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Thread: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

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    Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    I know that many are using adapters to shoot Leica glass on their mFT bodies. I decided to start this thread for the express purpose of getting comments on the relative IQ of Leica glass on mFT cameras compared to the same lenses when used on Leica M digital bodies.

    Have you made direct comparisons, or do you have conclusions based on your own usage? Tell us which mFT body and Leica lens for which you have a comment to share.

    I love the images that come from my Leica lenses and body; I am a believer in the "Leica look". How much is due to the sensor, and how much the glass? In a sense, it leads to the question: can one get Leica images without spending the childrens' college fund on a Leica body?

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    I am probably in the odd position of having access to some of the jewels in the leica crown - which I have used ONLY with the E-P1 - as the owner of the lenses rarely lets me play with her M8 - plus I don't really enjoy the rangefinder experience.

    However I would say that I was pleasantly surprised that the Leica lenses on micro 4/3 did have a character that was recognisable, pleasing and different.

    No real comparisons I am afraid - but here is my flickr set of results

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinpa...7623273154706/

    K

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    . . . . . I do not have a Leica body but do have a Leica 35/2, 50/2, 90/4, and a 135/4.5.

    There is a difference in the finished photographs.

    I sort my photos on Flickr by Lens, if interested in viewing a sample you can find them at http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

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    Dan
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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    I suppose someone with an M8 or M9 and m4/3 bodies will chime in eventually.

    In the meanwhile, here are some samples of mine taken with (and in some cases ... of) my G1 and GF1 with Leica M lenses.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronssmi...7619167864622/
    Ron Smith
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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    Quote Originally Posted by RonSmith View Post
    I suppose someone with an M8 or M9 and m4/3 bodies will chime in eventually.

    In the meanwhile, here are some samples of mine taken with (and in some cases ... of) my G1 and GF1 with Leica M lenses.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronssmi...7619167864622/

    I guess that Jono is the obvious culprit

    Keith

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    i wasnt gonna put that on his shoulders :-)

    K

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    My ears are burning!
    Trouble is . . . testing isn't really my bag, and I tend to put the M lenses on the M9, and the m4/3 lenses on the EP2. Still, I do sometimes use the 90 elmarit (fat) on the EP2, and it does a lovely job as a teeny 180mm f2.8, the image quality is just as you'd expect, and the leica feel is definitely still there.

    My son has my Zeiss 50 f1.5 sonnar which he uses quite a lot on the EP1, and that also seems pretty fine.

    So, sorry, I don't have any kind of comparative answer for you, but my suspicion and gut feeling is that the longer lenses do VERY well, the mid range lenses are excellent as short telephotos (down to about 35mm), and with respect to the wides . . . you're probably better off to use the 20 f1.7 panasonic or the m4/3 ultra-wides.

    sorry . . .


    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    In a sense, it leads to the question: can one get Leica images without spending the childrens' college fund on a Leica body?
    Yes, but I don't really think you need leica lenses either!


    all the best
    Last edited by jonoslack; 21st July 2010 at 13:55.

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    Senior Member kevinparis's Avatar
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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    comparative testing is actually a waste of time.. the true test is whether if you put the lens on the camera that you get a shot that satisfies you.

    on those criteria the summilux 75/1.4 would be the one lens i would say that really works for me on micro 4/3....would i buy one ... possibly..but i do know that in an hour of shooting with one i got some of my best ever shots.. then again the noctilux also has its moments.

    sigh... maybe i just have to get a m8 and try for myself... or maybe a M9... but that might upset the missus :-)

    K

    K

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    My ears are burning!
    Trouble is . . . testing isn't really my bag, and I tend to put the M lenses on the M9, and the m4/3 lenses on the EP2. Still, I do sometimes use the 90 elmarit (fat) on the EP2, and it does a lovely job as a teeny 180mm f2.8, the image quality is just as you'd expect, and the leica feel is definitely still there.

    My son has my Zeiss 50 f1.5 sonnar which he uses quite a lot on the EP1, and that also seems pretty fine.

    So, sorry, I don't have any kind of comparative answer for you, but my suspicion and gut feeling is that the longer lenses do VERY well, the mid range lenses are excellent as short telephotos (down to about 35mm), and with respect to the wides . . . you're probably better off to use the 20 f1.7 panasonic or the m4/3 ultra-wides.

    sorry . . .

    all the best
    No need to say sorry twice - maybe we can ease you into a delicate, ongoing, long term, process that could at the end mean a test. I've resisted getting a Leica ever since I sold my lllf in the eighties.

    It would be good if the results of this elongated test says I don't need to get a Leica body to use my Leica lenses.

    We are not looking for pixel peeping - no one needs that

    Keith

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinparis View Post
    comparative testing is actually a waste of time.. the true test is whether if you put the lens on the camera that you get a shot that satisfies you.
    I was trying to find a good way of saying that!
    Quote Originally Posted by kevinparis View Post
    on those criteria the summilux 75/1.4 would be the one lens i would say that really works for me on micro 4/3....would i buy one ... possibly..but i do know that in an hour of shooting with one i got some of my best ever shots.. then again the noctilux also has its moments.
    Well, I suspect anything over 35mm will be pretty fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by kevinparis View Post
    sigh... maybe i just have to get a m8 and try for myself... or maybe a M9... but that might upset the missus :-)

    K

    K
    Surely not But if you don't enjoy the rangefinder experience, then that first bit comes to mind.

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    Quote Originally Posted by woodmancy View Post
    No need to say sorry twice - maybe we can ease you into a delicate, ongoing, long term, process that could at the end mean a test. I've resisted getting a Leica ever since I sold my lllf in the eighties.

    It would be good if the results of this elongated test says I don't need to get a Leica body to use my Leica lenses.

    We are not looking for pixel peeping - no one needs that

    Keith
    HI Keith
    . . . . I'm going to say sorry again, in so far as I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to persuade you that you don't need a Leica body to use your Leica lenses . . . If I felt like that then I'd be selling my M9, and that really isn't in the cards.

    In my mind the question isn't really about whether you can get a leica 'feel' with a leica lens on an m4/3 body, but whether you'd rather use an M body with M lenses to take pictures or a m4/3 body with M lenses. That's a no brainer (for me at least). I really love my EP2, but would rather use it with lenses like the 20 f1.7 and the 45 panalieca (or that 12-50 fast zoom they refuse to make), where it really shines.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    agreed that anything over 35mm will work fine... but the 75/1.4 is special... reckon if you welded it to a holga with duct tape it would still knock your socks off... providing of course you were taking an interesting photo

    k

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    A Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH on an M9 gives you a fair bit better image quality than the same lens on a G1. No surprise, and certainly expected. But if you crop the M9 file down to the same angle of view, there's not a lot of difference. The M9 file has greater dynamic range and the G1 has higher resolution, but the difference isn't that great.

    I rarely use the Leica lenses on the m4/3, as the native lenses are really quite good and a lot handier to use. The only lenses I've used fairly often are the Noctilux and the 75/1.4. Also the 400/6.8. The latter doesn't really have quite enough resolution to satisfy the m4/3 sensor, but still can produce useable shots. The 560 is just too clunky on the G1, just as it's a bit much on a Visoflex.

    Henning

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    I've used Leica lenses and Zeiss Contax G1/2 lenses on my Panasonic G1 with adapters. I also now have a Leica M9. The quality of the images on the G1 with these lenses are quite apparent, but the real difference comes from the sensors. There's no comparison there. The M9 sensor is amazing. This means that you can easily crop M9 image quite a bit and still get an amazing print. You cannot do that with the G1 image using the same manual lens. You have to go with the full size G1 image with minor cropping. I don't mind manual focusing any of these lenses on the G1. But then I still don't like autofocus very much and the tendency of the camera to focus on whatever it wants to. I use the G1 with the 2.0 crop factor to get a longer lens, telephoto effect: 50mm into a 100mm, or the 90mm Contax G1 becoming a nice 180mm lens. The zoom, manual focusing feature makes them very easy to use and the images are great. Of course, I still prefer the images produced by the M9. I bought the G1 as a backup and as a means to use a classic Nikon macro/micro lens and for telephoto purposes, something the M9 is not designed for. Hope this helps.

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    What print size is required to reveal clear differences between optimum shots from both cameras?



    Quote Originally Posted by larryk View Post
    I've used Leica lenses and Zeiss Contax G1/2 lenses on my Panasonic G1 with adapters. I also now have a Leica M9. The quality of the images on the G1 with these lenses are quite apparent, but the real difference comes from the sensors. There's no comparison there. The M9 sensor is amazing. This means that you can easily crop M9 image quite a bit and still get an amazing print. You cannot do that with the G1 image using the same manual lens. You have to go with the full size G1 image with minor cropping. I don't mind manual focusing any of these lenses on the G1. But then I still don't like autofocus very much and the tendency of the camera to focus on whatever it wants to. I use the G1 with the 2.0 crop factor to get a longer lens, telephoto effect: 50mm into a 100mm, or the 90mm Contax G1 becoming a nice 180mm lens. The zoom, manual focusing feature makes them very easy to use and the images are great. Of course, I still prefer the images produced by the M9. I bought the G1 as a backup and as a means to use a classic Nikon macro/micro lens and for telephoto purposes, something the M9 is not designed for. Hope this helps.

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    Here is a review. I found it on olympusrumors.com

    http://web.me.com/pekkapotka/pekkapo...ympus_PEN.html

    "On E-P2 Summilux 21mm becomes a mediocre 42mm lens. It proves again the maxim: 35mm is the widest M-lens you can use on MFT cameras. Their sensors are not designed for these lenses. Center is good but corners suffer big time. Summarit 90mm is on the soft side on MFT cameras. If it is not a top notch lens wide open on M9, it becomes an awkward lens on MFT. I had focusing problems because of soft image (2x crop!), and larger apertures give you all kinds of halos and high light fringing on E-P2. Halos can be even nice for some subjects, fringing... NOT. Which leaves us Apo-Telyt. It was a total enjoyment. A very, very handy 270mm (corresponding to FF) f/3.4 lens. Great quality in pictures, I simply loved using it. Too bad there was so little time. "

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    I have an M8, a pair of EP2's, and many Leica mount film cameras.

    It's more a matter of Leica lenses being smaller than their SLR counterparts, and the size of the lens being more convenient on the EP2 than a comparable F-Mount or Canon mount lens.

    My favorite lens on the EP2 is the Nikkor-SC 5cm F1.4 in LTM. Small size, well balanced on the EP2, and close-focus to 18". I have 30 or so Leica lenses. The other real winner on the EP2 is the 40/2 Summicron. Gives a life-size view through the EVF.

    As far as picture quality- the 2x crop factor changes the flavor of the lens. A 50mm is a portrait lens on the EP2. The Canon 35/2 is closer to a "longish" normal lens. But the package is very compact.

    I would not suggest buying M-Mount lenses for use on a 443 camera unless you intend to also use them on an M-Mount camera. You pay a premium for the RF coupling. If you own them already, the m43 camera is a lot of fun with them.

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    Tom; I can confirm what others have said. 35mm and longer are best. A fast 50 on the G1 makes a stellar fast 100-equivalent. I've found that useful for theatre/concert shots. I used an OM Zuiko 50/1.4 for one concert when I'd just gotten had the G1, but didn't have an M adapter yet. That was nice, and perfectly usable, I got a published photo out of it. Quick tests later showed that an M lens would have given me a bit more resolution/contrast. So the next time I want to use the G1 for a concert, I'll probably take my fast 50, maybe a 90 as well.


    (G1 with 50/1.4 OM Zuiko at f/2, full frame)

    But with the M lenses you lose autofocus and image stabilization. And the G1 sensor has an anti-alias filter, so you can't crop or blow it up nearly as big as on the M8. So "pick your poison."

    I've found the Leica lenses useful as telephotos that are faster than the kit zoom. I'll use them in the concert hall or theater. I'll use them if I need the speed. But the loss of some of the G1's conveniences make the Leica lenses specialty lenses on the G1.

    The Panasonic lenses are very, very good. The 20/1.7 is stellar. The 14-45 kit zoom is very good, but slow. So the trick is, think about what you would use a Leica lens for. If you want to do macro, a manual SLR macro lens would do just fine. Telephoto (which includes a 50) on a tripod, you'd probably get some advantage from the Leica lenses if you don't mind working a bit more slowly.

    If you're just looking for "Leica quality" in general-purpose photography you may be disappointed due to the inconveniences. And the sensor limits the absolute quality, even though the general character of the lenses comes through. I already have the lenses because I'm an M shooter, and they are fun to play with. But really, the only time I use them on the G1 "for real" is when I need speed, or the focal length of a longer lens.

    You might consider playing with a really good fast manual SLR 50mm lens, that might give you pretty much what you're looking for without spending a king's ransom.

    --Peter
    Last edited by Peter Klein; 24th July 2010 at 23:39.

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Klein View Post
    If you're just looking for "Leica quality" in general-purpose photography you may be disappointed due to the inconveniences. And the sensor limits the absolute quality, even though the general character of the lenses comes through. I already have the lenses because I'm an M shooter, and they are fun to play with. But really, the only time I use them on the G1 "for real" is when I need speed, or the focal length of a longer lens.

    You might consider playing with a really good fast manual SLR 50mm lens, that might give you pretty much what you're looking for without spending a king's ransom.

    --Peter
    Excellent Peter, put much better than i could.

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    Re: Leica lenses on mFT bodies: how do the images compare to Leica M8/9?

    Indeed, that seems like good advice, Peter. 35mm "legacy" and longer playing nicest with mFT was news to me, and I'll probably refrain from 28mm Elmarit-R then.

    I've kept a Minolta Rokkor-X 50/1.4, and having recently acquired GF1/20mm1.7, the time seems right to start using it again.

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