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Author Topic: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1  (Read 20408 times)

sharperstill

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Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« on: October 14, 2014, 01:15:18 am »

Hi,
This is a kind of pre-research post.
I've reached a point where such is my hatred of scanning film that I cannot bring myself to shoot 35mm film any longer.
As such I'm looking to divest from my remaining 35mm film gear. I'd like to re-invest, or partially re-invest, in a high quality carry-around as I likewise rarely find myself wanting to carry my DSLR around much.
I have to sell a Leica M6, 35mm f2 and 50mm f1.4 (older pre-asph) in the M-system as well as a 35mm f2 in the R system left over from a kit sold quite some time ago.
The cameras that I am considering are the usual suspects:
A7/A7r - really nice in theory though I find the ergonomics rather awful. As a friend said they take nice pictures but don't make you want to shoot much with them. Perhaps I'd get a bit used to it.
X-Pro 1: A friend has one and swears by it. Despite being older seems to be kept viable via firmware upgrades. Good ergonomics.
XT-1: 'only' 16Mp but looks good in most other respects. Haven't played with one yet.

So in the process of listing my Leica gear for sale today it dawned on me the glass might be worth hanging on to for use on the new camera. From what I've read the A7/A7r is picky with 3rd party glass.

So I'm inviting input from those with experience about which lenses might be worth keeping to use adapted on a mirror less. Feel free to point me in the direction of reviews/reading on the subject.

I want to keep the form factor small, so I'm not really interested in adapting my Canon lenses. The R35 f2 and the 35 Summicron both quite compact in design, as is the 50 f1.5

Jon
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2014, 01:36:16 am »

Hi,

To keep in mind:

A7 is full frame and Fuji is APS-C. So your 35 mm lenses are still wide angle on the A7 and but work as a 52.5 mm lens on Fuji. Leica M-lenses may suffer on DSLRs as the cover glass over the sensor is not taken into account. This effect would be worst for on wide angles. Needs to be tested.

Leica R-lenses are not problematic as beam angle is narrower.

Best regards
Erik

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sharperstill

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2014, 01:52:29 am »

Erik,
Of course, thanks for the reminder. It's a shame that in order to test I'd have to commit to buying an adapter.
I'm interested in views of 'usability' of manual lenses on cameras such as these - ease of focus, metering/viewfinder issues etc. The idea of a carry-around, to me, is to have something that doesn't deter from using it often and quick.
The sale of the M lenses and keeping the R is attractive from an economic point of view also.

Jon
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Paul Roark

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2014, 02:04:09 am »

The Sony a7r is very capable.  It has replaced my Leica M9 as my main camera.  The only M glass that I find work well are the 75mm (and up) and the Tri-Elmar 16-21.  As noted above, the 35mm R would work well, but the Zeiss/Sony 35mm f/2.8 is so good and light, you might find you'd prefer it to the R. The operations of the a7r are not exactly what I'd like, but it's quite capable of being set up such that it  works quite well. 

As to adapters for  M lenses, the Novoflex has the best reputation, but I vastly prefer the Voigtlander vm-e because I can set  the infinity focus point.  In fact, I can set it anywhere I want and have a very convenient platform for dual-focus stacking.

Paul
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sharperstill

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2014, 02:22:33 am »

Thanks Paul.
Shame they didn't make the native lens a little faster. It sure looks like they've got room in the barrel for fatter glass.
It occurred to me to ask whether the adaptors incur a speed penalty. Would my R 35 f2 still be f2 via an adapter?

Jon
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Petrus

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2014, 03:04:28 am »

Thanks Paul.
Shame they didn't make the native lens a little faster. It sure looks like they've got room in the barrel for fatter glass.
It occurred to me to ask whether the adaptors incur a speed penalty. Would my R 35 f2 still be f2 via an adapter?

Jon

Normal adapters have no optical parts, they just adjust the lens to sensor distance to the correct amount. So the optical specs stay the same and the quality does not suffer.

There are also adapters which do have optics in them, Metabone being the leader in the field. The idea is the reverse of a tele extender, making the lenses mode wide angle and faster. There, of course, is some slight penalty from the added optical parts.
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Paul Roark

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2014, 11:21:35 am »

As to fast glass, that new 35mm f/1.4 Distagon is probably going  to be a super  lens for the Sony, but I'd wait for some one else to review it on that platform.  It's also, in my view, a bit  on the heavy side for the a7.  Zeiss has released versions of the f/2 35mm Biogon and 50mm Planar for  the Sony, but, frankly, they look like marketing to the traditional people who will react to the name more than the actual edge performance, where  the real issues are.  Unless Zeiss  has some inside info that there will soon be a new model with less sensitivity to ray angle, that f/2 Biogon does not look like the solution.  I can't believe Sony will not have a 35mm f/2, compact lens solution.  So, I'm just going to hang with the 2.8 until I see a real and compact, optically modern and appropriate solution.

Paul
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viewfinder

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2014, 01:11:53 pm »

Paul,....Nice website,...I looked at every page which was time well spent.

I have been assuming that A7r is a fad and just a flash in the pan compared to 'real' cameras like the M9.   I don't own either camera but have my pennies scraped together for when a decent full-frame appears at a price I can manage......Hopefully it will replace my Rolleiflexes.

.....What made you replace M9 with the A7r?
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2014, 01:13:48 pm »

Hi,

The Zeiss lenses have been recalculated for the handling the cover glass. A test was published on 3d-kraft indicating a pretty extreme difference between the 35/2.8 zm and the Loxia 35/2.8.

http://3d-kraft.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=168:zeiss-loxia-2-35-short-comparison-review&catid=40:camerasandlenses&Itemid=2

Best regards
Erik

As to fast glass, that new 35mm f/1.4 Distagon is probably going  to be a super  lens for the Sony, but I'd wait for some one else to review it on that platform.  It's also, in my view, a bit  on the heavy side for the a7.  Zeiss has released versions of the f/2 35mm Biogon and 50mm Planar for  the Sony, but, frankly, they look like marketing to the traditional people who will react to the name more than the actual edge performance, where  the real issues are.  Unless Zeiss  has some inside info that there will soon be a new model with less sensitivity to ray angle, that f/2 Biogon does not look like the solution.  I can't believe Sony will not have a 35mm f/2, compact lens solution.  So, I'm just going to hang with the 2.8 until I see a real and compact, optically modern and appropriate solution.

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com

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Michael N. Meyer

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2014, 01:20:58 pm »

On my X-Pro1 I find adapted lenses to be generally less usable than native lenses. Native lenses are simply more convenient--and fully up to snuff in terms of image quality. Any gains you might find from your Leica glass will be quickly overshadowed by the PITA it is to use them... I found this on my Nex-7 as well.

If you are working from a tripod,  always shooting wide-open, or have a lens with particular character (I have an 85mm f1.5 LTM Canon for instance) then it may be worth exploring adapting lenses. I wouldn't expect to work only with adapted lenses--native lenses are just better from a working tool standpoint. Others, I'm looking at you, Kirk Tuck, might disagree.

The X-Pro1, while it has some quirks and flaws, is one of my favorite digital cameras to date.

Telecaster

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2014, 04:39:51 pm »

+1 on the Voigtländer vm-e adapter. Besides letting you set an accurate infinity you can use it to focus closer than M/LTM lenses otherwise allow.

I use my A7r with a motley collection of mostly older lenses. It's not my main camera so I don't mind that manual focusing, stopping down, etc. slow me down somewhat. I get a huge kick out of taking photos with 1930s-era uncoated lenses previously orphaned by electronic cameras. They provide a unique look.

-Dave-
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Paul Roark

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2014, 07:58:11 pm »

Regarding my switch from the M9 to the a7r, it  was about 36 MP, modern electronics, and through the lens viewing.  If  I were a street shooter who was expert in rangefinder focusing, I'd  stay with the M9.  However, for  landscapes the electronics of the a7r do make a difference.  While I was (am) disappointed with the Sony's inability to handle the M wides, the Zony 35mm f/2.8 is a very good lens; it  fairly blows away my 35mm Biogon on the M9. 

As to the electronics,  the Sony meter is  the best I've ever used; the M9 is crude by comparison.  I also really like  the  electronic level, as well as the viewfinder histogram.

On the other side of  the ledger, the light weight of  the  Sony is  a dual edged sword.  One must be very careful about holding it steady.  The M9 mass and smoothness makes for  much more forgiving fast and awkward shooting.  Also, focusing the a7r manually is  very slow compared to that  M rangefinder.

Overall, however, I just think the Sony can and does capture  a better image at least in my type of shooting. 

As to the Zeiss Biogon remake for the Sony, I'm sure that  they did enough in the re-design to make it work fine, but I also think the edge performance is not up to what modern designs can bring.  The published MTF for  the new  Biogon (Loxia) is not impressive.  I expect  to see an f/2 AF Zony that  will  blow away the old Biogon design, particularly at the edges.  Now whether I'd want the AF is another issue.  I'm not thrilled  by the MF by wire these lenses offer.  My wish list is for a Sony that matches the Leica's ability to capture edge detail/obtuse ray angles.   Being able to use  my more compact, more symmetrical wide angle M lenses on top notch electronics is  still something I hope for, whether brought  to me by Leica or Sony.

Paul
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sharperstill

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2014, 12:05:51 am »

Thanks for the responses so far. I'm glad I asked and I think I'm just going to go native lenses at the moment. Fast usability is going to be key, and when I don't need fast I have a bunch of Canon glass I can use via adapters.
I still wish there was a way to try before you buy. I'd love to spend a weekend with each of the contenders rather than a few minutes in a shop.
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Michael N. Meyer

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2014, 06:50:06 am »

You could always rent each from Lensrentals for a few days.

Telecaster

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2014, 05:06:00 pm »

Ironically my best performing rangefinder 35mm lens on the A7r is a pre-WWII Zeiss Jena f/4.5 Orthometar. Zeiss dropped this lens after developing the f/2.8 Biogon. The Orthometar suffers very little from corner smearing/blurring artifacts. I typically use it at ~f/9.5 but for flat-field subjects it's already fine in the corners at f/5.6.

The attached photo was taken with the A7r/Orthometar combo last winter.

-Dave-
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sharperstill

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2014, 05:46:09 am »

You could always rent each from Lensrentals for a few days.
Nope - no such Australian equivalent that I can find.
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Chrisso26

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2014, 04:56:36 pm »

Personally I would hang on to the R and M Leica glass. It's worth more to keep than you can achieve by selling, and it's expensive to buy back.
I bought my M series lenses before 1990. I've been using them constantly since. First on an M6, then on a Panny GH1, then a Sony Nex7.
The M glass produced superb results on the Nex7. Better than the standard Sony lenses IMHO.
For me at least, end result trumps convenience. You can always buy a native (auto) zoom or something if you want convenience.
I own a few m4/3rds lenses and they haven't quite come up to the IQ of my legacy lenses in my opinion. I even use an old Alpa Kern Switar that is amazing (using a Metabones adapter).
The best modern lens I own is a Sigma 18-35mm, which is also superb.
In any case, I would at least keep your Leica glass until you've at least experimented with native Fuji/Sony lenses. If they do the job, you can always sell the Leica lenses later down the road.
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Telecaster

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2014, 04:56:45 pm »

Thicker filter stacks interact with lenses in such a way that the closer the lens' exit pupil is to the stack the more likely you'll get astigmatism-like blurring & smearing at the image corners. This is why Leica opts for a thin stack. Rangefinder lenses, in particular older wide-angles, tend to have deep exit pupils. SLRs and newer mirrorless systems don't suffer nearly as much from this: SLRs due to physical necessity (the lens has to avoid getting hit by the mirror) and Fuji, Olympus/Panasonic, Sony, etc. due to design choice. The thicker stack likely affords some flexibility in filter design, whereas Leica needs to be very careful. My guess is the M8's IR issue was an unintentional by-product of a thin stack.

Note that the Zeiss 35/4.5 Orthometar (example image above) is an RF wide angle outlier. It's one of the first 35mm lenses designed for a 36x24mm imaging area and, unlike the later Biogon, uses an optical design with a relatively shallow exit pupil. Maybe Zeiss & Leitz should've further developed this & similar designs rather than going the Biogon/Super Angulon route.  ;)

-Dave-
« Last Edit: October 21, 2014, 05:25:53 pm by Telecaster »
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sharperstill

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2014, 10:52:29 pm »

It's worth more to keep than you can achieve by selling
This is a nonsensical statement. Notwithstanding that I have no interest in adding to my camera gear for the sake of it. The Leica isn't getting used, isn't likely to be used and is worth considerable money.
For me at least, end result trumps convenience. You can always buy a native (auto) zoom or something if you want convenience.
As I stated, for this rig I want convenience and portability. I have almost a full suite of Canon primes to adapt if I want.
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Chrisso26

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Re: Leica glass on A7r, A7, X-Pro-1 , XT-1
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2014, 12:01:18 am »

Huh????
You invited thoughts on what to keep:


So in the process of listing my Leica gear for sale today it dawned on me the glass might be worth hanging on to for use on the new camera. From what I've read the A7/A7r is picky with 3rd party glass.

So I'm inviting input from those with experience about which lenses might be worth keeping to use adapted on a mirror less.

I gave you my thoughts based on actual experience and you say I'm being nonsensical.  ???

Yes, I found my Leica glass yielded excellent results on mirrorless systems, and really wasn't awkward to use. The results I got were worth more to me than the couple of grand I'd get selling them. Once I'd sold my Leica glass, if I ever wanted it again, I doubt I could afford to buy it back. Native lenses lose value over time. Quality Leica glass doesn't. Hence my statement that's it's worth more to me keeping it, than selling it and replacing it with native glass.
Better to buy a couple of native lenses and see how you go before letting the R and M lenses go.
In my humble opinion.
Sorry the opinion you invited seemed to irk you. I was trying to help based on having used both Nex and m4/3rds lenses as well as Leica.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2014, 12:34:21 am by Chrisso26 »
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