So, I had been keeping my eyes open for a used 50 Cron, also one of the best lens Leica makes. These don't come cheap either, provide that one can even find (used) one in the first place. Recently, I start looking into the Zeiss ZM Planar 50/f2. It's priced reasonably, small, and very sharp. After a few phone calls, browsing the internet, a week later I have the Planar in my hand. It feels well-built and solid (but not quite as tactile as Leica's). The focus ring seems a little slow at first, but it does loosen up after a week or two of use. The hood, purchased separately, is identical to Voigtlander's lens hood. It screws and locks on the silver ring around the front of the lens.
The ZM Planar travels with me on our latest family trip to Koh Samui in the south of Thailand. Immediately on the first day, I can appreciate how light and compact it is, staying in my bag with the 35 'Lux, and an EP-L1 with 20mm/1.7. The bag (more on that in another update) feels a little heavy but is manageable through the entire trip. If I had replaced the EP-L1 with my D-Lux 4, it would have been lighter for sure. So the ZM Planar passes its first test with flying color.
With the ZM Planar, I set the M9 to manual lens coding. I shoot the ZM Planar from f2.0 through f5.6 most of the time, and rarely go beyond f5.6. It seems (to the naked eyes) that wide open, it isn't tact sharp but it's still very good. Stopping it down a few clicks and the images are even sharper. Below are some quick comparisons between two different aperture settings.
ZM Planar @ f2.0
ZM Planar @ f4.0
ZM Planar @ f2.0 (Center)
ZM Planar @ f4.0 (Center)
ZM Planar @ f2.0 (Lower right corner)
ZM Planar @ f4.0 (Lower right corner)
The following are some of real world photos taken with the ZM Planar at various apertures. This lens, given its more affordable prices and compact size, makes a great 50mm alternative for your M9.
Have a great week,