Zeiss Biogon 21mm f2.8 Review (ZM Leica M mount lens)
Mini review of my new Zeiss Biogon 21mm f2.8 (ZM) lens on the Leica M9
Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Biogon ZM
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.
Example photos using the Zeiss ZM 21/2.8 for Leica fashion photography with Irish model Leona. For 21mm portraits it is important to get the camera angle correct otherwise you can distort the image /subject very easily.
21mm Wedding Photography
21mm has become one of my favourite focal lengths for events. 21mm wedding photography might sound wide but I enjoy capturing the action and then often the action around the action at a busy occasion!
21mm Street Photography
My attempt at 21mm street photography with the Zeiss Biogon 21mm lens.. 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 defense is just to smile!
Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Biogon – Conclusion
Lens of the day was without doubt the Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Biogon. 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.