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Zeiss Milvus 21mm 2.8

Incredible Wide Angle Lens

The ZEISS Milvus 21mm 2.8 lens is not a lens that our studio would naturally gravitate towards. The curvature this and other more extreme wide angle lenses tend to exhibit is generally unwelcoming for our taste of portraiture. So, when it arrived as part of our ZEISS Milvus sneak peek, we were a little confused as to how to really use it in our style. Because of the curvature that all wide lenses are prone to, getting close to a subject can cause face bulging.

From our experience face bulging is generally perceived by our clients as unflattering and therefore avoided by us. A lens like this was ultimately designed for landscape and architectural photography. But for us as wedding photographers, we found that its greatest strength are its storytelling abilities. Having a large wide angle of view allows for large scenes to be captured. Or, of course, to maximize the look of tight spaces and smaller rooms.

This lens-like the rest of the Milvus line-up-is incredibly sharp and the color renditions are cinematic. Like the others, this lens is also manual focus only, but the focusing throw is quite long, which allows for very precise focusing. It also manages flaring, chromatic aberrations and other lens anomalies quite well. The built-in lens hood adds additional flare protection. It’s also reversible for easy travel and storage. Plus, the addition of weather sealing adds peace of mind.

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Seeing More

It’s true. With a lens like this you can see more! Humans tend to see more tunnel vision; something more akin to 45mm to 55mm (depending on who you are or who you are talking too). This lens literally allows you to get more frame than you can see. This is extremely helpful in tight quarters and can prove invaluable in some wedding day situations.

In addition to smaller indoor spaces, this focal distance allows the ability to capture epic looking environmental portraits almost anywhere. Combine this wideness with ZEISS incredible IQ (image quality), and you have a pairing that’s simply remarkable!

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Consider Your Needs

As of this writing this lens costs $1843 USD, which is a pretty hefty investment. However, as a landscape photographer or videographer, this lens would be your complete bread and butter. It’s important to consider your needs and what you are ultimately trying to create. If you goal is to shoot a more whimsical look consider the longer lenses in the series, such as the Milvus 50mm 1.4 or the Milvus 85mm 1.4. But if you like telling stories and the wide angle look is something you like to create, you really can’t go wrong with this lens.

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Final Thoughts

Even though this isn’t a lens that our studio initially had on it’s radar, having used it in real world applications has proven to be quite impressive. The image quality and lens build is second to none. If you are in the market for a storytelling lens of the highest quality, look no further.

*Past Love: We technically never owned this lens, however we did have a few months to test drive it out and really got to know what it’s all about. We don’t own this lens, not because it’s not amazing at what it does. But, rather that it’s not as important to our look as the high end portrait lenses we prefer to invest in.

More Resources

Are you interested in learning more about this lens? There are lots of great useful resources all of the web to help us photographers achieve our photographic dreams! We have included some of the articles and resources that were helpful for us when researching our own gear purchase.

ZEISS –  ZEISS Tech Specs