If you haven't noticed it yet, I'm definitely a ZEISS enthusiast. There are many reasons why I like the company. First of all, with its unique history ZEISS have had a great impact on modern photography, which include things like invention of different lens types & lens coatings, creation lenses for NASA's lunar mission and much more. Secondly, there's a certain intellectual perfectionism with everything they do that resonates quite well with my ideals and taste. Take the Otus lenses or the new ZX1 for example. And the last but not least, in my experience people at ZEISS are one of most polite with professional attitude and have their foot on the ground. Ask about any weak spot in some of their product and they will gladly explain the compromises without marketing nonsense.
But I have not always been a ZEISS enthusiast. For a long time ZEISS was a bit unknown brand and lens manufacturer to me. When I was using the Sony Nex-5N I knew the name, but I didn't really understood why some photographers were raving about ZEISS. To be honest, the company seemed a bit like niche brand for those who preferred to make things more difficult than what it needed to be in digital age (ZEISS only had manual focus lenses and their naming scheme was difficult to understand). But then I had my first public photography project and because of it I had an opportunity to test two ZEISS lenses for couple of months: Touit 2.8/12 & Touit 2.8/50M. Before I got the lenses for a test somebody warned me: 'once you go ZEISS you don't want to use anything else anymore'.
I remember vividly when did the first outing with the Touits. Already then I noticed from the back of my Nex-5N that the pictures looked different. Particularly the colors where different than with the Sony APS-C lenses I had used earlier. Now, I've always been very keen on colors and for about month the ZEISS lenses felt different in a way that's difficult to describe – to be honest, I was not sure if they were actually better or worse, and I kind of lost some of my reference points in post processing. But then after a month I had readjusted some of my post processing methods I was suddenly getting the best colors I've ever had before. Before my colors had always been 'close, but quite there' for reasons unknown to me. I wasn't unhappy with them, but I often felt that there was some 'secret post processing technique' that I had not yet learned and I kept trying and trying. So maybe you can imagine my astonishment when suddenly my results (after thousands of raw files), especially with colors and contrast, were great and without too much effort. I still remember the very pictures which were the first ones that really resonated with me. Well, I might as well to show couple of them right here, take them for what they are:
Looking back I think my experience was very much driven by using high quality premium lenses for the very first time in my photography. Maybe I could have experience the same with some other high quality lenses as well, but like many things in life, it was a lucky coincidence that my path happened to cross with ZEISS. And it was not just this single anecdote why I loved the Touits. Using those lenses gave me a new foundation, 'a solid base', to which I then rebuilt my color aesthetics. I felt I was getting there and quite naturally that got me to the point where it was next to impossible to go back using same lenses I had before. So I took the 'ZEISS blue pill' and got happily converted – just like that someone had warned me before. Consider yourself warned.