooting with this lens during the current beautiful spring weather that NYC is experiencing allowed us to see some of the true potential that this lens can deliver.

When it comes to the color rendition, this lens is absolutely phenomenal and we consider it to be the optic’s biggest strength. The beauty of the colors is something that is not only lifelike but will make you want to reach into the image and touch the subject.

We’d rate the color rendition of this lens right up there with the company’s 55mm f1.4 Otus offering. With that said, we believe that it beats anything Fujifilm can put out there.

Color Fringing

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 touit extra photos (6 of 14)ISO 2001-750 sec at f - 2.8

In the macro field, proper colors are super important because the chances of having a very high contrast image are very likely. High contrast can be the cause of lots of color fringing–but we’re happy to say that we couldn’t find a single bit of color fringing in the images that we shot even when extra contrast was added.

The image above was shot and overexposed by two stops. We recovered the details in Adobe Lightroom 5 then added some extra contrast. We couldn’t find any purple fringing.

Extra Image Samples

Here are some extra image samples

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 touit extra photos (11 of 14)ISO 2001-1000 sec at f - 2.8

Gordon Laing: Editor of CameraLabs.com

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit Review images sakura matsuri (5 of 5)ISO 2001-250 sec at f - 10

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit Review images sakura matsuri (4 of 5)ISO 2001-450 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit Review images sakura matsuri (2 of 5)ISO 4001-420 sec at f - 11

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit Review images sakura matsuri (1 of 5)ISO 4001-640 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit Macro review samples (1 of 2)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 22

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 touit extra photos (13 of 14)ISO 4001-320 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 touit extra photos (12 of 14)ISO 2001-950 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 touit extra photos (9 of 14)ISO 2001-240 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 touit extra photos (8 of 14)ISO 2001-1000 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 touit extra photos (7 of 14)ISO 2001-950 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 touit extra photos (5 of 14)ISO 2001-320 sec at f - 5.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 touit extra photos (4 of 14)ISO 2001-680 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 touit extra photos (3 of 14)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 touit extra photos (2 of 14)ISO 2001-140 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 touit extra photos (1 of 14)ISO 2001-3800 sec at f - 2.8

Conclusions

four-star-Phoblographer-Star-rating

Likes

– Beautiful color rendition

– Pretty fast to focus

– Great sharpness

– Nice bokeh

– Good feel overall

Dislikes

– Needs a depth of field scale

– Needs a focus limiter switch

– Wish it had more micro contrast

– A longer focal length would have been nicer to make this into a 100mm macro lens equivalent.

Zeiss’s 50mm f2.8 Touit Macro lens is overall quite a great lens, but it is surely a lens that could have been better. While we don’t have much complaint about the image quality, we feel that if you’re using a Zeiss branded product that you’ll want only the best sharpness–and we don’t feel like we quite have that. When it comes to other aspects of image quality though, we have nary a complaint. It yields some of the best color rendition that we’ve seen for a mirrorless camera lens.

Focusing at the macro ranges can also be a bit nightmarish. You’ll want to turn on focus peaking to start and switch to manual focusing. Because of this, the lens should have also had some sort of image stabilization built in for certain users.

Overall, this is a great lens; but we’ve seen better. But for the price of $999.99, we find it a bit tough to shell out more than our month’s rent.

Recommended Cameras and Accessories

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essenials the Walkabout Macro Shooter (1 of 7)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 4.0

Sony A6000: Sony’s current flagship APS-C mirrorless camera will pair well with this lens given the super advanced autofocus system.

Fujifilm XT1: Fujifilm’s flagship camera is an obvious choice for the Touit lens. Especially with the new sensor and the overall feel with the ergonomics build.

Fujifilm XE-2: If you can’t get the XT-1, the XE-2 has the same sensor and almost all the performance.

Fujifilm X Pro 1: Fujifilm’s first X series camera with interchangeable lenses performed quite well with the 50mm f2.8 Touit. The sensor in this camera is the last generation, but isn’t much different from the current.

Also be sure to check out out Essentials listing with this setup.

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