Zeiss Touit: 32mm F/1.8 sharpness and distortion

Zeiss Touit : 32mm F/1.8 sharpness and distortion


It’s no secret that I like the Zeiss Touit range for E-mount. I wanted to buy the 32mm F/1.8 ever since I got my Sony A6000, but these lenses aren’t exactly cheap. Anyway I bit the bullet and bought both 12mm and 32mm versions.

I like them both, and often use them on my Sony A7r too, where AF works as well as any of the Sony FE lenses. You’re only using about half of the 36MP as this is an APS-C lens, but for most usage, where the smallest setup is required ( street photography) this is sufficient. I’d say that the A7r is the best APS-C camera out there in combination with one of these lenses.Zeiss Touit

Distortion and vignetting

There is some slight barrel distortion visible, but nothing that would bother even jpeg shooters.It’s a non-complex type that is very easily correctable either in-camera or in software if it bothers you.

If you look closely, the Zeiss Touit has some vignetting too.

Zeiss Touit

Center sharpness

These are 100% crops of the center of the image. Images RAW files and exported as jpeg from Lightroom without any noise reduction. Camera is set up on a tripod; minimum focusing distance is held into account. ISO is set to 100, in order to facilitate equal sharpness comparisons between images.  This leads to longer exposure times at higher aperture numbers.

As these are do-it-yourself tests in not adequately controlled circumstances, results with longer shutter speeds might not be reliable, so I’m not going to comment on those. I’ve provided them anyway for anyone who might be interested in results using these settings.

Center sharpness increases steadily up to f/5.6 and  flattens out up to f/10. For portraiture, f/1.8 will do fine, as the Zeiss Touit 32mm is decently sharp at this number. Remember that high F-numbers like this have a very shallow DOF, not relevant to a test like this but you should take that into account in real life.

Corner sharpness

Corners at f/1.8 are nearly as sharp as the centre. Following the line of the centre, the corners increasingly sharpen up to f/5.6, reaching their maximum at f/8.


This is another home-run for the Zeiss Touit line-up. You might think that I’m overlooking the flaws because I like it so much, but you have to use it in real-life to appreciate this lens.

More good news to come for Sony A6000 users, as Zeiss is preparing a firmware update that will allow full Hybrid AF functionality with their Touit range. If you can spare the cash, buy one.

wim arys

Wim Arys is a photographer from Belgium Europe with a passion for mirrorless cameras.

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6 Responses

  1. Josh says:

    Thanks for the great review. There are still a lot of hater on this lens but I think it is great with an a6000 or greater. Nex models seem to have firmware problems. I think this lens is a real step up from the sel35f18 in terms of colour, contrast, and sharpness especially at the corners. Focus is faster on the sel and it has OSS but I think the upside of the Zeiss is greater. I think that the entire Zeiss lineup takes the a6000 where it should be in terms of IQ.

    • wim arys says:

      Totally agree Josh. When comparing images between the A7 and A6000 with this lens, it’s sometimes hard to see which is which (especially with my current workflow)… And if you take into account that the A6000 has superior AF capabilities, I’d think for many people it would be wise to spend their money on a combo like this instead of jumping on the full frame bandwagon.

  2. Jazz1 says:

    Has Zeiss released the firmware update yet?

    • wim arys says:

      Hi Jazz, they have not. I was talking to a Zeiss rep at Photokina, who basically said that they see themselves as a manual-only lens manufacturer. And that the update will come if and when they are ready. The update will involve sending your lens to Zeiss in Germany, so I’m guessing they are not really eager on having thousands of lenses sent back to them and having to update them for free.

      • Patrick Sy says:

        Send the lens to Germany….Seriously?
        from Carl Zeiss Lenses
        All ZEISS Touit lenses are compatible with their firmware delivered ex-works in relation to the basic functions on current Sony Alpha APS-C system cameras with E-mount.
        In parallel with the launch of new firmware for some of its camera housing on 19 March 2014, Sony opened up the fast hybrid autofocus function of their system cameras to other lens manufacturers. We have decided to integrate this function into our Touit lenses also. This applies to the Touit 2.8/12 and Touit 1.8/32 lenses, which are already on the market, and to the Touit 2.8/50M which is currently coming onto the market.
        A software upgrade must be carried out in order to use the new functions with existing lenses. The upgrade is currently in preparation. We will announce its completion date via the usual channels (e.g. http://www.zeiss.com/photo).
        Best regards
        ZEISS Lenses Team

        • wim arys says:

          Hi Patrick, if you bought your Touit in the US, as far as I know you can send it to a US service centre too. But do they actually have a firmware update ready? Last time I spoke to a Zeiss rep, he told me that it “might or might not happen somewhere in the future”….

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