Zeiss Milvus 21mm f/2.8 review: Go wide with this up-market prime lens for Canon and Nikon DSLRs

The Zeiss Milvus 21mm F2.8 combines an ultra-wide viewing angle with a fairly fast aperture, designed for DSLRs

Zeiss Milvus 21mm F2.8
(Image: © Zeiss)

Digital Camera World Verdict

A measly 3mm might not sound much but I love the way the Zeiss Milvus 21mm F2.8 gives me a very noticeable step up in viewing angle, compared with a 24-70mm ‘trinity’ zoom lens, with the same f/2.8 aperture. It’s a manual-focus lens but don’t let that put you off. It’s a top-class optic, but the purchase price might be hard to swallow.


  • +

    Lovely image quality

  • +

    Superb build and handling

  • +

    Detachable lens hood


  • -

    No autofocus

  • -

    Very expensive to buy

  • -

    Less ‘wide-angle’ than some

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The Zeiss Milvus 21mm F2.8 is designed for Canon and Nikon full-frame DSLRs, available in ZE and ZF.2 options respectively. There are wider-angle lenses in the Milvus family, in the same fitment options, namely the Zeiss Milvus 15mm F2.8 and Zeiss Milvus 18mm F2.8. However, if you find that the viewing angles of these two lenses is simply too expansive, the 21mm gives a useful boost compared with a typical 24-70mm zoom lens, without going to such extremes. It’s useful for everything from landscapes and cityscapes to architectural interiors and astrophotography. The viewing angle also works well simply for creative effect.


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Mount optionsCanon EF, Nikon F
Lens construction16 elements in 13 groups
Angle of view90 degrees
Focus typeManual focus
Minimum aperturef/22
Minimum focus distance0.22m
Maximum magnification0.2x
Filter size82mm
Weight851g (EF) 735g (F)

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.