The ‘C’ designation in the ZEISS C Sonnar T 1,5/50 ZM name means both ‘compact’ and ‘classic’. The lens design and aperture geometry reflect its predecessor from the 1930s, the Sonnar 1,5/50, which was the fastest standard lens of its time.
The ‘C’ designation in the ZEISS C Sonnar T* 1,5/50 ZM name means both ‘compact’ and ‘classic’. The lens design and aperture geometry reflect its predecessor from the 1930s, the Sonnar 1,5/50, which was the fastest standard lens of its time. The excellent flare control inherent of the Sonnar lens design is further optimized with the ZEISS T* anti-reflection coating. This lens stays true to its heritage, physically resembling the lenses of the past. With its fast aperture, taking photographs with a beautiful ‘bokeh’ that reflects the ambiance of the golden age of rangefinder photography is as simple as pressing a button.
A lens with relatively few glass-air surfaces, it was developed by Dr. Ludwig Bertele at ZEISS in 1930. At the time it was one of the fastest high-speed lenses for 35 mm photography, with apertures as large as 1:1.5 and high contrast thanks to effective stray light reduction. Its high speed and high contrast helped give the lens its name, which is derived from the word “sun,” the symbol of maximum brightness. You continue to find the aforementioned benefits with modern lenses in the normal and telephoto ranges whose optical design is based on this basic type.
Impressive photographs captured in low light always begin with a fast lens for a system or SLR camera. Because, a fast, high-performance lens captures as much light as possible. And a lens with a large maximum aperture leads to the best results when shooting in unfavourable light.
Manually focusing a lens means controlling the image result from your fingertips. A good ergonomic design makes all the difference. The user-friendly focusing ring on ZEISS lenses with an ergonomic finger rest is perfect for fast, precise focusing. Changes are immediately visible in the viewfinder. The high-quality focusing mechanism moves smoothly without play, thus also supporting the intuitive interaction with the focal plane.
Photographers want to guide the observer through the image. Minimal depth of focus is often used as a design element. This keeps the background intentionally blurred to keep the attention of the observer on the main subject. The ZM lenses feature ten aperture blades. The almost circular aperture helps to create a particularly harmonious effect in the out-of-focus areas of the picture (bokeh).
The optical elements of ZEISS lenses feature T*® anti-reflective coating on all surfaces and an optical design that guarantees images of superior brilliance at all times, even in unfavourable lighting conditions. We apply the anti-reflective coating to the lens surfaces by the vapour deposition of extremely thin, transparent layers on the glass. In this process, special substances are vaporized with extremely high energy in a high-vacuum environment and are subsequently deposited on the glass surfaces, one after another, as layers with precisely controlled thicknesses to achieve the desired reduction of reflective properties. The first coating techniques were employed by ZEISS as long ago as in the 1930s.
The mount and control elements of all ZM lenses are made of metal and are designed for decades of intensive use. The high-quality craftsmanship of the all-metal mounts, the easy-to-grip metal focus and aperture ring and the robust front bayonet and filter threads ensure an amazing photographic experience.
f/1.5 – f/16
Leica M-Mount (ZM)
0,90 m (35.43) – ∞
Angular field (diag. | horiz. | vert.)
46° / 39° / 27°
Coverage at close range (MOD)
370 x 550 mm (14.57 x 21.65)
Image ratio at minimum object distance
1 : 15
Lens elements | groups
6 / 4
M46 x 0.75
Length (without lens caps)
45 mm (1.77)
250 g (8.82 oz)
Zeiss C Sonnar T* 50mm f/1.5 ZM Lens (black)46mm Front Lens Cap for ZM LensesRear Lens Cap for ZM-Mount Lenses
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