The Zeiss ZM 85 Sonnar. What a beautiful lens for the M9…

A new lens just arrived via Fed Ex for review and it is a beauty. The Zeiss ZM 85 Sonnar F2 (see this lens at Amazon) is absolutely gorgeous. One of two ZM lenses made in Germany, this lens may just be the sweetest portrait lens I have ever laid my hands on for 35mm photography. I will be shooting it for the next 30 days and a review will follow. For now, I will leave you with the first two images I shot with it just minutes ago. Opened the box, attached the lens, and headed for my sons room. No light outside due to rain and the grey dreary weather but he had a 40 watt table lamp on his desk. I snapped off a few shots at F2, ISO 1250 and was delighted with the quick results. I also have a 75 Summicron here so it may get interesting 😯

Can’t wait to shoot this lens more! The full review of this lens will be up sometime in February!

Leica M9 – ISO 1250 – Zeiss ZM 85 Sonnar F2 at F2 – B&W w/Silver Efex Pro

Leica M9 – ISO 1250 – Zeiss ZM 85 Sonnar at F2CLICK HERE FOR FULL SIZE OOC FILE

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    • It would appear that the only follow-up to this gorgeous lens was as a portion of the summicron 75 review. I found a good review of this on Reid Reviews which is worth the subscription. This is an incredible lens if you can afford it and enjoy its drawing style. This is no brainer glass and so is the Leica equivalent. Enjoy!

  1. Apparently the largest FOV have some issues with the M9 to focus accuratly while wide open [see the M9 handbook for the 135 APO TELYT]. Does that come from the 0.68 view finder or the sensor which capture more details [I have some doubt about this] ?
    Also, it would be great if you mention in your review on which lens manual setting you optimize your results when the lens is not available in the M9 menu [sometime you does]. On the 85 Sonnar on which setting did you end up. I have the same question for the 35 Biogon. Tx Philippe

  2. Would first buy Leica 90mm cron, but is now considering strongly Zeiss 85mm – is there anyone who can make a few recommendations on both lenses – have incidentally heard a rumor that the 90mm cron pulled back for an update, is there anyone who knows anything about it

    Steve H – has there come a full review that I have overlooked

  3. Hey RJ, that guy knew what he was saying. The Zeiss is a stellar lens and I prefer it greatly over the 75 cron for people/portraits. For other things I prefer the 75 cron. The Zeiss has this “round” and “3D” way that it renders an image. Very nice, pleasing and warm. I am still shooting with it and got some great stuff today with it. Thanks


  4. I can’t wait for your review. When I tried to look at this lens at the adorama site. The only one review said that this one is a special one. He even said and i quote “used with verstand, the Sonnar equals the Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH in very way!”.

    Well, I thought thats a tall order, but based on the picture he posted, it might me true.If only it cost less than the summilux.

    Can’t wait.

  5. Geronimo, yes, this lens has some of that classic glow but with the contrast, color and sharpness of modern designs. I’ll have more soon. Thanks!

  6. From what I hear, the sonar designs have a very special (old) look to them so I am curious to see this old design type with new glass & coatings.

  7. I would also love a comparo against a 90 cron.
    Against a Nikon 85/1.4 should be harder for Steve to get a copy I think.

  8. Steve:

    In the seventies my sweetheart gave me an MR2 Leica…………..A few months
    later a bought a summiluxe 35 MM…..Put the lens on the camera, Put my
    walking shoes on and established a Relationship with my soon to Be earned
    Best Friend…………
    There was much too much Work to do ……….One Camera one Lens………..

    Hilton Braithwaite………..I could write for Days but @ 66 i still have Plenty
    that excites me…………….I Dig where you are
    Coming from……..You’re Honest….And Helpful…..

    Stay Committed………………………

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