Zeiss 21mm ZM f2.8 Biogon lens (Leica M mount)

Zeiss 21mm ZM f2.8 Biogon lens (Leica M mount)

Mini review of my new Zeiss 21mm ZM Biogon lens on the Leica M9

Zeiss 21mm ZM f2.8 Biogon


for Leica Fashion Photography & Leica Street Photography

Yesterday I had another productive day shooting in London. 600 images, 8 hours of photography and many miles walked. I did a mix of Leica street photography and street fashion portraits with irish model Leona.

In my camera bag for the day was:

3 Camera Bodies –
  • Leica M9 body
  • Voigtlander Bessa R3A body (35mm film)
  • Panasonic Lumix G3 body + M4/3 – Leica M adapter(Backup)
Prime lens trio – 21mm, 35mm, 50mm –
  • Zeiss ZM 21mm f2.8 Biogon
  • Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii
  • Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 (“Cron”)
Speedlight + SD cards, batteries and the usual.

Of the above equipment taken the usage was:

100% M9 / 0% Film / 0% G3
80% ZM 21f2.8 / 20% 50f2 / 0% 35/1.2

I took the Cron to give it a day out and for more sample shots but I must say I prefer my Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5 C and Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4. It is a 50mm focal length so was used when I needed that range but it didn’t give me any wow factor. The Voigtlander Nokton 35mmm f1.2 ASPH ii is a fantastic lens but had already proved itself previously so I was keen to test the new ZM 21mm the most.

Zeiss 21mm ZM portraits

Example photos using the Zeiss ZM 21/2.8 for Leica fashion photography with Irish model Leona. When using a 21mm lens for portraits it is important to get the angle correct otherwise you can distort the image /subject.

Zeiss ZM Biogon
21mm Portrait
ZM 21mm Portrait
Catwalking down The Mall, London

Street photography with Zeiss 21mm ZM

Here is me using the ZM Biogon 21/2.8 for Leica street photography. 21mm is a wider focal length than many Leica street photographers use. It means you need to be very close to your subjects for them to have any impact in the image. Getting close to people in the street is in effect breaching their comfort zone so it can be a little unnerving yet exciting at the same time. If you get caught the best defence is just to smile!

Leica Street Photography
Candid Street Photography
21mm ZM
Regent Street London

Conclusion – Zeiss 21mm ZM f2.8 Biogon

Lens of the day was without doubt the Zeiss ZM Biogon 21mm f2.8. It is very sharp and a very versatile focal length. I used an auxilary 21mm viewfinder initially for composition but once the speedlight was occupying the Leica M9 hotshoe I just guestimated for the rest of the day.

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