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Recommend ZEISS 35mm f1.4 DISTAGON T* ZM?

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All,

 

I currently have the Summicron 35 ASPH V1.  It is a nice size for my M6 and performs nicely.  Years ago I had a Zeiss Biogon ZM 35 f/2.  I regret selling that lens as it produces lovely images.  Ever since then I've had a desire to buy another Zeiss lens.  The Distagon ZM f/1.4 is very appealing to me.  While large is has some of the best optics available.  

 

For those of you who own this lens do you recommend it highly?  I've heard the build quality is excellent as well.  

 

 

Thanks!!

 

BC

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I bought the Zeiss Distagon, because of its image quality, I knew about its weight and said to myself I can handle that. But I have to say that it is heavier compared to the other lenses I have and after a while I sold it again because of its weight.

Nevertheless it´s a great lens.

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I bought the Zeiss Distagon, because of its image quality, I knew about its weight and said to myself I can handle that. But I have to say that it is heavier compared to the other lenses I have and after a while I sold it again because of its weight.

Nevertheless it´s a great lens.

 

My experience has been quite similar but with a VM 35/1.2 II and a Lux 50 Asph Chrome. I didn't use to mind a bit of size and weight when I used to carry the Canon 1 series body and L glasses, but since switching to rangefinders, I have gradually but increasingly and surely come to appreciate the benefits of lightweight gears and balanced weight distribution, which I think is where Leica lenses truly shine. While ZM lenses can quite often be technically and optically (and dare I say sometimes mechanically?) better, Leica lenses are often the choices that offer a better balance between performance and weight/size. It's no small feat to achieve this. 

Edited by Rus

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I agree with Rus. I just part-exchanged a ZM1,4/35 and ZM2/35 against a 2nd hand Summilux. The Distagon has amazing rendering and it is very well behaved, but for me it was simply too large and heavy to use routinely. Conversely, the Biogon was reasonably sized and although it had stunning image quality when stopped down, I never really liked the rendering below f4.

 

I think that larger lenses such as the Distagon are much better matched with a camera such as the SL where they balance better and viewfinder blockage is a non-issue.

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I have the Distagon for when I’m out taking photos and don’t mind the weight and a C-Biogon 2.8 as a light weight/compact option for casual carry.

 

The Distagon is amazing from an IQ and predictable behavior standpoint and, agree, it’s a bargain.

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Another who bought the lens, greatly admired its output, but then sold it on as I found it simply too large. "Even" on film it's sharpness was easily apparent and I did ponder on the sale, I am not a seller of lenses usually, but for an everyday carry it was too much, mainly shot on the M2 and film.

 

 

The small lens on the right is a 90mm Elmarit-M with extended hood!!

 

 

From LHS rear is Nikkor F mount pre-Ai 35mm f2, front version IV f2 Leica Summicron in chrome, rear new 35mm Zeiss ZM f1.4 Distagon,rear is Zeiss 35mm f2 Biogon ZM, front RHS is W Nikkor C 3.5cm f2.5 S mount, and rear RHS is Canon LTM 35mm f2.

 

 

But SHARP - ADOX CHS100 II / XTOL

 

 

Fomopan 100  / Harvey 777

 

Both on Epson V850 flatbed which of course is absolute rubbish for scanning 35mm if you believe some posters.

For the OP I am back using the Biogon f2.

 

 

ORWO N74 D76H Divided (Vestal formula)

Edited by chris_livsey

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I too am in the list of those that was supremely impressed with the lens optically (on both film and digital). I love the build quality, the rendering, the focusing action, the firm clicks of the aperture, and most of all, the price. I just ultimately couldn't deal with the size and viewfinder blockage of the lens and wound up with a Summilux FLE which I don't think is built as well ironically. 

 

It's a shame though because that is one seriously impressive hunk of glass.

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I do own both the Summicron Asph I and the Zeiss, and honestly, I’m thinking of selling the Leica if not for it small size and the mantra “never ever sell a Leica lens”.

Yes it’s a big lens by Leica standard, it protrudes a bit in the viewfinder, but the images speaks for itselves in my opinion..

 

By the way I’m a Nikon user too and all of my Leica stuff could rest comfortably inside the front lens cup my 200/2 lens. It’s the same size as the 75/2 Apo-Summicron but a little lighter. Anyway, I’m really happy with this lens and stunned with the images it is giving to me.

 

Needless to say, it was less than half the price of the Summilux, so for me a no brainer situation...

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Thanks all.  I thought the Biogon 35 f/2 was too large, so this may be a monster for me.  Still I'm intrigued.  The image quality is top notch.  Renting sounds like a good option.

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Also I really dislike the chrome ring on the end of the lens.  It really detracts from the esthetics of the lens.  Leica really focuses on this and I do appreciate that aspect of design.

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Also I really dislike the chrome ring on the end of the lens. It really detracts from the esthetics of the lens.

Not visible when the hood is mounted.

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Not visible when the hood is mounted.

 

I know but I never liked the hood on my Biogon; no way I'm putting a hood on this to make it even bigger.  Zeiss should make the end black chrome to complete the look of this otherwise handsome lens.

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Use a small step-up ring instead of the hood? It will not do much for the flare (not that the hoods do anyway), but it will hide the silver and add just enough depth to ward off accidental contact between fingers and the front element...

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Also I really dislike the chrome ring on the end of the lens.  It really detracts from the esthetics of the lens.  Leica really focuses on this and I do appreciate that aspect of design.

 

The clip over hood will cover it. The chrome is also less likely to show scratches as opposed to a coated surface.

Edited by rramesh

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Also I really dislike the chrome ring on the end of the lens.  It really detracts from the esthetics of the lens.

 

I am pleased to read that someone else finds the chrome ring esthetically detracting.

 

Years ago, when I was shopping for an 85mm f/1.4 lens to use on my Nikon SLRs, I considered the Nikon and the Zeiss. The three factors that influenced me to bypass the Zeiss were the manual focus vs. auto focus, the price difference, and the chrome ring on the end of the lens.

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I dislike the chrome ring on the black ZM lenses, but find it OK on the silver ones

I bought it in silver, my first Leica mount silver lens by the way. That it was a couple hundred € cheaper than the black one helped a bit. That money was inverted in the hood and a 49mm polarizer

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The ZEISS Distagon 35mm f1.4 ZM is my all time favorite lens.

Yes it is big and it is heavy, but still okay. The image quality it delivers is just great.

All images here taken with this great lens and the M10....german text, but Images multilingual.

 

https://www.qimago.de/los-angeles-in-35mm/

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