ZEISS has always been unconventional, striking its own path with what it considers world-class optics. This methodology has always seemed to be a success, despite some seemingly odd focal lengths along the way.
This has been most recently characterized by the introduction of the ZEISS Touit 32mm f/1.8, available only for Fuji and Sony camera mounts and providing a near-standard view of 48mm on crop sensor cameras.
The ZEISS 32mm has the same optical makeup on both platforms, but the real endgame here is to offer a standard prime for APS-C systems which can plug the gaps in the current lineups. There are almost similar focal length lenses already available for both the Sony and Fuji. So, it will be interesting to see how the Touit 32mm f/1.8 slots into the grand scheme of things.
As you would expect from a high-quality, well-spec’d ZEISS lens, it features a solid, all-metal lens barrel, with a very light weight of only 200g. The Sony version lacks an aperture ring, but Fuji users are treated to a manual version that clicks at every stop and is very easy to turn thanks to the rubber coating. The focus ring also has the same texture, which is easy to grip in cold weather, but some have complained that it starts to pick up fluff and dust over time.
The lens benefits from a wide and bright f/1.8 aperture, with the standard of nine, rounded diaphragm blades. Internally, ZEISS fans will be pleased to know that the planar optical arrangement has been incorporated, along with the renowned T* anti-reflective coating. Plus, to cover autofocusing duties, a DC motor has been incorporated with a ‘by wire’ manual focus, which makes it very easy to hit accurate sharpness.
On the whole, this is a simple and straightforward lens, which should be light enough to use all day long, while also offering a relatively standard viewpoint.
The ZEISS Touit 32mm f/1.8 in Use
It’s fine looking at graphs and charts all day long, along with images of brick walls to test the sharpness and distortion levels of a lens. However, it’s equally important to try out a lens in the real world in as many scenarios as possible.
After shooting a good bunch of images both inside and out, we are happy to say that the sharpness levels are very high across the frame at f/1.8 and stay the same, even in the corners up to f/8. This means that you don’t need the usual stopping down to tighten up edge clarity.
With any lens that features an aperture of f/1.8 or wider, it’s a prerequisite to test out the bokeh effects. The f/1.8 aperture produces relatively smooth blur, but it can appear jittery at times with overly complicated backgrounds.
For an f/1.8 aperture at this price point, it does reasonably well, but it’s not as smooth and creamy as an f/1.4 version and actually looks far better stopped down to f/2.8. This point is exemplified by bokeh balls that are more rounded at f/2.8 than at f/1.8.
As for the autofocus system, the ZEISS Touit 32mm f/1.8 is relatively fast and accurate to lock onto a subject. We wouldn’t say it’s the most lightning-fast for freezing fast-moving subjects, but it is still very good as a general all-rounder.
The lens also handles vignetting very well, with very little light falloff in the corners at all apertures. The lens does, however, exhibit chromatic aberration in high contrast areas. With a little tweaking in a program like Lightroom, any signs of blue or purple fringing can be easily managed.
On the whole, the ZEISS Touit 32mm f/1.8 produces accurate colors with a good degree of contrast. This would make the lens a good solution for the likes of street photography or when you need a standard prime at a moment’s notice.
How Does It Compare to Fuji?
For those currently using Fuji lenses, the FUJIFILM XF 35mm f/1.4 R is most likely the nearest comparison to the ZEISS Touit 32mm f/1.8 in terms of focal length and price. The Fuji number has the benefit of an f/1.4 aperture, plus a lighter weight of only 187g and a slightly closer focusing distance of 28cm.
Optically, both lenses are on par with one another and, as the ZEISS has dropped considerably in price, it is now more in line with the Fuji as an overall offering.
Both lenses are equally capable, which means the ultimate decision is down to your subjective preference for either the high-end ZEISS look or the few millimeters extra provided by the Fuji 35mm.
|ZEISS Touit 32mm f/1.8||FUJIFILM XF 35mm f/1.4 R|
|Close Focusing Distance||30cm||28cm|
An Accessible Introduction to ZEISS
When the ZEISS Touit 32mm f/1.8 first came out, it was a far more expensive lens than the Fuji 35mm. That meant for a slightly wider aperture and similar optics, the Fuji was a more affordable deal. Now the story isn’t as clear-cut and although the ZEISS 32mm doesn’t go as wide as the Fuji, it’s still a relatively affordable way to buy into the exclusive ZEISS camp of optics.
As a stand-alone lens on crop sensor cameras, the Touit 32mm f/1.8 may be just shy of the 50mm standard, but it can still provide the same all around versatility for anything from portraits to street photography.
There are no complaints about the sharpness from f/1.8-f/8, which makes it a very good shoot and run solution. The bokeh will need close focusing for the smoothest results and the autofocus system is quite adept for general use.
For its initial asking price, the ZEISS Touit 32mm f/1.8 was a harder sell. Now that it’s dropped in price considerably, it’s become a more viable option to buy into the ZEISS look. This point will probably be the deciding factor for both platforms if you can manage to pick one up at a reasonable price.