Monday, May 4, 2015

Macro photographs with the Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8 lens on a Fuji X-T1

Two optical marvels -- the first microscope by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek and the Zeiss Touit 50mm macro lens on a Fuji X-T1. We've come a long way from the 1600's. 

There are few macro lenses I have ever used that are as good as the Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8 I use on my Fuji X-T1. Sometimes I just take the lens out to play with it in really tight on small objects like those below. The illumination here is nothing more than back lighting from a late afternoon window and a couple of candles thrown in for accent. In post processing with Adobe Camera Raw I applied the Classic Chrome or Pro Neg Hi profiles for all the images to give them a starker look.

An antique bronze cross from eastern Europe photographed at f/2.8 to throw the background candles our of focus. 

This is a replica of the first microscope made by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in the late 1600's. It had a tiny, spherical lens held between two brass plates.

A 19th century tintype portrait in a gutta persha case.


  1. HI Tom,
    I have a Fuji X-T1 and I'd like to get a prime for macro and portrait shoot.
    I read your previous comparison but is there any chance to compare zeiss 50 with the fuji 56 1,2 + macro extension tube ?

    1. I wanted to edit the notify me :)

      Well, I suppose that a better and fairer comparison would be with the Fuji 60mm macro which, by means of the extension tube matches the 1:1 ratio of the touit.

  2. The Fuji 56mm f/1.2 with an extension tube will be a very different animal and a bit more cumbersome to use. However, it should have an extremely shallow depth of field, which may work for some subjects. I will give it a try soon and report the results in a blog post.

    The Fuji 60mm macro has a very slow auto-focus with a lot of hunting. The Zeiss macro is much better.

    1. After the latest firmware affecting autofocus this doesn’t appear to be the case, in any case it isn’t on the X-T1 while it might still be the case with X-E1 and X-Pro.

  3. Following these exchange of ideas on whether a fairer comparison between fuji lenses ( 56 or 60) and the zeiss 50mm macro should have included the 60mm, I have been conducting some experiments on my 60mm and indeed if the autofocus area is set to its smallest setting there is some hunting but this is incredibly reduced to very little or almost nothing indeed if one goes just one click bigger in terms of auto-focusable area. In other words, don’t use the smallest but just go one up. This has to be one of the most important reasons why a lot of people have had problems with this lens. I really have experienced none, especially since the introduction of the new firmware. As for this, I expect even better performance fro the next improvement to come in only a few days.


  4. Andrea, I think you will also find that using the middle size position of the focus point on the X-T1 and limiting yourself to the central 9 points on the focus grid will achieve the quickest focus with any lens. This is because these points maximize the combined use of both the CDAF (contrast detection auto focus) and PDAF (phase detection auto focus) available with the latest X-T1 firmware update.

  5. Cheers Tom, I often use my macro lens in manual focus especially when it comes to these shallow depth of field images where I like to have a very minimum the image in focus.