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Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon: Aperture Series 'Backlit Redwood Grove'

Pre-order Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon (black) or Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon (silver) for Leica M at B&H Photo.

A distance scene with challenging contrast.

Aperture Series: Backlit Redwood Grove (M240)

With HD and UltraHD images and large crops, from ƒ/1.4 through ƒ/16.

  Backlit Redwood Grove Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/4
Backlit Redwood Grove
Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/4

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon: Aperture Series 'Fading Maple Leaves in Backlit Creek'

Pre-order Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon (black) or Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon (silver) for Leica M at B&H Photo.

This full aperture series shows the superb contrast and flare control of the Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon, along with bokeh and sunstars and color aberration assessment.

Aperture Series: 'Fading Maple Leaves in Backlit Creek' (M240)

With HD and UltraHD images and large crops, from ƒ/1.4 through ƒ/16.

  Fading Maple Leaves in Backlit Creek Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/16
Fading Maple Leaves in Backlit Creek
Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/16

Heading Out to Mountains, and Eastern Sierra Nevada Weather and Travel Conditions

I’m off to the Sierra today, first with a photo tour client for 5 days, then more of my own shooting and then my ultra-hard 2-day cycling stage race, the Everest Challenge.

Dennis Mattinson’s 395Travel.com offers great information on one of my favorite haunts: the eastern California Sierra Nevada and California White Mountains area. For example, his weather forecast page is encouraging (thunderstorms are terrific):

A change in our pattern to a cooler wetter one well be effected by three storms. First Hurricane Odile is moving north towards Tuscan and Nogales. It will provide enough moisture in the air from humidity to assist with the second storm moving thru the PACNW today. So a chance of mountain showers and thunderstorms thru Friday. Wrap around moisture from the third storm, a smaller low off the CA coast will keep thunderstorms chances going into Sunday for Mono County.

Dennis writes:

I have been working with my friends over at Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District on placing two cameras atop one of the Inyo’s highest peaks.

Views from the Dry Owens Lake (Lone Pine area) all the way to Bishop and beyond! The cams are available from our home page under Owens Valley South / Owens Valley North on the left side menu. The view is awesome anytime.

DIGLLOYD: See the Owens Valley North Cam and Owens Valley South Cam pages and/or the Google map.

Great near the environmental disaster known as Owens Lake e.g., the toxic dust created from Los Angeles diverting the water supply, though recent court-ordered inflows have helped. As per Wikipedia (and my eyes in driving past it en route to Death Valley):

More commonly, periodic winds stir up noxious alkali dust storms that carry away as much as four million tons (3.6 million metric tons) of dust from the lakebed each year, causing respiratory problems in nearby residents.

395Travel.com
395Travel.com: web cam from Owens Valley north
395Travel.com
395Travel.com

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon: Aperture Series 'Redwoods and Ferns'

Pre-order Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon (black) or Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon (silver) for Leica M at B&H Photo.

See also thoughts and discussion in the prior post. This medium distance series shows the remarkably consistent quality of the Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon.

Aperture Series: Redwoods and Ferns (M240)

With HD and UltraHD images and large crops, from ƒ/1.4 through ƒ/8.

  Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/1.4
Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/1.4

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon: Aperture Series 'Underwater Maple Leaf'

Pre-order Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon (black) or Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon (silver) for Leica M at B&H Photo.

See also thoughts and discussion in the prior post. This close-range series shows that very high quality is retained at close range.

Aperture Series: Underwater Maple Leaf (M240)

With HD and UltraHD images in color and black and white, and large crops, all from ƒ/1.4 through ƒ/16.

  Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/1.4
Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/4

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon: Aperture Series 'Big Leaf Maple'

Pre-order Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon (black) or Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon (silver) for Leica M at B&H Photo.

See the in-depth technical discussion of the new Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon in Guide to Leica.

I’m packing for an extended trip to the mountains today (including a 5 day photo tour), so I’m really under time pressure, but I hope to to publish several series before I leave.

The 35/1.4 Distagon showed up yesterday, and I shot it for the first time yesterday afternoon and evening, with Ming Thein and I meeting and shooting together in person for the first time, over at Purissimma Creek Redwoods State Park.

Aperture Series: Big Leaf Maple (M240)

With HD and UltraHD images in color and black and white, and large crops, all from ƒ/1.4 through ƒ/16.

I’ll be doing more work with the Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon as field shots suggest that it is now the best 35mm lens available for Leica M. And at about $2290 compared to about $5150 for the Leica Summilux, that’s a no-brainer for an M shooter.

I also have on hand the Leica 35/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH, Leica 35/2 Summicron-M ASPH, Zeiss ZM 35/2 Biogon, Zeiss ZM 35/2.8 C-Biogon and Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 II ASPH. That’s a lot, but it should yield insights into many matters.

  Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/1.4
Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/1.4

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon for Leica M: Best 35mm M Lens Yet?

Pre-order Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon (black) or Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon (silver) for Leica M at B&H Photo.

An in-depth technical discussion of the new Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon for Leica M is now published in Guide to Leica.

Includes MTF charts: full series from ƒ/1.4 to ƒ/16 on Leica M as well as ƒ/1.4 - ƒ/8 on Sony A7x cameras, field curvature chart at ƒ/1.4 and ƒ/4, the first five apertures of vignetting, distortion, effective aperture and DoF at the periphery discussion. Technical but highly instructive basis for understanding its performance.

With 1/3 the distortion of the Summilux, superior control over field curvature, more uniform and higher contrast wide open, more uniform sharpness sharpness across the field, absence of lateral color, no focus shift, the technical prowess on paper is confirmed by yesterday’s field shots showing.

The in-the-field performance at ƒ/1.4 is very impressive, which means that the famed Leica 2010 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M not only has competition, but now appears to play second fiddle to the ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon.

Sample images will go up later today, as many as I can do while packing for my trip on which I’ll be doing much more work with the Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon.

  Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon for Leica M
Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon for Leica M

The new ZEISS Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM for professional reportage photography

The ZEISS Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM is latest member of the ZM lens family

OBERKOCHEN/Germany, September 16, 2014

The ZEISS Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM continues the success story of the ZEISS ZM lens family and sets a new standard in the market.

First, it is notable for its very high speed. With a maximum aperture of f/1.4, the lens creates a pleasing bokeh, which optically enhances the background as the main composition element, while at the same time directing attention to the main motif in the foreground. The ZEISS Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM, which is optimized for digital sensors, also stands out for its excellent flat image field. Thanks to the Distagon‘s optical design, the lens delivers high resolution across the entire image field.

Very fast and precise – the ZEISS Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM is a “storyteller”. The main motif becomes the focus, whether it’s a portrait, a group of people or an everyday scene. Details are recognizable, as well as facial expressions, movements of the body, and surface structures. At the same time, the focal length of 35 millimeters captures the surroundings, placing the object within its natural context. If the photographer wishes to direct the viewer’s attention even more, he or she may compose the picture with the large aperture of f/1.4 with a low depth of field, thereby separating the focused motif from its background.

In poor lighting conditions the ZEISS Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM is also a top performer. The large aperture ensures the photographer is independent from the ISO limitations of his camera. The lens also has excellent focusing characteristics when the light is weak.

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon schematic
Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon schematic

For generations of photographers, individuality, rangefinder camera and a no-compromising optical quality have been an inseparable combination. The focal length of 35 millimeters is, and remains, the ‘basic lens’ that should not be absent on any camera with an M-mount.

In classic rangefinder photography, short focal lengths such as the ZEISS Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM have advantages over longer focal lengths when it comes to focusing, because the picture seen through the optical finder corresponds almost completely to the motif actually shot. The limitation imposed by the viewfinder frame is negligible for the composition of the image. With this angular field, image dimensions still remain natural. The combination of an elegant-reserved rangefinder camera and a 35-mm lens puts the photographer at the center of the action – not too far away and not too close. It is not for nothing that this system has always been the standard tool for discerning reportage photographers.

In addition, as a member of the ZM family of lenses, the ZEISS Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM has all of its assets. Complex measures inside the lens minimize any stray light that might occur. Die T* anti-reflective coating from ZEISS guarantees a very high degree of flare control.

The aperture consists of 10 aperture blades and is therefore almost circular. The iris can be set in steps of 1/3 through the precise and sensitive notch mechanism and with exact photometric increments. The easy-to-grip focus ring with an ergonomic finger rest enables fast, precise focusing. The mechanical quality is outstanding; the focus operation is smooth, with a large rotation angle. And the robust all-metal barrel guarantees a long product life in the rough everyday life of professional photographers.

“For the M system there is today almost no alternative to the Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM. It is the best ZM lens that you can get under these conditions,” assures Christophe Casenave, Product Manager with ZEISS Camera Lenses.

The ZEISS Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM will be available worldwide, in silver and black, starting in the fourth quarter of 2014. The expected recommended retail price is €1,679.84 * or US$ 2.290,00* (excl. VAT).

More information can be found at www.zeiss.com/photo

  Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/2.8
Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/2.8

Available in black or silver.

  Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon for Leica M  

Daryl writes:

Was I surprised to see your review today.

I ordered the lens this morning after looking at the MTF curves and your review confirms my initial thoughts about a phenomenal lens.

Another great surprise is you have upped your game again, thank you, and I want to read all the information you have posted on this lens. Are you working with LensRentals.com on the new data?

DIGLLOYD: I had a few days to prepare the material (MTF and other charts are courtesy of Carl Zeiss). My very own copy (silver) showed up less than 24 hours ago, but I got right on it and shot it last night. Examples coming shortly.

Photokina a Yawner, but At Least One More Thing

No end of surprises, a Canon 7D Mark II arrives. The “II” pretty much says it all (I’m sure its a very nice evolution of same-old, not a criticism of that model). Where is the 50 (or at lest 40) megapixel Canon full frame after 5 years of all but frozen full-frame offerings? Maybe it’s still to be announced (which year is open to debate).

If I can wake up at 03:00 AM tomorrow (tonight), I’ll have something of great interest to a certain group of shooters. If not, then maybe 7AM or so. Along with first examples if UPS shows up in about two hours as expected.

Bummer not to have Olympus image stabilized 4K video iteration.

David S writes:

I think that the big hole in the 7D Mk II specs is no 4K video. I think that that’s a much more gaping omission than no increase in pixel count. As you point out, the Mk II is about gradual progress with improved auto-focus for both stills and video – the improvements here seem to be quite significant though. The original 7D lagged the 5D Mk III in AF performance quite noticeably (I know from personal experience with both cameras) but the 7D II should fix that and make it as good as or better than the 5D III in that regard.

fter all, AF is where DSLRs really shine and makes them an optimum choice for sports, wildlife, candid shots or any situation where fast and accurate AF will deliver the best image quality; that’s where mirror-less can’t compete with DSLRs, when fast AF speed is of the essence for optimum image quality. The new Dual-Pixel sensor should also bring a significant improvement to video auto-focus (although auto-focus when shooting video is probably still risky for many situations). The headphone jack and uncompressed HDMI output are also good additions for videographers.

DIGLLOYD: All good points, particularly on 4K video. DSLRs have always produced marginal video of any kind to date IMO, ironically outshone by far by cameras like the Panasonic GH4.

Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar Aperture Series 'DeChambeau Yellow Wagon'

Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar (about $4490) for Nikon or Canon.

This ƒ/1.4 to ƒ/16 aperture series in Guide to Zeiss explores the slight telephoto effect and choice of aperture.

Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar Aperture Series 'DeChambeau Yellow Wagon'

  DeChambeau Yellow Wagon Nikon D810 + Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar @ ƒ/2
DeChambeau Yellow Wagon
Nikon D810 + Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar @ ƒ/2

Compared: Voigtlander Ultron 21mm f/1.8 vs Leica 21mm f/3.4 Super-Elmar-M ASPH (M240, Wyman Canyon Lower Cabin Interior)

Voigtlander Ultron 21m f/1.8 lens is about $1149 for Leica M.

In Guide to Leica at the Voigtlander Ultron 21mm f/1.8.

Compared: vs Leica 21/3.4 SEM and Voigtlander 21/4 (M240, Wyman Cabin Interior)

Includes HD and UltraHD aperture series and the Voigtlander Color-Skopar 21mm f/4 is included as well.

  Lower Cabin in Wyman Canyon Leica M Typ 240 + Voigtlander Ultron 21mm f/1.8 @ f/4
Lower Cabin in Wyman Canyon
Leica M Typ 240 + Voigtlander Ultron 21mm f/1.8 @ f/4

Chris L writes:

As a Voigtländer aficionado, I thought I should know if such a beast
existed in mounts other than Leica M.

Neither BHphoto nor Cosina/Voigt themselves mention it in Canon EF or
Nikon F mounts.

DIGLLOYD: the Voigtlander Ultron 21mm f/1.8 is an M-mount lens (Leica M rangefinder) with a short backfocus ; it is impossible to use it on a DSLR.

It could be used via an adapter on mirrorless cameras like the Sony A7s/A7/A7R, but ray angle issues would severely degrade its peripheral quality at wider apertures. Stopped down to ƒ/8 - ƒ/11 it might perform well however. See the coverage of various wide angle Leica M lenses on Sony A7/A7R in Guide to Leica.

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