Fantastic performer

Started 4 months ago | User reviews thread
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JacquesBalthazar Contributing Member • Posts: 705
Fantastic performer

i have been using the CZ 1,4/35 ZM lens for close to a year now, bolted onto a Leica M10. I own and still use a 35mm Summicron-Asph since the late Nineties.

That well calibrated and maintained ‘cron never wowed me despite its great reputation and obvious practical advantages (size, weight, etc). And that is the crux of the matter. The Zeiss 1,4/35 is an obviously better lens optically.

It provides absolutely everything at all apertures and distances, including superb definition, well behaved contrast, irreproachable colour, great flare resistance, no distortion, no focus shift, impeccable bokeh, reliable RF focusing, perfect construction and wonderful tactile feedback.

It is by far the best 35mm lens I have ever used, across any of the systems I ever worked with. Probably one of the top three across all focal lengths (on par with 50mm Summilux-asph or Zeiss ZF2 135mm in my personal hall of fame). And the price is reasonable as well, especially by Leica M standards.

In the broader scheme of things (comparing 35mm f/1.4 lenses across systems), it is also compact and light. However, in the Leica M ecosystem, it is seen as a bit too big and heavy for its focal length. That might be its only downside, but one should remember it is only 60 grams heavier than the not quite as good Leica 35mm Summilux FLE, and a just a couple of centimetres longer, at less than half the price. On a Leica M, it does intrude quite a bit into the lower right corner of the 35mm framelines, especially with its (optional) hood bolted on.

Which brings us back to the Summicron: if only that one performed as well.....Leica missed the challenge when it updated that classic lens a couple of years ago. That is another story for another review.

if you want the best 35mm lens ever designed for your Leica M or your mirrroless body, look no further than the Carl Zeiss 1,4/35 ZM.

 JacquesBalthazar's gear list:JacquesBalthazar's gear list
Leica M10 Nikon D850 Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH Voigtlander 58mm F1.4 Nokton SL II Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM +21 more
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM
Prime lens • Leica M
Announced: Sep 16, 2014
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Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM Leica M10
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