Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Zeiss Distagon T* 1.4/35 ZM review

Zeiss Distagon T* 1.4/35 ZM review

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  The 35mm Zeiss Distagon mounted on the Leica CL with Tekiac grip case.
The 35mm Zeiss Distagon mounted on the Leica CL with Tekiac grip case.
  Must be the M&M mount. But no, it
Must be the M&M mount. But no, it’s the ZM at a fraction of the cost and with similar results. Great bokeh from a 35mm semi-wide-angle lens

Over the winter I had the opportunity to borrow one of the new 35mm f/1.4 Distagons from Zeiss UK. The company introduced the lens at Photokina in 2016, and it has gained an enviable reputation for image quality and value for money. Its direct Leica competitor is the f/1.4 Summilux which, at £4,200, is over twice as expensive as the Zeiss. Like the Summilux and despite the price difference, this is a sophisticated design with floating elements and two aspherical surfaces. 

  Above: The 35mm Distagon on the Leica M. Ignore the large blue sticker which I assume denotes that this is a Zeiss stock demonstrator and which I decided not to remove. Now I see it in all its glory I wish I had. Below, left to right: On the Leica SL, the Leica CL and Panasonic Lumix G9 (all with appropriate adaptors)
Above: The 35mm Distagon on the Leica M. Ignore the large blue sticker which I assume denotes that this is a Zeiss stock demonstrator and which I decided not to remove. Now I see it in all its glory I wish I had. Below, left to right: On the Leica SL, the Leica CL and Panasonic Lumix G9 (all with appropriate adaptors)

Although there has recently been a number of smaller manufacturers entering or re-entering the M-mount market — notably 7Artisans and Meyer Görlitz — the three musketeers are still Leica, Voigtländer, and Zeiss. Voigtländer lenses are the least expensive, with Zeiss occupying the middle ground. However, this bare statistic needs treating with care. All is not always what it seems.

Oddly, while Zeiss lenses are seen as the ultimate optics in Sony circles, Leica owners have a misplaced tendency to look down their noses at anything other than a Leica-branded product. It’s a price thing, almost entirely, and Voigtländer gets even less attention among the so-called connoisseurs. 

  Mounted on the Panasonic Lumix G9, this nominal 35mm lens turns into a very acceptable 70mm tool for portaits.
Mounted on the Panasonic Lumix G9, this nominal 35mm lens turns into a very acceptable 70mm tool for portaits.

I believe this attitude is wrong. The Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Distagon ZM is an attractive, well made and competent lens. With its concave front element and typical “cool blue” Zeiss design, it has a distinctive appearance which in some ways I prefer over the rather bland presence of the latest Leica optics. Despite its similarity in construction and optical performance to Leica’s 35mm Summilux FLE, the Zeiss could not look more different. 

Design

The Distagon follows established Zeiss aesthetics with blue engravings and a bright blue mount-location dot where, on both Leica and Voigtländer lenses, you find the traditional red dot. It is solidly built from metal, as you would expect, and is, to my mind at least, as well engineered as the Summilux.

As with the Summilux, the Distagon has the 70mm minimum focal distance in line with the limit imposed by the Leica rangefinder. 

The Zeiss comprises ten lenses in seven groups with two aspherical elements. As with the Summilux, it has an aperture range of f/1.4 to f/16. A very unusual feature of the design is the concave front element which has the trademark Zeiss T anti-reflective coating.

Curiously, however, despite the similarities in optical build and image quality, the Distagon is a larger and heavier device than the Summilux. It is 19mm longer at 65mm, 8mm fatter at 63.4mm and 61g heavier at 381g. It also sports a 49mm filter thread compared with the 46mm of the Summilux. The Summilux has an advantage in size as it does in weight. 

Unlike the familiar, squat Summilux, the longer Distagon looks and feels more like a 50mm Summilux. In fact, when I glanced down, I had to keep reminding myself that it was a thirty-five rather than a fifty. 

  Design cues: The Zeiss is longer and heavier than the Leica. At first glance it looks more like the 50mm Summilux. Note the 1/3-stop aperture ring on the Distagon compared with the traditional 1/2-stop calibration of the Summilux (although not visible here). The large, ribbed focus ring on the Zeiss lens is much easier to grip than the smooth ring of the Leica. However, the large concave focus tab of the Summilux (hidden in this picture) is preferable to the small domed version on the Distagon. The (supplied) hood of the Summilux screws into the external thread seen above. The hood for the Distagon (not supplied) attaches to the chrome bayonet ring
Design cues: The Zeiss is longer and heavier than the Leica. At first glance it looks more like the 50mm Summilux. Note the 1/3-stop aperture ring on the Distagon compared with the traditional 1/2-stop calibration of the Summilux (although not visible here). The large, ribbed focus ring on the Zeiss lens is much easier to grip than the smooth ring of the Leica. However, the large concave focus tab of the Summilux (hidden in this picture) is preferable to the small domed version on the Distagon. The (supplied) hood of the Summilux screws into the external thread seen above. The hood for the Distagon (not supplied) attaches to the chrome bayonet ring
  The Distagon complements the Leica SL particularly well. The camera
The Distagon complements the Leica SL particularly well. The camera’s large and precise viewfinder makes focusing at maximum aperture easier than with the rangefinder

Zeiss comments that the Distagon lenses were developed initially for SLR cameras requiring a long back focal distance for short focal lengths. This, they say, is because of the mirror box (the distance between the back lens element and the film plane must be considerably longer than the focal length): 

  Tower Bridge with the Leica SL
Tower Bridge with the Leica SL

“The Distagon lenses with their retrofocus design are also ideal for mirrorless system cameras thanks to their optimised ray path. Even with longer focal lengths, the high-performance Distagon optical design enables consistently good correction all the way to the corners of the image and very low field curvature.”

  Poacher poached: On the Leica SL
Poacher poached: On the Leica SL

Zeiss did not supply a hood which, unlike Leica practice, is not included in the price. The simple metal hood with venting (to reduce the impact of viewfinder obstruction), costs an extraordinary £141, thus inflating the cost of the lens to £1,872 if we wish to compare it directly with the Summilux, which costs £4,200. In my view, this is a penny-pinching move. Leica has the right policy of including a hood with all their lenses (at a price). The round vented hood is similar in profile to third-party hoods which cost under £5. However, they screw into the filter thread, on top of a filter if one if fitted, and thus increase the length of the lens. If you buy the original hood from Zeiss, it attaches by a bayonet and looks neater.

As a contrast, the push-pull Leica hoods on the later 50 to 90mm lenses are a delight. On the 35mm Summilux, however, the supplied hood is the familiar square-profile metal device which screws into a dedicated thread on the outside of the body (rather than into the filter thread; it doesn’t add unnecessarily to the length of the lens). It is relatively compact and, more to the point comes free with the lens. I tend to keep it on the lens most of the time, whereas with the larger Distagon I would probably use the hood only when necessary. 

  The 35mm focal length is a great compromise if you do a lot of landscape or city photography. This shot is taken with the Leica SL and the heavy crop, below, gives some idea of the detail captured by this lens
The 35mm focal length is a great compromise if you do a lot of landscape or city photography. This shot is taken with the Leica SL and the heavy crop, below, gives some idea of the detail captured by this lens

  Not so miserable with the CL
Not so miserable with the CL

Since we are comparing directly with the 35mm Summilux-M ASPH, buyers should note that there is no six-bit coding on either Zeiss or Voigtländer optics. Third-party specialists can add it at a cost, although the only effect would be for the camera to recognise it as a Leica lens already in the list.

Leica cameras, therefore, cannot recognise the lens and automatically select a suitable lens profile. You can manually select an approximate profile from the list of Leica lenses (in this case the 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE profile is the obvious choice), but it isn’t a complete solution. The name of the chosen Leica lens appears in EXIF data, and this can become confusing over time. I usually add the correct lens name as a comment when batch processing. Some, I know, prefer not to choose a Leica lens profile and in this case, “unknown lens” appears in the data. Somehow, long term, this can be less confusing when reviewing old material.

Life with the 35mm Summilux on an M digital is that much easier in this specific respect. However, the big question is whether it is all of £2,500 easier.

  Office from home, taken with the Leica SL
Office from home, taken with the Leica SL

Ergonomics

Some may well prefer the longer barrel from an ergonomic point of view. The focus ring is more comfortable to grip than that on the 35mm Summilux. The Leica lens has a smooth metal focus ring which can be slippery at times, thus making it essential the (excellent) focus tab. The ribbed ring on the Zeiss is more grippy and is slightly further away from the camera body, making the experience even more pleasant.

  The Distagon has excellent ergonomics and a similar performance to the legendary 35mm Leica Summilux. Picture taken with the SL and 35mm Summilux-TL
The Distagon has excellent ergonomics and a similar performance to the legendary 35mm Leica Summilux. Picture taken with the SL and 35mm Summilux-TL

As I have already noted, this lens looks and feels more like a 50mm Summilux than a thirty-five. It handles more like the 50mm Summilux also, and I had to keep reminding myself that this is a wide-angle lens.

The focus ring action is very smooth, feeling even better than my Summilux, although I recognise this is a personal impression. A useful aspect is that it has a relatively broad ribbed surface which means it is much easier to grip than the smooth metal surface of the ring on the Summilux. It is fortunate that the natural grip of the Zeiss aperture ring is so much better because the domed focus tab on the Distagon is not to my taste. I much prefer the more substantial concave tabs featured on the Summilux and other modern Leica lenses. This is a small gripe and you do need that large focus tab on the Leica. At least with the Distagon, you have a choice. 

  Reflections in a roadside puddle, Leica M10
Reflections in a roadside puddle, Leica M10

The focus ring has a commendably tight 90-degree throw (Zeiss figure) slightly shorter than the ca.100-deg of the Summilux (my estimation) and offers a mildly faster transition between near and far. 

The aperture ring is also precise and has a slightly more positive click to it than that on the Leica lens. Unlike the Summilux, which has half-stop detents, the Distagon has 1/3 stops, offering more precise control although, frankly, this is not a feature I would place high on my wishlist. It is very much a matter of preference, and it isn’t something that would sway me one way or the other in the buying decision. Others may disagree and see this as a valuable operational advantage of the Zeiss. 

  Museum piece, Leica M10
Museum piece, Leica M10

The Distagon design has the benefit of being entirely internally focused. The front of the lens does not extend at near distances, unlike the Summilux which grows in length by 7mm, admittedly a small amount, as the focus moves to 70mm.

  Bokeh at the antiques fair, Leica M10
Bokeh at the antiques fair, Leica M10

The lens (even without the hood) does slightly block the bottom corner of the viewfinder, but this is not a significant problem. After all, this is a big lens for a thirty-five.

Overall, even though the Distagon is considerably more substantial than the squat Summilux, it is a pleasure to handle. Sometimes, a lens can be too small, and this is indeed not a problem with the Distagon. It is a sensible choice for bigger-fingered photographers.

   Another Panasonic Lumix G9 portrait at 70mm
 Another Panasonic Lumix G9 portrait at 70mm

In use

The Distagon turned out to be a diligent and rewarding companion over the few days it was in my custody, and we bonded immediately. Unfortunately, these were wet and cold days, and I would have liked to spend more time with the lens to grab more shots. As a result of the weather, I spent more time indoors (the brewery, the museum, the antiques fair, in stores, as you will see later), using higher ISO settings than usual. It is a testimony to the excellent performance of the M10. I have no hesitation in using ISO 3200 as a matter of course, while even 6400 is capable of producing excellent images. It is only when pixel peeping that a trace of noise is evident. 

  Map Reading: Leica SL
Map Reading: Leica SL

Nevertheless, I was able to use the lens with the M10, SL, CL and Panasonic G9 and it proved a capable performer on any platform. On the CL or another APS-C mirrorless camera such as a Fuji X, this lens is equivalent to a 52mm full-frame lens. On the micro four-thirds, it becomes 70mm where it serves as an excellent portrait lens. 

  Billboard, Leica M10
Billboard, Leica M10

As with any fast lens, rangefinder focus wide open needs care since the depth of field is extremely narrow. There is little room for error, although any 35mm semi-wide-angle optic is going to be less of a problem than, say, the 50mm Noctilux or 50mm Summilux. Perhaps it is an age-related eyesight problem, but I do prefer using an EVF when focusing this lens at its widest aperture. It is something I have found with the 50mm Summilux and the 50mm Noctilux; in both cases, I can more accurately focus via the WYSIWYG viewfinder. Younger eyes might not experience such problems with the rangefinder. However, the Distagon makes an excellent companion for the CL or the SL — and even the M10 when equipped with the Visoflex. In this, it is no different from Leica’s faster lenses.

  Russian street food served up by the Leica M10
Russian street food served up by the Leica M10

In one respect, the light focus ring and the short focus throw conspire to make precision focus at wide apertures more tricky. I have recently had the opportunity to try the Voigtländer 40mm Nokton, a lens that has an unusually long focus-ring throw of ca.150 degrees. In general, I have always preferred the shorter throw of most Leica lenses. Oddly, however, this slower focus helps with precision at wide apertures and, in this sense and, as a result, the Voigtländer can be easier to handle despite its even faster f/1.2 aperture. That said, I do enjoy the speed of focus that a short throw brings when working at f/2 and over.

  Down the road from Aperture Photographic in Rathbone Place, London (Leica M10)
Down the road from Aperture Photographic in Rathbone Place, London (Leica M10)

I could detect no focus shift on this lens although, as I have mentioned on several occasions, I am not a scientific lens tester and my time with the Distagon was limited. However, it is a modern design and is unlikely to be afflicted in the same way as the classic 50mm f/1.5 Zeiss Sonnar which we reviewed in 2016.

  Why? Leica CL
Why? Leica CL

I have a very positive view of the Distagon and would be proud to have it in my lens bag. If I didn’t have a fast thirty-five, I believe I would choose it over the Summilux based on its abilities and transparent value for money. Moreover, in many ways, I do prefer its ergonomics. 

  M&Ms again, on Leica M10
M&Ms again, on Leica M10

Image quality

This is a review rather than a detailed test (many examples of which can be found elsewhere). My objective as always is to use the lens and consider its ergonomics, design and the resulting images. In the case of this lens, it’s position on the market in terms of cost is also a very significant aspect to consider.

  The 35mm focal length is considered ideal for street photography. The big picture is above, but look at the cropped detail below. This is just 1/10th of the full size image and demonstrates the detail captured by the Distagon. When using a full-frame sensor, as with the M10 or SL, your cropping opportunities are extensive.
The 35mm focal length is considered ideal for street photography. The big picture is above, but look at the cropped detail below. This is just 1/10th of the full size image and demonstrates the detail captured by the Distagon. When using a full-frame sensor, as with the M10 or SL, your cropping opportunities are extensive.

The Distagon promises much, and I am glad to say that it delivers in full measure. It is sharp throughout the aperture range, in many ways similar to the Summilux. Edge sharpness is also excellent. Overall, and subjectively, I see very little difference between these two lenses in terms of output.

Colour rendering is particularly attractive, with impressively accurate skin tones. I detected a very sight amount of purple fringing in high-contrast situations at wider apertures but no more so than on similar fast lenses. That and a tiny amount of barrel distortion, almost undetectable, are easily corrected in Lightroom.

As a modern design, the lens exhibits good contrast, especially from f/2 onwards but is not as clinical in its rendering as, say, the Leica 50mm Apo-Summicron. For most users, this is a positive rather than a negative factor.

  On the buses, and on the Leica M10
On the buses, and on the Leica M10

There is minimal vignetting evident at f/1.4, but it reduces progressively and is not noticeable beyond f/4. In this, it is not dissimilar to competing lenses from other manufacturers. As it happens, I’m partial to a bit of vignetting and, in any case, it can is easily in Lightroom. Again, the performance of this lens is very similar to that of the Summilux.

  Wellington Bomber with the Leica M10
Wellington Bomber with the Leica M10

As you would expect, the lens is capable of achieving a relatively narrow depth of field at f/1.4 (for a 35mm lens), and the bokeh effect is both smooth and attractive. Overall, the image quality is superb. While I cannot be certain, without looking at statistics, that this lens is as good as the Summilux, I can say with conviction that I detect almost no difference in real-world situations.

  Feeding the birds, Leica M10
Feeding the birds, Leica M10

Conclusion

The 35mm Distagon is a superbly solid and well-constructed lens which closely matches the 35mm Summilux in performance at a fraction of the price. Ergonomics are generally excellent, slightly let down by the weight of the lens in comparison with the Summilux. While I prefer the substantial focus tab of the Summilux, the Summilux focus ring is smooth and slippery. The other hand, the more extended profile and the ridged focus ring are more natural to handle.. As with all these things, it is a matter of personal preference, and I would recommend trying both the Leica and the Zeiss on your camera.

Ultimately, if the price were no object, the Summilux is the easier lens to live with, at least on a rangefinder M because of the auto recognition and population of the relevant EXIF data fields. The Distagon, pretty as it is, is less discreet. It is indeed longer and heavier. Some may prefer this and might consider it less fiddly than the Summilux.

  Wheels of industry, Leica M10
Wheels of industry, Leica M10

However, the price is indeed a huge factor here. The Zeiss costs £1,731 but we really should factor in the hood, taking the cost to £1,872. The Leica, including hood, is a whopping £4,200. Cynics will argue that at that price Leica can well afford to include the hood, the superb zipped leather case and the much more substantial and attractive packaging. Indeed, buyers used to the Leica’s largesse might well commit to the Zeiss without realising that there is no hood or fancy leather case in the box. Moreover, then to be asked for an additional £141 for a simple vented hood (which looks remarkably similar to a £5 universal design from eBay) is rather insulting.

  Bottled beer poster, Leica M10
Bottled beer poster, Leica M10

However, for £1,872 you have a lens that performs as well, if not better in some respects than the Leica. Don’t forget, though, that the current Leica Summilux FLE lens has been around since 2010 and used examples are easy to find. The Zeiss is a rarer animal on the used market whereas you can find an excellent second-hand Summilux but it will still be perhaps £1,000 more expensive than the new Zeiss. However, the used Summilux will have lost a big chunk of its initial depreciation, thus ensuring that the whole-life cost of the Zeiss could be higher.

Nevertheless, if you are in the market for a fast 35mm lens, the Zeiss Distagon is more than tempting. It’s a good looker and an outstanding performer, and it offers impressive value for money. Put it on your list for consideration.

At the brewery with the M10

Full frame on the left, crop on the right. Click on images to enlarge

Out and about with the Leica M10

Full frame on the left, crop on the right. Click on images to enlarge

At the Museum with the Leica M10

Full frame on the left, crop on the right. Click on images to enlarge

Comparisons from the CL

Full frame on the left, crop on the right. Click on images to enlarge

Our thanks to Zeiss UK and Adam Kidman for the loan of the Distagon

18 COMMENTS

  1. Nice report Mike, I am a fan of Zeiss lens designs.

    Don’t the names, as with Leica and Voigtlander denote the design though? Surely the 50mm f1.5 Sonnar has the same number of elephants and gropes as a 1930’s Sonnar, or a Russian/Japanese copy? Would it not follow that the Distagon, Planar or Biogon etc. be very similar no matter what camera it is specifically built for?

    I did some similar sort of comparisons using an M4, a wheelbarrow and a garden gate, and two Nikkor Sonnar f1.4 and f2 copies and a Summicron. The Nikon’s were from the 1950’s and the Summicron was the pre-APO version with the sliding hood, the Nikon’s were a good deal nicer than the Summicron, to my uncultured eye anyway. Neither had the T* coating, but they had Nikon coating, which is the equal of that, and very tough.

    Anyway, that is by the by, you have singlehandedly made me want to go full frame digital again with your CL/SL comparisons.

    What to do…

    The CL is an excellent camera, I have fallen for the EVF, maybe my failing eyesight, which is why even though the M10 shots above are fantastic, I reckon I need an EVF, glasses are no good because my long sight is perfect, it is just things that are close and the EVF is tuneable. It annoys me though that I have to lose speed and put up with a crop by going APS-C and I want my lenses to be interchangeable between the film Leica’s and any digital machines.

    I wonder if the June thing that Andreas Kaufmann was talking about relates to a possible new smaller more tactile SL?

    • Stephen,

      I think you are right. Distagon is a lens family, just like Planar or Biogon, Summicron or Summilux. This one happens to be a new design, similar to the 35mm Summilux FLE. I was pretty astounded by the detail in some of the crops from the M10, particularly those in the brewery — fortunately, all shots were taken before I sampled 18 beers in the brewery bar. It reminded me of why we like our full-frame sensors. That said, the CL and even the G9 performed quite respectable in the company of the M10 and SL.

      I now have a further ingredient since a sparkling new Sony A7III arrived for review this week. It came without a lens because I wanted to test out the in-body stabilisation with a variety of M lenses. So today I sallied forth with the camera set to 1/20s and a longish 75mm Apo-Summicron bolted to the adapter. I’ve just processed the shots and I am frankly amazed that almost everything is useful. At 1/20s, which is a speed I would not dream of using with the 75mm on an unstabilised camera.

      The current success of the A7III (not to mention the A9) heaps further pressure on Leica and the SL. I fully expect a new model to be a bit sleeker. Ideally, it will shed a few grams and a few centimetres to make it comparable with the A7 (or, perhaps, A9, let’s not be too demanding). And while they are at it they can shoehorn in stabilisation. As with the CL, I can’t imagine what they were doing not to have implemented this at the outset.

    • Stephen, I too had a problem being very long sighted and using the Leica M. I found that diopter adjustment lenses are available for about $100 that screw into the viewfinder and brought everything back into sharp focus. Before you toss your entire kit, find out from your optometrist what adjustment he suggests for a distance of about one meter, the nominal focus distance of the Leica viewfinder and see if a small investment will give your M kit some more life.

  2. Mike, in your review you mention (..above the picture of the big ‘W’..) the "classic 50mm f/1.5 Zeiss Sonnar which we reviewed in 2016", which you link to. And in that review you seemed so sad that you no longer had (well, two years ago) one of those [horrible little] Sonnars.

    You can have mine with pleasure: it’s in great condition, and just sitting on a shelf as I never use it, after having bought it, tried it, and intensely disliked it. If you want it, you can have it.

  3. My Jupiter ‘Sonnar copy’ was ‘reviewed’ here last Monday. I have two Zeiss lens, both 25mm, one in Nikon mount and the other in Leica M mount. They are both excellent lenses and compare favourably with Nikon and Leica counterparts.

    EVF focussing seems to have improved a lot in recent years. At one stage EVF and Focus Peaking were very much works in progress. Despite the fact that I do not have good eyesight, I get a higher percentage of properly focussed images with a rangefinder than I do with an EVF or autofocus. I wear my glasses when using a camera. I am short sighted and I need a bit of vari-focal for reading. In recent times I have noticed that when I am using a modern autofocus camera with an EVF/ LCD, I sometimes use the screen on the back rather than the viewfinder to take photos. I cannot explain that as it is something that I do instinctively.

    William

  4. Very intersting comments about this Zeiss glass, Mike. A CL might come within reach one day, and this could be the solution to a 50mm (roughly) lens for that camera. In the meantime, I use Zeiss glass on my Sony Nex 6 and a6000, and the reults are as impressive to me as I was getting with my X vario. In particular a 24-105 (16-70) with constant f4 is probably the most useful lens I have. I have a feeling that a CL body + a Zeiss lens might be a better/cheaper solution than the two kit versions of the CL with Leica prime or zoom. What do you think?

    • Well yes, with reservations. If you want autofocus then there’s no contest. But I agree that the manual lenses, from any manufacturer, are going to be a cheaper and, perhaps, better option. The problem with APS-C (and more so with m4/3) is finding a manual lens to give you 28mm or 35mm. If you want a 50mm focal length then this Zeiss Distagon is a great choice.

  5. I have a tough decision to make. I just received a new zeiss 351.4 zm from Zeiss. I owned one of the first ones in 2016 and loved its rendition and handling over my Leica 351.4(latest version) so happily sold the Leica. I sent the Zeiss in for repair and could not believe they offered me a new one in exchange for about $450 US and were responsive on communication and turn around time. Leica takes 6 months to adjust my M rangefinder with glacial speed of communication. I have the decision now to sell the new zeiss or adapt it to my G9. The zeiss has a magical rendering in colour, tones, bokeh. It also produces the most brilliant sunstars which are particularly gorgeous on vehicles. I m not so keen on a 70mm equivalent focal length but the rendering is so amazing. I was going to sell it but maybe the adapter answer is the right answer as the Oly 1.2 glass does not deliver the sunstars I love .

    • Brian

      For $450 I wouldn’t hesitate because you could sell it for more if you eventually decide not to use it. On the G9 it makes a great portrait lens and, of course, you have the benefit of in-body stabilisation. I agree with you on your assessment of this lens.

      • You article has made me rethink, selling this lens. It would be like losing a soul mate. Seriously. By the way, you should do an article on favourite glass and cameras. My favourite cameras are: Nikon FM, Leica M4P, Leica M, Sony A900, Leica SL (if you ignore weight), Panasonic G9. My favourite glass: Zeiss ZM 35 1.4, Panasonic Leica 200 2.8, Leica 50 1.4 Summilux( should have never sold, gorgeous build, rendering, did I say tiny?), Oly 45/1.2, Oly 751.8, Sony FE GM 851.4, Leica M 90 2.8, Sony Zeiss 135 1.8, Leica SL 24- 90 ( gorgeous, but after walking for a day my arm was two inches longer- seriously), Pana Leica 12-60. pana Leica 12 1.4. Nikon f 105 2.5. These are not in any particular order but the Zeiss 35 1.4 is certainly a contender for top of heap. I have decided to keep and take out for portraiture of cars and landscapes and maybe even people as it has great skin tones and colour. I will probably think of other glass, they are not just lenses, but brushes for our canvas. Luckily, my wife supports my general artistic nuttiness so we have been married for 37 or so years.

  6. That bottled beer picture has me drooling.

    I used to be able to buy Fullers 1845 here in Central California, but I don’t think Fullers is exporting it anymore as it is nowhere to be found.

    1845 was, by far, my favorited bottled ale. Oh, the lens is nice too (mine is due to be delivered Wedesnday morning).

    • Andrew, I cannot claim to be a beerophile but certainly the Fuller’s brewery tour is a good opportunity to try a bit of everything. I left quite tiddly and it was good that I was able to walk home. If I’d driven I would have missed half the fun. Fullers is part of our community. When the wind is in the right (wrong?) direction we can smell the hops. It’s good that these local breweries with such impressive histories are still producing.

  7. Surely it’s the results, i.e. photos, that tell is if it’s a good lens. The specs can be very deceptive. From what I see, the combo with Lumix G9 yields nice results.
    Enjoyed the review

    • Thanks, Jax. Of course you are right — the results are the most important aspect. And if you can get those results for a lower price then it makes sense. Thanks for your input.

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