Last week I picked up a new toy for my bag, to fill in some holes in my lens array now that I am planning to add landscapes to my armoury (having reversed my decision of some months ago not to get into landscape photography!!).  I managed to find a mint-condition Zeiss distagon T* 21/2.8 ZF.2 at a wacking one-third discount over new; the lens is in perfect condition, and I even got the full Zeiss warranty since the previous owner returned his set of Zeiss lenses after a change of heart after a short period of ownership!!  This should be the perfect lens for my D800E.

I looked into lens choices in some detail, and having discovered that on my 18-200VR (DX) I most commonly used this at 18mm, I decided that I at least needed a wide- or ultra-wide-angle.

I also picked up some filters on the Lee system: a Lee 105mm circular polarizer (which doesn’t vignette with the Zeiss on a wide-angle adaptor and with one filter slot), and a couple of Hitech IRND filters: a 1.2 and a 3.0 ND for long and super-long exposures.

Below are a couple of preliminary shots, which I’m quite pleased with, on an excursion last night.  A few things are going to take a little time to get used to: first of all, the manual focusing with the super-smooth-action metal ring, which can be nudged accidentally quite easily; I’m going to have to keep practising to get front to back sharpness at a variety of f-numbers.  You have to keep the aperture reasonably wide with the D800 to avoid diffraction – you can’t just stop down to f/22 and infinity and hope for the best!

Second, the lens perspective: with these church shots I’ve corrected the perspective distortion a little bit, but not massively.

A trialled doing some exposure bracketing for these shots, but the dynamic range of the D800E is such that even exposing for the sky I had enough detail in the foreground and shadows to go with a single shot.

St Philip’s Church, Little Rollright, Oxfordshire


A grade-II* listed 13th-century church in a small Cotswolds village


Nikon D800E/Zeiss Distagon T*2.8/21 ZF.2

single exposure

ISO 100 0.5″ f/8

Another shot


Nikon D800E/Zeiss Distagon T*2.8/21 ZF.2

single exposure

ISO 100 1/8 f/5.6


One thought on “Landscapes!

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