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Thread: Leica SL - Focusing wide M lenses

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    Leica SL - Focusing wide M lenses

    I understand that framing would be easier through the EVF, when using M lenses such as the 18mm, 24mm, 28mm and 35mm, but because of the larger depth of field, how does one determine the exact point of focus using the SL and the EVF? I understand that the SL has various ways to determine focus, but what would be the fastest and best way to nail a focus point with wide M lenses? Is there a tried and true best procedure without going through a rigmarole? Then again, wouldn't using the Leica M be easier focusing these wider lenses?

    Thanks!

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    Re: Leica SL - Focusing wide M lenses

    Probably having focus peaking off and then just zooming in. I've had good success just eyeballing my 21 Summilux-ASPH. But have zoomed in when needed. The 35 Summilux-FLE is easy. And anything beyond that just gets easier.
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    Re: Leica SL - Focusing wide M lenses

    I have 2 approaches. The first one is global with focus peaking. Most Leica wides have field curvature and the thicker cover glass of the SL makes things slightly worse. Even my very flat field ZM wides suffer from curvature on the SL. So focusing on one point will be normally disappointing. I therefore watch the entire frame as I turn the focusing ring in order to determine the setting that gives me the most elements in focus including the borders. The second approach for landscapes and shooting on tripod is to examine the entire scene by magnification and scrolling around to find the best setting. It is normally slightly more forward (towards the camera) than what the best center point sharpness suggests due to the field curvature. The first one works really well and is quite fast.
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    Re: Leica SL - Focusing wide M lenses

    I don't normally use M lenses on the SL, I use R lenses, but the problems of focusing an ultra wide lens should be the same—at least they look the same to my eye between focusing the Elmarit-R 24mm and the Elmar-M 24mm ASPH (that's my widest M lens). I also have Elmarit-R 19mm f/2.8 and Super-Elmar-R 15mm f/3.5.

    And to my eye, it's no problem at all to focus with any of them. Even using no focusing aids, I can see when they're slightly off the right focus setting ... touch the focus assist magnification and I can see them snap in and out of focus clearly, even stopped down to f/5.6. Peaking adds some more information, if you find you need it, but you have to learn how peaking works with each lens because each lens' micro-contrast will produce slightly different results at different lens openings until you get to know them.
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    Re: Leica SL - Focusing wide M lenses

    Thanks everyone!

    I am contemplating getting an SL as a companion to my M. If I get the SL I will also get the 24-90 lens too, but I also want to use my wide angle lenses on the SL. I was concerned that nailing focus using the EVF would be troublesome, but so far your responses have been encouraging.

    ES
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    Re: Leica SL - Focusing wide M lenses

    I find it much easier to focus the SL precisely with ultra-wide lenses than the M-P rangefinder. The RF always feels approximate, with the SL I can see when it's dead-on. No comparison to an optical reflex finder! :-)

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    Re: Leica SL - Focusing wide M lenses

    I've used the SL with an R 15/2.8 and M 18, 21 and 24 lenses. I haven't paid much attention to the focus peaking aids, mostly using focus magnification with the joystick when I wanted precision. Personally, I feel the RF gives higher precision, but not necessarily at the place where I want it. Viewing the scene with a very wide angle on the SL is preferable to guesswork or external viewfinders on the M.

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    Re: Leica SL - Focusing wide M lenses

    Now that Leica have come out with the SL - a totally different body than the RF - which not only allows me to use my M lenses, has a great EVF, and gives me new options for using other Leica lenses (some of the best lenses on the planet, BTW), with great results - I am quite pleased. This it seems, will make a perfect companion to my M.

    It’s not a 40, 50, or 100 megapixel camera, but from my point of view, it will not get in the way of producing creative, stellar, large-print-capable results. Only my personal limits can get in the way.

    Again, thanks to all! Your input has been very helpful and is greatly appreciated.

    ES

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    Re: Leica SL - Focusing wide M lenses

    I find the M works perfect with 35 and 50mm.
    For lenses longer or shorter the SL helps for:
    -accurate framing wide angle
    -accurate focusing short tele lenses

    For me the SL works best with the native 24-90 mm lens. Very accurate framing with near 100% hit rate (except fast moving subjects). I only put M lenses on the SL in low light.

    BUT: The simplicity of the manual focus, low weight/size of the M is not there when using the SL. Thats why I also keep the M and if I had to decide between the 2 I would keep the M (since I shoot 80% of my images with 35 and 50mm).

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    Re: Leica SL - Focusing wide M lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    I find the M works perfect with 35 and 50mm.
    For lenses longer or shorter the SL helps for:
    -accurate framing wide angle
    -accurate focusing short tele lenses

    For me the SL works best with the native 24-90 mm lens. Very accurate framing with near 100% hit rate (except fast moving subjects). I only put M lenses on the SL in low light.

    BUT: The simplicity of the manual focus, low weight/size of the M is not there when using the SL. Thats why I also keep the M and if I had to decide between the 2 I would keep the M (since I shoot 80% of my images with 35 and 50mm).
    Although I shoot probably 80-90% of my photos with 35 and 50 mm lenses, if I could only have one, it would be the SL because I often get frustrated by the M's focusing range limitations. I almost always have at least a 50 and a 100 mm macro in my lens kit (for the SL I have the Macro-Elmarit-R 60 and Macro-Elmar-R 100 mm with bellows). When push comes to shove, the SL body isn't that much bigger than the M-P but it is (for me) simpler to operate and more compatible with my way of making photographs.

    Diff'rent Strokes, I guess. Happily, there are good options for all of us. :-)

    G

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    Re: Leica SL - Focusing wide M lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by photopixes View Post
    I understand that framing would be easier through the EVF, when using M lenses such as the 18mm, 24mm, 28mm and 35mm, but because of the larger depth of field, how does one determine the exact point of focus using the SL and the EVF? I understand that the SL has various ways to determine focus, but what would be the fastest and best way to nail a focus point with wide M lenses? Is there a tried and true best procedure without going through a rigmarole? Then again, wouldn't using the Leica M be easier focusing these wider lenses?

    Thanks!
    Ho Hum
    I see this question coming up a lot - it seems to me that as you have a much larger depth of field with wide angle lenses the exact point of focus is proportionately less relevant.

    When I'm using wide angles on the SL I don't use any aids (neither zooming in or focus peaking) . . I just focus until it looks right and shoot, and I've certainly had no issues with out of focus images (quite the contrary).

    Just this guy you know
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    Post Re: Leica SL - Focusing wide M lenses

    I am on the fence wrt SL which is not meant as a criticism. A veteran M shooter. So I wait patiently for Photokina 2016 and what's next on the M horizon.

    In the meantime, it occurs to me that I may not be alone with this idea.
    Are there others who think it would be technically feasible to create a representation of the M rangefinder in the SL evf ?

    If you wanted to get fancy, you could :
    - allow moving the rf around the frame, but why would you?
    - supplement that area with peaking when the images align.

    I find peaking a distraction. Just sayin.

    Firmware could turn this 'feature' on or off.
    If this idea has been hashed out already and I missed it, please point me there.
    The idea appeals to me, and it would be a very 'Leica' experience.

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    Re: Leica SL - Focusing wide M lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by MistralAtom View Post
    I am on the fence wrt SL which is not meant as a criticism. A veteran M shooter. So I wait patiently for Photokina 2016 and what's next on the M horizon.

    In the meantime, it occurs to me that I may not be alone with this idea.
    Are there others who think it would be technically feasible to create a representation of the M rangefinder in the SL evf ?

    If you wanted to get fancy, you could :
    - allow moving the rf around the frame, but why would you?
    - supplement that area with peaking when the images align.

    I find peaking a distraction. Just sayin.

    Firmware could turn this 'feature' on or off.
    If this idea has been hashed out already and I missed it, please point me there.
    The idea appeals to me, and it would be a very 'Leica' experience.
    The Q has a feature like this( and it works nicely IMO), but understand that this would need to be implemented as a crop of the lens. Since you are getting your viewfinder image through the lens, like an SLR, you can't see outside the FOV of the lens that is attached. Any M lens could be cropped in camera to a narrower FOV, and the narrower FOV be represented using "framelines" in the EVF...at the cost of some resolution.

    Adding a simulation of the focus patch is also possible...Fuji already does this.

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