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Thread: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

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    Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    So I decided I wanted a 24mm shift lens for my new Leica M and found a mint-ish Olympus OM 24mm shift lens and pulled the pin.

    Mounted to a Novoflex adapter on the M, the lens was a huge disappointment. Comparing it to a 21mm Super Elmar, the lens doesn't look 'leica-sharp' at any aperture and chromatic aberation is very pronounced. And this was without any shift on the lens.

    The Olympus shift gets very good reviews. Am I expecting too much (I admit I'm pixel peeping the results)?. Do I give up and forget the shift idea, or should I try to find a better copy? This one is going back. No point keeping a lens when I know the Leica SE results are so much better.

    Any thoughts appreciated.

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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    The Olympus lens was designed to work with film and the adapter simply fills in the flange to film/sensor space. But that doesn't automatically mean the lens will work well with a full frame digital camera. The micro lenses of the M sensor are designed to work well with lenses using a much closer flange to sensor distance than the Olympus film camera flange to film distance. In effect the micro lenses may be pointing in the wrong direction to fully resolve the light path from the Olympus lens. It is a similar situation as to why a very wide angle Leica lens may not work on a m43 camera, the micro lenses on that sensor are designed for the light path of a telecentric designed m43 lens.

    If you try the lens again you may find it starts to resolve better at certain apertures in the centre of the image while the edges remain softer which is a typical symptom of the problem. I agree the Olympus shift lens gets good reviews and Olympus 35mm lenses in general are absolutely top notch, but as with any manufacturers '35mm' film lenses it tends to be the longer lenses (50mm and up) that work best on digital cameras using a smaller flange to sensor distance. This is of course why response to the new Sony A7r may be tempered amongst Leica M system users because nobody knows for sure yet if the wide lenses will work as well as they do on an M system body, the micro lenses need to match the light path.

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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    I would say depends how urgent you want or need ts.

    If you dont need full resolution you could get same results by using a 18 or 21 mm lens and crop the upper or lower part of the image. I do this sometimes. Of couse you loose someresolution this way.
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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Kildare View Post
    So I decided I wanted a 24mm shift lens for my new Leica M and found a mint-ish Olympus OM 24mm shift lens and pulled the pin.

    Mounted to a Novoflex adapter on the M, the lens was a huge disappointment. Comparing it to a 21mm Super Elmar, the lens doesn't look 'leica-sharp' at any aperture and chromatic aberation is very pronounced. And this was without any shift on the lens.

    The Olympus shift gets very good reviews. Am I expecting too much (I admit I'm pixel peeping the results)?. Do I give up and forget the shift idea, or should I try to find a better copy? This one is going back. No point keeping a lens when I know the Leica SE results are so much better.

    Any thoughts appreciated.

    Dump the M for shift lens work (or for that matter hanging huge and heavy lenses). There are better platforms and matching lenses for that.
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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    Hmmm. Interesting thread. I lusted after the 24mm Zuiko shift for a while, and the urge passed. Glad I didn't do it.

    I have the 28mm Leica PC shift lens; haven't tried it on my M9 yet. Works fantastic on my R6.2 though, as expected.
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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    Quote Originally Posted by 250swb View Post
    The Olympus lens was designed to work with film and the adapter simply fills in the flange to film/sensor space. But that doesn't automatically mean the lens will work well with a full frame digital camera. The micro lenses of the M sensor are designed to work well with lenses using a much closer flange to sensor distance than the Olympus film camera flange to film distance. In effect the micro lenses may be pointing in the wrong direction to fully resolve the light path from the Olympus lens. It is a similar situation as to why a very wide angle Leica lens may not work on a m43 camera, the micro lenses on that sensor are designed for the light path of a telecentric designed m43 lens.

    If you try the lens again you may find it starts to resolve better at certain apertures in the centre of the image while the edges remain softer which is a typical symptom of the problem. I agree the Olympus shift lens gets good reviews and Olympus 35mm lenses in general are absolutely top notch, but as with any manufacturers '35mm' film lenses it tends to be the longer lenses (50mm and up) that work best on digital cameras using a smaller flange to sensor distance. This is of course why response to the new Sony A7r may be tempered amongst Leica M system users because nobody knows for sure yet if the wide lenses will work as well as they do on an M system body, the micro lenses need to match the light path.

    Steve

    Thanks Steve - that's some really good information that you have put forward.

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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    Here is an interesting blog post with initial findings regarding using rangefinder lenses on the Sony A7, and which covers the same concerns as your Olympus lens on the M240.

    » Sony a7 torture test with Leica, Zeiss, Voigtlander rangefinder lenses - TechTalk with Ron Scheffler

    Steve

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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    Any feedback on PC-Distagon 35mm (Contax mount) on M240?

    Works great on Canon EOS ... But on Leica M?...

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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    Architectural photography is/was my business and while I mainly used large and medium format for paid work, 35mm was also necessary and now handles most of the work I still do.

    Since I have a number of shift lenses I tried them on my M. 17mm, 24mmvII and 90mm Canon, 28mm and 35mm Nikon and an older 35TS Canon. Unfortunately the adapter is critical for wide angle lenses, and neither of my Canon adapter is up to the task with the shorter lenses. The longer lenses are more forgiving if less interesting, and the old Canon 35TS in particular is very good and definitely useable, as is the 90mm Canon.

    I tried a 28mm Leica PC Angulon, but was disappointed overall, especially since the lens displayed a rather annoying amount of distortion.

    Over the years I've tried many shift lenses, including the Olympus ones, Pentax, Minolta and the 35 Zeiss. The latter was quite good, but no better and less useful than the Canon 35 while the Olympus 24 was only very slightly better than the old 24 Canon, which isn't saying much. The Pentax 28 had very noticeable amounts of distortion, which didn't fly in film days even thought is is more manageable now and the Minolta and Olympus 35's were unremarkable and again didn't compete with the Canon optically and were clumsier than the Nikon 35, which along with the Nikon 28's handled the best. The difference between the Nikon f/4 and later f/3.5 was there, but wasn't huge. I still use the latter on my Roundshot 28/220.

    The Canon TS-E lenses are great (excepting the early 24 and maybe the 45) on Canon bodies and are hard to beat. It is THE reason I still use Canons.

    The M240 is not a good platform for shift lenses, either optically nor operationally (not being able to move the magnified area around is terrible). Stick with the bodies they were made for.

    Henning
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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    I tried a 24mm OM shift (on a Nex5N with only an APSC sensor) some time ago and it was terrible. Very heavy CA and blue fringing. I was surprised as it's performance is highly regarded even in this digital age, and as a shift lens for FF 35mm.

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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    I find the 35mm PC Distagon every bit as good as the newer Canons. The Leica's distortion is easily fixed in post. I agree, get a 5D3 if you want tilt shift.

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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    Quote Originally Posted by henningw View Post
    Architectural photography is/was my business and while I mainly used large and medium format for paid work, 35mm was also necessary and now handles most of the work I still do.

    Since I have a number of shift lenses I tried them on my M. 17mm, 24mmvII and 90mm Canon, 28mm and 35mm Nikon and an older 35TS Canon. Unfortunately the adapter is critical for wide angle lenses, and neither of my Canon adapter is up to the task with the shorter lenses. The longer lenses are more forgiving if less interesting, and the old Canon 35TS in particular is very good and definitely useable, as is the 90mm Canon.

    I tried a 28mm Leica PC Angulon, but was disappointed overall, especially since the lens displayed a rather annoying amount of distortion.

    Over the years I've tried many shift lenses, including the Olympus ones, Pentax, Minolta and the 35 Zeiss. The latter was quite good, but no better and less useful than the Canon 35 while the Olympus 24 was only very slightly better than the old 24 Canon, which isn't saying much. The Pentax 28 had very noticeable amounts of distortion, which didn't fly in film days even thought is is more manageable now and the Minolta and Olympus 35's were unremarkable and again didn't compete with the Canon optically and were clumsier than the Nikon 35, which along with the Nikon 28's handled the best. The difference between the Nikon f/4 and later f/3.5 was there, but wasn't huge. I still use the latter on my Roundshot 28/220.

    The Canon TS-E lenses are great (excepting the early 24 and maybe the 45) on Canon bodies and are hard to beat. It is THE reason I still use Canons.

    The M240 is not a good platform for shift lenses, either optically nor operationally (not being able to move the magnified area around is terrible). Stick with the bodies they were made for.

    Henning
    Thanks Henning. Guess I'll just hang onto the Alpa…

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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    The Nikon 24mm TS lens is an awesome piece of glass, as is the 45mm. I used to own the 24mm, I own the 45mm now, but I do not have an F to M adapter yet. I may get one, but I do not have it yet.

    I wanted to ease into adapter land. I just tried an R to M adapter today, a cheapie... for my R 80mm Lux. If this trial goes ok, I will try the Nikon adapter for my M 240.

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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    Quote Originally Posted by Photojazz View Post
    The Nikon 24mm TS lens is an awesome piece of glass, as is the 45mm. I used to own the 24mm, I own the 45mm now, but I do not have an F to M adapter yet. I may get one, but I do not have it yet.

    I wanted to ease into adapter land. I just tried an R to M adapter today, a cheapie... for my R 80mm Lux. If this trial goes ok, I will try the Nikon adapter for my M 240.
    Just remember that the Nikon PC-E lenses have an electronic aperture control, not a manual linkage, so you will not be able to adjust the aperture if you mount these lenses on an adapter.

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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    Quote Originally Posted by ImagesWest View Post
    Just remember that the Nikon PC-E lenses have an electronic aperture control, not a manual linkage, so you will not be able to adjust the aperture if you mount these lenses on an adapter.
    Why? The aperture is not controlled by a camera body. A button on the lens stops down the lens and the aperture ring controls the aperture.

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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    I had an Oly 24 shift for a while. Was never happy with it, because of the distortion and CA. Sold it.

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    Re: Really Disappointed in Olympus Shift Lens on Leica M

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Why? The aperture is not controlled by a camera body. A button on the lens stops down the lens and the aperture ring controls the aperture.
    It is indeed electronic (that's what the E means) and won't change manually despite the aperture ring

    http://www.getdpi.com/forum/563822-post8.html

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