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Returning from Trip

  Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon for Leica M  

Heading back after a fruitful trip to (first) Yosemite and then Eastern Sierra and White Mountains areas. I shot the new Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon extensively in the field, along with its two slower Zeiss ZM 35mm siblings and the Voigtlander Nokton 35/1.2 II and the Leica M 35/1.4 and Leica 35mm f/2.

The best weather was Sunday morning, with an ethereal and ephemeral coating of powder snow on the Sierra, and a heavy blanket on the White Mountains. Not rising at dawn after the previous day’s sullen storm due to minor (sinus) illness after the first day of the Everest Challenge, I staved off the sinus issue, but I did miss the best shooting of the year that morning. Alas, weather and body/health do not always cooperate. But I shot some pleasing shots nonetheless, getting going around 8:30 AM.

On this trip, I also shot more material with the Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar, which is a rewarding lens at every aperture and every kind of lighting, clearly the best lens ever produced for a DSLR or rangefinder.

As shown below, the Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 delivers outstanding results wide open at ƒ/1.4. It feels almost Otus-like in its quality, though it is not at Otus level (but this is not to say it falls short of any Leica M offering, nor are any f/1.4 lenses but the two Otii at Otus level!).

  Sunrise Over High Peaks at Pine Creek Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/1.4
Sunrise Over High Peaks at Pine Creek
Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/1.4

Leica M Typ 240: Operational Reliability in the Field

Shooting in the field with the Leica M240 remains an operational chore due to inane menu design and low-res center-focus-only EVF functionailty. One need only shoot a Nikon D810 to see so many better characteristics which are so obviously fixable on the M240.

Be that as it may, eighteen months after its introduction the M240 still shows itself to still be an unreliable tool when the camera has to work. It malfunctioned repeatedly every day, including camera lockups requiring power cycling the camera (and loss of the image) and (once) a complete lockup requiring battery removal. On some days, the lockups were every 20th shot or so. It is infuriating to lose shots due to camera malfunction, but 18 months have not fixed the M240 firmwar, and this body is the replacement for my 1st lemon.

FOR SALE: Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH

My Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH (black) is for sale. This is the lens with which all my review has been done. $4550 in original box with Leica leather case. Lightly used and in excellent working order with perfect glass.

Contact me. Buyer pays FedEx insured shipping of choice.

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon In the Field

The new Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon is a joy to focus wide open, and its results at ƒ/1.4 are outstanding. I’ve been shooting it for over a week now, also its two siblings and the Voigtlander Nokton 35/1.2 II and the Leica M 35/1.4 and 35/2.

My emphasis is on covering the ZM 35/1.4, but naturally its place among those other lenses and the relative merits of all of them are a secondary goal. Many lens characteristics matter including sharpness and contrast, flare control, flatness of field and so on.

It’s very hard to cover six 35mm lenses, but I expect to have some good insights shooting on the Leica M240

  Aspen Scrub Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/1.4
Aspen Scrub
Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/1.4
  White Clouds in White Mountains Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/1.4
White Clouds in White Mountains
Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/1.4
  Earth Shadow Rises as Black Horse Grazes  Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/1.4
Earth Shadow Rises as Black Horse Grazes
Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/1.4
  Fading Sunglow over White Mountain Peak Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/5
Fading Sunglow over White Mountain Peak
Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/5

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