My #1 asked Sony A7 and A7r question answered.

My #1 asked Sony A7 and A7r question answered

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OK, one more quick post for Saturday but felt I had to do it. I have been getting question after question over the past few days and even though this information was posted several times, for some reason, the questions keep flowing in 🙂 That is OK though, that is what I am here for! The only problem is I cannot answer all of the emails due to time constraints, so here you go. The #1 question in my inbox for the past few days:

“Can I mount my Leica glass on the new Sony A7 or A7r with an Adapter? If so, which one and will it crop the image”?

OK..as I stated, this has been gone over a few times but the answer is YES and NO. Yes, you can mount your Leica M mount lenses onto the Sony A7 or A7r and YES you will be using  them  just as you would on the Leica M. Full frame, all of the lens.

Which Adapter?

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Which adapter you want is up to you but you can go cheap or you can go expensive. Truth be told, I have one of each. A $15 Amazon special and a $260 Novoflex, which is the best in the business. Both work fine. The Novoflex is made better with tighter tolerances and will last forever. The $15 one will work but may start to get sloppy after a few months of use. Some of the cheap ones can be retightened.

You can buy the cheap one HERE

You can buy the Novoflex HERE OR HERE

In any case, yes..you can use your Leica M glass on the Sony A7. You can also use Canon glass with full AF, Leica R glass, M42 Glass, Screw Mount glass, etc. 

The A7r was built from the ground up to be able to use the E mount but with a full frame sensor so as long as the lens you are putting on it is a full frame lens, you should be getting full frame coverage and performance.

With that comes a warning! As of today, no one has really sat down and thoroughly tested the A7 with wide-angle M glass, so we have no idea how it will behave in regards to color shifts or vignetting. For example, on the Leica M, the Voigtlander 15mm is useless in color due to color shifts on the edge. Lenses like the 21 Zeiss ZM are not usable on the M due to the same reasons. Will this be the case on the Sony? Maybe yes, maybe no, or maybe even worse, so we have to wait and see.

I will be testing the A7 and A7r starting in about 9 days and will be using lenses like a 15 Voigtlander, 21 Zeiss, 35 1.2 Nokton or 35 Zeiss Biogon and 50 Summicron and 50 Nokton ASPH. I will also test the new Sony lenses as well or course and will have daily updates here starting on the 28th going through November 1st.

*As always , bookmark the Sony A7r page as when updates happen they will be listed there. Also, the full pre-order page is HERE. 

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156 Comments

  1. Hi Steve – I fortunately have access to the 16-18-21mm Tri Elmar and it appears to be absolutely fine on my A7R with Novoflex adapter at all 3 focal lengths and apertures.
    Bye the way the manual supplied with the A7R is bl…y terrible how did you find yours.
    Colin L

    • I never look at any manual..ever 🙂 So for me it doesn’t matter if it eve comes with one. Usually cameras are pretty much the dame and self explanatory. But yes, the WATE works great on the cameras without issues.

  2. Steve,
    Can I assume, because you did not mention it, that upon delivery the Sonys did not come with a certificate for one free Metabones adapter? On a video from an Australian Sony distributor, he mentioned that the Sonys would be delivered in OZ with a certificate for a free Metabones adapter. I have found nothing to verify this in the US.

    My Metabones adapter on for my M glass for my NEX 7 works beautifully. It would be sweet to have a free one.

    Richard Riebel

  3. Hi Steve, Can u plz tell me that may I use canon 24-70 MK2 and 70-200 is MK2 lens with Sony A7R? If yes how? have u tested that combo plz provide some pictures and ur advice. Thanks

  4. Steve

    When you start testing the M wideangles, take some classic prime compact Canon or Nikon superwideangles as a reference and “back-up” alternatives for M.

    Everybody (at least the older guys) have these in the closet.

  5. On the A7R: the photocell size can be measured by dividing the length and width by the maximum resolution counts and multiply length X width to get the area of the photocell.

    length: 35.9mm/7360 = 4.877 um (this includes divider between the cell)
    width: 24mm/4912 = 4.886 um
    area = 4.877 um X 4.886 um = 23.829 um square.

    For the A7:
    length: 35.8 mm/6000 = 5.966 um
    width: 23,9mm/4000 = 5.975 um
    Area: 5.966 * 5.975 = 35.199 um square.

    Now divide the area: 23.829/35.199 = 0.6769

    So the photocell of A7R is 67.69% of A7’s photocell. Notice that A7R has more dividers than A7.

    More dividers on the senser will increase ISO noise. That’s why NEX 7(24 MP) has poorer ISO than NEX6(16MP) sensor. The microlenses on the A7R sensor may help to improve ISO performance.

  6. Correction!! “The photocell(including the divider) of A7R is 20% smaller than A7′s.”

    It should be “The photocell(including the divider) of A7R is 67.7% of A7’s”.–compare the area of each photocell.

  7. The pictures Ron Scheffler took were all JPEGs on A7. The vignett on the wide angle lenses can be fixed in LR or other editors. Until we get the RAW support on these new cameras it’s too early to judge them.

    About the microlenses on the A7R, it may help collecting the light beams over the divider around each photocell. It may help some don’t know how much yet. The photocell(including the divider) of A7R is 20% smaller than A7’s. How much improvements on the A7R by those microlenses maybe very limited.

  8. Sorry about the double post. I didn’t see the first one go in for moderation and thought it lost in cyberspace.

    I’d have to agree on the wide angle lens assessment. Still, I’d settle for same performance. It is a compelling design with competent looking IQ and expandability.

    As much as I want to focus through my M glass, the sensor has to produce a result equal to or better than the M240. I’m already having a hard time moving to CMOS. Since I also own a favored M8, to consider jumping ship on the Impressionistic look I can get from my M9 CCD could be relatively painless if the Sony sensor can achieve micro contrast even close to a D800.

    Very much looking forward to your evaluation!

  9. “You must have missed reading the most important line in my comment..”

    Umm.. (looking down at feet, shuffling aimlessly in an embarrassed manner)… yeah..

    😉

  10. Mike, dood, I just read about the ‘new’ digital FM2.
    If it is indeed faithful to my old FM2 (bare minimum stuff, no frills), then I’m getting that. I don’t care about video, wi-fi etc etc.
    I have three really sweet manual AIS lenses that I would love to use on this thing.

    • You echo my sentiments dude; this sounds so much more exciting than cutting corners with an evf. So what to do with the D800 and all that 1.4G glass, amonst which the recently ordered 58mm? 😉

      • Since when is an EVF ‘cutting corners’?? Trust me, I was a die hard OVF guy for a long time too but these new crop of hi-res EVF’s are awesome….not to mention 100% accurate (which you don’t get with most OVF’s).

        The new EVF from Olympus is a pretty sweet unit and look at the technological marvel of the hybrid viewfinder on an XPro1….not exactly what I would call cutting corners.

  11. I’m not sure how the Sony would wipe the floor with Leica if it cannot use Leica glass w/o smearing/colour casts etc.
    It does not really matter if Leica has this same problem using Zeiss or Voigtlander lenses, as those are NOT Leica lenses!!
    The whole reason I bought into the Leica system is to use Leica glass. Not to show off the red dot and then mount third party lenses and then complain about smearing and colour shifts.
    Leica cameras work fantastically well with Leica lenses. If the Sony cannot do this, then it is not a rival. Why would I want to buy this Sony if it does not work as well with my Leica glass as my Leicas do? Because it is cheaper does not cut it, as the investment is already in the lenses.

    But… if the Sony can use Leica glass with no issues, well, THAT is a game changer.
    Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case, at least with the A7. We will see with the A7R

    • You must have missed reading the most important line in my comment:

      “if it manages to pull it off, the A7r would be the deal of the century and wipe the floor with Leica” – That is, “if it manages to use these wide angle lenses without issues” – If it can shoot Leica and others without color smearing then it will indeed be a force to be reckoned with, and will indeed wipe the floor with Leica due to cost, capabilities and the fact that it can do better than the M. I am a huge huge huge Leica fan but call it like I see it 100% of the time.

      In any case, I am guessing there will be issues judging by what we see with the 7 so most likely not going to happen. 🙂

    • Huss…..I like Leica too but you’re missing out on a lot of excellent Zeiss lenses with your ‘Leica only’ outlook on things. Some would argue that in some cases the Zeiss alternatives are even preferable to Leica….and that is even before you factor in the $$$$ savings.

      • Clint, you may very well be right. I do have a Zeiss planar 50 and it is a sweet piece. But most of my glass is Leica which is why I am more concerend with how that works with the Sony.
        If the Sony has issues with it, then it doesn’t make any sense for my usage.
        And if that is the case, then it seems that ‘all’ Sony has done is build a smaller version of the Nikon D800.

        All this is speculation which is why we are bustin to see how it tests out with Steve!

  12. Who would want an A7/r when you could have the upcoming Nikon retro ff dslr, with probably the D4’s sensor? No video though, ha ha!

  13. I’m surprised that your number one asked question was whether or not people could use M glass on the new Sony…..as it is already commonly known to be ‘yes, you can’. The number one question SHOULD have been can I use wide angle M mount glass on the new Sony without smeared corners and horrendous colour shifts. The answer to that is no, you cannot (at least for the A7.

    I am waiting to hear how the A7R does but if wide angle Zeiss/Voigtlander M mount lenses don’t perform on it than I am not interested.

    • I would not count on it as those lenses do not even work on an M 240 or M9. if it manages to pull it off, the A7r would be the deal of the century and wipe the floor with Leica. Just seems to good to be true. Even if not, $2300 for a full frame mirror less with the only other choice being a Leica for $7k (that has the same issues with Voigtlander/Zeiss wides) would seem like a screaming deal. I suspect the sensor in the A7 and A7r will outperform the Leica in most situations. I also suspect 35mm and up will do fantastic (the 35 1.4 SC did fine on the A7r) – so for me, if the A7r has the issue as well I will do what I do on the M. Use the 15 for B&W and the rest as they were meant to be used. 🙂

      • I didn’t know that wide angles were that much of a problem on the M240….doesn’t really give me much hope for Sony then if Leica can’t even get it right:)

    • The latest post on Sony Alpha Rumors explaining the differences between the A7 and A7R give hope of reduced color shifts “A7R’s sensor has off set micro-lenses designed to better capture light hitting edges/corners (might work better with Leica M lenses) — A7 sensor does not”. The entire article can be seen here: http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/. Personally, I run the ZM Zeiss Distagon 15mm/f2.8 on my M240 and have to fix color shifts via CornerFix anyway, so if the A7R is not way too horrible, and I get 36MP to boot versus the 24MP from the M240, the A7R is still a winner in my book. I’ve already pre-ordered the A7R and am hoping that the color shift will be less than what I get with the M240 on the Zeiss.

      • Have you tried ZM 2.8 coding it as 21 2.8 with new firmware on your m240? I don’t think you need cornerfix any more, magenta is gone. And to avoid vignetting you can always use center filter provided with your zeiss. We’ll see how it goes with a7r.
        Thanks,

  14. Why stop at imitating the past with cameras and lenses that resemble old-school devices… we can expect leaps and bounds as major camera manufacturers continue to adapt past thinking to new concepts. The key may be to think ‘outside-the-box’ and come up with something altogether different.

    Companies use computers to do the math for new lenses, as they travel down an old road to simply replace film formats. Is it possible we may see formats that are more in the realm of medium format? Large Format? Or something in between… devices and lenses that better fit emerging technologies?

    E.G., I have observed advances in the manufacturing of television screens as they occur at warp speed over the last few years and months. No longer is a 32” screen a manufacturing challenge as 80” LED’s have become the norm… and prices dropped just as our jaws have.

    ,,,So adding pixels to an image sensor will also break barriers.

    Sony and other camera engineers are on the cusp of entering a product race that will end up with one or more daring to leave the old beaten path and surprise us all… Sony is doing it now.

    In the interim, we can wallow in the fantastic world of digital photography as new products dare us to wander away from film thought-processes, leading us towards new imaging technologies and devices that may or may not look like our beloved Leica, Canon or Nikon, etc. Of course, we know how emotionally difficult it will be to rip ourselves away from lenses and equipment we have so dearly loved and depended upon for generations.

    BTW… until further testing by Steve and others, my choice is the A7r to be adapted to my 20 plus Minolta MC and MD lenses. Of course the Zeiss 135/1.8 sure looks tempting… hmmm… and then there’s the… uh… well… you know…eh! (I’m a 76 year old Canadian!)

    What a delicious time to be in photography… especially if you have an open mind and a few dollars to spare…!!??

    Go Steve!

  15. How about shutter lag? A7 seems to have electronic first curtain like NEX cameras, so does it have same short shutter lag?
    I did not like Olympus OM-D, second, the opening curtain starts the exposure. A7r seems to work like that.
    As short lag does the difference in my work. Enjoying photographing prefocused RX1, but need is for fater af.

  16. You mentioned that the A7 has the hybrid AF system with phase detection AF as well as contrast detection AF whereas the A7R only has contrast detection AF. However, when I checked on the Sony USA website, it showed that both the A7 and A7R have the hybrid autofocus with phase detection and contrast detection. Is that a mistake??

  17. Steve,
    Add me to the list of people interested in hearing more details on your statement that there are adapters in existence that will allow for use of Canon EF lens including providing full autofocus (and exposure setting?) with those Canon EF lens on the A7 and A7r.

  18. Ron Scheffler has done a great job testing more than 20, yes 20! rangefinder lens on the A7 on his blog with nearly 4GB of downloads, mainly Leica, Voightlander and Zeiss. See here -http://www.ronscheffler.com/techtalk/?p=224

    And the results are not encouraging. The A7R may yet be different but getting hopes up may be premature.

    • You might be right about getting our hopes up…I looked at the Voigtlander 12mm ultra wide shots from Ron and it did look disappointing compared to what I’ve seen with that exact same lens on my comparably low-end NEX 5 and NEX 6. Actually, I was quite surprised with the A7 samples. I’ve taken shot on cloudy days too. Oh well I guess we will be seeing more test shots by others as days go by.

      • because of the reduced sensor size on the nex only the center of your fullframe lens is used which produces straight light rays (= no light falloff/vignetting, colour shifts etc.).

        • great point :-), so I guess we’ll have to all wait for samples from the a7r to see if there is any difference from the a7 samples.

  19. Can’t find it anywhere else on the web so hopefully you can Steve ?
    Is the evf size of the A7 same as the Olympus EM1 ?
    I have the EM5 and RX1 evf but find them a tad too small.
    The size of EM1 would be perfect for better manual focusing my Leica M lenses

  20. what i want to know is whether the offset pixels on the a7r will affect the performance of slr lenses. especially interested in the canon 24mm ts-e.

    • That’s an interesting article. That’s what I was thinking might happen. Interesting that the aperture setting is also a factor. Presumably Sony is going to try to correct this as best as possible with in-camera software, but it looks like the correction factor will need to be different for each lens. And since the camera can’t detect which lens you’re using, every time you change lenses you’ll have to reset the camera. Again, all just speculation on my part. Even with software correction, the images still won’t be perfect. My prediction: Steve will be keeping his Leicas.

      • “Presumably Sony is going to try to correct this as best as possible with in-camera software..”

        I don’t think that’s going to happen. Think about it from Sony’s POV. What is in it for them to get ‘3rd party’ lenses to work with their system? Nothing. They want you to buy their lenses which is why they have developed another (?) new line.

        I’m going to wait this one out until the hoopla has died down. By then extensive user testing will have happened.

  21. Hi Steve

    Is the Canon with metabones or other adapter AF painfully slow and virtually unusable, as with the NEXs or is it approaching similar AF speeds as the native A7/r EF mount? I assume it’s the former, but your “full AF” maye suggests more. Sorry if this has already been answered but I didn’t see anything trawling through your site and elsewhere. If AF with canon is usable, that’s super exciting.

  22. Hey Steve,

    can you try the sel24f18z on the a7r?

    I wonder if it give 24mm equivalent on full frame sensor

    regards,
    Eric

  23. One thing I’ve been wondering about which I haven’t seen mentioned, is that the sensor looks to be a very, very tight fit inside that E mount diameter. The light from the lens has to make it’s way through that hole and down onto the sensor. Presumably this won’t be a problem for any lenses made specifically for the A7, as the lens designer would know this in advance and design accordingly. Perhaps though, it could be a different story with an adapter. This is a question, not a statement. Even with a short-flange-distance lens of Leica, the adapter still adds a little bit of distance between the mount and the sensor. Could it be that with an adapter that some of the light coming in from the lens could nick the sides of the mount and disrupt the fidelity in the corners of the sensor, causing soft focus and/or vignetting? Not just wide angle. If this were true, then I would think the problem would be even more severe in DSLR mount adapters, as the flange distance would be greater. This is all pure speculation on my part. I don’t understand the lens physics enough to know the answer.

    • Not sure but the Leica 50 lux, Voigtlander 35 1.4 and Canon 24-70 looked great on playback. Could not critically check of course but we will find out very very soon.

  24. I’ve been reading that the A7r is of a different, more metal less plastic, build than is the A7. So it’s not just a sensor that’s different.

    I’ll echo what Steve Huff said – Sony has released a 36MP camera that can take on any legacy glass ever manufactured on earth (given there’s an adapter) since the dawn of photography – at 36MP – and hopefully with its redirected photo-sites, this amazing new camera will work with strange wide-angle lenses without color shifting!

    If Sony has actually pulled off such a feat, that is, reduced color shifting with the widest third-party lenses, at full frame, they’ve pulled off a virtual miracle! Pope Francis should sit up and take notice!

    Nikon and Canon, and Leica, I’m sure already are!

  25. VM35 1.2II, New VM50 1.5 ASPH, ZM35 2 and 50 Lux ASPH. I know you got em. The rest of the M-world will fall in line on the results from these. But if you really love us, we would know for sure if you snapped a few with the 35 Summaron too.

    My M9 is already boxed and ready for eBay- Same goes for my full OMD Kit and every bloody 4/3 lens I own. I’m goin’ full-monty on the Huffinator’s big time FF review!

    Gotta wonder what adapter is going to allow Canon glass to auto focus on this e-mount camera? Or will it be EOS to A-mount with the LA-EA4 and phase-detection auto focus?

    Sure would have been nice to have the ZA85 and ZA135 lenses with OSS. But if Canon and Sigma will auto focus on an e-mount, I could just as easily forget all about non-OSS Sony A-frame lenses.

    • It seems obvious that you don’t trust yourself to make any judgments on your camera gear – one has to wonder if you do the same for your images ( I presume you use the gear to actually make photographs? )

  26. To me the problem of wide angle Leica lenses is not just color shift…but sharpness performance.

    There is another website who tested the difference in sharpness between a Sony Nex + 18-55mm kit and a Sony Nex + adapter + 35 Lux FLE. The result ? They have the same sharpness performance at the same F stop until F5.6 where the Leica starts to shine (of course the kit lens is not a bright lens but hey…it’s a kit lens…).
    Yep…you hear me…F5.6 with a 5000$+ Leica lens to beat a kit lenses on a Sony sensor.

    So you really wonder how useful it really is to put a 5000$+ lens on a camera that is not designed to handle it. I cannot even imagine how wider lenses would behave…this is purely useless I think except if you just shoot at F1.4 and blur everything in the image except the center part.

    This is simply due to the facts that:

    1) Sony optimizes its cameras for its lenses with digital connection even it’s a crappy lens it can shine it some way thx to algorythms.
    2) Sony optimizes its sensors for its lenses and not the other way around so they are not working for Leica.

    So…all in all…go or not go ?

    Well if wide Leica lenses perform well they will have my money for a A7 (not the R…I don’t want to manage 36MP files and have to use a tripod at lower speed to get sharp pixels).

    But things doesn’t sound very promising since there is a guy on DPR who reported that the excellent Zeiss ZM 21mm F2.8 has the worse red edge issue on the A7 that he has ever seen…

    • all depends on your goals on one side and your faith on the other. The 18-55 kit lens is one of the best lenses I ever tested among all kit lenses and it beats many other good one’s. Now, I am not an AF shooter and when NEX-7 came out, my dreams became true.

      I use a Fuji S5 with a split stigmo focusing screen, specially made, installed and centered by a company in the US for MF focusing with the body. I never liked AF and only MF makes me faster in focusing, specially with the peaking function Sony was the first to offer on it’s cameras.

      Now, to be honnest, my lens choices go from Zeiss to Voigtlaender, and eventually Leica, but I should many of my Nikon and other brands with adapters on the NEX. There might be a difference visible, but, if I need to magnify every shot, check for hours every cm of the pictures, and every pixel to find where the 3000 to 5000$ more are located, the expense is useless in my view.

      Some people have money like hay, some get stuff for free, some use it to earn money and get it by their employer. I have to buy it, and I remember some day when the NEX in FF was in discussion, Steve spoke about a 2200$ for the body only. Here i was somewhat excited, alos upset,and asked him by what he wants to justify that pricing and my opinion was that 1600$ for such a body was correct price. And today we have it, 24 mpix FF and 1699 for the body is there, and the price to what if offers in quality to price relation is ok, except for the A7R, offering a higher pixel count, less technology all over, and here you pay an excessive price, just to ow a 36 mpix sensor with lower high ISO skills. For sure, if both cameras where 100$ apart, not many people would go for the 24 mpix stuff. I would stick to the 24 mpix, even if they where the same price. If RX1 would now drop under the 1900$ limit, I even would select that one, the 35mm is all I need anyway, in DSLR I shoot on the Sigma 30/1.4 and change it very seldom to something wider. On the NEX I use the Minolta 28/2.8 with LA1 adapter.

      But to return to your question, I do not think that it will be usefull to buy any Leica high priced lens to run those cameras and get a good shot, but, for some, like Steve, Leica is a religion, and every thing you can find on the market is sooner or later squeezed by the Leica mill. Let’s compare what is comparable, picture quality, built, and then, I am not so sure that the Leica option remains an option, Steve has proved this in many occasions, and here, his obsession can be excused a thousand times :-). We should not forget that in any Leica product you pay that red dot percentage included in the price. By what I often read and hear, the only thing that makes a Leica different is the missing AF stuff and the price, compared to many other cheaper brands, it is even a less good digital camera. I still have manual Leica bodies here, and for me, the real Leica area anded with the digital revolution. Voigtlaneder never made a Bessa in digital, maybe they know why. Despite all that, the M240 has impressed me by the picture quality it delivers and at 1700$ for the body, I would certainly buy one too.
      Maybe, and I hope so, Sony will put an end to this overpricing folly. All it needs is some more good and faster primes, and, maybe, a blue dot on the body. With the price of the A7, Sony has put the feet back to the ground.

  27. One thing I am curious about which I can’t seem to find mention of is how’s the shutter lag/delay between when you press the shutter and the shot getting taken?

    I’m having flashbacks to the first NEX cameras and the later ones when they improved on the lag which allowed handheld shooting at slower speeds than 1/30. For me that was an annoyance when using M lenses with the NEX-5 in poor lighting.

  28. I think that “Cornerfix” should be able to fix the color shift in the 15mm VC. Not 100% sure.
    Sergio

      • If the pics that are floating around showing an app for the camera with in camera adjustment profiles for “peripheral shading” are for real, colour shift won’t need to be fixed with Cornerfix.

        It’s the blurring/smearing that will be the biggest issue. Not sure if the in camera adjustments can address that.

  29. Not sure anybody should be pre-ordering this camera just yet, believe me it’s Sony not Leica it will be everywhere by Christmas. Let blogs like this one test all the lenses as Steve says he will do, then make your call I have 2 M lenses Lux 50 Cron 35 if it’s magic on the Lux but has color problems on edges on the 35 I won’t buy it, we are a bit like puppy dogs waiting for a new bone on these hyped camera releases. I sense with Steve he is going to test this camera like no other.

  30. STEVE: Have you checked out SLR Magic’s newer versionof their M to NEX-adapter? Not the one with telescopic macr-function, that is sloppy. But with the 35mm/T0.95 CINE came an adapter with tension springs, that keeps everything very tight.

  31. Steve,

    My #1 question is: Will the Voitlander 15mm Heliar work on the A7r?

    No digtial camera made today can use this lens without two main issues:
    1. Color shift on the edges, usually lots of magenta.
    2. Severe blur in the corners due to the sensor’s micro lenses unable to handle the light path of the lens.

    Note on adapters and the 15mm Heliar:
    I have a Novoflex for mounting on a E-M5, this adapter will not allow infinity focus with the Heliar. Focus is just slightly behind infinity so the image is just slightly blurry.
    The standard Fotodiox adapter will allow focus to and past infinity so I you know you are getting a sharp image when you use focus magnify.

    If the Voitlander 15mm Heliar work on the A7r then I will get it for sure. If not then I will be in no big hurry but may still get on for use with a good 50mm lens for people shots.

    • This is from first review by Ron Scheffler

      Important note: Ron tested the A7 and not the A7r. And it looks like it’s the A7r and not the A7(!) has has offset micro lenses that might do better with rangefinder lenses (Source: Sony.net A7r and Sonynet A7 and Sony Australia video at 17:30).

      The conclusion is quite negative for the A7.

      I’ll spill the beans now – none of the rangefinder lenses performed as well on the a7 as they do on the M9, specifically referring to image smearing into the edges/corners. Some are not so bad and are good enough when stopped down sufficiently, but some are outright horrible (ZM21, 28 Cron), to the point where one would think the lens was defective. Naturally there were some variable that couldn’t be tested, such as whether the Novoflex NEX-Leica M adapter I used was perfect.

      and

      My take on the results: I’m hoping these lenses will fare better on the a7R. Results on the a7 are for the most part disappointing. All I can surmise at the moment is that the toppings on the a7′s sensor work against achieving optimal (or in some cases, good enough) results with the rangefinder lenses I had available for this test.

      • Yeah thank you for the info. Rapidly losing interest in the Sony. I mean I know the Zeiss lenses for the Sony will be great, but I’ve already got thousands invested into some great glass on my Nikon and if I can’t comfortably use M mount glass I think I may have to pass on the Sony. Really can’t wait to read the reviews though.

    • I didn’t know the Sony came with your website emblazoned below the company name, cool…….They should personalize the cameras with peoples names there.

  32. I’ve come to a decision regarding the A7/r.

    Its prism housing doesn’t look like an F2’s. It looks like a Contax RTS (which is sitting right in front of me).

    That’s not a bad thing.

  33. Steve, I urge you to recommend the NovoFlex and NO others…it is machined and resembles a fitting for an aircraft engine -tight, tough and beautifully anodized (the Nikkor F mount to Sony E mount), hard chromed brass face plate with six mounting screws…buy the cheap stuff and expect to lose expensive glass when the mounting screws of the face plate work loose..if you have to use the wobbly cheap adapters, at least secue the mounting screw heads with Loc-Tite

    • While I haven’t used a Novoflex, I’ve used a rayqual adapter that was amazing – perfect fit to Leica M lenses with no play to speak of. I bought it after having a cheapo adapter break on me – it wobbled, and on top of that, it stopped latching onto the lens, which could have caused the lens to fall off the camera! You get what you pay for, and while the cheap adapters work for a while, eventually they can cause you to spend more $$ on a new adapter or on a new lens after the old one falls off the camera. “Buy nice or buy twice” is a good adage here.

  34. Hello Steve

    Could you also please please please! test a 28mm rangefinder lens if possible such as the Leica Elmarit ASPH or Zeiss Biogon or even one of the Voigtlander 28mm wide aperture designs?

    Thanks

    Nico

  35. Steve,

    If you’d like I can forward or share pictures of Voigtlander 12mm ultra wide (F5.6 ASPHERICAL II LENS) on my NEX6. Colors seem to be good/ok so I am hoping it will be usable on the a7r. I also use a china made helicoid leica m to sony e mount which allows me to get closer to subjects while also being able to infinity focus. I use this with other manual focus lens such as: vintage pentax super takumar 50mm1.4 (first using a m42 to leica m adapter), voigtlander ultron 35mm 1.7, and voitlander heliar 75mm 2.5.

  36. Actually. I have had different results with NEX-LeicaM adapters. The Novoflex always work flawlessly but the the cheaper ones are not consistent. The big problem is infinite focus. Some adapters pull it off, some DO NOT.

    I recommend Novoflex for a fully hassle-free experience and fast infinite focus.

  37. thx for this update. I actually did not know the 15mm Vc and other wide angle M glass still has color shifts! Vignetting is easy to correct, but color shift needs a bit more work to process out from the raw file.

  38. Steve, what do you think about the future of Leica’s digital bodies now that Sony has released its A7 and A7/R? Is Leica dead (Not talking about the lens maker but about the digital body maker)? With such a price difference and apparently the technicality of the Sony it is gonna be tough if not impossible for Leica to justify its price positioning in the compact full frame market segment…

    • Matthieu, I do not think so, especially for those who prefer an OVF with focusing ability, shutter speed dial and full frame (which excludes Fuji). Unfortunately for our wallets, Leica Ms remain the only ones with those features. I really tried to love my RX1… However 1) the lack of power (I live in Canada and during cold days the RX1 would literally freeze in my hands which was not the case with the M9; hope that the grip with 2 batteries will help the A7) 2) the lack of visual/tactile shutter speed control (subjective personal preference) and 3) the lack of optical viewfinder did not allow me to embrace it. In my view, an OVF enables me to be part of the scene and to catch the moment in a more natural way. Another important point for some is the ability to compose and focus at the same time. I find this less fluid with the EVF magnification technique: you will always loose that 1 critical second when shooting people. Some will disagree but to me, the precision of focus peaking seems more adapted to video than stills (moreover not available in non-magnified view on the RX1). Finally, focusing in an EVF at f2 is very different from focusing at f8. On the RX1, the lack of physical references on the lens such as focus stops (example 0.7m and infinity) as well as distance scale did not help. You could always focus at full aperture and close it for the shot but… another lack of fluidity in my view (OK for static subjects). No comments about image quality here: it was just fantastic from the RX1. So the question is: are those M-specific features worth 5000$? I would say no… but I sold the RX1 and went back to the M9…

    • Leica is still the only mfg that offers an optical rangefinder system on a digital camera.
      That is their market. The Sony is a FF mirror less camera, but it is not a FF optical rangefinder camera. So until someone apart from Leica makes one, Leica still has that niche market.

      Some may prefer the EVF of the Sony, but some prefer the OVF of the Leica. I recently checked out the EVF on the Sony a99 – which apparently has the same EVF as the Sony A7 – and I was not impressed. I much prefer the absolute clarity of the OVF compared to the TV-look of the EVF.
      Then again the Sony had some neat stuff like the digital level in the EVF. It just depends on personal preference.

      • Huss agree: Cosina could enter that market (they make Voightlander and Zeiss Ikons) but as far as I know they are film only. If sony licenced the zeiss/ voightlander rangefinder (or Nikon pulls the rangefinder from their old cameras and puts a sensor behind it) then it will get interesting.
        Or ugly. Some companies will end up being historical footnotes.

        • If Cosia would license this cutting edge technology from Sony and release Contax or Voigtlander digital rangefinder, it would be Awesome. I’m sure that a7 will affect the M and second hand M8 M9 sales significantly, anyway.

      • Thks for your point of view Huss! But it really prices the range finder feature at a very high cost… Not really sure that many photographers would be ready pay such a high premium for that… I have seen many guys going for the Fuji X100S or the Sony RX1 for street shooting but at that time still many other were sticking to Leica because of the full frame sensor and the IC lenses possibilities… I am really curious to see what will happen post A7 and A7/R release on the market… There will be a before and an after for Leica for sure…

        • Matthieu….using a RF is a very different experience to just about every other 35mm camera out there. For that reason alone Leica for now are safe, unless it stops being a style of photography people move away from.

          • p.s. yes it is worth the premium for many people as it’s the only digital way of doing this….

  39. I am using a wide angle 18 mm f4 ZM on my Leica M 240 and have noticed color shifts on the edges (Right and Left) when shooting long exposures in relatively low light (Blue hours especially)… Otherwise it is performing quite well in normal light conditions and at fast apertures but creating a slight vignetting…

    • May I suggest correcting with CornerFix software which you can download for free. I shoot with 15mm f/2.8 Zeiss Distagon on the Leica M240 and have the same problem with right and left magenta and red fringing. The software works great!

        • Hello, same combo here (m240 + zeiss 15 2.8 zm). Have you tried new firmware and code it as Leica 21 2.8? Magenta borders are gone, I think. Anyway, I had some LR presets to fix them before. Magenta = blue + red, same as lack of green, so a slight tint of green in LR5 with graduated filter or pencil solved it easily.
          I never got Cornerfix to work (my fault) nor insisted since it doesn´t fit into my workflow.

  40. Good plan…. we’ll wait to see your remarks

    But I guess Sony didn’t prepare an adpater of themselves which is reading the 6-bit code of leica,
    and build in all the correction profiles…. You already know that answer

    With 50 and up to 135 and more ( 🙂 ) it will be great

    Your picture with the 50 lux looks great….. Sony knows that

    • Tried it briefly and would never use it or buy it. It’s cheap, slow (aperture) and lower quality. A camera like this deserves a good lens attached IMO.

      • Well, at least it is faster than the X-Vario 😉

        I would still be interested to know whether that lens is any good IQ wise. I could be tempted by an A7 as a “backup” to my M. I would have no interest in investing in E-mount primes, as I’m well covered in M-mount lenses from 21 to 90mm, but I could be tempted by the kit for the convenience of the zoom and its AF.

        The Zeiss 24-70 is certainly better but at that price and bulk, I’d rather use my good old D700 with its 28-70 2.8 AF-S…

  41. A follow up question. A Leica lens aperture is always engaged. So if I mount a Leica lens on a Sony body and I am shooting at, say, f8, is the EVF image on a Sony body dark or does it adjust to maintain a consistent brightness? If the EVF doesn’t adjust, do I have to open the lens to frame the shot then stop it down to shoot?

    • This is what I’ve been asking. As Leica lenses do not stop down automatically, how does it work with them? Do you need to focus wide open, then stop down to meter? If so, I’ll stick with using Leica bodies.
      If the EVF does compensate, then dang I’ve got a 36mb full frame sensor to go with my Leica glass!

      Thanks for bringing this up gsutton.

      • I would think this would work like LV on any camera. The EVF would compensate in “stopped-down” mode. This also would mean that focus shift is something you’d not have to worry about. Of course if you were shooting at extreme f stops like f/16 or 22, EVF brightness may become an issue, but you’d be loosing a lot to diffraction before this point anyway.

        I have not touched the sony, but this would be my semi-educated guess.

      • The evf will show you what your exposure will be, e.g. if you have correct exposure it will be nice and bright, but if your under exposed it will be dark and so on. There is an option to have the evf control its brightness automatically, very useful when using flashes.

    • I use Leica glass on my Nex6 no problem. The viewfinder gives you an interpretation of the final image including any exposure comp. Set the aperture on the lens and leave the camera in AV and the camera does the rest. The only time it’s not accurate is for exposures over say 5 seconds as its guessing what the exposure will be when showing the preview on the vf.

    • The NEX-7 provides an option “Live View Display” which “Sets whether or not to reflect settings such as exposure compensations in screen display”.

      This generally provides a good ‘what you see is what you get’ experience. So yes; if you stop down in full manual mode the live view image will get darker. I find it only struggles to properly render what long exposures or manual flash images will look like.

      I expect the A7(r) will provide a similar option or operate in this way by default.

      The EVF on the NEX-7 does not offer the dynamic range of a desktop monitor displaying the RAW files so it is not quite ‘what you see is what you get’. This consideration may impact how you choose to expose an image if the EVF is your basis for setting exposure.

      Most of the time I focus using the aperture and exposure setting I have chosen for a particular scenario. No extra fiddling is required. In dark situations, slow shutter speeds and high ISOs can make it difficult to find ‘critical focus’ through the EVF rendering. In these scenarios I find it can be easier to focus by opening up the aperture (if you aren’t wide open already) and using faster shutter speeds at ISOs closer to the base. This makes the EVF rendered image slightly cleaner. The aperture can then be stopped down and the metering adjusted once focus has been attained.

  42. Steve, you may want to retry a Zeiss 21mm on your M. I have a Zeiss 21mm f2.8 ZM and it works fine on my Leica M and M9. Better than fine actually. No noticeable color shift. Incredibly sharp.

    • Are you sure? My ZM 21mm 2.8 definitely color shifts on the M. Is yours 6-bit coded? If so, what code do you use? I just fix my corners in post – the lens is so sharp it’s worth the extra couple seconds. I’m definitely interested to see how this lens performs on the new Sony cams.

    • Same, Zeiss 21 is perfect on the M as is the voigtlander a 12 and 15mm. Just code the lenses and create a profile using cornerfix. Anyone who states that they are bad or create color shifts should look into it further. I’m using these lenses with no issues, simply use Cornerffix if you are using a Leica m.

      • Anyone who states these lenses do NOT create color shifts are 100% incorrect. Using cornerfix as a software solution does not mean the lenses do not create issues. They do. They are far from perfect on the M or M9. That is, unless you use separate software to fix them, which you could do with the Sony as well. Problem is, not everyone wants to take that step or use more software to fix an issue that is there.

        • Not everything is perfect but with a bit of software these lens are fine, never would say they are perfect but with a bit of tweeking they can be used. At the beginning you stated the 15mm was useless unless used in BW, but they can be fixed. I’m sure Sony will have issues as every camera and lens has issues that someone doesn’t like. Learn to live with the issues and if they can be corrected in post then use this software if you want to get the most from them.
          Sometimes I feel that these chats on this site are degrading to some posters, even yourself Steve, every now and again you post a very abrupt reply. A fine example of this was the images of the homeless and drug afflicted. I understand that you fell no one is forced into drugs and has a choice but seriously you cannot make comments like that unless you have experienced it first hand.I wanted to comment on that but you stopped the chats as people retaliated to the comments. I was a heavy user for over twenty years, suffered depression and was suicidal, I used drugs to stop the pain and anguish….. all this was caused by being raped and beaten for 6 years as a child from 7 – 13 years old by two family members. Im in my 40’s now and only in the past few years have got clean and are dealing with it better.
          You dont have to post this but sometimes everyone should stop being so blunt, aggressive or abrupt and there would be less anger on forums/chatboards.

          • I fully agree Bradley and commend you for posting this. I wish you all the best; keep making photographs!

        • “100% incorrect” is a little harsh. I tried some shots with both the Zeiss 21mm f2.8 and the Lieca 18mm f3.8 on a Leica M after reading your comment. I shot them wide open and at f5.6. The camera didn’t recognize the Zeiss lens (the metadata says “lens not recognized”) and I was shooting only DNG so the camera did not apply any correction. Unfortunately I can’t attach photos here to show the results. What I found with the Zeiss is what initially appears to be a slight magenta on each side but the magenta mostly disappears when I fixed the vignetting in Photoshop. What remains is easily eliminated with a slight crop on each side, and I do mean slight. The even wider Leica 18 shows what might be a slight magenta on each side (less than the Zeiss) but it completely disappears when I corrected the vignetting in Photoshop. The problem was much more pronounced in the original M9 but much better after the firmware upgrade. More to the point, I don’t find the color shift an impediment to using the Zeiss 21 on an M. I have taken a lot of shots with it including more than a hundred on a recent trip to Russia and I didn’t notice color shifts in any of those shots. I corrected vignetting in the shots I printed so that may explain it. In my experience, and it is just me, you have to try to find the color shift to notice it and in real use it is a nothingburger.

          • I just sent Steve a couple of shots I took in Russia with my M9 and Zeiss 21 f2.8. They are just as they came out of the camera. There are some dust spots but no color shift or vignetting. I hope Steve will post them to show how the lens performs in the real world.

          • One more follow up then I will quit. It occurred to me that not recognizing the lens may have been part of the problem when I did some test shots this morning and got a slight magenta cast on the sides (which mostly disappeared when the vignetting was corrected. So I shot some more with the Zeiss 21 manually entering that it was a 21mm lens. The result was no color shift. None at 2.8 or 5.6. Some vignetting but not bad and easily corrected in Photoshop. Again, just my experience.

          • I’m pretty sure the Zeiss 18/4 coded as a Super Elmar would have been close to perfect on your M, at least it was on my M8 when I still had it.

        • Zeiss and CV aren’t any worse (in general) than Leica lenses when it comes to color shifts: wide angle Leica lenses also need software correction. It is just that, when Leica lenses are 6 bit coded, correction is automatic in camera and most RAW processing software. Shoot with a Leica wide angle lens with lens detection set to off and you will see the shift that is being corrected behind the curtain.

          For most Zeiss and CV lenses, you can find a good matching profile to correct for most of the shift. My CV 21 Skopar works very well when coded as a 21 Elmarit Pre-ASPH.

          The Zeiss 21 f/4.5 is a bit an outlier – the shift is enormous and not corrected by any Leica profile. But you can still manually correct with Cornerfix, Capture One’s LCC or Lightroom’s DNG Flat Field plugin.

          • flatlux,

            I think you have stated the issue well. The original M9 did not correct for color shifts and they were noticeable with the Zeiss 21mm. Leica issued a firmware upgrade that largely fixed the problem but the camera has to recognize the lens and apply internal corrections. For me that means setting the lens manually in the camera menu each time I attach it (then focusing through the rangefinder then framing through another viewfinder mounted on top). It is a hassle to use but it is great lens and much less expensive than the comparable Leica. Bottom line, if you are interested in the Zeiss 21, try it and see how it works. If it is causing unacceptable color shifts then don’t buy it. If it is working fine then don’t worry about it.

  43. Thanks so much. Anyone have experience with Metabone’s adapters? I’m thinking of getting one of those to go with the a7 I’m preordering.

    • CV12 CV15 G21/2.8 ZM21/2.8 ZM25/2.8 Tested on A7 and A7R. All of them have strong vignetting, color shift and corner smearing. Seems like only 30% of frame is clear and sharp. Thats mean olny 28mm and up can be usable with Leica to Nex adapters. For example CV35 1.2 works fine with regular M to nex adapter. All cheap adapters works fine.

      Can see images on forum.xitek.com

    • I purchase a Metabone adapter for my Leica S2 – it fell apart the screws that hold both parts of it together were loose and one fell out, they were far too short. The overall design was very dodgy.
      I return it and got a refund. If I had any sense I would not have
      contemplated using a cheap adapter.

    • I would guess the 2.8, since that one causes much less problems with M9 or M240. The other lens has the last element very close to image plane and it would be a wonder if it caused no problems in the corners.

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