Back at the end of 2022, I decided that I’d finally buy myself a Zeiss Loxia lens. I’ve stated for a long time that I believe that Sony’s image quality is way too clinical with their standard glass. But Zeiss has some character. And to add to that, I wanted something manual focus with a bit of weather resistance. So I bought myself the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f2 and put a B+W filter on the front to give it extra protection. However, the lens started to malfunction a lot. Upon researching the problem, I discovered something pretty shocking. And this is why I’m updating all our Zeiss Loxia Lens reviews.
The Zeiss Loxia Lens Reviews Being Updated
Here are the Zeiss Loxia lens Reviews that we’re updating:
So What Happened?
Zeiss Loxia lenses are supposed to be the spiritual successor to the Leica M mount Zeiss lenses. They’ve got a metal body, aperture ring, beautiful character, and they’re all pretty much gorgeous. That is, they’re great when they work. The problem is that they rarely work.
Upon buying myself one of these lenses and using it on the Sony a7r III, I found that there’s a big problem. The lens will change the aperture without my even touching it. I can put the camera and the lens on a desk and be five feet away from it, and the aperture will flicker. This causes a ton of usability problems. First off, you can’t actually use the focus magnify mode effectively because it takes you out of it. Then when you go to photograph a scene, the aperture will flicker no matter what setting it’s at. This effectively makes the lens unusable.
I researched it, and it’s a widely known issue. It’s referenced:
Unfortunately, no one has really been able to figure out a solution. To add to the problem, it’s happening across a variety of cameras. I tested it on the original Sony a7, the Sony a7r III, and the Sony a7r V. The problem persisted across the board. So overall, I’ve got a completely useless lens that I ethically cannot sell to anyone.
The reviews now have the following text added to them:
Editor’s Update January 2023: Zeiss Loxia lenses have a big problem involving the apertures changing without the photographer manipulating the lens. It causes various usability problems including being taken out of the focus magnification mode. Zeiss has been told about this problem for a long time and haven’t offered a fix. And so we’re reasoning that since they’ve mostly moved out of the photo industry, these lenses will eventually become faulty. We can’t recommend that consumer buy them.
An Expected Fix? I Doubt It
Let me be very frank here: years ago when I spoke with a Zeiss rep, they hinted me that Zeiss would be moving away from the photo industry. To them, the cinema industry appreciates their wares a lot more. And truthfully, I don’t blame them. Photographers, while they’ve got a fair amount of expenses, are pretty cheap at times. But cinematographers truly understand that they need to pour money into their craft to get the results they need. That’s not to put photographers in a bad light; but it’s a fact. Photographers don’t have the available budgets that cinema does.
While Zeiss has been huge on some of the modern innovations in lens sharpness, they were never able to really keep up with the world’s technical progressions. As such, I really don’t believe that a fix is coming to the lenses. And in good faith, I can’t recommend that any photographer buys them. That’s a huge shame too as I really wish that wasn’t the case.