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Returning from Trip

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 f/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 @ f/1.4

The contrast and sharpness at f/1.4 are first class with the ZM 35/1.4 Distagon, and with exceptional sharpness across the field with minimal field curvature. The lens vignetting at f/1.4 dovetailed nicely with the dramatic light and shadow of this early morning image.

Early Morning Light Drama at Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ f/1.4

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