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Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon: Ideal Match for the Leica M Typ 240

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.

Gene F writes:

... in regard to my recent coverage of the Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon:

Your Zeiss 35 shots vindicate the M240.

All of your rigs deliver nice photos and express your style, but these are something else. They have a timeless character I can't put my finger on. The B&W conversions are filmic and lush. I much prefer them to the Nikon D810 look.

It might not be something measurable either; the Zeiss just seems to bring out the better, unique traits of the M240 sensor, which has a certain brilliance and warmth I've grown to appreciate even with my usual Leica lenses.

DIGLLOYD: as I progressed through the images from my 2-week trip, a feeling began to build right away with my initial images, but I pushed back on it, not wanting to jump to conclusions too fast or without enough breadth and depth of material (and there is much more I have not published and needs some attention).

Indeed, not only did the nagging feeling persist (in a good way), it burst into my full awareness recently with the variety of shots I showed towards the end: the ZM 35/1.4 Distagon on the M240 is a rare and synergistic combination that achieves something extraordinary. And while I have all of the best M lenses, none of them quite produce that reaction. So Gene’s comment is spot-on. I think the ZM 35/1.4 Distagon is the very best lens available today for the M240. And it’s gorgeous in silver (the finish I had in hand—my own copy is on order).

There are at least two things that are of keen interest to me in Leica M land: a rumored M240 'Monochrom' (presumably with Live View and 24MP) and two key improvements to the M: a 36+ megapixel sensor and a high-res EVF (preferably built-in). There is still no way to achieve the compactness and quality that an M system offers, but those sort of improvements (and the ZM 35/1.4) would be highly attractive. The Sony A7x cameras have too many flaws and except for the Loxia lenses and perhaps a few others (at most), cannot be take seriously in terms of the lens line in performance and build quality (let alone the absurdity of a hard-bang shutter in a 36MP camera).

Sebastian B writes:

These images are among the finest I have seen for quite a while, anywhere.

I feel you have developed an extraordinary sense for the very basics of photography: color, light, sharpness, blur. If I had to describe those pictures with one word, it would be "transparent"—just like standing there and breathing the air. (And I'm sure it's not just the lens!)

DIGLLOYD: I like to blame the lens at least in part, but this past trip I felt especially “tuned in” to my surroundings and perhaps that shows.

Only quite small images are shown here in this blog (compared to the HD and UltraHD sizes shown in my review).

Brilliant Aspen Looking Towards Bishop CA, September 25, 2014 @ 16:32
Leica M Typ 240 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ f1.4
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