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Thread: Is there a shift focus lens option for Leica M?

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    Is there a shift focus lens option for Leica M?

    I don't recall seeing any discussion regarding the ability to use a shift focus lens with an M body. The M has been around for such a long time that perhaps there is a solution.
    Last edited by tom in mpls; 27th June 2010 at 18:08.

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    HarrisGraeberII
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    Last edited by HarrisGraeberII; 27th June 2010 at 18:02.

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    Re: Is there a shift focus lens option for Leica M?

    Thanks for the adapter link. One could use the terrific CZ 35 PC then? Or Nikons? I don't see Canon EOS listed.

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    HarrisGraeberII
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    Re: Is there a shift focus lens option for Leica M?

    The "info" site only speaks of Canon FD...

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    Re: Is there a shift focus lens option for Leica M?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    I don't see Canon EOS listed.
    Until and unless someone invents some fairly elaborate electronic control widget that can interface with the adapter, there'd be no way to control the aperture on an EOS-mount lens.

    Nikon G-type lenses still have an aperture lever that can be pushed around, so it's possible to contrive a mechanical device to control the aperture. But the EOS lens/camera interface is purely electronic.

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    Re: Is there a shift focus lens option for Leica M?

    I might be missing something, but how would you make adjustments to the lens, since there is no "live view" function on on the camera?

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    Re: Is there a shift focus lens option for Leica M?

    One would rely on the distance scale on the lens. It shouldn't be difficult with a wide lens stopped down.

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    Re: Is there a shift focus lens option for Leica M?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    One would rely on the distance scale on the lens. It shouldn't be difficult with a wide lens stopped down.
    It would defeat the purpose completely. You would have no idea what you are looking at after shifting.

    Your best bet is Visoflex and a long registry shift lens through an adapter.

    It would be lot easier/cheaper/convenient/useful to change the system to Canon/Nikon or even Sony.

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    Re: Is there a shift focus lens option for Leica M?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    One would rely on the distance scale on the lens. It shouldn't be difficult with a wide lens stopped down.
    Sorry, but this really doesn't work very well at all. Doing perspective control ... tilts, shifts, swings, etc ... pretty much requires that you see the image being formed by the lens to get any kind of useful results.

    Rangefinder cameras never did this very well, even with Visoflex housings and the like. That's why when I got my Nikon F in 1969 and put a 90mm Macro lens on it, my father retired his Leica IIIf/Visoflex/135mm lens setup for good. It made doing his specialty (dental macro work) so much easier he just asked me to do the job for him when he needed it. Then I put a Spiratone 400mm telephoto lens on the camera and he was blown away. Then I put a 28mm PC-Nikkor on it and again it was stunning (taking pictures of buildings in Manhattan).

    Of course, you can do it, you can adapt equipment and figure out how to make it work. Personally, I don't like to work so hard for so little benefit when a far far easier solution that does the job better is available. ;-)

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    Re: Is there a shift focus lens option for Leica M?

    Tom, depending on the subject matter you want to photograph there may be a non obvious solution. I had always used either large format with movements or Canon 24mm and 45mm TS lenses for landscapes and architecture. However I found the M9 so appealing both in image quality and ease of carrying I had to find a solution.

    The answer for me was to take several frames with the camera lens rotated around it's front entrance pupil and stitch the images together with software. The software can correct for both horizontal and vertical convergence and as far as I can tell the results are indistinguishable from using a shift lens. In fact you have more options as you can choose the type of projection used. Even the simple Photomerge function in Photoshop CS4 or CS5 will work. I use CS4/5, PTGui and GigaPano to do the stitching. A bonus of this method is you can have a very wide angle without the expense.

    Most M Leica lenses have their front entrance pupil near enough coincident with the aperture control ring on the lens barrel. I've also found if you're careful you can hand hold and rotate the camera without having to use a tripod.

    In addition if you use an image fusion program as well you can get infinite depth of field by fusing (automatically) sharp zones from several differently focused images. That's something you can't do with a TS lens - you may have a sharp plane of focus but anything above or below the plane will be out of focus unless you stop well down. Example fusion programs are Enfuse, TuFuse etc.

    Attached two images using above methods. Bob.

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    Re: Is there a shift focus lens option for Leica M?

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    Sorry, but this really doesn't work very well at all. Doing perspective control ... tilts, shifts, swings, etc ... pretty much requires that you see the image being formed by the lens to get any kind of useful results.
    Points well taken, thank you; personally I am interested in the shift only, not the tilt function. Using wide angle and small aperture should provide a very deep DOF but, never having tried this, it might be more difficult to succeed than I had assumed. Probably, though, it still makes more sense to get a canon body to use the CZ 35 PC or a Canon TS.

    Would a Visoflex work?
    Last edited by tom in mpls; 28th June 2010 at 12:42.

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    Re: Is there a shift focus lens option for Leica M?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    Points well taken, thank you; personally I am interested in the shift only, not the tilt function. Using wide angle and small aperture should provide a very deep DOF but, never having tried this, it might be more difficult to succeed than I had assumed. Probably, though, it still makes more sense to get a canon body to use the CZ 35 PC or a Canon TS.

    Would a Visoflex work?
    No, the mount register is way too deep to adapt 35mm SLR lenses to a Leica M+Visoflex setup, never mind that adapting electronic-control lenses like the Canon EOS system lenses is a major problem. I've seen some work done with a Visoflex and Hartblei medium format tilt-shift lens that was good, but it's so much harder to do it this way than to pick up even a cheap Canon body and fit Canon TS lens to it ...

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