ZEISS Loxia Distagon T* 21mm F/2.8

Ultra-wide angle prime lens • Digital era

T* The multi-layer coating is applied to the surface of lens elements. It boosts light transmission, ensures sharp and high contrast images, minimizes ghosting and flares.

Sony a7

35mm AF digital mirrorless camera

Announced:October 2013
Mount:Sony E
Format:35.8 × 23.9mm
Resolution:6000 × 4000 - 24 MP
Sensor type:CMOS
Image stabilizer:-

Sony a7R

35mm AF digital mirrorless camera

Announced:October 2013
Mount:Sony E
Format:35.9 × 24mm
Resolution:7360 × 4912 - 36 MP
Sensor type:CMOS
Image stabilizer:-

Sony a7S

35mm AF digital mirrorless camera

Announced:April 2014
Mount:Sony E
Format:35.6 × 23.8mm
Resolution:4240 × 2832 - 12 MP
Sensor type:CMOS
Image stabilizer:-

Sony a7 II

35mm AF digital mirrorless camera

Announced:November 2014
Mount:Sony E
Format:35.8 × 23.9mm
Resolution:6000 × 4000 - 24 MP
Sensor type:CMOS
Image stabilizer:Yes

Sony a7R II

35mm AF digital mirrorless camera

Announced:June 2015
Mount:Sony E
Format:35.9 × 24mm
Resolution:7952 × 5304 - 42 MP
Sensor type:CMOS
Image stabilizer:Yes

Sony a7S II

35mm AF digital mirrorless camera

Announced:September 2015
Mount:Sony E
Format:35.6 × 23.8mm
Resolution:4240 × 2832 - 12 MP
Sensor type:CMOS
Image stabilizer:Yes

Sony a9

35mm AF digital mirrorless camera

Announced:April 2017
Mount:Sony E
Format:35.6 × 23.8mm
Resolution:6000 × 4000 - 24 MP
Sensor type:CMOS
Image stabilizer:Yes

Sony a7R III

35mm AF digital mirrorless camera

Announced:October 2017
Mount:Sony E
Format:35.9 × 24mm
Resolution:7952 × 5304 - 42 MP
Sensor type:CMOS
Image stabilizer:Yes

Sony a7 III

35mm AF digital mirrorless camera

Announced:February 2018
Mount:Sony E
Format:35.6 × 23.8mm
Resolution:6000 × 4000 - 24 MP
Sensor type:CMOS
Image stabilizer:Yes

Sony a7R IV

35mm AF digital mirrorless camera

Announced:July 2019
Mount:Sony E
Format:35.7 × 23.8mm
Resolution:9504 × 6336 - 60 MP
Sensor type:CMOS
Image stabilizer:Yes

Sony a9 II

35mm AF digital mirrorless camera

Announced:October 2019
Mount:Sony E
Format:35.6 × 23.8mm
Resolution:6000 × 4000 - 24 MP
Sensor type:CMOS
Image stabilizer:Yes

Sony a7S III

35mm AF digital mirrorless camera

Announced:July 2020
Mount:Sony E
Format:35.6 × 23.8mm
Resolution:4240 × 2832 - 12 MP
Sensor type:CMOS
Image stabilizer:Yes

Sony a7C

35mm AF digital mirrorless camera

Announced:September 2020
Mount:Sony E
Format:35.6 × 23.8mm
Resolution:6000 × 4000 - 24 MP
Sensor type:CMOS
Image stabilizer:Yes

Sony a1

35mm AF digital mirrorless camera

Announced:January 2021
Mount:Sony E
Format:35.9 × 24mm
Resolution:8640 × 5760 - 50 MP
Sensor type:CMOS
Image stabilizer:Yes

Designed for

Click to expand or collapse section(s)

Features highlight

Extreme AoV
Fast
T*
1 ASPH
4 AD
Manual
10 blades
MF
WR mount

Specification

Production details
Announced:October 2015
Production status:In production
Production type:Mass production
Original name:ZEISS Distagon 2.8/21 T*
Optical design
Focal length:21mm
Speed:F/2.8
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount:Sony E
Flange focal distance:18mm
Diagonal angle of view:91.7° (35mm full frame)
67.9° (Sony E APS-C)
Lens construction:11 elements - 9 groups
1 ASPH, 4 AD
Diaphragm mechanism
Diaphragm type:Manual
Number of blades:10
Focusing
Closest focusing distance:0.25m
Maximum magnification ratio:1:7.8 at the closest focusing distance
Focusing method:<No information>
Focusing modes:Manual focus only
Manual focus control:Focusing ring
Physical characteristics
Weight:394g
Maximum diameter x Length:⌀62.1×72mm
Weather sealing:Water-resistant mount
Fluorine coating:-
Accessories
Filters:Screw-type 52mm
Lens hood:Bayonet-type 2144-616 (petal-shaped)

Manufacturer description #1

ZEISS broadens lens horizon for E-mount full-frame cameras

With the new ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21 the company is expanding its family of compact lenses for compact Sony full-frame cameras with E-mount with a super wide angle.

OBERKOCHEN/Germany, 12/10/2015.

The latest member of the ZEISS Loxia family is called ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21. It is a super wide angle, developed for compact full-frame cameras with E-mount and with a new optical design based on the ZEISS Distagon. The ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21 supplements the ZEISS Loxia 2/35 and ZEISS Loxia 2/50 lenses, which were presented last year at photokina. Especially practical for cinematographers, the ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21 has the mechanical aperture setting and the de-activation of the aperture click stop, both found on all ZEISS Loxia lenses.

“Since the Sony α7 series came out, the market has been waiting for a powerful super wide-angle lens for compact full-frame cameras. For many photographers such a lens was the missing tool in their gear. ZEISS is now meeting that demand with the ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21,” said Christophe Casenave, Product Manager at ZEISS Camera Lenses.

As the latest member in the compact, light-weight family of ZEISS Loxia lenses, the ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21 offers trusted features that combine traditional photography and modern technology. The electronic interface transmits lens data (EXIF) as well as the focus movements and – if desired by the photographer – activates the magnifying function of the camera. For the sophisticated photographer who does not want to leave all the work to the camera, there are many opportunities to compose thanks to the lens’s precise manual focusing with end stop and the mechanical setting of the aperture (aperture priority mode for the working aperture). As a result, photographers can take advantage of all the possibilities offered by modern compact system cameras with an electronic viewfinder.

Optimal for different types of use

With an angular field exceeding 91 degrees (diagonal) on a full-frame camera, the ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21 is well suited for nature, landscape and architectural photography. In landscape photography in particular, an exact infinity setting is a critical factor. Here, the precise manual focusing of the ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21 supports the user enormously. Furthermore, the lens enables creative, naturally proportioned images with a low minimum object distance of just 0.25 meters (9.84”). The ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21 is extremely compact and light, making it the perfect choice for travel and street photography.

ZEISS Loxia lenses for video

Ambitious videographers will also discover once again that the ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21 is a tool that offers optimum creative potential. The mechanical deactivation of the aperture click stop for infinite aperture settings (de-click), which already came with the ZEISS Loxia 2/35 and ZEISS Loxia 2/50, is also found in the new ZEISS Loxia super wide angle. The smooth focus operation with a rotation angle of 90 degrees of the ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21 allows for the finest variations when focusing video cameras with E-mount, such as the Sony PXW-FS7 or PXW-FS5. “In addition, the identical external diameter of the ZEISS Loxia lenses across all focal lengths simplifies the changing of lenses during shoots, so accessories like a follow focus don’t need to be readjusted,” added Casenave.

Newest optical design with robust construction

The ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21 has been specially developed for digital sensors. The newly calculated lenses consist of 11 lens elements in nine groups. The underlying optical design is a ZEISS Distagon. High resolution along the entire image field, low distortion and color fringing, and an appealing bokeh – especially at the maximum aperture of f/2.8 – round out the exceptional features of this lens. “It’s a small jewel offering outstanding optical performance,” said Casenave, summarizing the optical qualities of the ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21. Other qualities include its impressive mechanical quality and robust barrel. Made entirely of metal, the barrel protects the lens and can withstand the rugged everyday situations that professional photographers face, thereby ensuring a long product life. Like the other ZEISS Loxia lenses, the filter diameter is 52 mm. Finally, a special weather protection on the lens mount protects the lens from spray getting between the camera and lens.

The ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21 will be available worldwide starting December 2015. The lens shade is included with delivery.

Manufacturer description #2

Compact, wide-angle and powerful – these are the properties that make the super wide-angle Loxia 2.8/21 so special. The optical design has been specially developed for high-resolution, full-frame sensors of the mirrorless Sony α series. A system expansion through the new ZEISS Loxia – in a focal length range that has a long tradition at ZEISS.

Despite its compactness, the super wide-angle ZEISS Loxia® 2.8/21 offers outstanding image performance – across the entire image field of a full-frame sensor. Whether architecture, landscape or also three-dimensional subjects in close-up against a spacious background – this focal length with its large image angle is an excellent addition to the Loxia lens family. It is an absolute must for wide-angle fans who want to capture even the tiniest details of a special moment in a photo or on film.

ZEISS Loxia lenses were specifically designed for Sony α7 cameras. This means that they can make the most of the mirrorless, full frame system, while giving you all the creative possibilities of ‘classic’ photography with manual focus at the same time.

And that’s not all: ZEISS Loxia lenses also provide everything you need to shoot high quality video, such as the unique DeClick feature for smooth adjustment of the aperture, for example.

Typical application

landscapes, interiors, buildings, cityscapes, travel

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm

Travellers' choice

Note

Among autofocus lenses designed for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras only. Speed of standard and telephoto lenses is taken into account.

Professional lens

One of the best ultra-wide angle prime lenses

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Quality control issues

The manufacturer of this lens does not provide adequate quality control. If you do decide to purchase this lens, do not order it online, but choose the best copy available in the store. In any case, there may also be problems with the build quality, and warranty repairs can take months.

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Compact, full-frame manual focus lenses for Sony mirrorless cameras.

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Autofocus lenses for Sony and Fujifilm APS-C mirrorless cameras.

Zeiss ZM series

Lenses with exceptional workmanship for rangefinder cameras.

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Zeiss Milvus series

Full-frame manual focus lenses specially designed for modern digital SLR cameras with high-resolution sensors. Optimal image performance for all focal lengths.

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Unique Zeiss Look

Zeiss lenses are one-of-a-kind optical masterpieces that are impressive because of their unique Zeiss Look. This is ensured through exceptional optical design combined with selected materials and the highest quality standards.

Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

MF

Sorry, no additional information is available.

Aspherical elements

Aspherical elements (ASPH, XA, XGM) are used in wide-angle lenses for correction of distortion and in large-aperture lenses for correction of spherical aberration, astigmatism and coma, thus ensuring excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. The effect of the aspherical element is determined by its position within the optical formula: the more the aspherical element moves away from the aperture stop, the more it influences distortion; close to the aperture stop it can be particularly used to correct spherical aberration. Aspherical element can substitute one or several regular spherical elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Use of aspherical elements has its downsides: it leads to non-uniform rendering of out-of-focus highlights. This effect usually appears as "onion-like" texture of concentric rings or "wooly-like" texture and is caused by very slight defects in the surface of aspherical element. It is difficult to predict such effect, but usually it occurs when the highlights are small enough and far enough out of focus.

Low dispersion elements

Low dispersion elements (ED, LD, SD, UD etc) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. This type of glass exhibits low refractive index, low dispersion, and exceptional partial dispersion characteristics compared to standard optical glass. Two lenses made of low dispersion glass offer almost the same performance as one fluorite lens.

Low dispersion elements

Low dispersion elements (ED, LD, SD, UD etc) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. This type of glass exhibits low refractive index, low dispersion, and exceptional partial dispersion characteristics compared to standard optical glass. Two lenses made of low dispersion glass offer almost the same performance as one fluorite lens.

Canon's Super UD, Nikon's Super ED, Pentax' Super ED, Sigma's FLD ("F" Low Dispersion), Sony' Super ED and Tamron's XLD glasses are the highest level low dispersion glasses available with extremely high light transmission. These optical glasses have a performance equal to fluorite glass.

High-refraction low-dispersion elements

High-refraction low-dispersion elements (HLD) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

High Index, High Dispersion elements

High Index, High Dispersion elements (HID) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Anomalous partial dispersion elements

Anomalous partial dispersion elements (AD) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Fluorite elements

Synthetic fluorite elements (FL) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. Compared with optical glass, fluorite lenses have a considerably lower refraction index, low dispersion and extraordinary partial dispersion, and high transmission of infrared and ultraviolet light. They are also significantly lighter than optical glass.

According to Nikon, fluorite easily cracks and is sensitive to temperature changes that can adversely affect focusing by altering the lens' refractive index. To avoid this, Canon, as the manufacturer most widely using fluorite in its telephoto lenses, never uses fluorite in the front and rear lens elements, and the white coating is applied to the lens barrels to reflect light and prevent the lens from overheating.

Short-wavelength refractive elements

High and specialized-dispersion elements (SR) refract light with wavelengths shorter than that of blue to achieve highly precise chromatic aberration compensation. This technology also results in smaller and lighter lenses.

Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics

Organic Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics material (BR Optics) placed between convex and concave elements made from conventional optical glass provides more efficient correction of longitudinal chromatic aberrations in comparison with conventional technology.

Diffraction elements

Diffraction elements (DO, PF) cancel chromatic aberrations at various wavelengths. This technology results in smaller and lighter lenses in comparison with traditional designs with no compromise in image quality.

High refractive index elements

High refractive index elements (HR, HRI, XR etc) minimize field curvature and spherical aberration. High refractive index element can substitute one or several regular elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Apodization element

Apodization element (APD) is in fact a radial gradient filter. It practically does not change the characteristics of light beam passing through its central part but absorbs the light at the periphery. It sort of softens the edges of the aperture making the transition from foreground to background zone very smooth and results in very attractive, natural looking and silky smooth bokeh.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.

Format

Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),

where:

CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.

Mount

A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance from the lens mount to the film or sensor can also be different.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Flange focal distance

The flange focal distance (FFD), sometimes called the "flange back", is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.

Speed

The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

Convex protruding front element

The convex front element protrudes from the lens barrel, making it impossible to use filters.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.

Weight

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.

Filters

Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.