Zeiss Tele-Tessar T* 4/85 ZM lens review

Here is another review by Jack Takahashi – this time of the Zeiss Tele-Tessar T* 4/85 ZM lens for Leica M-mount (see his previous reviews):

Image quality

  • Distortion: None.
  • Vignetting: Minimal.
  • Chromatic aberration: Minimal; see Sharpness section.
  • Focus: My copy focuses with perfect calibration and has no focus shift. It focuses down to 0.9m.


  • Fantastic image quality
  • Size and weight
  • Price (used)


  • 85mm frame is noticeably wider than 90mm framelines
  • Modest f/4 maximum aperture

Summary and recommendations

The Zeiss 85mm f/4 is one of the most under-appreciated lenses for M mount. It’s possibly the best telephoto M lens for travel and landscapes, as long as you don’t mind the frameline inaccuracy on Leica bodies or the modest f/4 aperture. I strongly recommend it and predict that I will keep mine for a very long time. I’m still not sure I would ever have paid the $1000 retail price for this lens, but it’s actually discontinued so your only option is to buy a used copy.

For those who want a wider aperture than f/4, there are several good options. The Leica 75/2 Summicron and 90/2 Summicron offer fantastic performance and build quality, but with very high price tags. Voigtlander’s 75mm f/1.5 is reasonably priced, decently sharp, and impressively compact. The Leica 75 Summarit, 90 Summarit, and 90/2.8 Elmarit-M are discontinued but each offer a nice balance of speed, size, and image quality. These alternatives to the Zeiss 85mm, however, are all larger, less perfect wide open, and more expensive. (source: jacktaka.com)

The Zeiss Tele-Tessar T* 4/85 ZM lens is already discontinuedcheck pricing and availability at eBay.

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