From my days of using Hasselblads with various lenses, I am accustomed to Zeiss lenses having a bit of stiffness when focusing. When I decided to dabble in Leica bodies I opted for a Zeiss Biogon T* 2/35 ZM lens. The price would not break the bank, I like the image characteristics of Zeiss lenses, and from numerous reports the Zeiss lens was a fine lens on a Leica film body.
I studied photography in Italy a year or so ago and was really put off by the focusing ring’s stiffness. If you are zone focusing, fine, but when you are working (quickly) with shallow depth of field the system was just not as responsive as I would prefer. So, I wrote an email to Zeiss Co. in Germany inquiring into the expected behaviour. I received a prompt reply requesting additional information and they subsequently explained the lens should not be stiff, but firm, and were unsure if I was being overly… picky… and suggested I contact the Zeiss U.S. office and was provided a phone number.
When I called the number, shockingly, a person answered. Not only was it a person but the Lens Division Product Manager. We had a good chat about the lens and I shipped them the lens + box. Honestly, I could not figure out where I purchased the lens – normally I order from BH Photo, Adorama, etc.. but none of my online receipts listed the lens so I was out of luck on warranty. Zeiss examined the lens and determined that it required service from the German office and shipped it out of country.
Zeiss determined via the serial number that the lens was more than likely beyond the warranty period but since I initiated my email to them quite some time ago, and the lens was in flawless condition they fixed the lens and shipped it back to me free of charge.
In this era and mindset of disposable equipment and customers, Zeiss was a refreshing surprise. I generally do not make money off my photo work – it’s an advanced and expensive hobby. I appreciate the attention paid to Zeiss’ customer base and am now looking to supplement my DSLR lens collection with Zeiss manual focus options. If you are in the market for M mount lenses and unsure if Leica lenses will provide the additional cost / benefit, then I highly suggest renting & testing Zeiss lenses.