Zeiss Panar 50 2 on M-E.

Cosina Japan made lens, the Zeiss Planar 50 f2 in ZM mount for rangefinders cameras is often recommended. As sharp and contrasty lens. I decided to try it on M-E, writing here about my very first impressions.

Packaging quality is impressive for Zeiss branded filter and lens itself. The lens hood is one of the best I ever seen. Documentation has cool drawings of the product and Japanese hieroglyphs. Very nice feeling for the package under reasonable cost.

Lens itself is matching “gears” on M-E top panel. Not exact matching of chrome on M-E, but close enough. It looks lager than Rigid Cron, but feels less heavy. I like how it combines with M-E. Nice looking kit. The blockage of VF is not very significant with vented hood, but it is present with such wide and large lens overall.

The pimple on the focusing ring allows to know where focus is. This is what I prefer instead of looking at the focusing scale. This is what M-E as any rangefinder camera is all about to me. Fiddling it fast.  Knowing where focus is even if eyes are closed. It doesn’t sounds practical, but it works for fast and intuitive focusing. While this rudiment of the focusing tab is still good enough to know where focus is and to where to focus, left (close) or right (far), it is not as sufficient as normal focus tab on close distances. And it doesn’t feel as “quiet” for focusing as Leica lenses. The noise Planar 50 f2 ZM makes while focusing, I call it “empty barrel whisper of the sand”.

Planar 50 2 ZM is my first Zeiss lens in M mount. The aperture ring is very different from other lenses I have use on rangefinder cameras. “You keep on clicking”, this is how I could describe it. Here is no quick and intuitive way of switching from f2 to f5.6. To feel better about it, I have told to myself – “but it is great to match exposure in M-E VF. Just keep on clicking until red dot is solid”…

I took some pictures as well.


This one is at f2 and minimum focus distance, which is 0.7 meters. I like it a lot.


F2 same 0.7 meters and it shows what I was expecting from this lens, since I used to have Planar but in ZE mount. Bokeh.. It is kind of strange one…

And here are old Leitz products displayed. Taken with f5.6.


It took me extra time to deal with gear cast this lens seems to give on M-E…

Overall, it is not old Leitz or modern Leica lens on how it feels on camera. And it is also different from Cosina made Voigtländer Nokton 50 1.5 Aspherical VM I have as well.


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