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Thread: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

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    Member dannh's Avatar
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    M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    Hi All,

    Canon5dShooter just started a thread on the Zeiss 85/2 and M9, and while he's waiting for feedback I had a similar question about the M9 and Zeiss 18mm f4. I'm currently shooting a 5D and love shooting wide for landscapes and generally wide effects.

    I haven't seen much comment or many pictures taken with this combo, or even an M8 for that matter. Is the lens just that hard to find, or is it not a good match with an M8 or M9?

    Appreciate any input, I haven't posted much but have really enjoyed learning a lot.

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    Senior Subscriber Member Mike Hatam's Avatar
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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    I shot the ZM 18 on the M8 for a few months. That combo works very well, and is sharp to the corners, with very little distortion. The lens is quite large, and blocks a portion of the viewfinder.

    I no longer have the lens, so have not shot it on my M9. But note that viewfinder blockage will be even greater on an M9 (full frame). Based on the performance I've seen of the lens, I think it would be excellent on the M9, and likely very sharp to the corners.

    ZM lenses are also known for their micro-contrast, and the ZM 18 is no exception.

    Mike
    Mike Hatam
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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    I dunno. With all the cyan drift and funky vignetting the wider lenses are producing, I'd be inclined to stick with Leica glass for the wider end. They are already 6 bit coded, the in camera corrections seem to work fairly well and the corrections are formulated specifically for those lenses. Seems to me you'd be taking your chances with 3rd party wide glass. Course' that's my stance today. Check back tomorrow - things change pretty quickly round' these parts...

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    Member dannh's Avatar
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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    Thanks Mike, the reviews I've read match your experience with the lens. I'm just having trouble finding anyone who's run it on an M9, but with patience I'm sure many will try it and we'll hear all about it.

    As far as viewfinder blockage, I was also considering the 18mm Zeiss viewfinder. A bit spendy but not compared to the Leica VF.

    jklotz, I hear you, I've been reading about the funkyness of wides on the M9...part of my motivation for posting here. My guess is that it's not as simple as setting the lens selection in camera to another wide angle, as this lens may show different characteristics and anomalies on the M9.

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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Hatam View Post
    But note that viewfinder blockage will be even greater on an M9 (full frame).
    I don't mean to be an annoying nit-picker but what difference does it make whether you are using an M8 or M9 when it comes to viewfinder blockage? Both have the same 0.68x finder (exactly the same view when you look through the VF) and neither has framelines for an 18mm lens (necessitating an external VF, chimping or just plain guessing).

    I think the issue with all super-wides on the M9 is the prevalence of off-centre 'red-shift'. I'm also in the market this year for such a wide but I'm not going to buy anything (Leica or Zeiss) until Leica properly address the problem in firmware.

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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    Quote Originally Posted by wattsy View Post
    I don't mean to be an annoying nit-picker...
    I don't think you're either annoying or a nit-picker. I've been trying to figure that one out, too.

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    Senior Subscriber Member Mike Hatam's Avatar
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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    Good point on the viewfinder - it won't matter since neither the M8 nor the M9 have a wide enough VF to match the 18mm. So no difference there.

    Cyan shift (red corners) would be an issue without setting the camera to a match a particular Leica lens equivalent on the M9. Not sure which lens matches best, but my guess is the Leica 18 f3.5.

    Mike
    Mike Hatam
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    Senior Member Don Hutton's Avatar
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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    I've shot the 18mm Distagon a lot on both the M8 and on film - it's an amazing lens - a real sleeper IMO, but obviously very wide, even on the M8. I sent the flange from mine to John Milich and he engraved coding detents into it - I have mine coded as a WATE (set it at 18mm) which seems to do just fine with the Cyan drift.

    On full frame it's very wide - probably best for exploiting near far relationshsips rather than jamming too much into the frame... Here's a color shot from the M8 and a B&W shot on film.
    Last edited by Don Hutton; 12th February 2010 at 18:49.

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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    Hi All,

    Like Don, I've shot the Zeiss 18mm on the M8 extensively and it is a real sleeper. When compared to the Leica 18mm, it was neck and neck right into the corners with slightly different color characteristics...contrast was close. I too coded mine as a WATE (18mm), which only requires one single black line...simple. When the M8 is turned on, instantly the defalt is 18mm and requires absolutely no input...just a light touch on the shutter button and thats it. I soon plan to put it through its paces on an M9, and my guess like others is that it will keep up with it's peformance across the entire frame...but we'll see.

    Nice lens indeed!

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    Hi! I have asked question about color shift and vignetting removal. It has been confirmed, that recent CORNERFIX software works OK with lenses like 15mm or 18mm. Best is to create you profile for body and lens pair.

    Could someone explain me - why you code lens to another, Leica lens? Could you list all benefits?

    Quote Originally Posted by wattsy View Post
    I think the issue with all super-wides on the M9 is the prevalence of off-centre 'red-shift'. I'm also in the market this year for such a wide but I'm not going to buy anything (Leica or Zeiss) until Leica properly address the problem in firmware.
    How you expect Leica to address it? As I read - WATE works OK. So what business is for Leica for M9 to work with other producers lenses? Its business is to sell THEIR lenses and to tell us, that the issue is with 3rd party lenses not M9 body...

    Anyway - people who tested CORNERFIX - told that whatever Leica would correct - profiled CORNERFIX will do much more better - as you can customize it if necessary. But Leice firmware program won't be customized in terms of how much vignettng, color shift to remove and exactly from which place. It will be just default for one kind of lens.
    * * *
    SOLUTION probably is not firmware. This may be a workaround. Do you believe that making all these software corrections doesn't change picture quality in corners.
    SOLUTION may be better SESNOR and LENS cooperation.

    I really can't understand, how LEICA \ KODAK can apply marketing that their new sensor addressed wide angle, if they in fact screw it up...

    I am coming from OUTSIDE world. Canon, Panasonic, Olympus. And I have always heard complaining on software corrections, especially in u43 system. And Leica was a PATTERN to follow! Now when I see it - I can only laugh from Canon, Panasonic, Oly users whe believe that Leica is crystal...

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    If it stops raining I will pull my zeiss 18 out and test it on a M9. On the M8 it is a gem and renders as most of the zeiss zm lenses ...a sharp,contrasty and saturated image. From my experience the zeiss glass has a higher contrast and is incredibly sharp...Leica does a better job with the micro contrast (which shows up as tone separation).

    Digllyod(a pay site well worth it) has a excellent summary of the M lenses that will suffer from the RED CORNER . The zeiss 18 and the leica 18 both will create the RED corner on an M9. (The WATE does not).

    Quite a lot posted on the Leica User Forum about this and its seems that two solutions both requiring post processing. The Corner Fix software will handle this and the results are said to be excellent. The other alternative is to create a preset for LR using the graduated filter and shooting a grey card. By creating a cyan mask you can apply your own correction. It is also recommended that you code the lens as a 21 pre asph .

    I am not sure what the long term solution from Leica will be but the Leica 18 has the same problem as the Zeiss and its well documented on the LUF.

    On the M8 this is a great lens and hopefully it will be usable on the M9 without a lot of special post processing.

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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    The zeiss 18 and the leica 18 both will create the RED corner on an M9. (The WATE does not).
    About WATE - with lens recognized or not?
    Doesn't it occur even WITHOUT software correction (Lens Detection OFF)?

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry_R View Post
    About WATE - with lens recognized or not?
    Doesn't it occur even WITHOUT software correction (Lens Detection OFF)?
    Jerry You should check the threads at the LUF ..this was beat to death by several members. One of the posters tested it with and without lens detection. All I can recall is the conclusions I posted. The WATE is OK (with lens detection on) and both the zeiss and leica 18 s require some correction in post processing.

    I know I was disappointed because the zeiss lenses are particularly well suited for situations with soft light (like street shooting on an overcast day) and the Leica 18 looks like an exceptional all around lens.

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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    zeiss lenses are particularly well suited for situations with soft light
    Looks that M9 isn't... Pity

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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry_R View Post
    Looks that M9 isn't... Pity
    Where did you get that from? I think the M9 is an excellent low light performer. Hell. I can handhold the thing at a 15/th w/ a 50mm lens @f5.6 consistently. Try that with your canikon....


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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry_R View Post
    Looks that M9 isn't... Pity
    Jerry

    To a certain extent you are correct about how the M9 performs. (It could be better). However on the balance its a major improvement over the M8. The M9 s larger file seems to be much more forgiving and the dynamic range looks better . The effective ISO performance looks like about a +1 to the M8 ..so ISO 1000 looks like the M8 at 640 . This is just enough with a 1.4 lens to make night street shooting possible.

    So for me this has been a vast improvement. Shooting in NYC with a Noctilux is just amazing.

    But the M8 has been under appreciated especially in black and white where the weak IR filter seems to create excellent contrast ....the M9 files need a little work to match the M8 files. The yellow filter profile in C1 works well.

    I am convinced that as much as I used the M8s ....there was a lot more capability that I never reached(mostly in processing effectiveness). The M9 is a step function better even with the limitations noted above.

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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    Quote Originally Posted by jklotz View Post
    I think the M9 is an excellent low light performer. Hell. I can handhold the thing at a 15/th w/ a 50mm lens @f5.6 consistently. Try that with your canikon....
    No, no, maybe misunderstanding then. I didn't mean exactly low light or night photos!
    That is excelent! How did you take 1/15s on 50mm focal without stabilisation? Stable body? No breath? Or you stabilized yourself?
    Is this so sharp in 100% as well? Maybe it looks so sharp, because it is in low resolution?
    I no more use Canon.

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    balance its a major improvement over the M8 [...] So for me this has been a vast improvement [...] The M9 is a step function better even with the limitations noted above.
    I see, but I haven't used M8. So I simply do not look on M9 from M8 perspective.

    Cheers,
    Jerry_R

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    Re: M9 and Zeiss 18mm Distagon

    Hi Jerry - just takes a little practice I guess. The shutter is much softer than on my M8 which helps, plus there s no mirror to slap. I keep an elbow in tight on the chest and don't "stab" at the shutter, but press slowly. I can only do that on my M9, haven't been able to do it with any other cameras.

    oh, and yes, that shot is sharp at 100% (maybe not tripod sharp, but still very sharp)

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