A couple weeks ago, I went to New Mexico with my dad and brother for an extended weekend where we rode in a balloon at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and did some additional photography in and around Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
It was wonderful spending the time with my dad and older brother. Doing photography without my wife and kids rushing me was great too .
A few photos taken with Leica M240, Zeiss ZM 18/3.5, Leica 35/1.4 ASPH II, Leica 50/1.4 ASPH, and Leica 90/2.5:
L1004087 by Amin Sabet, on Flickr
L1004805 by Amin Sabet, on Flickr
L1004907 by Amin Sabet, on Flickr
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- Thread: A Wifie
I've been shooting a loaner Sony A7R alongside a Leica M (240) for a couple days and figured it was time to share some early impressions. I'll keep this thread updated over time with more thoughts and observations.
Here are the two bodies side by side, the Sony shown with the Novoflex adapter I've been using:
P1010002 by Amin Sabet, on Flickr
As you can see, the Sony is a good bit smaller than the Leica, although the grip and viewfinder together make it a bit thicker. It's also a fair amount lighter. The Leica exudes quality, the Sony less so, but both feel well made. My main issues with the Sony build involve the plastic doors covering the card slot, battery, and especially the mini USB charging port. Of note, the A7R follows Sony's recent practice of not including a dedicated battery charger. The battery charges in the camera. Tastes will vary, but the Leica is far better looking to me. The orange metallic ring marked "35mm FULL-FRAME CMOS IMAGE SENSOR" is a particular eye sore on the Sony.
On the top of the camera, the main difference is that the Leica has a shutter speed dial, while the Sony has an exposure compensation dial. As someone who shoots mostly with aperture priority autoexposure, the exposure comp dial is more useful to me. Since configuring the Sony to assign my most commonly used settings to the dual control dials and custom buttons, there has been no need to enter the menu system other than to format the SD card. Both cameras have built-in thumb grips, but the Sony lacks threading for a cable release / soft release. Importantly (to me), both cameras lack in-body image stabilization, a feature I've come to appreciate with my Olympus Micro Four Thirds bodies.
The biggest difference in use is that the Sony isn't a rangefinder camera. For some, this is a deal breaker. Not to me. The Sony electronic viewfinder (EVF) is excellent, and I find that I can focus even the f/0.95 Noctilux accurately without even making use of the focus aids, which include focus peaking and magnification. The EVF is high resolution, and I can see a subtle shimmer at he point of focus. Nevertheless, I keep focus peaking assigned to a custom button (useful for seeing a graphical representation of zone focus/depth of field) and magnification assigned to a different custom button (useful for critically accurate focus with static subjects). Another key difference from a standpoint of seeing the subject is that the Sony rear LCD tilts up/down (Leica LCD is fixed), and the Sony rear LCD is higher resolution. The Leica has an accessory port and the ability to use an optional EVF.
The Novoflex adapter I used performed very well. No complaints. However, one of the advantages of using the Sony with Leica M lenses is that you can choose to use a close focus adapter (Hawk's or Voigtlander), which gives you the option to shorten minimal focus distance on the fly by increasing the distance from the lens to the sensor.
In use, I found the Sony comfortable to hold, and the Leica M lenses all felt natural in use. The Leica M shutter sound is wonderfully muted. By comparison, the Sony is very loud. However, I don't find the Sony shutter sound to be grating at all. It's more subtle than a Nikon FM2N shutter release. It also seems a decent tradeoff for the 1/8000s shutter speed capability of the A7R, which coupled with a base ISO of 100 allows one to shoot fast lenses wide open without an ND filter in all but the brightest of light.
So how well does the A7R work with Leica M lenses? Does it deliver the goods? The answer depends on your use case, and the particular lenses you choose. I had no problems whatsoever using the 50/0.95 Noctilux for photos of my 11-week-old daughter:
DSC00029 by Amin Sabet, on Flickr
DSC00039 by Amin Sabet, on Flickr
Likewise for the 50mm Summilux ASPH:
DSC00137 by Amin Sabet, on Flickr
On the other hand, there are definite drawbacks to using the M lenses when edge/corner sharpness and color accuracy are desired. This was most pronounced with the 24mm Summilux ASPH but also very obvious with the 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE and even noticeable with the 50mm lenses. The issues are most notable with the lenses wide open but still very much present after stopping down.
For example, note the color shifts and smearing present in the following 100% crops (center followed by corner) taken from the 35mm Summilux ASPH (FLE) at f/8, Leica M on the left and Sony A7R on the right:
Another example, this time of the Leica 24mm f/1.4 ASPH at f/5.6:
These color and smearing issues were consistent across a variety of tests, and I am confident that they are unrelated to the adapter I used given that center sharpness was consistently superb and there were no signs of decentering in any of the test images.
Other than the aforementioned compatibility issues with Leica M lenses, the Sony files are gorgeous. I didn't notice any of the orange peel effects that some have described. Of course with no anti aliasing filter, aliasing effects are present, but the higher resolution sensor mitigates these somewhat, and RAW converters now feature good tools to address such issues. Capture One Pro in particular has an excellent tool to remove color aliasing.
So bottom line, is the A7R a good replacement for a Leica M? If you shoot a variety of Leica M glass and value image quality in the periphery of the frame, I'd have to say no. On the other hand, if you're mainly using 50mm lenses and shooting photos of people, it may well be. Of course there is a virtually limitless array of both M and non-M lenses to choose from other than the ones I've used so far with the A7R, and many of those will do better than the M lenses I've tested here with the Sony sensor.
Sony has been able to shoehorn an amazing full frame sensor into an extremely small body which costs only one third the price of a Leica M. However, because the A7R (and to a lesser extent the A7) sensor is not optimized for incident light at an angle which varies greatly from the optical axis, native lenses for the Sony are for now likely to remain much larger than Leica M lenses if they are to deliver good edge sharpness.Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2016
- Like x 13
I splurged and purchased the latest version with the floating lens element 2 weeks ago. I haven't had the opportunity to go out and really get to know this dream lens... twin babies tend to have that effect. So here are a couple "snapshots" taken inside.... I can already see I'm going to really like it... can't wait for warmer weather.
Both Taken w/ Leica M9 at wide open for no particular reason but to test it out.
- Like x 11
- Thread: My Travel Combo: 28 + 50
Hi guys, just wanted to share some photos with the 28mm and 50mm combo. I think I like it best. Basically I am a 50mm guy, but at times we need that occasional wider fov, so I added up the 28mm and it fills up nicely. It's the widest view in the RF viewfinder anyway. I have a 24mm 1.4 on the Nikon FF, but it felt too wide for what I prefer to shoot. Hence, I chose the 28mm. It is wide enough, but not too wide. Having said that, I think I can shoot a 35mm as a tweener all day. I'll be interested to know what 'generally' is your preferred choice of lenses for travel?
- Like x 10