Perhaps my favorite of the lineup, the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 may be the first Loxia lens that many pick up
The Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 is a lens that when you look at it, it seems to be very much like most of the other Loxia lenses on the market. And in accordance to design standards that just makes sense. The Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 sports an all metal body, weather sealing throughout the lens, a manual aperture ring, and focusing ring, and is one of the first lenses from the Zeiss Loxia lineup that you’d genuinely consider at both the price point and the featureset. It’s targeted to street photographers, landscape photographers, architectural shooters, and more. I love it for candid shooting and when combined with a solid camera body like the Sony a7r III, there isn’t very much to complain about.
Pros and Cons
- Weather sealing
- Solid metal body
- Beautiful bokeh
- Sharp image quality through and through
- Compact body
- Fairly fast aperture
- A $1,299 price point isn’t that bad at all
- Nothing, honestly. Some folks may not like a manual focus lens but those folks probably don’t know how to use manual focus lenses
We tested the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 with the Sony a7r III.
The Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 has a very typical Zeiss ergonomic layout to it. What do I mean by that? Well, when you look at their manual focus lenses from the Loxia and the Milvus lineup, they all more or less follow the same layout. There’s the focusing ring, an aperture ring weather sealing, etc. That’s what this lens has. There is a depth of field scale, as well as distances marked on the focusing ring that correspond to the entire focusing range.
Look on the front of the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 and what you’ll find is the branding and moniker of the lens. With a 52mm filter thread you can affix UV filters and so much more.
On the bottom of the lens is a blue ring. This blue ring is weather sealing. Weather sealing is present through the entire lens.
The Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 has both a metal body and weather sealing built into it–something that we’ve come to expect from many of the Zeiss lenses out there on the market at this point. In this case, this lens is also very compact in its design and shape. Indeed, it’s built like what I’d call a companion lens: a lens that you basically mate to your body and never take off. For street photographers, travel photographers, and landscape photographers, the combination of weather sealing and solid build construction is almost a no brainer. To be able to take this lens out into the rain and have effective zone focusing without necessarily needing to bring an umbrella is really nice.
Ease of Use
Admittedly, I’m not going to give the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 major points for ease of use because I’m an advanced manual focus shooter and there are lots of folks out there who don’t know the first thing about shooting with manual focus. And indeed, both the manual focus option and the aperture ring will confuse a number of folks. There was a night where a journalist from a prestiged photo publication texted me about how to use an aperture ring, to which I said “WTF” when she texted me about it at 10:30 at night but instead proceeded to walk her through it.
To get the most out of the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 I recommend zone focusing or just being very careful by combining zone focusing with focus magnification. Sony’s focus peaking on their full frame cameras has always been complete crap when it comes to focus accuracy. And I’ll still stand by that statement.
As stated earlier, this is a manual focus lens with not that much of a focus throw. However, it still allows you to be very precise and accurate when shooting wide open. What you’ll want to do most of the time is use the depth of field scale. Perhaps that almost means that you’ll probably be shooting at either f4 or f11 most of the time as that’s what the scale gives you besides f22. I really wish that it displayed f8 on there at the very least.
With Zeiss, you can always expect solid image quality to a very high standard. The Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 isn’t any different at all. This isn’t Zeiss’s fastest 25mm lens and so you can’t expect the bokeh to be anything like an f1.4 lens. But Zeiss’s color and lack of chromatic aberration are surely there. At this point, that’s all pretty standard though I’d be shocked to see if most people could tell the difference between Zeiss color and Sony color–and they’d be even more surprised as to how much their color profile plays into that. As always, Zeiss’ sharpness is also fantastic. You can’t fault this lens at all when you nail the focusing.
The Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 has some very decent and pleasing bokeh. For a documentary shooter, landscape photographer, travel photographer and those who are all about capturing scenes as they are, f2.4 is a very good option due to the fact that it’s still a fast aperture and still lets you get a decent amount of your scene in focus without any problems. The bokeh here is very creamy in most instances and to get the bokeh best you should focus closely on your subject (probably up to three feet at max) and then focus on them at f2.4. Of course, when you focus even closer and shoot wide open, you’ll get even more bokeh.
Admittedly though, I’ve spent too much time on this lens’ bokeh. I don’t think that that is the main selling point here.
There generally is none. And if you see any, it’s very, very miniscule. Nothing to see here; you can also remove it in Capture One and Lightroom.
As far as colors go with the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4, I want you to imagine real life, but a tad more saturated. If I were to equate it to any film emulsion out there, I’d say that you should think about Kodak Gold and Provia in some ways. But Indeed, the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 has a color rendition all to itself that I can’t really put a finger on. But you’ll know it and feel it when you see it. With the Sony a7r III, you’re bound to get the best colors from a lens like this.
At f2.4, the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 is incredibly sharp. Stop it down further and the lens becomes even sharper. Optimum sharpness is at f11, but even so beyond f2.4 it doesn’t get so much so noticeably sharper. This lens only tend to just have more of a scene in focus, but the sharpness is there through and through. For most users, especially those who shoot candid photography, the sharpness will be more than enough for your needs.
Extra Image Samples
- Not a terrible price point
- Manual focus with little focus throw
- Accurate zone focusing
- Weather sealing
- Well built
- I’d personally wish it were a bit faster, but I can surely deal with f2.4
I want to call the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 the perfect lens for street photographers and those who shoot travel, landscapes and documentary style work in a certain way for the Sony FE camera owning crowd. And in all honesty, it really, probably is. You get to shoot wide, close, and have more than enough of your scene in focus when shooting wide open in many situations. Then on top of that you have weather sealing, short focus throw, and a metal body. Mount it to a weather sealed Sony a7 or a9 series body and you’re all good. Zone focus and you’ll quickly fall in love with and realize how awesome the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4. Even when you are shooting wide open at night, you won’t have anything to worry about due to Sony’s image stabilization and just how good either high ISO output is.
Do I wish this lens were faster? I guess I do, but I also completely understand that 25mm f2.4 is more than enough for most uses. Would I do portraits with this lens? Wider, candid portraits: yes. Formalized portraits: no. Would I do documentary style work with this lens? I have. And I thoroughly enjoy it.
The Zeiss Loxia 25mm f2.4 deserves our Editor’s Choice Award for Best Lens for Candid Shooting on a Mirrorless Camera. And it also earns 5 out of 5 stars in part due to the $1,299 price tag.