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Thread: Help with ZM WA line up please!

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Help with ZM WA line up please!

    Hello Guys!

    I just got into RF with an M6, and planning to get an M9 or its successor as soon as my wallet condition allows. I will start with a ZM only line up because I really like the way they draw, and they are much cheaper too.

    I already ordered the Planar 50 and Tele Tessar 85, but I am facing a small dilemma for my wide line up. I am considering either the 18/4, 25/2.8, 35/2 or the 21/2.8, 28/2.8.

    I would actually prefer the second option, but I have some reservations about the 28. Its MTF are not exactly stellar and it doesn't seem to work well with digital sensors according to some owners. It also seems to have a very strong field curvature. Someone on other forums advised me against the 25 despite its optical perfection because the rendering is flat and uninteresting.

    On the other hand, the 18, 21 and 35 all seem to be excellent in sharpness and pop/3D.

    What do you guys think? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you all in advance

    Edward
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Senior Member dude163's Avatar
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    Re: Help with ZM WA line up please!

    Im waiting for replies too

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    Re: Help with ZM WA line up please!

    First, I personally go either 35 or 50 and not both because they are close in FL, While they are both excellent, I found I don't carry both at the same time for this exact reason.

    You may find too big a gap between 25/50 where as 28/50 is a nice fit... that said, I liked 25 better than 28.. 28 did have noticeably stronger field curvature. 25 is a very nice lens.. Not sure why anyone would say it's uninteresting.

    I suggest to go this route.

    - Try 35 and see if you like the 35/50 combo, I didn't like it because it was too close.
    - If you like 35,
    - try 18/25 and 21. You may like 21/35/50 combo as well.
    - If you don't like 35, try 25 and 28 to see which one you like more
    - If you like 25, second choice would be 18.
    - If you like 28, second choice would be 21 or 18.

    I think overall, Zeiss lenses render in very similar way and the main decision criteria is FL combinations.
    Scott

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Help with ZM WA line up please!

    To get your best answers you should say something about what subjects you like to shoot and what type of light you will be working in. For example the 50/2 planar is very high contrast,bittingly sharp and with high color saturation. Best suited for images that have lots of detail. High contrast works for you on overcast days and against you in bright sunshine. Bokeh is not particularly smooth . Good edge sharpness and flatness of field. A lens well suited to travel,landscape etc. Not particularly flatering for portraits .

    The 21/2.8 zm is paticularly noteworthy..stands out in the group for balance and excellent IQ. The 35 zm would be 2nd based purely on overall IQ. Both render similar to the 50 and 85.

    I would want the 50 1.5 sonnar rather than the 50 planar for the speed and versitility . The 50 1.5 has a signiture bokeh from 1.5 until you get to 5.6 where it starts to look like the 50 planar.

    But a great deal has to do with what you shoot,type of light and in the case of he M6 the film stock you use.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Help with ZM WA line up please!

    Thank you very much for your replies!

    I shoot mainly while traveling, no particular style but a mix of landscapes, architecture, and people. I have used previously the 25/35/50 Zeiss ZS combination on the Sony A900 and liked it a lot. I agree with Scott that 35 and 50 are too close, and I rarely took them together, but sometimes I would keep the 35 glued to the camera for weeks.

    Roger, agreed about the planar rendering. That was actually an easy decision, looking at the samples on this forum compared to the C-Sonnar. I prefer the harsher look of the planar to be honest.

    Well, I am starting to like the idea of 21/35/50/85, replacing the 18 and 25 with the 21. It does leave a big gap though.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Help with ZM WA line up please!

    The ZM 25 is spectacular, and the only ZM lens I would not consider selling. Maybe there is less 3D "pop," but in my view the quality of the color rendition and the resolution are really exceptional.

    For the 35s, if you can get away with a 2.8, you might also consider the ZM 35 2.8. Some prefer it to the ZM 35 f2, though it may be users who are more focused on shooting at 2.8 (where the 2.8 is supposedly better than the 2) than, say, shooting infinity at 5.6. I have been happy with the 35 2.8 so far. It has not prompted me to sell the 35 Summarit, but for those landscape shots where you prioritize resolution at infinity, flat field and lack of distortion over quality of light and color I favor the ZM; for short-mid- range shots in good light, I prefer the Summarit.

    I recently spent a few days backpacking and took the ZM 25, ZM 35 2.8 and Summicron 50 and it was perfect. 2/3 with the 35 (because I didn't want to bother changing lenses and that focal length captured the atmosphere of the surroundings best) and the remaining 1/3 split between the 25 and 50.

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    Re: Help with ZM WA line up please!

    . . . . . 25/2.8 has many fine reviews around the RFF community. I have owned the lens twice and sold it twice but will most likely have another copy in the future.

    Sam Reid reviews gave the 35/2 a solid review but also stated that 'the C-Biogon (35/2.8 ) could serve as and excellent all-around 35mm lens. Many believe it outshines the 35/2 if you do not need the additional speed.


    Currently the only ZM Zeiss lens that I own is the 50/1.5 Sonnar but would be quite happy with the Planar that you ordered as well. I do like 50mm lenses.

    Good luck with your decision.

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    Re: Help with ZM WA line up please!

    I have the 21mm f/2.8 and can't complain about anything, despite it being used alongside some of Leica's finest. Beautiful colour, sharp, smooth rendering.

    Two things to consider. The newer manufactured versions of this lens (an I imagine all ZM lenses) have a groove machined in the mount to allow coding, so don't buy old stock without the groove. And although the 21mm f/4.5 gets terrific reviews it will give the dreaded 'red edge' on the M9 which can't be automatically coded out (only in post processing). The f/2.8 has no red edge problem.

    Steve

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Help with ZM WA line up please!

    Thank you again for your great replies. I went ahead and ordered the 35/2 and 25/2.8. At a later stage, if I feel the 25 is not wide enough, I will think about adding either the 21/2.8 or 18/4. These lenses are so much in demand, there is a waiting list. I won't be receiving them very shortly, 3-4 weeks minimum.

    By the way, a question to the 25 owners: is it possible to guesstimate the framing by using the 28 lines and mentally adding a bit extra? I know, not the most accurate framing way, but RF framing is never accurate anyway. What do you think?
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Senior Member thrice's Avatar
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    Re: Help with ZM WA line up please!

    18, 25/2.8 and 35/2.8 are the most outstanding on digital. No other lenses of comparable focal length can beat them at equivalent apertures. If you need faster/wider etc then of course needs change.

    You can guess the 25mm FOV if you don't mind quite inaccurate framing.

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    Re: Help with ZM WA line up please!

    Personally I would buy based on angle of view. With a 50mm I would find a 35 or 28 the most natural companion. While I love 24/25 I would struggle with nothing in the middle ground. 35mm is the classic 'medium wide' and I use mine extensively but YMMY. Personally I would not under any circumstances go wide than 24/25 if the next lens up is a 50.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Help with ZM WA line up please!

    Daniel, thanks for your post. I will try the 25 without finder first. If that doesn't work, it's easy to get one, my supplier has them in stock. I heard many good things about the 18 too, so it would be the most obvious choice when I decide to go ultra wide.

    Turtle, Absolutely agree. That's why I ordered the 35 and 25. 35 and 50 are actually my most favorite FL.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Help with ZM WA line up please!

    Edward, I missed your post, but now that you have a 25-35-50 line up you have the same as me I think it is a great spread for nice even and 'significant' gaps.

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