Quick Crazy Comparison! Leica M-P 240 with 35 Cron vs Sony A7II with 35 Zeiss Loxia!

Quick Crazy Comparison! Leica M-P 240 with 35 Cron vs Sony A7II with 35 Zeiss Loxia!

JUST FOR FUN!! I have a Leica M-P 240 here with a Leica 35 Summicron ASPH. I also have my A7II with Zeiss 35 Loxia so I decided to run out back to take a couple of TEST shots, just for fun. I was curious about BOKEH of each lens and for my tastes, the Leica 35 Summicron won the Bokeh test for me. The Loxia is a tad busy in comparison. In either case, both of these cameras and lenses can do wonderful things but there are small differences in IQ and HUGE differences in using the cameras.

I have become so used to my A7II and Manual Lenses I adore the EVF and accurate focusing. With the M I adore the experience of shooting a rangefinder in a mature digital body. I also love the battery life of the M. Below are a couple of shots all wide open at f/2 to see the character of each lens. Nothing more, nothing less.

All were RAW and colors were not tweaked. What you see is what came out of the RAW conversion except for test shot #2 where I converted each to B&W to see if there was a difference. I used Alien Skin for the B&W conversion. Click images for larger versions.

You can read my A7II review HERE or my Leica M Review HERE.Β 

35CRONCOLOR

LOXIACOLOR

LEICAM35CRONF2

ZEISSA7II

LEICAGREENS

ZEISSGREENS

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52 thoughts on “Quick Crazy Comparison! Leica M-P 240 with 35 Cron vs Sony A7II with 35 Zeiss Loxia!

  1. Aside from the red skin tone of the first Leica shot (Sony looks better IMO) I don’t see too much difference. Perhaps under more difficult conditions one would perform better than the other (i.e. flare).

  2. I have to chuckle at the commenters who favor the Leica samples, when it is so obvious that the Sony/Zeiss samples have more detail and presence and much better highlights. Bokeh at f2 in a 35mm lens should not be anybody’s top priority, yet that seems to be the focus of many comments. Of course, everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion, but I have a feeling that there are some Leica owners here trying to justify their hefty investments.

  3. Yes, its easy to get swept up in nuances too and lose sight of the big picture (and bank balance). I shoot Leica M (Monochrom) and A7 (A7 and A7R) extensively and, overall, think the Leica lenses are still peerless. Zeiss lenses are amazing (I have a range of ZM and Sony Zeiss lenses), but I prefer the ‘solidity’ of the Leica lens’ output and say the same when I mount M lenses on my A7R. In shooting the 75mm Summarit-M on the A7R, I saw what I thought the best combo of the lot: Leica lenses that sing on the A7R and a sensor that’s noticeably ahead of what Leica has on offer. Its a shame the wide Leica M lenses are not so hot on the Sonys (but lucky for Leica).

    The M cameras still generate brilliant files with their own wide angles that few if any manufacturers can match, but when Sony/Zeiss have a good line up of primes in the 16-28mm range, Leica will only really be able to stay ahead for those who love the Leica M rangefinder handling (as I do for certain things). When it comes to output, Sony/Zeiss will be producing incredible files that leave nothing to be desired at all. The new 28mm f2 Sony looks somewhat promising, but I am still waiting for Zeiss to get stuck in with their wide angle Loxias! C’mon Zeiss, get a move on! In the meantime, the Leica Monochrom is there to stay: its plain incredible.

  4. Thanks for the quick comparison
    Forget the cost, forget the pixels, forget the brands. What makes you want to take Photos?
    They’re both great cameras and lens. I couldn’t carry the m240 around with me for long. It weighs as much as a D4s even though I love it. The Sony is clearly lighter. I think it’s the ugly step sister of the Leica but still is a great camera because it has what it takes on the inside.

    The camera that makes me want to take photos isnt even in your test.
    It’s nice to know the comparison but it’s not what makes me want to get out to take photos.

  5. A hate to be the resident curmudgeon but once again I see a post that seems to appeal to people with more money than brains. Mr. Batisch noted he would like to see a comparison between the Cron and a Canon 35 2.0 IS. How about a comparison with a Canon FD 35 2.0? Several posters noted a $ 7,000 difference in the tested combos. By today’s B&H prices of $ 7,950 for the M-P 240 and $ 3,150 for the Cron, the total comes to $ 11,100. B&H will sell you an A7II for $ 1,698 and a Loxia 35mm for $ 1,299 for a total of $ 2,997. Difference = $ 8,103 not $ 7,000. The A7II, a Novaflex adapter and a fine condition Canon FD 35.2 will cost you $ 2,078 tops and you will likely get a UV filter and a case for the Canon at my estimated $ 200 cost. So now the difference is over 9 grand? So you spend $ 9,000 more so you can have “light more decisively etched” or ” more reddish tones” or images “more like film”?
    Really? Isn’t that why God made Photoshop? Move the red slider a bit and “reddish” changes. A touch more contrast makes the light “more decisive”. My rant is over – enjoy your pixel peeping.

  6. I’ve spent almost 3 weeks in Myanmar shooting the A7s and A7 II with all Sony/Zeiss lenses.
    I think they are a much better travel kit than anything Leica can offer, giving near DSLR capabilities with zooms and pretty decent IQ.

    I still think that Leica has the best IQ, but it requires the best Leica lenses to extract it.
    I’m talking 21 SEM, 50 Cron APO and 90 Cron APO – all of which I own.

    I went to Myanmar thinking that if the Sony’s performed as good as I’d hoped, I would sell my Leica gear.
    That’s just not happening.
    There is a magic that you get with any of the aforementioned lenses shot wide open on the M or MM that I have not been able to reproduce with any Sony lens on either the A7s or A7 II.

    Stranger still is that I MUCH prefer the rendering and color from the A7s with any lens to the A7 II, so if any body would get sold it would be the A7 II.

    If anyone is interested in my work from Myanmar, checkout my blog:

    aliveinhere.tumblr.com

  7. I agree with barjohn1. I like the skin tone of the Sony. It has that sort of yellow waxy look that is much more pleasing than the realistic Leica red skin tone. πŸ™‚

  8. Very intersting – and daring – comparison and eye-opener. I find the Zeiss lenses are generally too clean and sharp, but the Sony a7II performs very well.

    I think those who choose the Leica simply want Leica, but the comparison shows that you can get going with the look for much less. I would start with he Sony and then add a second-hand Leica Summicron ASPH, I think.

    That’s 1,698 for the camera and hen a secondhand Leica Summicron f/2.0 ASPH can usually be found for around $1,600 – $2,500 (depending on patience to wait for the right one). Only a few hundred more than the Zeiss. And the Leica lenses keep their value.

  9. I see the differences being mentioned – or at least most. (I’m a newbie) And in the side-by-side I have preferences. But both combinations seem to yield great (though certainly not identical) images.

    Sometimes I stand in the greeting card aisle trying to choose between the card in my right hand and the card in my left hand. I go back and forth…”This one is clever” “That one is deep”. In the end I have to remind myself that the recipient will just be thrilled to have received a card – either one. And she will never think to ask “Why didn’t you get the other one”

    This is a little different because we make images not just for others – but also ourselves. But still, I think I could learn to be happy with the Luxia on the Sony. Or the Cron on Leica. Or maybe the Luxia…

  10. I own none of these and not likely to get them in the future (no interest). Good to know they all can take pictures. πŸ™‚

  11. Having just seen the Cartier-Bresson exhibition in London, sponsored by Leica, I think it would be safe to say that just as good a decisive moment / amazing composition is capable of being shot on either camera / lens combination…

    It’s down to personal skill and preference in shooting style to capture the perfect image. The Sony is better than the Leica if you want to use an EVF and Live View, with better quality at high ISO; but the simple Leica rangefinder approach really does have its moments, for which the M9 rather than the M240 actually offers something different, perhaps even more film like…

    This comparison for me just proves yet again, the M240 is pointless… I bought the A7ii and have kept my M9. Thanks for the test Steve.

    1. I came to same conclusion and kept my M9 and M9P, no M240 for me, but I did buy a Sony A7r with the 55mm 1.8 and an adapter for my old Leica R lens. But I am being spoiled by autofocus with the exceptional Sony / Zeiss 55mm lens.

  12. I slightly prefer the Leica look and in the first example it renders more 3D. But with the difference in cost one can build a complete Sony FF kit including a second body.

  13. I like the bokeh better on the loxia, only slightly though. The colors from the leica setup are more pleasing to my eye though, but post processing can take care of that to some degree.

  14. If Sony release budget FF : A7s sensor, 3axis IS, NO evf, tilt rotating touch screen
    It’s game over …
    Well kind of as far as putting old lenses on mirrorless.

  15. Hi everybody!
    Do you know that the light changes every second?
    So, the result depends not only on the camera but also on the time the photo was taken.
    Pleased, don’t forget that result depends also on the photographer: even if he is the same one, his mood, tense and so and can modify the photography.
    Any way congratulations! It goes wihout saying that I am speaking of the pretty model.
    Best regard.
    JCB

  16. I like the Leica system results better. The first thing I notice is the difference in exposures, the Leica a bit under and Sony/Zeiss a bit over. This plus a little difference in white balances accounts for the biggest color and contrast differences IMO. Zooming in on out-of-focus areas, the Sony/Loxia begins to look like a cloning tool gone wild, the Leica much less so. At more normal viewing distance both are good. And judging by your shadow in the first picture Steve, you were leaning in a bit… to “nail” the rangefinder focus?
    A fun comparo and useful to me, a Canon shooter dreaming of a A7rII/Loxia combo.

  17. I don’t have or use either camera..or lens. I am sure they are both extremely good. My vote…..Leica….as pleasing image and pixel peeping.
    Strangely, I agree with one comment above that looking at out of focus areas on Sony initially made me a little dizzy.

  18. I am not an expert, but I see too there is more detail with the loxia in respect to hightlights. (In the first picture)
    In the loxia you can see more clear the left green plant that is behind. And it is the same with the wall right back of the picture. Yo can see more details than with the cron. The cron images are darker in those parts.
    For 7000 $ diference I will take the loxia anytime.

  19. Very interesting comparison, Steve! I love them both, but for different reasons. The Zeiss is sharper and has better microcontrast than the Leica. Some people might find the way the Loxia renders is a little “clinical”, but I just love that Zeiss pop. Besides, if I need to I can always soften it a tad in post.

    But I adore the Chron, too. I own one that I use on my Monochrom often and it’s superb. It has creamier bokeh than the Zeiss and it has that classic Leica organic look. Both fantastic lenses. You can’t go wrong with either.

  20. I like the color and feel of the Leica more than the Sony but not for $7,000 more tho.

    Oh, I like the Sony B&W tonality minus the bokeh, I like the Leica on that point too.

  21. I might slightly prefer the M+Summicron combination, mainly in the first shot.
    To me the M images seem to be a little smoother and warmer and the A7II photos with a little more bite but also a bit more artificial.
    What I see here with those 2 lenses I think both are great and the differences do not seem very pronounced.
    Regarding the 35 Summicron on the Sony, I have tried once and the corners did not look great.

  22. To my eyes, the Sony/Loxia combo shows better control of highlights, better modeling of facial features and greater presence oveall . Background bokeh is very similar between the two setups, and I would not let that be a deciding factor in which to buy, assuming that one could afford the Leica gear in the first place.

  23. both have bad bokeh to me… transition between focus zone and out of focus is not smooth, this is particularly bad in the fist picture, where the tree is too much in focus, or the way to the wall too much out of focus, in any case the transition is abrupt after the tree, and not pleasant for me

    1. Syle, she is leaning on the tree. These are f/2 lenses after all, not 1.4. Have you seen better bokeh transitions in 35/2 images? Please share because we all want great images. I am not trying to be a smarty-pants here, I am genuinely interested.

      1. Hey Brad, while “better” bokeh is a matter of taste, for me personally the RX1/r beats both these hands down when it comes to smooth bokeh for a 35/2 lens. Check out Steve’s article here:

        http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2013/07/10/the-big-one-sony-rx1r-vs-sony-rx1-vs-leica-m-240-with-35-zeiss-biogon/

        To me, both of these lenses are similar in bokeh to the Zeiss Biogon in that comparison. A bit on the nervous side for me while the RX1/r is creamy smooth.

        But as they say, different strokes for different folks.

        All the best and take care….

        1. You are absolutely right. The RX1R is a special camera and the bokeh is creamy smooth. I just wish it wasn’t 35mm (I prefer 50mm).

  24. Awesome comparison! More please!

    First picture: white balance better on the Leica, bokeh identical, overall incredibly close.

    Second picture: identical.

    Third picture: bokeh somewhat better on the Leica, Loxia slightly more contrasty.

    As illustrated here one again, the A7 + Loxias is become one very impressive poor-mans-Leica system. I cannot wait to see more of these lenses!

  25. The difference in image quality is big enough for me to cancel out one of the two Systems πŸ˜‰
    But i found that both cameras benefit massively from a custom camera calibration. They both dont look to impressive color wise with the LR Option nor with the embedded option. But that might be different or meaningless if you use another RAW converter…

  26. I thought the bokeh was close. The A7II and Zeiss images seemed crisper and the colors looked more natural, especially the skin tones which is one area that always drove me nuts with the Leica’s in that reddish/magenta cast. I forget the gentleman that used to pose profiles to try and correct this but it is still there. Both are producing very high quality images.

  27. For me, the Cron is producing a more eye pleasing bokeh. It could be just me, but the way the Loxia rendered out of focus areas makes me dizzy (no intent to offend any one).

    1. No, it’s not just you πŸ™‚ It is the same for me. If you look at the Cron’s bokeh it looks nice, with the Loxia you have to, well, look away after a while.

    1. Alan, I had the 35 Cron ASPH on my A7. well, for me it doesn’t worth except you want Leica lenses in any case. it performs much better on Leica’s bodies.
      ok it’s anyway a SUPER piece of glass obviously. if you want it pick one of those used at least.
      …and this is MY personal opinion of corse πŸ˜‰

    2. Alan,
      I had the same A7 and 35 ‘cron combination, and I have to agree with Nicola. It’s great on a Leica, but you lose so much resolution near the edges on the A7 that it’s not the same lens at all. It can still shine in certain situations, and is wonderful to handle, but wasn’t worth the money given its limitations.

  28. It also seems there is somehow a little more sharpening going on in the Sony photos, as well as more reddish tones in the face with the Leica.

  29. It’s hard to describe but there’s a kind of “directionality” to the bokeh out of focus highlights in the Sony shots, would you agree? It’s not meant to imply better or worse, just different.

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