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Zeiss ZM 18mm F4 + Finder with glasses
Old 09-03-2019   #1
kevin_v
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Zeiss ZM 18mm F4 + Finder with glasses

I’m mostly a >= 50mm lens shooter on 35mm, but recently I’ve been shooting more landscapes and have realized I want a (much) wider lens for when I want an extreme FOV. I’ve been looking at the ZM 18mm and was wondering how the experience is with using the Zeiss 18mm finder with glasses.

Any other comments on the ZM 18mm or recommendations in that <24mm range would also be appreciated. Added context for this is that I’d plan on mounting it on a film M and hopefully the Nikon Z6 too.
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Old 09-03-2019   #2
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For film, I can't recommend the Zeiss 21/4.5 ZM enough. Amazing lens (as is the finder). Not so hot on digital. I have heard great things about the Zeiss 21/2.8, which is supposed to be better on digital.

If you want to go cheaper, and film only, get the original CV 15 LTM lens. That was my introduction to wide angles with rangefinders and it is a blast. I think you can still get it new from CameraQuest (with finder). Something to think about.

I would imagine that either finder with glasses would be about the same. Even though my eyesight is crap, I wear contacts, so I'm not much help there. I can still see the frame a bit eyeballing the 21 finder at about the distance it would be with my glasses on.

The ZM 18 always looked nice, but with 15mm and 21mm lenses, I never really checked it out.
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Old 09-03-2019   #3
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Quote:
For film, I can't recommend the Zeiss 21/4.5 ZM enough. Amazing lens (as is the finder). Not so hot on digital. I have heard great things about the Zeiss 21/2.8, which is supposed to be better on digital.
Yeah. I'd probably have just gone with the 4.5 if it weren't for the poor digital performance. I guess I discounted the 2.8 in comparison, but thanks for the reminder to look into that one more too.

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I would imagine that either finder with glasses would be about the same. Even though my eyesight is crap, I wear contacts, so I'm not much help there. I can still see the frame a bit eyeballing the 21 finder at about the distance it would be with my glasses on.
By "eyeballing," do you mean you need to shift your eye around to see the whole frame?
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Old 09-03-2019   #4
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FWIW, I bought the Zeiss 21mm finder and sent it back because the eye relief was so poor. Not sure if that is the case with the 18mm finder or not.

For 21mm I prefer the Leica 12002 because of the much better eye relief. Even the CV 21mm plastic finder is better than the Zeiss in that regard. BTW, if you are considering a 21mm, the new CV 21mm f3.5 Color Skopar is the bee's knees.
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Old 09-03-2019   #5
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I have the Zeiss 18 and finder. Love that lens, I also wear glasses. It is not a problem. The lens is tack sharp. I have film Leica’s and also an M262.
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Old 09-04-2019   #6
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By eyeballing, I meant holding the finder roughly where it would go if I had my glasses on. However, I tried the finder with my glasses later and could see most of the frame, though it was near the edge. I’m not saying it was perfect; I’d defer to the opinion of those who actually shoot frequently with finders. If the Leica finder has better eye relief that might be a better choice.
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Old 09-04-2019   #7
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The 18mm Zeiss in nice but the 15mm Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar is better. As a glasses wearer, I don't have view finder problems. I am using the excellent Voigtlander 15-35mm Zoomfinder.
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Old 09-04-2019   #8
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I am using the Voigtländer 15mm f/4.5 Super Wide-Heliar in Leica M-Mount with 52mm filter thread, coupled rangefinder focusing and a focus tab... designed and manufactured by Cosina in Japan. This version is tuned for film... if you are a digital M-mount user you might want to take a look at Version III.

I use the Voigtländer 15mm external finder for composition... the plastic version although I have shot the lens without any external finder... I also wear glasses, but focus without glasses and the appropriate diopter, external finder composition with glasses.
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Old 09-04-2019   #9
Richard G
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I have had no problem with the 18 and its finder and I wear glasses. But I’ve used it only with digital.

And I adore the 21 C Biogon on the Monochrom. The colour fringing on the M9 is seldom much bother.
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Old 09-04-2019   #10
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Thanks for the responses everyone. I guess at this point, I've got to try it for myself. I put in orders for the lens and the finder. I'll try to be a good internet citizen and remember to post back with my own data points.
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Old 09-04-2019   #11
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Sounds good, Kevin, and hope you like your new 18mm Distagon! I bought mine used without finder so I chose to use the Voigtlander 18mm finder. It's a brilliant lens, with very mild natural corner darkening which I leave uncorrected. I have used it on M8 and M240 with and then without the UV/IR Cut filter. Either way, CornerFix is useful for dealing with slight cyan (with filter) or red (without filter) sides. For the M8 I had DAG do the 6-bit coding to 110100 (for the Leica 18mm) for ~$100 and retaining the correct 50/75mm lens flange mine came with, though I understand it has shipped with a flange for 28/90mm framelines as well. The frameline flange ID coordinates with the 6-bit coding to tell the camera what lens is mounted so the EXIF info will be correct.

Here's a shot with the M8, then the second is with the M240...


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Old 09-04-2019   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin_v View Post
Thanks for the responses everyone. I guess at this point, I've got to try it for myself. I put in orders for the lens and the finder. I'll try to be a good internet citizen and remember to post back with my own data points.
Looking forward to hearing your report about the finder, as well as seeing some images from the Distagon.

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Originally Posted by Doug View Post
Sounds good, Kevin, and hope you like your new 18mm Distagon! I bought mine used without finder so I chose to use the Voigtlander 18mm finder. It's a brilliant lens, with very mild natural corner darkening. I have used it on M8 and M240 with and then without the UV/IR Cut filter. Either way, CornerFix is useful for dealing with cyan or red sides. For the M8 I had DAG do the 6-bit coding to 110100 for ~$100 and retaining the 50/75mm lens flange mine came with, though I understand it has shipped with a flange for 28/90mm framelines as well.

Here's a shot with the M8, then the second is with the M240...
Nice sample shots. The fence/tree/house shot from your M240 is stunning. BTW, could you share a photo of DAG's coding? I would like to see how that looks.

Thanks
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Old 09-04-2019   #13
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Thanks, Will... At the time, DAG sub-contracted the actual machining of the flange to John Milich in NYC who I think has now passed on. And it looks just like Leica's own coding.
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Old 09-05-2019   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug View Post
Thanks, Will... At the time, DAG sub-contracted the actual machining of the flange to John Milich in NYC who I think has now passed on. And it looks just like Leica's own coding.

Interesting. Sad to hear the gentleman passed away. Thanks for that information.
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Old 09-05-2019   #15
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Interesting. Sad to hear the gentleman passed away. Thanks for that information.
From Guy Mancuso on 7th June 2016:
John Milich has passed away
Some very sad news to hear that our dear workshop member and great GetDPI member of our family has passed away in his sleep. He had no illnesses or pain to speak of and he went peacefully. His son Luke informed us through Graham Welland of his passing. Our thoughts and prays are with his family. John was one of the good guys been on several workshops and was always making us some very useful tools and accessories for our cameras over the years. He will be sorely be missed by our admins and moderators. For our GetDPI family this is a very sad moment. Please keep him in your thoughts and rest in peace John.
https://www.getdpi.com/forum/sunset-...ssed-away.html
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
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I got the Zeiss 18mm finder in today. I was pleased to find that the frame lines (but not beyond) are comfortably visible for me when wearing glasses. (I'd estimate the distance from the front of my eye to the front of my glasses to be 1.5 cm.)

I'm looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone and walking around with the lens and finder this weekend.
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