Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 Review For The Fuji X Series

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Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 Review For The Fuji X Series:

The Fuji X Series cameras are very popular amongst photographers, and with good reason.  They offer photographers full manual controls, they’re reliable, and they produce spectacular image quality all in a small package.  Their prices are pretty decent as well.  Their increase in popularity only seems to push Fuji harder into making more products for their X Series system, which is good, and bad depending on how you look at it but that’s a discussion for some other time.  But one good thing about Fuji constantly investing in their X line is that it makes third party companies feel more secure about making products that are compatible with the X Series.  One of these third party manufacturers who’ve decided to invest in the Fuji X Series is Zeiss, which recently introduced the Zeiss Touit lenses.

So far, Zeiss has introduced two lenses in their Touit lineup: a wonderful 12mm F2.8, and the 32mm F1.8, which is the lens I’m reviewing here.  As most of you know, the Zeiss focal lengths seem to be about the same as the Fuji counterparts.  Well, there might be a bit more of a difference between the Zeiss Touit 12mm, and the Fuji XF 14mm but the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 is pretty close to the Fuji XF 35mm.  The only major difference is the price; the Zeiss 32mm costs about $300 more than the Fuji XF 35mm.  Being that the Zeiss costs about %50 more than the Fuji, and it’s pretty similar to the Fuji XF 35mm on paper, what does that extra $300 get you?  Don’t forget, the Zeiss actually has a slightly smaller wide open aperture than the Fuji.  So, is it worth it to pay more for the Zeiss?  Does the Touit 32mm live up to the Zeiss name?  Read on and find out :).

Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 Build Quality:

The fit and finish of the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 is excellent.  This lens really has a pro feel to it, and for that reason, it legitimizes the mirrorless world as an even more serious alternative to DSLRs for serious photography.  There are no loose parts, everything feels tight, and there isn’t a hollow feeling to them like some of the Fuji lenses.  I love my Fuji lenses but wow, I sure wish they were built like the Zeiss versions.  While the 32mm F1.8 is built to high standards, don’t expect the 32mm to handle, and feel like traditional Zeiss lenses.  That’s not a bad thing though because the Touit lenses were designed for mirrorless cameras, so they’re light lenses which is expected since the whole Fuji system is light.  Nobody likes front heavy cameras, right?  The bottom line is, you’ll get a really well made lens that’s perfectly balanced for your X-E1 or X-Pro1.

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↑ Here’s how the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 looks like when it’s mounted on my Fuji X-E1.

Unlike the Sony versions, the Fuji versions of the Touit series have aperture rings with a rubberized surface for grip just like the focusing rings.  The aperture ring on the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 operates very smoothly, feels decently tight on my copy, and clicks in third stops just like the Fuji lenses.  The rubberized rings go well with the design of the lens, which seems to be all about being smooth, sculpted, simple, and straight to the point.  I really like the low key look of these lenses.

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↑ Here’s a top view of the 32mm mounted on my X-E1.

Compared to the XF 35mm, the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 is definitely a better built lens.  It feels like it weighs about the same but as mentioned before, it doesn’t have that hollow feel to it like the Fuji.  Everything just feels tighter in general.  The Zeiss Touit 32mm feels less plastic-like than the XF 35mm.  Plus, while the 32mm focuses at about the same pace as the XF 35mm, it’s definitely a lot quieter.

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↑ Here’s a front view of the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8.  It’s a nice size…about the same size as the Fuji XF 35mm.

I have a couple of complaints though, and they’re pretty much directed at the lens hood.  While the Zeiss Touit 32mm is about the same size as the XF 35mm, the hood is big.  In fact, it actually blocks out a little of the optical viewfinder on my X-Pro1.  It’s big enough so that I just leave the lens hood at home because it just takes up too much room in my bag.  Also, it would be great if they made a lens cap that snapped onto the hood instead of just for the lens itself.  The cap will fit while the lens hood is on but it’s just easier to pop it off if it was designed to go on the hood.  Have any of you seen the new lens hoods for some of the new Leica lenses?  They’re perfectly sized for each lens, and often times, the caps go right on to the lens hood itself.  The caps are pretty secure too because they slide right in rather than just snapping on.

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↑ Here’s a view of the lens with the hood in place.

 Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 Image Quality:

In terms of image quality, you’re really getting a fantastic lens here.  I really only heard good things about Zeiss products, and  the Touit 32mm F1.8 is no exception.  I really have no complaints about this lens, and it was an absolute joy using it.  In fact, I was quite surprised at how much I loved using this lens.  The colors are vibrant and rich, contrast is nice, and the 32mm is a very sharp lens.  In fact, I produced some bitingly sharp photos at its wide open aperture of F1.8.  I was actually a bit surprised at how sharp images could get when stopping down.

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↑ This photo was shot to demonstrate the Zeiss Touit 32mm’s sharpness at F1.8.

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↑ This is a 100% crop of the photo above.  The eye was the focus point.

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 ↑ This photo was shot at F4.

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 ↑ Here is a 100% crop of the photo above to show you the incredible detail that this lens can retrieve.

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↑ Here is another photo shot at F1.8.

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 ↑ This was a photo I shot at the Zeiss Press Event for the Touit lenses.

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↑ Here is another photo taken at F4.

Are there any complaints?  I honestly don’t have any that are significant…if you look really, REALLY hard, you’ll probably find a barely noticeable vignette when shooting wide open but honestly, this lens produces beautiful results in the real world.  It’s a near perfect lens that won’t give you any issues.  The Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 will perform in pretty much any situation, and that’s expected for it’s price of $900.  The only real complaint that I have isn’t even about the 32mm but about the terrible weather I had during my time with this lens.  It was hot, hazy, humid, and there were quite a few storms here in New York City, which often hampered my shooting.  Only near the end of the time that I had the 32mm was there some nice blue sky.  The bottom line is this: Zeiss has always been known for producing some of the best lenses in the world, and the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 is no exception.  Anyone who decides to buy this lens will definitely enjoy using it, and will produce some great wonderful photos.

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↑ This photo was taken at F5.6.

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↑ It has been extremely hot in the city lately.  Luckily, there are a lot of indoor places to run into like Grand Central Station.  This was shot at F1.8.

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 ↑ The Zeiss Touit 32mm is a great choice for taking photos of people.  The color and contrast are great.  This was shot at F1.8.

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↑ One of the very few days of blue skies that I had during my time with the Touit lenses :).

Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 Bokeh:

The bokeh look produced from the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 is definitely something that most will be wondering about and from what I’ve seen, it is very smooth.  With 9 aperture blades, the bokeh produced by this lens is like listening to vinyl on a beautifully made VPI Turntable…ultra smooth, organic, and inviting.  How does it compare to the XF 35mm?  Well, I’ll talk about that more in my comparison post later but at F1.4, and being slightly longer in focal length, the XF 35mm does produce a bit shallower depth of field.  But if you choose to buy the 32mm over the Fuji XF 35mm because maybe you prefer the build quality and feel more, you won’t be disappointed.

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↑ The shallow depth of field is nice and smooth.

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↑ Here is another photo shot at F1.8 to demonstrate the bokeh.

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 ↑ Citi Bike has finally come to New York City.

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↑ To me, the bokeh here almost looks like it came from a classic lens.

Pros and Cons of the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8:

Pros of the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8:

  • Build quality is excellent, and better than the Fuji XF 35mm.
  • Lens is small and light.
  • A fast F1.8 aperture.
  • Optically brilliant – there’s really nothing to complain about.
  • Colors are rich, contrast is great.
  • Bokeh is smooth.
  • Zeiss worked with Fuji in designing these lenses, so they seamlessly integrate into your existing Fuji system.

Cons of the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8:

  • The lens hood is huge.
  • At F1.8 it’s a little slower than the Fuji XF 35mm.
  • Price is a bit high.

 Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 Verdict:

The Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 is a fantastic choice for anyone who needs a standard lens for their system or even for someone who is interested in a one lens only kit for the X-E1 or X-Pro1.  It’s small, fast, quiet, and produces fantastic photos.  How does it compare with the XF 35mm?  Well, in many ways, both these lenses are very similar.  But I will discuss this more in a comparison post I’m writing up.  One thing that the Zeiss definitely has over the Fuji is that it’s better built.  It feels like a high quality lens, and while I love my XF 35mm, I wish the build quality was as good as the Zeiss’.

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↑ Here’s one more photo taken at F1.8.

I really didn’t want to return the 32mm F1.8.  I thoroughly enjoyed using it, and it works perfectly with the Fuji system.  The Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 is a third party lens but it doesn’t feel like one.  It feels like any other Fuji lens that I would use on my camera, and that’s another great feature about this lens.  Zeiss actually consulted Fuji when building this lens for the X system.  Would I trade my XF 35mm in for this 32mm?  Well, that’s a hard question to answer because both lenses are top notch.  While both lenses have very similar traits, even in terms of image quality, there are some things I prefer on the Zeiss over the Fuji.  For instance, I love the build quality, and the fact that it’s quieter when it focuses.  However, at $900, the Zeiss is %50 more than the XF 35mm.

As of now, I’m sticking with my XF 35mm because it’s already an excellent lens, and there is actually another lens on the horizon that I’ve been saving up for.  But if I didn’t have a 50mm equivalent already, the Zeiss would be even more tempting because it’s just as good optically but it also has a lot of features that I prefer like quieter focusing, and better overall build quality.  I seriously loved using this lens, and what surprised me the most was when I first heard that Zeiss was going to produce lenses for the Fuji system, I thought I was going to enjoy the 12mm a lot more than the 32mm.  I still do prefer the 12mm (the 18mm focal length is just so amazing to use) but the 32mm is something I really wish I owned.  The Touit 32mm F1.8 really feels like a high quality product, and anyone who ends up buying the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 will definitely enjoy it for a very long time.

If you’re considering buying the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8, and my review helped you decide, please help support me by purchasing from one of the links below.  Thank you for your support!

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Adorama

Bergen County Camera – I don’t get anything from them but BCC is the BEST, period.  They have extremely loyal customers, and I’m one of them.  My family and I have been buying from BCC for 30 years.  Ask for Bob (Westwood store).  I still remember running around in the Westwood store when I was a little kid :).  He co-owns the business with his brother, Tom.

 

 

 

 

10 comments… add one
  • nice photo here :)was wondering if you shoot raw or jpeg like me?,haha

    • Patrick

      Thanks, Meng! These were processed from Raw files. Jpeg from the Fuji (as you know) is great as well, though. It’s always great to hear from you!

      • sure sure 🙂 from aperture?i tot there are problem about the raw file,haha…anyway nice photo

      • Patrick

        I use Photoshop…Leica gave me Lightroom with my M but I prefer Photoshop :).

  • Hi Patrick,

    Thank you for your review of the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8, it was very helpful. Looking forward to the comparison with the Fuji 35 F1.4, which I love. I like the look of the Zeiss, it’s sleek. But in my opinion, it’s going to have to prove to be “a lot” better than the Fuji for me to make a switch. Like you said, the Fuji 35 is an awesome lens. Can anyone really justify the cost of the Zeiss over the Fuji, unless they simply collect equipment and want some sort of “status”. Plus there’s an issue with “Fuji made” vs. 3rd party. Unless the Zeiss gives me that “oh my God, this lens is incredible” look and feeling, I would always stick with the manufactures brand. Just like my Canon equipment, I love my 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM II lens, would I switch it out for a Tamron or Sigma? No way. That’s probably a stupid comparison, just getting my point across. I simply would not buy a lens because it has the Zeiss name, unlike others that simply have a “need” to keep buying equipment. I think Zeiss is a well known, high quality producer of lenses, well established in the field, but to me, the Fuji is going to be my go to lens, and I’ll keep the extra money I saved. Thanks Patrick, Alan

    • Patrick

      Hi Alan,

      Thanks for taking the time out to read my review. I’ll post a comparison after I finish the 12mm review. I know what you mean about the Zeiss. It’s an expensive lens, and while it really is hard to fault it, the problem is that Fuji has already a great 50mm equivalent, that’s cheaper. The build on the Zeiss is better though…

      In terms of 3rd party stuff, I agree with you. I usually never buy any third party equipment because the manufacturer’s branded stuff usually works better in terms of compatibility. Even though I knew I could save some money buying a third party M adapter for my Fuji, I still bought the Fuji version. But one great thing about the Zeiss Touit lenses is that they really worked closely with Fuji to design these lenses. They even had a Fuji rep at the Zeiss press event, and if you go to the Fuji site to check out their lens road map for the X Series, they actually have the Zeiss lenses there too. So, compatibility wise, the Zeiss lenses really work well with the Fuji.

      In the end, it’s really hard to fault the XF 35mm. It might be a little rough around the edges in terms of build when compared to the Zeiss but the optics are fantastic. It’s a workhorse of a lens, it produces beautiful images, and the price is good. Zeiss is a well respected lens design company, and they make amazing lenses just like this Touit lens. But Fuji also makes great lenses…I think (not sure) they use to make lenses for Hassy at one point.

      Anyway, thanks for your comment, Alan. It’s always great to hear from you. If you get a chance, please check out my Zeiss Touit 12mm review, which is coming up very soon. I absolutely loved that lens, and I have a lot of photos in that review. Take care, and thanks again for taking the time out to read my review,

      Patrick

      • Hi Patrick,
        It’s always a pleasure to read and comment. The Zeiss is a fine quality lens for sure, and I’m sure folks will enjoy using it. I think if I only used my Fuji system, I may consider the purchase, but with the Fuji system and my Canon system online, it’s tough to find the time to even go out shooting, LOL.
        Always love your reviews and chatting with you.

        Alan

      • Patrick

        Hi Alan,

        I know what you mean. I feel the same way…if I only had the Fuji system, I’d be more willing to trade my XF 35mm in for the Zeiss. But as of now, I use the Fuji and Leica system. It’s hard for me to trade in my already great XF 35mm for the Zeiss when I’m currently saving up for a super wide angle lens…Anyway, it’s always great conversing with you, Alan. I hope you have a great weekend,

        Take care,

        Patrick

  • inthedarkroom

    Glad to see Zeiss hasn’t lost it touch and that your shots prove it.

    • Patrick

      Thanks, inthedarkroom! Yes, the new Zeiss lenses are pretty awesome!

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