Comparison 35mm Summicron v1, v2 and Zeiss Biogon f2.8

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ericdan

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For what it's worth. Here's a comparison of three 35mm lenses. Both Leica lenses have been thru a complete overhaul at Kanto camera. The Zeiss lens is brand new.
I decided to take a test shot since I had all three lenses with me. I don't see much difference between the Leica lenses. Zeiss seems to have the best color, contrast and sharpness.

The light outside was flat

1. shot at f/8, I can't remember the shutter speed but I kept it fixed. (around 1/125th)
2. No filter on any of the lenses
3. All focused to infinity
4. Provia 100f (developed at Fujifilm in Japan)


35mm Summicron v1 (8-element) screw mount with Leitz adapter (1959)
_v1.jpeg

35mm Summicron v2 (6-element) m-mount (1970)
_v2.jpeg

35mm Zeiss Biogon ZM f2.8
_biogon.jpeg
 

ic-racer

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I think the best way to show 35mm format lenses are the same is to expose a low contrast scene at f8 or f11, and the best way to show they are different is to expose a scene with light sources in view, using the lenses wide open.
 
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ericdan

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I think the best way to show 35mm format lenses are the same is to expose a low contrast scene at f8 or f11, and the best way to show they are different is to expose a scene with light sources in view, using the lenses wide open.

interesting, but as you can see above: even a low contrast scene at f8 shows quiet a big difference.

The Zeiss lens is fantastic. I never had issues with things looking too clinical. Some people say that about the lens. My issue is with the 1/3rd stop aperture clicks and the 43mm filter threads. Just makes using it awkward.
 

Frank53

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Imho those pictures could have been made with almost any lens.
Imho again, the effect of lens quality is highly overrated, especially when digitized.
 

Bob Eskridge

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Thanks for posting the images.
Years ago I photographed a particular scene using a Summicron V2 and Kodak Gold 200.
Could not believe how the combination looked in the print. Sold the lens later - regretted it- and purchased another.

The lens, processing, printing and the scene had their effects. To me, if a lens is sharp enough, renders images to the photographer's satisfaction then the photographer should be satisfied.

So, it is good that you are pleased.
 

Kodachromeguy

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The 8-element Type 1 35mm Summicron is a spectacular lens. If you can find a clean one with good coating and mechanics, buy it. It is not the "sharpest" 35 lens, whatever that useless adjective is supposed to transmit, but on film gives you gorgeous smooth negatives. I used a M3 version with goggles for 20+ years.

DSC00328_resize.jpg
 
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madNbad

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Once upon a time, I owned a 35 3.5 Summron LTM, a 35 2.0 Summicron ASPH and the 35 2.8 Zeiss Biogon. The Summaron had a nice 1950s glow, was tiny and fiddly. The Summicron produced a stellar image as expected. The Biogon offers the famous “Zeiss Pop” in both color and B&W. If it was to be my only lens, it would have been great except for the also famous “Zeiss Wobble” which showed up after a few years of use. It also has the odd 43 mm filter size, meaning there were two sets of filters in my bag. In the end, both the Summaron and the Zeiss were bundled as a trade in on a 28 2.8 Elmarit ASPH which I owned for far too short a time. If you’re asking us, pick one of the Summicrons and sell everything else.
 

warden

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interesting, but as you can see above: even a low contrast scene at f8 shows quiet a big difference.

The Zeiss lens is fantastic. I never had issues with things looking too clinical. Some people say that about the lens. My issue is with the 1/3rd stop aperture clicks and the 43mm filter threads. Just makes using it awkward.
I had the biogon 2.8 for a few years and I agree they're excellent, and compact. It's a decent value too imho.
 
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ericdan

ericdan

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Once upon a time, I owned a 35 3.5 Summron LTM, a 35 2.0 Summicron ASPH and the 35 2.8 Zeiss Biogon. The Summaron had a nice 1950s glow, was tiny and fiddly. The Summicron produced a stellar image as expected. The Biogon offers the famous “Zeiss Pop” in both color and B&W. If it was to be my only lens, it would have been great except for the also famous “Zeiss Wobble” which showed up after a few years of use. It also has the odd 43 mm filter size, meaning there were two sets of filters in my bag. In the end, both the Summaron and the Zeiss were bundled as a trade in on a 28 2.8 Elmarit ASPH which I owned for far too short a time. If you’re asking us, pick one of the Summicrons and sell everything else.

Thanks. Any further info on the “Zeiss Wobble”?
 

warden

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Does anyone know if Zeiss has updated any of their ZM lenses over the years? That old thread is ten years old now after all and it would be interesting to know if there have been v2 and v3 lenses in the ZM lineup.

As for my experience I've owned 5 ZM lenses over the past twelve years or so and they've all been perfect. Obviously I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.
 

madNbad

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As you can see from the thread, it’s a uncommon occurrence but it does happen. There’s a lot to like about the ZM Biogon, one third stops, the little focusing nub and the really good coatings. I didn’t sell my copy because of a bit of looseness, I sold it for a different lens. If it had been my first 35, there’s a good chance it would have remained my only 35. Currently, there is a Voigtlander 35 2.0 Ultron ASPH mounted to my M4, another lens made by Cosina and just about as good as a 35 Summicron ASPH.
 
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ericdan

ericdan

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I’m keeping all three. Have two m2 bodies. One usually B&W the other color.
The biogon I use at the beach shooting into the sun etc and for Astro photography. I guess with little use that wobble might never show up.
 

Huss

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Does anyone know if Zeiss has updated any of their ZM lenses over the years? That old thread is ten years old now after all and it would be interesting to know if there have been v2 and v3 lenses in the ZM lineup.

As for my experience I've owned 5 ZM lenses over the past twelve years or so and they've all been perfect. Obviously I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.

I've had two wobblers - a 50 ZM Planar f2, and a 50 1.5 ZM Sonnar.

Leica stuff does not tend to do that but there are exceptions eg the Summicron 28mm v1, which is notorious for the front section coming loose.
 

flavio81

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For what it's worth. Here's a comparison of three 35mm lenses. Both Leica lenses have been thru a complete overhaul at Kanto camera. The Zeiss lens is brand new.
I decided to take a test shot since I had all three lenses with me. I don't see much difference between the Leica lenses. Zeiss seems to have the best color, contrast and sharpness.

The light outside was flat

1. shot at f/8, I can't remember the shutter speed but I kept it fixed. (around 1/125th)
2. No filter on any of the lenses
3. All focused to infinity
4. Provia 100f (developed at Fujifilm in Japan)


35mm Summicron v1 (8-element) screw mount with Leitz adapter (1959)
View attachment 305474

35mm Summicron v2 (6-element) m-mount (1970)
View attachment 305475

35mm Zeiss Biogon ZM f2.8
View attachment 305476

Sorry to rain on the parade, but the scans are too low resolution to be able to make a comment on lens quality, other than perhaps contrast.
 

McDiesel

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Exactly. We are looking at photos taken at f/8 and printed at 4x3". They can't be used to compare anything. Any lens, even from a $12 disposable camera, will produce an image like this.
 

snusmumriken

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I don't feel I can conclude anything from those images, except that the Zeiss lens detects more cars.:whistling:

FWIW, I have not experienced flare with the v2 Summicron 35mm at any aperture or in any circumstances. Wish the same were true of the 50mm.
 

warden

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I've had two wobblers - a 50 ZM Planar f2, and a 50 1.5 ZM Sonnar.

Leica stuff does not tend to do that but there are exceptions eg the Summicron 28mm v1, which is notorious for the front section coming loose.

That's why I'm wondering about updated versions of affected lenses from Zeiss, which would make it easier to avoid problem models. I looked elsewhere and found several websites documenting wobble problems but no information about design changes, fixes, etc. I have the 50mm Sonnar and have had no issues with it or any of my other ZMs so that's either luck or design changes but I don't know which.
 

Huss

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I don't feel I can conclude anything from those images, except that the Zeiss lens detects more cars.:whistling:

FWIW, I have not experienced flare with the v2 Summicron 35mm at any aperture or in any circumstances. Wish the same were true of the 50mm.

My Summicron Asph 35mm v1 flared like crazy in pretty much any circumstance. Have not tried the current one.
 

Huss

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That's why I'm wondering about updated versions of affected lenses from Zeiss, which would make it easier to avoid problem models. I looked elsewhere and found several websites documenting wobble problems but no information about design changes, fixes, etc. I have the 50mm Sonnar and have had no issues with it or any of my other ZMs so that's either luck or design changes but I don't know which.

Maybe they improved their QC w/o actually changing any design aspects?
 
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ericdan

ericdan

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I don't feel I can conclude anything from those images, except that the Zeiss lens detects more cars.:whistling:

FWIW, I have not experienced flare with the v2 Summicron 35mm at any aperture or in any circumstances. Wish the same were true of the 50mm.

I see you’re located in the UK. Go somewhere sunny and you will see flare.

Very nice photos on your website btw!!
 
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