One year of Leica Glass on Sony by Dominik Morbitzer

One year of Leica Glass on Sony

by Dominik Morbitzer

Dear Steve,

I’ve been following your posts for many years now. You are doing a great job and I thank you for the effort you put into the page. In my opinion this really is a big achievement and I am looking forward to your future reviews and articles!

I would love to share my own experience with photography, and would therefore like to contribute a user report to your site, “My little Leica Story” so to speak.

Within the years, photography has become my greatest passion and I have used different kind of equipment and combinations.

In 1999 my grandmother left me her Leica M3 and I started to teach myself photography. I still occasionally use the same camera today. The camera itself has a history of being used for shooting art happenings, e.g., of the Fluxus movement in the 1960s (see e.g.http://www.medienkunstnetz.de/works/und-in-uns/). In 2009 I bought a D-Lux 4 after reading your review and because I wanted a digital Leica, one that I could afford (unfortunately it got stolen a couple of years ago).

In 2011 I bought a Sony NEX-5N and mounted my old Leica lenses (Summicron 35mm and 50mm) on it. For quite some time I was very happy with this combo! Then in 2016 I finally went full frame buying myself a Sony A7 and using my Leica glass on it. I’m still amazed how these 60 year old lenses perform. I also fancy the vintage look these lenses create on the Sony A7 sensor. Recently, I also started using a vintage Zeiss Ultron (from the Icarex series) on the Sony Camera. Although I do sometimes miss an autofocus lens, I really enjoy using these lenses on the Sony A7.

 

What is next? My dream is owning the M10, but the price is still a big issue for me. Also, that would mean I could not use my old Summicron 50mm anymore, because the dual range lense cannot be mounted on digital M’s. For now I’m sticking to the combo, which I still love to shoot!

I hope you enjoy the photos!

Best regards,
Dominik

You can also follow me on Instagram and Flickr!

https://www.instagram.com/dominikmorbitzer/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dominikmorbitzer/

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41 thoughts on “One year of Leica Glass on Sony by Dominik Morbitzer

  1. It’s never the camera or the lens, giving me a pencil don’t make me an artist.

    Great photos and I’m sure you’ll take great pictures with any camera or lens. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. A very nice read! And great photos! I shoot with the A7r and occasionaly use some very nice Leica R lenses on it. 50mm 1.4, 80 1.4.

    Now Sony brought great G-Masterlenses which I use more and more, but your photos sure made me eager to shoot mre with the Leicalenses.

    Thank you for that and for your report!!

    Regards
    Dave

  3. What can I add? Wonderful, sleek images, I do like them a lot. And regarding your wish for an M10, well, I’ve never shot with a rangefinder camera (well, wait, I recently tried a sturdy Canon 7 with a Canon “Dream lens”, I could barely see what I was photographing), but, even if the M10 is a great camera, I find the Sony ones much more convenient in any way…

    1. Thanks Felipe! Sony makes great cameras indeed! I guess shooting with a viewfinder is kind of a philosophy on photography some people seem to enjoy more than others. I really like the viewfinder approach.

  4. These are absolutely gorgeous photos approaching works of art. This proves to me that photography is, as it always has been, in the eye of the photographer and not in the camera and lens technology per se. Here we have the bottom of the line A7 and several old adapted Leica lenses, and see what beauty they can produce. I have to remind myself every day that I do not really need that next iteration my current camera. What I need to do is keep taking pictures, with that eye to the art, that allows me to still treasure many of the photos I took over 50 years ago with my Exacta VX with 58 mm biotar. By the way, I still have the camera. It works and has a brighter split image view finder than any modern digital camera I haver used.

    1. Thank you very much James!
      Yes, we all run chase the next new version of some product too often, may it be some next Apple iteration or any camera update from Sony. I also have to remind myself that the old version is most of the time sufficient for my purposes (of course all companies work hard to want us to buy the new version). For instance, the A7 still is a very powerful full frame camera that creates incredible photos, and since I am not a professional photographer I do not need most of the new features anyway…

  5. Dominik,

    Loved the photos and your article, could give us more details about the lens, model, type or photos of them.
    regards
    Andy

    1. Thanks Andrew, glad to hear you like the photos! I own the Summicron 35mm V1 (8 elements) with goggles for the M3. I also have the Summicron 50mm Dual Range lens (this lens has a near focus range, which is pretty cool to use on the Sony as you do not need the near focus goggles for the viewfinder since you can use the EVF of the Sony). You can see from the names of my jpgs above which lens I used for the respective photo.

  6. Dominik

    These are truly wonderful images. For most of them I wish I could have been there as well. I have both of these lenses and you have given me the push to use them on my A7II exclusively for a while.

    Concerning the M10, while it is an aspirational camera for a Leica user, I’m not sure I would give up the artistic rendering you can achieve with your vintage lenses on the Sony. These lenses will render differently on a Leica body since the sensor is designed for these lenses.

    Before jumping to a digital Leica I would suggest using your M3 exclusively for a while to see if you miss the effects you get with the Sony.

    As you know from using your M3, using a Leica M is a lifestyle choice and for those of us that enjoy it, we really enjoy it. Which makes up for a lot of the cost differences. When you decide it is time for a digital M body, the M9/ME is a great choice while you wait for the right M10 to come along.

    PaulB

    1. Thanks Paul! Glad you like the photos. And thanks for your insights on what to expect from the lenses on digital M. I love the M3 and still use it from time time. I’d really love to shoot an M9 or M10 and see what I can get out of it. Also I like the viewfinder way of shooting…

  7. for those of us that hunger for the “next new thing” you have presented a wonderful exhibition of what can be achieved by art over science. These images should show you that you do not need an M to achieve beautiful art.

    1. That shot with the bikers under the bridge is awesome! But i reckon if you had been twenty feet further in and had the shadows of the bikers coming to the edge of the frame would have been another great shot too….nice work.
      I recently went on a shoot w a SonyA7 w Leica Summillux 50mm version 2 (1960’s) and a fuji XP2 and the sony Leica combo absolutely stole the show. Converted to black nd white that leica lens is absolutely beautiful.
      I would switch to Leica in a heart beat if they had an EVF version M. Im sorry but the rangefinder is for romantics. Give me an EVF M and Leica can have my money. Their lenses are the best in the business by far.
      Greta post

      1. Steve

        I understand the desire (need) for an EVF, a rangefinder and my 58 year old eyes are not the greatest combination any more. Having an EVF improves focus accuracy a lot, and is not that much slower once you have practiced with it.

        If you would like to use Leica lenses on a Sony body and get the more of the technically correct rendering that Leica lenses on a Leica body provides, I suggest you consider sending an A7 to KolariVision for their UltraThin filter conversion. This will give you the EVF and perform much more like a modern Leica with the modern lenses. Plus it will show just how good vintage (rangefinder and film SLR) can be in the technical sense. Wide angle lenses really benefit from this.

        I did this with my A7II and the rendering I get with my 21mm lens is almost the same as using my M9. Though there are two sacrifices you need to accept. First, the modification changes the color rendering of automatic white balance. So you will need to set a custom white balance for energy new light situation. And second, the double image artistic affect of the cover glass will be greatly reduced if not eliminated depending on the scene. The plus side is your Sony will give you 90+% of what a Leica will give you.

        The other options for you to consider are the M240, this M10, and the SL. The M240 and M10 both have external EVF options, and the SL has the best EVF available today. I have used an SL with my vintage lenses and it works quite well. The results using my wide angle lenses are better than I get with my converted A7, which is the most noticeable with a 21mm at infinity at the frame edges and corners. The difference is enough that I may consider used SL or M10 in the future.

        PaulB

        1. Hey Paul, I have owned and used the M10, M240 and SL, which I have also reviewed at length (all of these). The SL is in my top 3 fave cameras of all time. BTW, Dominik wrote this article, not me ; )

          1. Hi Steve

            Or should I say Mr. Huff. 😉 Since we now have two Steve’s responding in this thread.

            I was replying to the comments by the Steve above my post, and his comment about his desire to have a built in EVF in an M body.

            BTW, you omitted the M9 in your list of reviews and articles. Which are one reason why I now own one.

            PaulB

        2. Thanks for the tips Paul. There is something about this old vintage summilux. I would love to use it with an original M9 monochrom. Prices are getting there!

  8. for those of us that hunger for the “next new thing” you have presented a wonderful exhibition of what can be achieved by art over science. These images should show you that you do not need an M to achieve beautiful art.

  9. Hi, cool pictures. Go for the M10! You will love it. And: there are posts in the Leica user forum that you can use the DR on the M10 due to the thinner body! Best Hendrik

      1. Looks like Yes! My infos are only from the LUF, but it was only a problem with the thicker bodies like M240, so it should work if it fits – with rangefinder and LV.

  10. I’m so fascinated by the beauty and variety of your images. A real inspiration.
    (Condolences on the loss of the D-lux 4. I still use mine and cherish the image quality alongside one-inch and APS-C.)

  11. Beautiful rendering and unique look created with that cam – lens combo. Love the light captured in the snowy bridge picture. Well done!

  12. This is real photography, evidently with no tricks, just imaginative shooting of the scenes by a worker who knows how to select the most imptessive work, setting a very good example to the rest of us who seek improvements in our own output.
    Thanks, Dominik and also Steve, for putting on this very attractive display.

  13. Such wonderful rendering and feel in these photos.
    I have a Sony A7II with great lenses, but now you made me want to buy and old 35mm Summicron….

    1. Hi Ravia,
      I am contemplating to buy Sony A7ii to use my 50mm Summilux and 28mm Elmarit. What type of adapter is good for Sony A7ii on M lenses. Thank you.

      Joseph L

    2. Thanks Raviv! I really love that old Summicron lens. It’s far from perfect and has a lot of vignette when shot wide open but I get some really special results out of it…

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