Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 85mm F/2 ZM

Short telephoto prime lens • Film era • Discontinued



T* Multi-layer anti-reflection coating is applied to the surfaces of lens elements. This anti-reflection coating boosts light transmission, ensures sharp and high contrast images, minimizes ghosting and flares.
ZM The lens is designed for Leica M / Zeiss Ikon 35mm rangefinder cameras.

Features highlight

10 blades


Production details:
Announced:September 2004
Production status: Discontinued
Original name:Carl Zeiss Sonnar 2/85 ZM T*
Optical design:
Focal length:85mm
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Leica M [27.8mm]
Diagonal angle of view:28.5°
Lens construction:6 elements in 6 groups
Floating element system
Diaphragm mechanism:
Diaphragm type:Manual
Aperture control:Aperture ring
Number of blades:10 (ten)
On Leica M8/M8.2 APS-H [1.33x] cameras:
35mm equivalent focal length:113.1mm (in terms of field of view)
35mm equivalent speed:F/2.7 (in terms of depth of field)
Diagonal angle of view:21.7°
Coupled to the rangefinder:Yes
Closest focusing distance:1m
Maximum magnification:1:10 at the closest focusing distance
Focusing modes:Manual focus only
Manual focus control:Focusing ring
Physical characteristics:
Maximum diameter x Length:⌀70×82mm
Weather sealing:-
Fluorine coating:-
Filters:Screw-type 58mm
Lens hood:1365-668 - Bayonet-type round
Sources of data:
1. Manufacturer's technical data.
2. Use your inner eye: lenses by Carl Zeiss booklet (November 2007).

Manufacturer description #1

2006-02-13: Shipment information

The Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM is now scheduled for start of deliveries in May 2006.

The delay is caused by the extraordinary measures necessary to take to assure the extremely high precision requirements of the design in terms of both optical and mechanical performance.

Manufacturer description #2

2006-06-01: Mechanical improvements postpone market introduction of the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM lens

Extensive prototype testing of the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM lens for the Zeiss Ikon camera has suggested improvements towards long term ruggedness of this first internal focusing tele lens for a rangefinder camera. After several attempts with modifications which could have been applied relatively short term and did not fully deliver the intended results, we have now decided for a major redesign. This redesign will significantly increase the durability and long term precision of the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM lens. It will, however, also delay the first shipments. We will inform about the availability of the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM as soon as we can.

Manufacturer description #3

Further delay of Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM

In June 2006 we announced that the market introduction of the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM lens was postponed due to mechanical improvements. Extensive prototype testing of the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM lens for the Zeiss Ikon camera had indicated that improvements were needed to the long term ruggedness of this first internal focusing tele lens for a rangefinder camera.

Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM

After several attempts to achieve modifications which could have been implemented in the relatively short term and did not fully deliver the intended results, we decided to perform a major redesign. This redesign will significantly increase the durability and long term precision of the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM lens.

Due to the high standards demanded by Carl Zeiss on the precision of our products, volume production of the Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM could not start as scheduled. We will inform you accordingly when the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM lens becomes available.

Manufacturer description #4

June 2007:

Available Soon: Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM and Distagon T* 2,8/15 ZM

Availability and delivery of the Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM was delayed until now. Now we started the serial production.

The first batch of the Distagon T* 2.8/15 ZM has been delivered completely and we have started with the second batch now.

We ask you kindly to have a little patience as due to a large demand of theses lenses the advance orders must be settled with priority. To receive such a lens, please pass your order to your trusted local photo dealer as soon as possible.

Manufacturer description #5

This lens provides crisp images over the entire focusing range, from infinity to close-ups, even with fully open aperture. As innovative telelens with floating elements for the M-bayonet it is equipped with an extremely precise, non-linear rangefinder coupling. The Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM lens is a creative tool providing a close view of any required object: a landscape, a garden, a building or a portrait. Brilliance and crispness of the image are outstanding up to the minimum object distance. For this reason, the Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM lens is ideal for portraits, details and photojournalism.

Manufacturer description #6

This extremely fast, short telephoto lens incorporates a modern lens design and manufacturing processes to deliver uncompromising image quality. The Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM is manufactured in Germany and utilizes floating lens elements to provide excellent sharpness and distortion-free images across the entire focusing range. The lens has a very wide and precise focus rotation to help with critical focusing. With a fast f/2 aperture, the photographer can use selective depth of field to separate the subject from the foreground and background. The Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM features a non-linear rangefinder coupling mechanism and engages the 85 mm viewfinder frame line when used with the Zeiss Ikon rangefinder camera

From the editor

The lens was announced in September at Photokina 2004 but was put into production only in June 2007.

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Short telephoto prime lens

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2


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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Floating element system

Provides correction of aberrations and ensures constantly high image quality at the entire range of focusing distances from infinity down to the closest focusing distance. It is particularly effective for the correction of field curvature that tends to occur with large-aperture, wide-angle lenses when shooting at close ranges.

The basic mechanism of the floating element system is also incorporated into the internal and rear focusing methods.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/2 on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.