Battle of the Champions. Part 2. The Leica 50 APO by Brad Husick

Battle of the Champions. Part 2. The Leica 50 APO.

by Brad Husick 

See Part 1 HERE.

At the request of several readers, I have conducted some new tests using the Leica 50mm APO Summicron f/2 lens on three camera bodies: the Sony A7II using the Voigtlander VM-E Close Focus Adapter, the Leica M240 and the Leica Monochrom.

All these are shot RAW, wide open at f/2 and indoor shots are at ISO 1600, outdoor at ISO 200. All other camera settings were left on AUTO (WB, exposure, etc.)

The photos in this series are taken from the same positions in the same composition as the previous “Battle of the Image Champions” article, so I won’t include the full frames here again. These are all 100% crops and are labeled with the camera used. The indoor lighting matches the previous series. The outdoor conditions were overcast today, no wind.

The comparisons that include the Monochrom use a simple 100% desaturation in Lightroom rather than a more ideal black and white conversion that I would use if these were meant to be shown or printed for their artistic qualities. Again, these are not meant to highlight my skills as a photographer but rather to show the differences between cameras using the same high quality lens.

Enjoy and good shooting. -Brad


mono-m240 lake

mono-sony lake

sony-m240 lake desat

m240 mono corner

sony-mono desat corner

m240-mono edge

sony-mono desat edge


sony-m240 troll

sony-m240 troll desat
sony-mono troll


sony-m240 palm


  1. WB was off, yes. But other than that i see that the lens is doing fair on the Sony. It looks a bit soft when i compare the first two color landscape Images. The difference must be hughe if one can see it in these compressed jpegs.

  2. Love the Mono maybe even the new Mono ! But do we really need cameras with 50 MB sensors -because then we will also need new lenses like the Otus and comparable optics ?
    Have I got this right?

  3. Very surprised that I prefer the color on the a7II. Wonder if the wb got wonky on the m240 image of the troll.

  4. Brad, thanks again for your trouble. This confirms yet again that the Monochrom’s 18Mpx sensor is equivalent to about 36Mpx with a Bayer array – something like an A7r or D800E. Proof that there are good reasons why you would want a mono sensor. Using a Bayer sensor for b&w is not a bad thing, but it’s actually worse technically than using Portra instead of T-Max.

    The A7II obviously suffers a little in the corners but not as badly as the A7r, IIRC from another comparison I’ve seen.

    I do wonder how much ‘hidden’ resolution the 50 APO has in reserve. Sony is going to release a 50Mpx sensor soon, so we’ll see! 😉

    • What impresses me is the tonal gradations in the outdoor and troll pics from the Monochrom. It’s just a tremendous amount of image information with which to work and develop the type of mono image you prefer. The Leica Monochrom is a truly special animal.

  5. I was surprised to see a difference in the CA between cameras with the same lens. It appeared to me that the A7II rendered less CA with the lens than the Leica did.

  6. I agree Ed. The outdoor water scene includes edge and corner crops for you to enjoy. When comparing to the Leica Monochrom I felt it was better to show a monochrome version of the other cameras than trying to compare color to mono.

  7. Thanks for posting this test. It’s always interesting how Leica lenses perform on various bodies, particularly the A7ii.

    We can expect the center performance will be very similar, except for variations in color rendering. If there’s going to be issues on the A7ii, it will be in the corners with vignetting, color shifts and possibly smearing. Most of these shots concentrate on the center. Furthermore, rendering in monochrome masks any differences in color.

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