Guaranteed to make your photos look like they came from a high-end smartphone!

Started 4 months ago | User reviews thread
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Richard Murdey
Richard Murdey Veteran Member • Posts: 3,037
Guaranteed to make your photos look like they came from a high-end smartphone!

Zeiss (Cosina) C Biogon 35/2.8 [Silver] Lens Review

as used on the Nikon Z6 with Rayqual M-mount adapter

Sharing the same focal length as a smartphone's main camera, at f/8 the DOF is also pretty similar to the smartphone lens shot wide open. So it's not a surprising result.

It's perhaps not the look you anticipated, but for better or worse it's the look you'll end up with if you play to the strengths of this lens. The standout features are the excellent sharpness and low distortion. The biggest drawback is the excessive vignetting at wide apertures (or what qualifies for wide apertures on a f/2.8 optic) as a result of the rangefinder era (i.e. not for digital) lens design. If you want to spread that sharpness over the whole frame and minimize the vignetting, then you'll be stopping the lens down to f/8 as soon as conditions permit. And the usually do. Ergo, a lot of very sharp, very wide DOF, very smartphone-like photos.

This is what-U-see-is-what-U-get photography, no bokeh to hide behind. Some people will love that, some people will hate it. I view it as fulfilling a particular role, a role which this lens was born to play if you will: everything about the design is fit for the purpose. It's small, clear and easy to use, DoF markers, 1/3 aperture clicks, smooth manual focus, clear markings. It is, as I said, exceptionally sharp, and has the very high optical quality you expect from Cosina-made Zeiss lenses. It's contrasty, excellent color, and has minimal chromatic distortion. Although bokeh doesn't play much of a role, if you contrive a shot to have oof areas, they render clean and attractive.

The value proposition is a tough one, and very system dependent. Cheaper than a Leica, more expensive than  Super-Takumar. Plenty of cheaper, faster 35mm lenses out there. And by f/8 let's face it, the output converges to look pretty similar.

The C Biogon 35/2.8 is a jewel of a lens though, a joy to use, with highly pleasing output. Not the easiest to live with, not the most versatile to be sure, but rewarding in its own way.

 Richard Murdey's gear list:Richard Murdey's gear list
Nikon D750 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/21 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/25 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 Carl Zeiss Planar T* 1,4/50 +17 more
Carl Zeiss C Biogon T* 2,8/35 ZM
Wideangle prime lens • Leica M
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Carl Zeiss C Biogon T* 2,8/35 ZM Nikon Z6
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