5 Frames of Canal Life with a Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 C Biogon T* ZM, Leica M6 and Fuji PRO400H – by Phil Harrison

I bought the Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 C Biogon T* ZM over a year ago and had only put two rolls through the M6 in the last year. I went Yashicamat happy most of 2020. So it was a great relief to get out of the house and put a roll of the extinct Fuji PRO400H through the M6 in the last month. I’m very fond of this Zeiss lens, I had one on my M9 then M240 but it went when I sold all my digital gear for film gear.

The C stands for compact with this 7 element lens. The lens has third of a stop f-stops, not sure we need this accuracy, a half stop is fine for me. The focus ring is very smooth. I find the lens to have high definition, the center is very sharp all through the apertures, the corners slightly softer until f5.6. I haven’t noticed any distortion in my images or colour fringing. It has a 43mm filter thread, however a 43-39mm stepdown ring allows use of the much more common 39mm filters. I found a bayonet lenshood made in China, the equivalent of the Zeiss model but for a lot less money, was more than adequate. On the M6 the only finder blockage is from the lenshood, but this has a window in it so it creates no real problem. The costs of this lens new is approx £650 and is a fraction of the cost of a comparable used or new Leica 35mm lens, the Zeiss is extremely good value for money and is as well made mechanically and optically.

We recently had a day out in Hebden Bridge, which is only 20 minutes away from us on the train. The Rochdale Canal passes through Hebden Bridge and was very busy with staycation barges. The Rochdale canal starts at Halifax and meanders down the Calder Valley, through Rochdale and onto Manchester, we have walked many of the stretches of this canal, some of them very beautiful, others truly ugly. Parts of the canal are colourful areas with the barge homes along it’s banks. The Locks are a good place for photos, chaos can ensue when inexperienced bargees try and get their charges into the locks, especially if there are two barges going in together. Then of course operating the lock gates, heavy work usually done by the poor women, as the manly men try to control the barges! The lighting that day was contrasty and overhead into the valley but with some subtle dodging and burning a decent photo record of the canal, barges and locks was possible. (I only do in Photoshop what I used to do in the darkroom, very simple stuff).

Hope you enjoyed the photos.

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3 thoughts on “5 Frames of Canal Life with a Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 C Biogon T* ZM, Leica M6 and Fuji PRO400H – by Phil Harrison”

  1. Thank you for the barge day. It’s an intriguing part of UK experiences for those of us unaccustomed to the practice. I also use this lens and it is probably my most used RF optic. I also have the M6 so we’ve had similar experiences, equipment-wise. My “go” bag has a Hexar body and this lens as a good grab and go combo, always ready and versatile.

  2. Wirklich sehr interessante Fotos. Mir gefallen außerdem die Farben des Fuji-Films.
    Habe auch vor einigen Wochen die 35mm – Brennweite wiederentdeckt.
    Habe ein Rokkor MC 35mm f2.8 erstanden, welches ich jetzt auf verschiedenen Minolta-Kameras wie X-700,XG-M und SR-T 303 verwende. Ein tolles Objektiv, sehr handlich, sehr zuverlässig, schon bei f2.8 und f4.0 gut !

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