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Thread: Leica R lenses on the D800E

  1. #1
    johnphoto
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    Leica R lenses on the D800E

    Hi all. I've seen this topic discussed here, but I haven't been able to confirm a couple questions about using R lenses on the D800E. Do any of the 35mm versions, especially the Elmarit, provide corner to corner sharpness on the D800E? I'm currently shooting a Zeiss 50mm Makro Planar on my E. I'm looking for something slightly wider that provides the same level of pixel level sharpness I get from the Zeiss, which is incredible. Do any of the 35mm R lenses provide this? I considered the 35mm Zeiss, but they soften a touch in the corners. Any thoughts are appreciated!

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R lenses on the D800E

    This is a difficult question . The last Leica R body was the DMR with “only “ 10MP (superb color) and you are not subjecting the same lenses to inspection at 40MP . The authority on the Leica R glass has always been e puts and he has several books and used to give away a PDF on the lens evaluations .

    The 50 F is a tough benchmark ..because its a 50 and a macro ..so it has a pretty flat field by design and needs to sharp across the entire frame to be a good macro lens .

    The Leica wide angles have always been designed for travel, landscape where some distortion was acceptable to achieve the micro contrast , color saturation and rendering of fine detail . I don t know the elmarits except by reputation . The 35 lux and cron both are great lenses but set up for a balance of speed and size . The 24 just pass on it . The two that are sought after are the 19/2.8 and the 28/2.8 ..not cheap 19 is over $3K and the 28 about $2k and both require Leitax conversions to work on a Nikon .

    I would consider the Zeiss 21/2.8 ZF which I have found to be the pick of the Zeiss wide angles and pairs nicely with the 50 you have . You will save a ton of time in post processing because the 50 and 21 will render a scene in a similar way . Plenty of good test reports on the zeiss lenses out there .

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    Re: Leica R lenses on the D800E

    I will probably have the opportunity to test my leitax converted 35-70/4 and 80-200/4 on a D800 next week. Will report back when I have had time to look at the images properly.

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    Re: Leica R lenses on the D800E

    Am I correct, that if you convert a Leica R lens, you must put the camera on a tripod, focus wide open, then stop down to shooting aperature, (everything goes dark), then shoot? I have two old R lenses (35 Elmarit, and 50 Sumicron) which I have considered converting to Nikon mount, but rarely use a tripod, so this may not wok for me.
    Thanks for your info.
    Dave

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R lenses on the D800E

    Quote Originally Posted by gurtch View Post
    Am I correct, that if you convert a Leica R lens, you must put the camera on a tripod, focus wide open, then stop down to shooting aperature, (everything goes dark), then shoot? I have two old R lenses (35 Elmarit, and 50 Sumicron) which I have considered converting to Nikon mount, but rarely use a tripod, so this may not wok for me.
    Thanks for your info.
    Dave
    To use a Leica R lens on a Nikon ...you will be using stop down metering . The lens will not automatically stop down to shooting aperture . When I did this on a Canon you also did not get accurate exposure metering at apertures that where stopped down . (you had to adjust by 1/3 to a full EV ) .

    From a practical usage most that use R glass converted develop working technique that accommodates this limitation . For example with the 50 sum micron ...I would typically use it in the range between F2- F4 and in daylight I can focus easily at F4 . This does have an advantage in that you are focusing at the working aperture (so no focus shift) but its awkward .

    If you were working on a tripod for landscape ..you could focus using live view at working aperture ..but you don t have to .

    I lot of photographers like the 50 sum micron as its fast enough F2 to easily focus and then stop down to working aperture . But compared to a modern AF Nikkor it seems limiting . Depends on what and how you shoot .
    Last edited by glenerrolrd; 12th August 2012 at 16:00.
    Roger Dunham
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    Re: Leica R lenses on the D800E

    Thank you Roger. You confirmed what I thought. In my case, the conversion would lead to a working method not suited to my age and interests.
    Best regards
    Dave

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    Re: Leica R lenses on the D800E

    The Leica Vario-Elmar-R 35-70/4 does not produce sharp corners on D800 at 35mm, even at f/11. At 40mm it is perfect, though, at f/8.

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    Re: Leica R lenses on the D800E

    I converted 35mm elmarit-R to nikon mount. It is a "look" lens, and a very agreeable one too. It takes away the digital edge from my D700. However wide-open it is not sharp in the corners on the digital sensor, if sharpness is what one looks for. The 24-120VR is sharper there. But the center is as good as it gets. It gets sharp across at f8. That will be quite normal a behaviour of "vintage" wide lenses on digital. The film is much more forgiving for the angle of light incidence in corners.
    So if the Elmarit goes soft in the corners on D700, it will be even more visible on D800 I presume. Unless one goes for the "non-digital" look. But D800 for that is an overkill IMHO.

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