28 vs 28. Mirrorless vs Mirrorless. Sony vs Leica. Just for fun ;)

28 vs 28. Mirrorless vs Mirrorless. Sony vs Leica. Just for fun 😉

JUST FOR FUN! We are out of town on a little getaway in the pines of Northern Arizona and in my bag I have the Sony A7RII, and the Leica M-D 262. I also have the Sony 28 f/2 and the Leica 28 Summilux. I walked out of our rental cabin this morning and snapped a few shots, side by side, just to see the color differences and even detail and overall “vibe”. This is not a tech or scientific test, at all.

These were all shot as RAW and were not edited, so they are as they came out of the camera in regards to color, contrast, etc.

What I found was the Leica had more out of camera POP in the color and contrast, and I would mark that down to the lens. Keep in mind, the Leica 28 Lux is a $6200 lens, the Sony is a $450 lens. When you look at these comparisons in that light, then the Sony is looking mighty good! As for shooting experience, I am still enjoying the heck out of the Leica M-D 262. The Sony is quicker, easier and WYSIWYG due to the EVF, but the Leica has more charm.

You can click the images below for larger versions!

1st up, just a snap at f/2 with both cameras and lenses. The Sony is more “mellow” with lighter color, less contrast and gives off a very workable file. The Leica is more about contrast and pizazz. 

YELLOSONY

YELLOWLEICA

Again, the Sony comes out of camera a tad dull. The Leica, brighter, more colorful and more pop. Both could have had the highlights recovered. The Leica has much more detail in the wood grain as well (stool)

SONYSEAT

LEICASEAT

Both at f/5.6 here, must click to see full 100% crop. The Leica is sharper and has more detail here without questions. It also has that brilliance that I am so used to seeing with most Leica glass. 

SONYDETAIL1

LEICADETAIL1

How about BOKEH? Let’s see…

WOW, the little Sony is holding its own here…click ’em for better versions. The Leica is more crisp but also has vignetting, 

SONYSTARS

LEICASTARS

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44 thoughts on “28 vs 28. Mirrorless vs Mirrorless. Sony vs Leica. Just for fun ;)

  1. The focus is different for every shot. For the bench shot, the Sony focus point was very forward as you can see the wall corner is much sharper than the Leica shot. So, of course the bench wood grain was out of focus. Then, the Star shot, the Sony was much sharper on the fence below than the Leica shot. The processing is also different with Leica pumping in more yellows and more contrast. A small bump in Sony’s sharpness will increase contrast and then a little warming effect would help much to lessen the gap. Regardless, the Sony 28mm F2 is a great lens, which I bought after Steve’s testing. It is light, small, cheap and most importantly, good.

  2. Might be that the Leica-lens has more punch or however you would name it – but all pictures taken with the Sony lens are looking more natural to me and I would prefere it based on the samples shown in the article.

    If this is due to the differrences in light (there is, just look i.e. at the shadows at picture #1 & #2) or different exposure (picture #3 & #4) – I do not know as I wouldn’t be able to judge sharpness based on the picture set #5 & #6 – but showing we all pictures and asking me to choose one of the lenses based on them it would be the Sony for me

  3. I’m of the mindset that the less you have to resort to PS, the better. If money weren’t an object, I would choose the Leica lens. Until most people on here saw a side by side, they really had no idea that their Sony 28mm lacked pop and contrast. Is it worth the price difference? If I were at the upper echelon of the game, I would say yes.

    1. RAW is meant for processing. If you don’t want to process, then shoot JPG and preset your preferences in-camera. No one is forcing anyone to do anything.

  4. Do you think that the Sony may come closer in color if you punched it up a bit in photoshop?

    Just wondering if you tried it.

  5. Yeah Steve! How much for the 28 Leica-Good God!
    As for My eyes Sony colour stands out better contrast for some Reason leica looks a bit washed out muted-some detain overall Sony looks Crisper but I’m still Sold on Leica Optics albeit very high cost! Any one aware of Alt Asian companies selling Near Leica quality lens out there saw some on ebay-Also Pentax M 135 3.5 w uv filter Lens hood (free) disused box of old various SLR-RF bodies!
    CLA’d Cannon 50 1.4 I still use adapters with legacy lens. I Fight more in capturing pictures but by third try the results are Superp.
    Don’t believe the digital hype I find the market cost over priced on most lens.
    Thanks for this site Steve You Rock and Roll. Press. Advance

    1. You have for the past 8 years seen both serious long reviews and just for fun tests..been doing this since day one. Just check the site index for hundreds of reviews and hundreds of just for fun posts 😉 Part 1 of the -D review was posted a week or so ago, and since it is an M 240 without an LCD or video or auto ISO, its an M 240 without those things. Same sensor, same IQ, same low light, etc.

  6. I can’t afford the Leica, but the Sony 28mm lens is getting absolutely spanked here — as it should for the price difference. It would seem OK if you never saw the Leica, but a side by side comparison like this really exposes its mediocrity. And this appears to be with software correction on, doing its best to “correct” the lens. I used to own this lens, and the uncorrected files had some of the worst barrel distortion I’ve ever seen.

  7. No question the Leica has better contrast and is probably a bit sharper but the biggest difference is likely just that Sony’s higher dynamic range results in flatter RAW files, especially depending on what you’re using to process them. If money were not object, and I had the Sony to fall back on, I’d like one of these screen-less Leicas for fun though.

    1. No question, this is not just a comparison of lenses, but of cameras as well (not to mention the LR profiles.) I should think that the Sony files will be much more malleable in PP.

  8. Don’t get your knickers in a twist, ladies – all Steve is doing here is what most of would like to do and would do given the opportunity; except he is brave enough and generous enough (and goodness knows, thick skinned enough) to post them for us to ‘look at’…… see those last two words! very important to remember the context of what you are looking at.
    Michael Mushi for example says…”CANNOT do any type of proper comparison like this. Sorry” – point me to where Steve says that this is a ‘proper comparison…..?? no…..? thought not!
    Get a grip; it’s just pictures.

  9. The focus looks different on the bench photos. Corner of cabin appears to show more detail in the Sony photo, and the floor beneath the bench in the sony also looks to be out of focus, not simply amateur of less resolution. No argument about the general lens comments.

  10. Would have been nice to see the images from the Leica Q camera with the fixed 28mm lens, and a much more comparable price range. I’m not comfortable with comparison of raw unadjusted images, since no one uses these anyway. Perhaps the unadjusted jpg images, but why not just finish off both images in PS or Lightroom and compare those? Okay, one’s own bias enters in during the finishing process. In my opinion, most of the current camera models today are worth the money and produce great images. So, it comes down to brand loyalty, ease of operation, and cost. If you have the money, then why not spend it; otherwise look for the best deal you can afford and go take great photographs. [Part of my conclusion comes from looking at dpreview comparison of images from selected cameras–and unknown lenses! They always look very close to me in resolution and color.]

  11. Leica has blown highlights everywhere. Am I the only one that sees this??? Look at the sky. Look at the highlight on the floor underneath the chair with the yellow pillow. Look left from the yellow box at the ground.. there is like a burned circle. I mean.. it’s everywhere burned. Either the picture profile settings are less than optimal, or it serves me as another example why I think Leica is so over-rated..

    1. I think except for the possibly the sky… I don’t think there is any unacceptable blow out in the Leica images. It just shows that the Sony sensor has higher DR than the Leicas. More of a function of the body than the lens… Besides your complaint is unwarranted for this type of photo subject matter. This is still life/landscape, not a product shoot

  12. Sorry to be negative, but, just 2 posts here:

    1) The lighting conditions are TOTALLY DIFFERENT with both cameras. CANNOT do any type of proper comparison like this. Sorry.
    2) All the Leica has is substantially more contrast, that’s all, nothing more! That’s where the “pop” is, and, way too much in fact. For the most part, the Sony samples are much more unprocessed looking and natural.. and less highlights near clipping which is allover the place with the Leica, most obviously on the stool photo and the washed out areas around the tree against the near pitch white sky.. painfully horrod to look at.

    Sony wins, hands down. Flat, natural and organic. Feel free to disagree and think the Sony is blah..

      1. Hi Steve,

        While I think the lighting was mostly the same… It isn’t the exact same, at least not for the crate shot. Clearly the leaves shifted and the Leica shot has a bit more sunlight punching through in some parts. The rest is comparable to make no difference. However the Sony pixel peepers are bothering the heck out of me with their heckling.

        John

  13. These results to me are surprising as I did not expect to see such a big difference between the two w/o even having to enlarge the images.

  14. Leica saturation/warm tone way of processing adds contrast and a “pleasing” image look. However at the stool picture, that red thing in the background dominates the image a way it should not. I’d rather have the Sony image as starting point in PP, enhancing the main subject.
    The 28/2 Sony does pretty well, but we miss a HQ 28mm in the Sony lens line up. My Batis 25/A7R2 would be a strong contester to the Leica combo.

  15. Hi Steve, I like your provocative articles, such as this one comparing an overly expensive outfit versus a reasonably priced one.The difference is really immaterial in terms of picture quality because with a little post processing, minor defaults in colour, sharpness etc. can be processed out. What really matters to make a good photo is the subject content, the lighting and the moment.The camera is incidental.Choice of camera is more about the technology,aesthetics,snobbery,bias,feel, etc.You just proved it! Thanks keep on stirring.

  16. Hi Steve ,
    Thanks for another great comparison. We’re u planning to do one of the leica 28 summilux vs the zeiss 28mm f1.4 Otus? Would love to see what the results are between those wonderful lenses.
    Thanks
    Eric

    1. Why? Because its colors had a little more pop..and where more contrasty?? These are things you can adjust in camera…or in Lightroom in post processing… what this showed was the ridiculousness of paying $13,000 for the leica combo when the $3800 Sony combo will do the job….

      1. Completely agree, this was my point. By the way I own a Leica MP plus aspheric lenses, a top Nikon system, a Fuji X system, and an Olympus M1 system. All give great pictures.Guess you need to know how to get the best from each system. Technology is great but maybe we should concentrate more on photography and less on all this comparison crap!

  17. This is such a great example in difference between lenses. You use a decent lens and think, “I don’t know — this lens seems as good as I’ll ever need” and then you use a phenomenal lens and realize that there really is a difference.

    1. It’s kind of a mixed bag. I feel like I get pretty good results with a 50 1.4 summilux asph on the Sony — and really enjoy getting autofocus with the Techart adapter. But, as the lenses go wider, the Sony really falls off. Results with the 35 lux are pretty good, but by 24 it’s pretty bad away from center. I wouldn’t mind seeing some shots with that 28 lux adapted, but my bet would be that it’s better on the Leica.

      BTW, and this a question for everyone, it seems like Leica solve the problem with expensive micro lenses on the sensor while Sony goes for lens design (and big lenses) to get the best performance out of their sensor — thoughts?

  18. I take the Sony A7RII with the Sony FE 28mm.f.2 and use the money saved on another piece of glass, so easy is this consideration …..

  19. Thanks for the comparison. It’s stunning that $5800 more gets you very little. The Leica lens looks nicer to my eyes but I think with a little post processing you can narrow the difference between the lenses to almost nothing….

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