Trying out the Sony NEX-7 in Vegas with the Leica 35 Summilux ASPH and Zeiss 24 1.8

Trying out the Sony NEX-7 in Vegas with the Leica 35 Summilux ASPH and Zeiss 24 1.8

This past weekend I was super busy (sorry for the delays in answering e-mails) as I was in Vegas with 6 others for the quick Vegas weekend trip that I maxed out to 7 attendees so we could all stay in the same suite and hang out. It was a crazy day as I arrived at the Palms Hotel at 11:30AM, hoping to get checked in by 12-1. Upon arrival I was told the Suite I had reserved would not be ready until 4, even though I was told 12-1 would be fine.

So I waited..and waited..and waited. I even visited a Psychic in the hotel Lobby and had a reading done.

By 3pm some of the guys were showing up so we hung out for a while waiting for the room. By the time 5PM came around I had complained a few times and then was told my room would NOT be ready until 6pm. Seeing that this was not acceptable I complained and after I said “Do you know who I am”?? (Joke, lol) they decided to upgrade the room to the “Real World Suite” which is the room MTV used to film one of the seasons of the Real World, and at no extra cost.

How awesome is that? A world famous suite and here we were, a few photo geeks just hanging out to shoot and talk shop. The following photos of the room were shot by Todd Hatakeyama with his Leica M9.

After they put us in the “VIP” room to wait for the room to be made available we waited more and when we finally made it into the room at 5:20 we were all going around taking snaps of the kick ass room and checking out the bedrooms. This room was AWESOME and I am thinking of doing a yearly mega Vegas meetup for up to 30-40 poeple and renting this suite for 7 of us to sleep in for the weekend and all of us to enjoy during the day as HQ  – could be a blast.

By 6pm, all of the guys had arrived and we decided to head out and shoot in Vegas instead of blowing all of our cash at the blackjack tables. Photo below was also shot by Todd and his M9.

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I had the Fuji X-Pro 1 with me along with the 18 and 35mm lenses as I wanted to shoot with that camera 98% of the time to test out usability, speed, accuracy, and image quality for my upcoming review. I also brought along the Sony NEX-7 with a Leica 35 Summilux ASPH and the Zeiss 24 1.8 “just because”. The other guys had Leica, Olympus, Nikon, Canon and Panasonic so we had a great variety there.

We started walking and shot from 6pm to around 10:30 PM and then headed back to the hotel for some drinks. We had a good time but it went by crazy FAST. I will be including some shots from Vegas in my X-Pro 1 review but I just wanted to show a few snaps I took with the NEX-7 a nd Leica 35 Summilux ASPH FLE from our room. After comparing side by side with Todd Hatakeyama (who took the 1st photo at the top of this page of me shooting with the NEX) we both decided we preferred the richer rendering of the Sony with the Leica over the Fuji with the Fuji 35 1.4. Then again, the Sony combo would cost you about $7k where the Fuji would come in at around $2200.

My Fuji review is coming soon, so stay tuned. For those wondering if I even like it I can say that the IQ is phenomenal but usability is very X100 like. For image quality  – to me, I still feel the best of the best comes from the Leica M9 with Leica glass and the 35 Summilux FLE is IMO, one of the best, of not THE best Leica lens you can buy. Paired up to the NEX with the focus peaking, it is quick and easy to focus and the results are rich and show you the Leica character.

My opinion on the whole NEX system? I find the NEX-7 is a great camera with some limitations. When shooting the 7 it demands the best glass you can give it. With lesser lenses it suffers a bit but with the Zeiss and Leica glass it excels. The body is simple and easy to shoot with, it is fairly quick and very versatile. I did get a few mis-focused shots where the camera told me it locked focus but clearly did not. This was with the Zeiss 24 1.8 and I also had that issue at times when I did my review of this camera months ago.

The NEX-7 is not the best at high ISO in the Sony lineup as the lesser NEX-5n beats it in this department and the video capabilities of the 7, while gorgeous, have been giving me some overheating issues. Other than that I have been enjoying my time with my NEX-7. YES, YES…The Fuji stuff is coming!

The images below were shot with my NEX-7 and Leica 35 Summilux ASPH FLE

I also shot a few with the Zeiss 1.8…

and another one from Todd of me…good timing todd, lol (the truck was driving by behind me when he snapped)

I want to thank all of those who attended! It was quick and fun, and even though I was wiped out from my 6 hour wait in the hotel lobby and 4 hour drive to Vegas I had a great time. We all headed back home on April 1st and before leaving I found out that I would be touring the entire world with Seal as part of a Leica promo deal. Wow, I wasn’t even aware of this news! Lol.

Next up for workshops  – Hong Kong with Gary Tyson at the end of May and a 7 day East Coast and Canada photo Cruise (Yes, as in Cruise Ship)! Can’t wait!

As for the 35 Lux ASPH II…they are hard to find but the best bet would be Ken Hansen (e-mail at, PopFlash or Dale Photo.


  1. Curiously, I like the b/w results much better than color. It also helps covering the problems of chromatic aberration

  2. steve,
    can you by any chance give me the phone # from the pic where the girls are …? that blonde looks yummy !!
    thanks in advance

    p.s. – great pics and all that mumbo jumbo too.

  3. is there any difference between:
    1) Sony Nex 5n + 35 Summilux FLE
    2) Sony Nex 7 + 35 Summilux FLE
    3) Fuji X-Pro 1 + 35 Summilux FLE


    • Of course. Different sensors. I have not been able to shoot the 35 on the Fuji as I do not have an adapter yet. But it is great on the 7, and the 5 will give you better high ISO and possibly even sharper results.

  4. Quick question, Steve:

    How similar are the CA and color shift issues found with NEX-7 and wide angle M lenses (and some not-so wide) to the problems you found when using older, non-coded lenses on an M9?

    If they are similar, it would suggest there IS a potential software or firmware fix for these issues.

  5. What a weekend! Can’t wait for you to do the Seal/Leica tour as your photos and posts will be amazing!

    Actually, I’m hoping that means something big coming from Leica …



    • This lens has CA on the M9 and Sony – in fact, I have yet to use a fast high quality (1.4 or faster) lens that does NOT have CA on digital. The 50 Noctilux has mass amounts of CA when shot at 0.95 in high contrast as well.

      • So does the 35 Lux Asph ! I had the chance to quickly try this lens as my favourite dealer here in Paris had one in stock : too much CA for such a famous lens !
        I was very disappointed when I opened the photos in LR3 purple fringes on all the bright part of the photos (even when stopped down to 2.4).
        I can’t understand why Leica is asking for 3750€…

        I was there this morning and I mounted the excellent C-Biogon 35. Back home, when I opened the files on my Imac : WOW !!! The same 3D pop aspect I have with my Planar and NO CA at all.
        Zeiss lenses have this something that Leica lenses will never have…

          • I don’t have Leica camera yet, just three lenses: super elmar 18, lux 35 asph fle, lux 50 asph. No cz comes close to luxes. The CZ 18 is better close distance performer than SE 18, but infinity is much better on super elmar.

  6. Great stuff Steve. The 35mm FLE is amazing. I am already on Ken’s H.’s list. Have a great time of the Leica tour. Experimental gear?!? Interesting!

  7. Hi Steve,

    Can you please write some more about Summilux 35 with Sony Nex 7? I have ASPH (pre FLE) version, but I can not afford Leica digital body – is in your opinion, Sony Nex 7 worth getting just for that one lens? I have two other systems (Canon and mFt), so I’m not so crazy to invest in third.

    Many thanks! And keep great work!

    • Hey Marko! Well, I am not sure the lens is worth buying for just the NEX but it is my favorite overall Leica lens really. It will become a 50mm equivalent on the NEX so you will not get the full potential of the lens which performs best on full frame.

      • Hi Steve,

        Thanks for answering – I already have the lens (it is absolutely perfect) and I’m looking for a way to use it on a digital body. I have Leica – mFt adapter, but i do not like it on mFt bodies due to 2x crop and difficult manual focus. I’m interested in Nex because of 1,5x crop and focus peaking, but I’m not sure if I should get Nex-5n or 7.

        Thanks again!

        • Oh I see! Well, I feel the NEX-5n with EVF attachment gives slightly better IQ than the 7, but the 7 has a better overall body style and functions. EIther are good and better than a M4/3 for use of this lens.

          • I own this pre-FLE version and operate it on a NEX-7 since 3 months. I´m very pleased by this combination. Image quality is great although I have to point out that at f 1.4 this combo is very susceptible to chromatic aberrations and the corners are not critically sharp. Most likely this is due to the well known problem of the NEX-7 with oblique light rays. It get´s better at f 2 and corner sharpness is very good at f 2.8.

            Steve, did you ever check corner sharpnes of the FLE with the NEX-7 at f 1.4 and compare with e.g. an M8 or M9? Differences are small but visible with the non-FLE when printing big.

  8. Great photos, thanks for sharing! And, as amazing as the M9 images at the top of this story are i am even more intrigued by the X-Pro 1. I know you need an M-mount adaptor for Leica glass, but how do you focus a manual lens like the Summilux on this camera? Do you have the same alignment method in your view finder as an M9?

    Finally, what is your opinion on the X-Pro 1 – does it live up to the hype?

    • Oops, my bad! Just read a little closer and it appears that none of the images above were taken with the X-Pro1. Still have the same questions though about using Leica glass on the Fuji, focusing, and image quality.

      Thanks Steve.

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