Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 ZM (and two holes in my wallet)


So… This one was not part of the plan.

Exactly how it happened is something I have to explain.

See, my Leica M-E is now on its way to Wetzlar, Germany. The CCD sensor needs to be replaced. In case you are not aware, all Leica M9 series cameras – which the M-E belongs to – came out of the Leica factory with a CCD corrosion problem. When this problem was detected and acknowledged by Leica, they launched a free CCD replacement programme.

Since fundamentally I’m an idiot, at that time for whatever reason I decided not to have the CCD replaced for free.

Then last week after taking some photos I realised my CCD was seriously corroded. It’s something you notice only when shooting with small apertures, which I usually don’t.

Long story short, I decided I had to send my camera to Leica to finally have the CCD replaced. Only to find out now I have to shell out around USD$1000 because the free replacement programme from Leica had long expired!

Now on top of the USD$1000, I somehow managed to burn another hole in my wallet as I walked out of the camera store with a Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 ZM lens.


When you suffer from Gear Acquisition Syndrome, you always find justifications for your purchase so that everything becomes legit.

So my justification is:

My Leica M-E will be away for 6 to 9 months. I’m going to spend all this time with my Epson R-D1x only (irrespective of the fact I have a bunch of other cameras, but let’s put this aside for now).

I need a 35mm equivalent lens for my R-D1x, which has a 1.53x crop factor. I had to pick either a 21mm or 24mm. I had never used a Zeiss lens, only Leica and Voigtländer. So it’s about time I get a Zeiss lens.

I decided for the Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 ZM, which gives me the equivalent 32mm focal length. There you go. Everything legit, right?

So how is this lens?

It’s well built and the focusing ring feels silky smooth. I need some time to test it properly, but from the few shots I took it appears to work perfectly with the R-D1x’s focusing mechanism. All my shots seem to be accurately focused!

Stay tuned as a user experience / review will be coming soon.

Epson R-D1x with Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 ZM lens. 1/37 @ f/2.8, ISO 800



  1. It may not be as satisfying on a FF sensor. The indisputable apex in 21mm (perhaps in any mount) is the 21 Super Elmar. As near a flawless lens as is humanly possible.

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