The Street Shooters – Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2.0 vs. Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f/2.8

We don’t always do gear tests at iLHP but when we do, we go all out. This lens shootout will feature a Blackbird spy plane, two beautiful models on Melrose Ave., and the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Space Shuttle Endeavor
Come on. Who else gives you a space shuttle in a lens review??

The 35mm is an ideal focal length for street photographers. Wide enough to capture subject within close proximity, not so wide that distortion becomes an issue or too many distractions are in the frame. Leica has long had their famous range of 35mm Summiluxes and Summicrons for street photogs. However, the 35mm is also a secret weapon for fashion/portrait photographers like Terry Richardson or Annie Leibovitz.

This comparo will be broken into 5 rounds:

  1. Build quality
  2. Sharpness
  3. Vignetting and Flare
  4. Bokeh and 3D Pop
  5. Real World Handling

The Contenders & Their Specs

Zeiss Sonnar 35mm Loxia 35mm Sonnar 55mm
All of these lenses are made from metal. Though similar in size, the Loxia feels much heavier than the Sonnar 35mm. Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f/2.8 (left); Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 Biogon (center); Zeiss Sonnar 55mm f/1.8 (right).

On the left, weighing in at a featherweight 120g with a $798 price tag, is the Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm f/2.8. In the middle, weighing in at a hefty 340g with a $1,299 price tag, is the brand new Zeiss Loxia T* 35mm f/2 Biogon. And for reference, we have the spectacular Zeiss Sonnar T* 55mm f/1.8 on the right.

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