Non-Leica digital bodies for Leica M lenses?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by lloevner, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. I've seen other tests where a [adapted] Leica lens was compared with a competitor lens, both on the camera the competitor was designed for. But I rarely, if ever, see such a comparison with the Leica lens on a digital Leica M [for which it was designed] and the competitor on the camera for which it was designed.
  2. Many thanks to those who posted images, esp Ed_ingold. Through back channels, I was ponted to a series of images which included a Kolari modded Sony with wide angle M lenses. Not very encouraging. Longer focal lengths (50+) looked just fine. I fear that I will not be able to properly use my wider lenses on anything other than an M body, probably a result of their secret sauce (microlenses). I love the look of the Mandler M lenses, and will have to choose between film + digitizing (D7200 body with Bowens Illumitrans) or digital M. I'll probably choose the film for my wide angles. I'll think about a mirrorless (Nikon Z) for the rest, since this will allow me to use my AI lenses, plus give me IBIS.
  3. That would be interesting, but not very practical. A digital M can only use lenses designed for that camera. I have similar lenses by Leitz and Zeiss, but only 28 and 35 mm. Perhaps the next best thing is to show center and corner shots with a Leica M9P and a Summicron 50 (V1, but not DR) in a similar location. However I have not taken time to test the camera at various f/stops. This was (cited) as f/9.5 and 1/180 @ ISO 100. The aperture is merely estimated by the camera based on luminosity. The actual setting was probably f/8. Since there is no vignetting nor color shift, I surmise that I set the camera to correct these artifacts using the closest model and FL setting in the menu.

    Focusing with a rangefinder is not nearly as precise as with an EVF. At the time, I was afflicted with astigmatism (since corrected), which makes it doubly hard to use a rangefinder (everything is doubled). I did my best, but seldom used wider apertures than f/5.6.

    There are no swirly cover glass effects, but the corners aren't as sharp as expected even at f/8. Regardless, the Summicron 50 is a very good lens by any measure. I can't say that for the 35. If you want to see extensive comparisons between various M compatible lenses, Ken Rockwell's site is a good place to look.

    Detail.jpg Overview.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
  4. Hi Ed - What I may wind up doing: for wide angle M lenses - use my M4 + Velvia -> digitize processed slide with D7200/Illumitrans, then print. I have been doing this all M lenses for a number of years, with superb results. The D7200 also does a nice job with my old AI lenses, since it only uses the center of the image circle. The full frame mirrorless would only be used for the longer M lenses.

    The M4 rangefinder has been great ever since it was adjusted; I have not had any issues. A digital M is not under serious consideration; I continue to hear of service issues with all of them. I was hoping that a Nikon Z6/Z7 would allow me to use my M and AI lenses on a single platform, but it appears that Nikon will not work well with the wider angle M lenses. I'd like to try this out for myself, but there are no dealers in the immediate area.
  5. This was taken with a Summaron 35/2.8 at f/5.6 and a Sony A7Rii. Sensor artifacts are greatly diminished when stopped down to f/5.6, and the center sharpness is good. The Summaron is not quite there for a 42 MP camera without an AA filter, but that's a pretty high bar. Most landscapes will be taken at f/5.6 or smaller. The corner sharpness is irrelevant for most portraits at wider apertures.

    Please excuse. This was taken with a Zeiss Batis 35/2. I will follow up with the same shot using a Summaron 35/2.8.

    Details.jpg Overview.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
  6. Sony A7Rii + Leica Summaron 35/2.8 at f/5.6
    Summaron Detail.jpg Summaron Overview.jpg
  7. I wish to correct an error. There is no Batis 35/2. The lens used above was a Zeiss Loxia 35/2, a Biogon design. There are sharper 35 mm lenses for the Sony, but the Loxia is uniformly sharp from corner to corner and has excellent color and contrast. It's also completely manual and very compact.

Share This Page