Thursday, April 9, 2015

Zeiss Distagon T* 18mm f/3.5 ZE Adapted To Sony A7R

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge
Sony A7R With Zeiss 18mm F3.5 lens and Viltrox Adapter

[Note: for the particulars on this lens, Ken Rockwell has an excellent review here:] This lens is also available in the Nikon mount.      

My lens arrived today and I already had my Tiffen 82mm UV filter and Viltrox EF-NEX II adapter waiting for it. When I mounted it on my A7R, it just seemed to be a good fit with nice balance. Should a camera lens be such a work of art? This was a lens I picked up on ebay and paid about half the price of a new one. I was so disappointed in having to sell the 21mm f2.8 lens but it was too big and heavy for my purposes. I did learn not to use a polarizing filter with an ultra-wide lens though.

I was surprised to see that there was no aperture adjustment even though there is a knurled ring with the apertures listed on it. There is a smooth functioning focus ring and with the Sony focus peaking, I was able to get my shots in focus. I set my camera to aperture priority mode and was able to set the apertures from the camera.

If I have one criticism of Sony, it’s that they have not come out with a really good full frame e-mount wide-angle prime lens. The rest of their offerings do a pretty good job everywhere else but they could also provide a 1.4x or 2.0x teleconverter for the full frame e-mount 70-200 f4 lens. Thankfully there are lots of good lenses that can be adapted to the A7R.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see that while this adapter does not allow for autofocus, it does provide the camera setting information about the shot in the photo file. For example it tells the shutter speed, aperture, ISO and focal length .

Today was a rather hazy day but I took some photographs in my back yard to see what kind of shots I would get. I was very happy with the quality and look forward to including this as my third backpacking lens for this coming summer. Perhaps someone with better eyes than mine can find fault with the photographs.

I have the 55mm 1.8 native Zeiss lens and the 70-200mm native G lens. Kings Canyon National Park is one of the most beautiful places on the planet so with these lenses and the photo opportunities, the only weak variable is me but I continue to learn how to compose the shots and now am more interested in good photographs than daily trail mileage.

I believe this will be a wonderful lens for mountain wide-angle shots. It looks like the high Sierra Nevada mountain passes will be free of snow even sooner this year unfortunately.

 ISO 6400 f3.5 1/80
 ISO 50 f4.5 1/250 
 ISO 64 f5.6 1/200
 ISO 64 f8 1/10
 ISO 100 f8 1/125

 ISO 64 f11 1/13
 ISO 64 f11 1/15
ISO 64 f5.6 1/20



  1. This lens didn't make the cut either. I'll have a new article on what 3 lenses I am hitting the trail with this year soon.

  2. Here is the article. I replaced the Zeiss 18mm lens with a 17-40mm f4 USM Canon Lens adapted to my Sony A7R.

  3. Zeiss Batis will be introducing a new e-mount full frame autofocus 18mm 2.8 lens very soon. We'll see how it stacks up against the 18mm 3.5 for cost, weight and wait time. I suspect when this new lens becomes available, lots of A7 owners will be unloading adapters and Zeiss Canon or Zeiss Nikon 18mm 3.5 lenses.