Photos & Projects

First Roll with the Zeiss 50mm ZM Sonnar

First Roll with the Zeiss 50mm ZM Sonnar

I’ve got a whole bunch of photos back from the Sonnar – I’ve sent 6 rolls shot with it to AG over the last few weeks and the first of them came back today. This first set are a fairly Connie focused bunch as they were mostly shot over the first few days I had the lens whilst just knocking about with the family.

I must say, I really regret not biting the bullet and buying this lens sooner. I’ve debated buying one for probably about 18 months, but just never quite been sure how I’d cope with all the stuff that gets talked about focus shift. Earlier on this year I had a bit of an email conversation with one of the team from Zeiss who actually put my mind at rest. It then just came down to a matter of time before I could find one at a good price.

Eventually enough was enough, I couldn’t be doing with waiting for a good used one to pop up, any longer so ordered one new from the good folks at my local London Camera exchange. A week or so later, the lens arrived!

The first roll I shot with it was a roll of Portra 400 shot through the Leica M3 and developed and scanned by the good folk at AG photo lab

These first shots were just shot whilst knocking around the house on a very rainy day with Connie. Shot at f1.5, not because I needed to, but just for the sake of seeing some results from wide open shooting. To be honest, I’m sure if I looked closely I could see the effect of focus shift, but I’m not sure I could tell it apart from my own inability to focus such shallow depth of field. One way or another, I am by no means dissatisfied with the outcome – in fact I think there’s a character here that I can see being quite addictive for this sort of photography.

First roll with 50mm Sonnar

First roll with 50mm Sonnar

First roll with 50mm Sonnar

First roll with 50mm Sonnar

First roll with 50mm Sonnar

These next photos are from a little walk we went on with the dogs to do a bit of blackberry picking.

First roll with 50mm Sonnar

First roll with 50mm Sonnar

First roll with 50mm Sonnar

First roll with 50mm Sonnar

First roll with 50mm Sonnar

And finally, we have the obligatory first day of school photos. Oh so proud, I was!

First roll with 50mm Sonnar

First roll with 50mm Sonnar

First roll with 50mm Sonnar

First roll with 50mm Sonnar

I appreciate these are probably not the most artistically thrilling set of photos, but they have certainly proved useful for me. I can see straight away just how capable this lens is when shot stopped down, but also how wonderful it is wide open. It is already making me wonder if I even need the Summicron …

Some more interesting photos coming over the next few days, promise!

Cheers for reading

Hamish

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Aukje
    September 25, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Lovely photos, beautiful light, great colours. And you can tell they’ve been created with love and attention.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      September 26, 2015 at 6:44 am

      Thanks Aukje 🙂

  • Reply
    Amanda
    September 27, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    I LOVE the ones of Connie from her first day of school! The ones of her walking with her mum are precious!

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      September 27, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks Amanda! 🙂

  • Reply
    David
    September 29, 2015 at 4:35 am

    Hey Hamish,

    I finally built up the courage to write something. I have been following your site for a month now and it has been helpful with my process thank you. Really love the photos and I agree with what has been said. Shot with lots of love and I love the photos. On thing though. Could you tell me how to look for focus shift. I think I understand it but an example would be great. Keep up the good work and I’m sure to follow.

    Thanks

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      September 29, 2015 at 6:38 am

      Hi David
      Thanks for commenting! No need to be shy 🙂
      How to look for focus shift..? I’m not sure really. Focus shift, at least where it becomes a visible thing in photos, is just where a lenses focused distance doesn’t match the calibration of the cameras focus system.
      In the case of the Sonnar, I’m told that at f/1.5 if a correctly calibrated Leica M camera is focused to 1m, then the lens will back focus by around 1cm. As such the lens will be focused to 99cm. As such, the photo will appear soft, or out of focus.
      Of course, the same issue can happen just by moving slightly when the photo is taken. Which is why identifying the focus shift is hard to tell apart from simply missing focus another way.
      Does that make sense?

  • Reply
    Tony
    September 30, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I love those photos! My favorite is the one of your daughter picking blackberries because it brings back memories of my own daughter at the same activity in Ireland years ago. We gave her a small container to collect her berries along a hedgerow. After some time, when were each supposed to be gathering berries, my wife and I caught up with her. Her container was empty, but her face had the telltale stains of many consumed blackberries. Thanks for bringing back that happy memory!

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      September 30, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      Haha, yes that’s what she did last time. We had to tell her this time to remember that the blackberries were for a crumble which would be nicer than just eating them off the bush… I think she snuck a few in though!
      Pleased to have triggered such a nice memory for you, it’s really nice to get that sort of feedback on what I see as personal photos that are unlikely to mean much to others – if you follow?

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