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The ZM Biogon f2 35mm ... is it the perfect 35mm RF lens? Show us your examples.
Old 08-09-2015   #1
Keith
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The ZM Biogon f2 35mm ... is it the perfect 35mm RF lens? Show us your examples.

I have three ZM lenses but for me the Biogon is an absolute standout .... I'm no optics expert but it has no faults that I can perceive .... near zero distortion, great flare resistance and sharp at all apertures and lately I've noticed you can pick up a near mint example for around seven hundred dollars!

Every time I use it on my 240 it really impresses me .... occasionally I wouldn't mind a stop of extra speed but over all I can see no reason to ever own any other 35mm lens. I've noticed in the poll we have running here it's around neck and neck with the Summicron in the vote count and that's impressive considering the price of a new Summicron against the Zeiss.

The size is excellent and on the 240 it focuses without issues unlike it's sibling the 50mm C Sonnar which can be damned hard to master with it's focus shift. It's probably my most used lens!

If you have any images from the 35mm Biogon feel free to put them here and we can celebrate one of Zeiss's finest optics.


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Old 08-09-2015   #2
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I completely agree. If I could only own one 35 it would be the Biogon 35 f2. Not only is it everything you mentioned it's smooth in tone and much more classic looking unlike the Summicron asph. I've owned many Leica 35's and I wouldn't trade my Biogon for any of them. I've used the term before, for a lack of a better term I'd say it's organic in look. I even sold my Summux FLE and bought my second Biogon. I foolishly sold my first.

I feel the same about my Planar and the 25 f2.5 that I sold (foolishly). I sold my Zeiss trio , 25 2.8, 35 F2 and 50 f2 for an Elmar 24, 35 fle summilux and 50 asph summilux. I've sold all but my Elmar and returned to the Biogon and Planar. I'll probably sell the Elmar too and buy another 25 Biogon. The Leica glass was sharp but was just too over the top and artificial looking to me. They lacked that organic smooth but sharp character. Leica glass is sharp but is harsh looking.

I'll try to post a couple of images this week.
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Old 08-09-2015   #3
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Here's another example of this fine optic. Stretching the limits here a little at ISO 5000 with the 240 but still a very gentle rendering and smooth OOF areas.

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Old 08-09-2015   #4
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ZM 35 F2 Biogon is a good lens ...

a sample from Tri-X

Opposite by William Jusuf, on Flickr

Waiting for Mom to come home by William Jusuf, on Flickr

this one from a superia 200
Peeking ... by William Jusuf, on Flickr

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Old 08-12-2015   #5
PaulCooper
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It is an amazing lens. Here's one from Patagonia I took from the tripod:
[IMG]Argentina_Rio Blanco_001 by Paul Cooper, on Flickr[/IMG]
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Old 08-12-2015   #6
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Both examples make an excellent case for the Biogon, Keith.

As an aside, imagine 20 years ago, someone stating they
"stretched the limits" at ISO 5000. That would be some kind of a stretch, even with TMax 3200 (and it wouldn't look nearly as good as your pic)

Imagine 10 years ago had they termed 5000 "a little." !

.
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Old 08-12-2015   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulCooper View Post
It is an amazing lens. Here's one from Patagonia I took from the tripod:
That is beautiful! Can I ask what film you used for the photograph?

Here are a couple of clunky B&W images from Bulgaria, both taken with the Biogon and HP5+:



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Old 08-12-2015   #8
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I really liked this lens while I still had my M9. Great all-round performer.



-Thomas
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What film?
Old 08-13-2015   #9
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What film?

Quote:
Originally Posted by :: Mark View Post
That is beautiful! Can I ask what film you used for the photograph?

Here are a couple of clunky B&W images from Bulgaria, both taken with the Biogon and HP5+:



Why, Velvia 50 of course.
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Old 08-13-2015   #10
mcfingon
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I was originally going to buy the 35/2.8 Biogon, but they only had the 35/2 in stock and were keen to sell it to me, so who was I to complain? M2, Delta 100:
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Old 08-13-2015   #11
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A7II
Stairway to Heaven by Nick Chase, on Flickr
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Old 08-13-2015   #12
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I'll play along. Love this lens. It had some bad press because of its bokeh but wide open or near wide open I don't find that to be an issue.











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Old 08-13-2015   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcfingon View Post
I was originally going to buy the 35/2.8 Biogon, but they only had the 35/2 in stock and were keen to sell it to me, so who was I to complain?
I've used both in the past and both are great... I just preferred the size of the 2.8. Neither are perfect for me, but what is? The f/2 is too large for my taste and the 2.8 could be considered slow. Imagine if they were able to make a f/2 biogon/sonnar with the size of the f/2.8!
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Old 08-13-2015   #14
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Biogon with Fuji Acros
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Old 08-13-2015   #15
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Haha, funny. I think the dog may have snatched that sandwich after your photo.
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Old 08-13-2015   #16
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Biogon and (Fuji Acros again), I believe.
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Old 08-13-2015   #17
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Haha, funny. I think the dog may have snatched that sandwich after your photo.
someones gotta watch the dog!
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Old 08-13-2015   #18
Brian Legge
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Fast enough:


Low distortion:



Doesn't mind being pointed in to the sun:


Does well with color:
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Old 08-13-2015   #19
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Yes. its a very good lens. even across the frame .


biogon (1 of 1)-89 by ophir segal, on Flickr
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Old 08-13-2015   #20
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m2
rollei retro 400s

Ophir.


biogon (1 of 1)-60 by ophir segal, on Flickr
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Old 08-13-2015   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Meaby View Post


Biogon and (Fuji Acros again), I believe.
loving this a lot, Nigel.
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Old 08-13-2015   #23
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loving this a lot, Nigel.
Thanks, Cameron
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Old 08-13-2015   #24
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It has some pretty wild coma though.
Christmas Coma by Nick Chase, on Flickr
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Old 08-13-2015   #25
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Here is Puts:
"This is a nine-element lens in six groups. At full aperture there is a fair amount of coma, but hardly any curvature of field. The coma does reduce the overall contrast quite visible. At f/4 coma is gone completely and the lens from there is an outstanding performer. Compared to the Summicron-M 2/35 ASPH the ZM has better curvature of field, but less contrast and crisp definition wide open. Performance on axis is equal between both lenses. This Biogon is a bit overstretched as a high-speed design. The design itself does not support high-speed lenses and it would have been better if the marketing people of Zeiss had restricted themselves to an aperture of 2.8.
The original 35mm lens for the Contarex has an aperture of 4 and was already at that aperture almost diffraction limited. Had this lens been a 2.8 design, it would have much better performance. Stopped down as it is now the performance from aperture 4 is beyond reproach, but at wider apertures it is at the level of the fourth generation of the Leica Summicron 35 lens."

He goes on:
"Wide open the lens records fine detail with smooth delineation of subject outlines form centre to corner. There is hardly any vignetting and stray light is well suppressed. Background unsharpness washes away all detail and holds the major subject outlines, but these are quite blurred. Stopping down to smaller apertures you get outstandingly good imagery with very crisp images and excellent definition of small detail that holds even in specular highlights, giving the images a powerful expression.
Colors are neutral and hold subtle hues quite well.
At closer distances the lens records fine detail with good contrast, but more with finesse than with crispness.
In contre-jour lighting, the Biogon 35 retains the definition of detail in the shadow areas and suppresses halo-ing around highlights very well. Only wide open the edges of tree branches become grey-ish."

Summary: faster than f/4 the asph cron is better. But once you hit f/4 the biogon is superb.
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Old 08-13-2015   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
I've used both in the past and both are great... I just preferred the size of the 2.8. Neither are perfect for me, but what is? The f/2 is too large for my taste and the 2.8 could be considered slow. Imagine if they were able to make a f/2 biogon/sonnar with the size of the f/2.8!
If Zeiss had used the original Biogon design with part of the lens inside the camera lens throat, it could have been more compact, but I guess they thought there were too many problems with hitting bits of the camera. Sigh.
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Old 08-14-2015   #27
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It has some pretty wild coma though.
Christmas Coma by Nick Chase, on Flickr
Holy Moly that's terrible.
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Old 09-04-2015   #28
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Holy Moly that's terrible.
This is the only shot I have that looks like this. It's a great lens for all actual, non wide-open bright light silliness.
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Old 09-04-2015   #29
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Jack Jones
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[M6, CZ 35mm f2.0 Biogon, Legacy Pro ISO 400]
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Old 09-04-2015   #30
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Jamming
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[M6, CZ 35mm f2.0 Biogon, Acros 100]
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Old 09-04-2015   #31
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Bengal Tiger
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Old 09-06-2015   #32
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Old 09-06-2015   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
I've used both in the past and both are great... I just preferred the size of the 2.8. Neither are perfect for me, but what is? The f/2 is too large for my taste and the 2.8 could be considered slow. Imagine if they were able to make a f/2 biogon/sonnar with the size of the f/2.8!
Then you have a Leica Summicron. LOL
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Old 09-06-2015   #34
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Biogon 2/35 ZM at f/5.6


At f/2


and, at f/6.8
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Old 09-06-2015   #36
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Doug, I really like #1 and #2. Lots of other good samples in this thread. Makes me want an M-mount just to use this lens! I remember Amy Medina (DangRabbit) posted impressive samples with this lens and her M8.2. a few years ago.

Is this lens available in other mounts? I have LTM and M42 bodies - the nearest seems to be the 35mm Flektagon 2.4/2.8 but that's obviously a different lens.
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Old 09-06-2015   #37
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Size and ergonomics are a negative for this lens in my experience, at least on my M4. Much prefer the smaller summicrons.

I love my zeiss lenses for hasselblad but they just dont do it for me on 35mm rangefinders.

I really wish they would address the size and ergonomics issues in future releases.
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Old 09-07-2015   #38
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For RF lenses, small size is a Leica thing, otherwise small lenses tend to be slower. Zeiss has a different design philosophy, avoiding aspheric surfaces for one, and that has consequences in size and weight.

There's a 35mm f/2 Zeiss Distagon for several SLR mounts, though obviously it has different optical construction. I have 28 f/2 Distagon ZK, 50 f/1.4 Planar ZK, and 85 f/1.4 Planar ZK for Pentax SLR, and they show the Zeiss brilliance, but they're larger/heavier than similar Pentax lenses. I think they're only for Canon and Nikon mount these days but there are used lenses out there in other mounts... including Pentax screw mount (ZS?) and IIRC Olympus OM.

Thanks Lynn!
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Old 09-08-2015   #39
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Antonio, Lisbon. May 2015. Tmax 100 in Xtol 1+1.



Roman Bridge, Allariz, Spain. June 2015. Foma 100 in Xtol 1+1.
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Old 09-08-2015   #40
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Looks like a perfectly well-behaved lens. I´d prefer one with stronger signature though. Say pre-asph Summilux or the 35 Noktons.

Anyone have a few samples at f2?
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