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Zeiss Biogon ZM T* 35mm f/2 Lens on Sony NEX Series Review by PhotoZone

2010-09-29 06:54 | Source
The Carl Zeiss range of T* ZM-mount lenses offers high standards in terms of performance, reliability and, of course, image quality. You can count on highly advanced flare control for crisp and brilliant images. And virtually zero geometric distortion, ensuring precise accuracy when reproducing shapes, especially useful when photographing products and architecture.

The Zeiss 35mm f/2 Biogon T* ZM is a small size wide-angle lens, and offers high speed, resolving power and next to zero distortion. Ideal for travel, photojournalism, street photography, human-interest reportage (outdoors and indoors) and documentation.

  • 1/3 stop interval click stops allows for exact exposure
  • Precise 10 bladed aperture creates pleasing unfocused highlights
  • Wear resistant filter mount for long-term reliability in tough conditions

Here's the lens specification:

  • Filter Size 43mm
  • f/Stop Range 2-22
  • Minimum Focus Distance 2.3' (0.7 m)
  • Magnification 1:18
  • Angle of View 63 degrees
  • Groups/Elements 6/9
  • Length Not specified
  • Maximum Diameter Not specified
  • Weight 8.5 oz (240 g)

This lens was recently reviewed by PhotoZone on Sony NEX using a Leica M to Sony NEX adapter from Metabones adapters. Here's the summary of review by PhotoZone, giving the lens an optical quality rating of 4 out of 5:

"The Zeiss lens delivers a very impressive resolution across the tested aperture range. The center quality is already very good at f/2 the borders follow on a good+ level here. The center performance is lifted into excellent territory from f/2.8 onwards and the borders reach very good figures starting at this setting. The peak quality is reached somewhere between f/4 and f/5.6 with an outstanding center and very good borders. Diffraction effects have a higher impact from f/11 onwards. Our sample of the Zeiss lens suffered from a slight centering issue at f/2. A perfect sample may even reach slightly better results at large apertures.

As of the time of this review Sony does not over a native standard lens for Sony NEX cameras so it makes sense to look a bit beyond the obvious horizon. The Zeiss Biogon ZM T* 35mm f/2 is a Leica M mount lens which can easily be used via a Leica M to E-mount adapter. Consequently you've to live with without AF and an automatic aperture. However, thanks to the EVIL design of Sony NEX cameras (magnified focus view, LiveView) this is less of an issue compared to adapter solutions on DSLRs. The Biogon produced impressive quality figures in our lab. The resolution is good+ to very good at f/2 and reaches very good to excellent result beyond till diffraction is limiting the quality from f/11 onwards. Lateral CAs are well controlled and not overly field relevant. The bokeh fringing (LoCAs) is typical for such a fast lens. Distortions are basically absent. The most obvious weakness of the lens is the amount of light fall-off at f/2 which is quite a bit higher than average for a full format lens. The build quality of the Zeiss lens is superb thanks to an all-metal body and super-smooth controls. Even so the pricing is on the steep side at around 900EUR. This may still be rather affordable within the Leica M scope but it's probably over the edge for an adapter solution on a Sony NEX camera."

Sample Photos from Flickr:

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