Zeiss Biogon 28/2.8 ZM first impressions

Today, I received my new Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 28/2.8 ZM, which I decided to get after I realised how much I liked the ZM line’s rendering on the M8. So I sold my 28/1.9 Ultron, which I had only bought a couple months ago, but with which I never really got friends completely.

After pickung up the Biogon from the post office, I put in on my M8 immediately and started taking a couple of test frames. Initially, I was a bit disappointed as the colour rendering was not how I remembered it from my 35/2 Biogon, but then I realised that was because the UV/IR filter was lacking and it was harsh mid-day light … So when I got back home, I attached the 46mm filter I still had from the Ultron and — there it was, the famous Zeiss rendering with bold colours, strong contrast and the so-called “3D-pop”.

Granted, a 28mm f/2.8 lens has a considerably larger depth-of-field than a 35mm f/2 lens, thus exhibiting less background blurring and less subject separation. Still, the 28 Biogon shows the same rendering as the other lenses in the Zeiss ZM lineup — to a certain degree.

To illustrate what I am talking about, here are two frames I snapped this afternoon before heading off to work:

Leica M8 + Biogon 28/2.8 @ f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO 160

Leica M8 + Biogon 28/2.8 @ f/2.8, 1/45 sec, ISO 160

So far, I am very pleased with how this lens renders, and it’s exactly the same way (albeit with a shorter focal length and slower aperture) as my old 35/2 Biogon which, in retrospective, I loved very much. We’ll see how I get along with the one stop slower aperture compared to the 28/1.9 Ultron, but I think the gain in image quality more than makes good for the lack of speed.

2 comments to Zeiss Biogon 28/2.8 ZM first impressions

  • Lovely pictures of Jasmin and Emil, and yes, really nice colours in that first one. But hmmm – an UW filter improved these? I have to try that on my Olympus 50 macro, which came with one.

    Wish there were some good wide angle primes for regular Four Thirds. Something like the Leica 35 1.4 would be too cool… but I don’t know if these 17,5mm could even be made with an aperture like that.


    • Thanks, Wolfgang!

      No, I don’t mean a regular UV filter (there was one attached to the lens when I got it), but a UV/IR-cut-filter, which is necessary for the Leica M8 since its sensor is sensible to UV and IR wavelengths. Without an appropriate filter, you get wrong colours under certain conditions.

      As concerns Four Thirds – you could use a legacy SLR lens in that focal length range. The OM system for example had both a 16/3.5 and 1n 18/3.5. Most certainly nowhere near as fast as a Summilux, but at least it would be a prime lens in the focal length range you’re looking for.

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