The World’s First Autofocus Adapter for Leica M Lenses
The Techart PRO AF Leica M lens adapter for Sony E mount cameras!
From Steve: THIS LOOKS AWESOME!! With this adapter we can mount a Leica M lens to our Sony A7 series body and it will auto focus them. If this works as advertised it will be quite amazing. The press release and video is below from the manufacturer which is “Techart PRO”. I look forward to testing this SOON! You can pre-order for $349 at their website HERE. Ships in March.
Guangzhou China, Feb 11, 2016 – Techart, the Chinese adapter manufacturer who has previously launched the first Contax G autofocus adapter for Sony E cameras, has unveiled the world’s first Autofocus adapter for Manual Lenses named ‘Techart PRO’. The Techart PRO adapter is able to drive the manual Leica M lenses to reach focus by using the focusing system in Sony A7II and Sony A7RII, giving an unprecedented new user experience for all Leica M lenses owners.
Techart PRO has adopted the z-shift technology where the Leica M bayonet is able to extend and retract. The distance between the lens and the camera sensor is hereby changed in order to reach the focus. The mechanism is quite similar to Contax AX system where the flange distance is changed for autofocusing. Techart PRO has electronic contacts to communicate with the Sony A7II and Sony A7RII and uses its PDAF system to measure focus. The built-in motor will then drive the bayonet forward by a maximum of 4.5mm and reach the focus point for shooting.
Techart PRO is super light and powerful. The adaptor weighs only 133g and is able to drive a lens system as heavy as 700g. Apart from pairing up with the Leica M lenses, users can also further adapt lenses with longer flange distance (e.g. Leica R, CY, PK, MD, etc) with add-on adapters and enjoy the autofocusing experience with other manual lenses. Techart PRO supports both AF-S and AF-C modes and it can also serve as a close focusing adapter which can reduce the minimal focusing distance of the lenses. A complimentary mobile app will be available for users to save 10 sets of lens data to the adapter and perform firmware upgrade via bluetooth.
Techart PRO is an evolutional product which can give users a completely new experience with their manual lenses. The fast and precise focusing allows users to take quick and sharp photos with their favourite manual lenses. More product information and testing videos can now be found via our official website. (http://www.techartpro.com/)
Pricing and Availability
The Techart PRO Autofocus Leica M Adapter for Sony E cameras is currently available for pre-order at our official website (http://www.techartpro.com). The recommended retail price is USD 349/pc. Free shipping will be provided during the promotion period. Delivery will commence from March onwards and will be shipped from our US / UK / Hong Kong warehouse. 1-year warranty is included.
Hello Steve , Are you testing the adapter with the Sony a7II or a7RII ?
A7RII, I do not own an A7II anymore.
Only testing with the A7RII.
We are very curieus how fast it AF in more difficult situations (low light, low contrast) ?
It would be fantastic, the first M body with AF, stabilisation and high ISO sensor …!
Looking forward to your review, Steve.
Will it be possible to manually set a focus point (i.e., using the DOF scale on an M lens to “zone focus”) while the lens/adapter are attached to the camera or will you only be able to set the lens to infinity and use autofocus? In other words, if the camera is set to Manual focus, and pressing the shutter release doesn’t initiate focus, will the adapter cease to move the lens but still have the lens positioned to that one can get accurate “manual” focus when zone focusing? Thanks.
I have the adapter here. I just thrown on any M lens, set my aperture and shoot. Why would I want to set the focus to set point when using an AF adapter. I have had no issues in the one day I have bene using it, even AF’s my Jupiter 3+ very accurately.
To answer your question, Steve, I would want to zone focus same as I might with my M240. I may not want to use the focus patch on M, but rather use DOF scale and zone focus, right? I might want to do same with an M lens on an A7Rii using the Techart, but not auto focus all the time. The video they released today shows how to do this, so for your viewers, you can use manual focus, peaking, etc. if you don’t want to use the adaptor strictly for autofocus. Thanks.
Sure you can manually focus just as you can any other lens. Use the AF or Manual. If you prefer to manually focus though, I would not see a need to buy this adapter.
By the sound of it, not only the Leica lenses will work. Many, but unfortunately not all lenses, including Voigtländer, should work with the adapter. The only question is, will those 4.5mm movement be enough. As Dr. G. explained, those lenses with moving internals (single lens(es) or group(s)) may not work to your utmost satisfaction. You might have to experiment with settings to min/mid/max range of your lens. This is just my 2 cents worth …
You should give that Voigtländer 40mm f2.8 Heliar you reviewed (can’t remember when) another fling. Is it quicker using Techart’s AF or manual focus. Would like to hear your opinion.
So far I have used a 50 Lux, 50 Jupiter 3+, and a 40 2.5 Summarit (from the minilux adapted to M which is beautiful) and it has performed flawlessly. AF is slowish but it nails it when it locks.
dave …..thank you for you`re work on this site….one question….they told is not compatible to a7s or a7s ii….i need af for my voigtländer 35mmm1.2…..
Is there a difference in focus speed performance between the Sony A7II and the A7RII with this autofocus adapter for Leica M lenses on Sony 7 system ?
The Techart adaptor uses the phase-detect capabilities of the A7MkII and the A7RMkII. But I don’t know how many phase-detect sites there are on the different sensors (..which may give an idea of the comparable focusing speeds).
Why not use Google to look up the specs of those two cameras, and that may give you some idea? But as no-one here has yet used a Techart PRO for M lenses on a Sony, all we presently have is informed speculation.
Thank you David. I have compared the specs . The A7RII has 399 PDAF points and a much faster sensor readout speed . The A7II has 117 PDAF points.
I am still wondering will there be a noticible difference in AF performance between these camera’s with the Techart AF adapter ( when using AF points in the center only ) .
I hope the Techart adapter can be tested soon with both camera’s and in low light conditions etc ,
A Teacart adapter was shipped to me for review last week, should arrive this week.
Hello Steve , we can’t wait to see your review about this !
Looks cool. Some questions based on watching the videos (I am not a “tech guy”):
– seems like you’d have to set the M lens focus on infinity?
– also, aperture wide open? So would you then use the on-body aperture control to actually set an aperture in AP or Man mode? If the M lens is wide open, does that then limit depth of field?
– if all works as the press blurb indicates, is there any reason (optics, physics) to expect some image degradation compared to using an M lens on M body, or SONY native lens on Alpha bodies?
Thanks to anyone who can answer the above….proof will obviously be in reports from the early adopters.
1 – Yes, you’d normally set the M lens on infinity. Some M lenses have ‘floating elements’ (separately moving pieces of glass, often described with the letters ‘FLE’) for sharpness at close distances, so those wouldn’t maintain best sharpness at close distances when the whole lens is moved outwards by the adaptor. With lenses which don’t have ‘floating elements’ the M lenses would behave absolutely as normal when used with the Techart adaptor.
2 – Aperture can be whatever you want it to be. There’s no electrical communication between ordinary M lenses and any camera body, so you cannot set an M lens’ aperture using a (Sony) camera’s “..on-body aperture control..” ..Aperture-priority on the camera body just means that the camera will measure the light coming through whatever aperture you’ve set on the lens and will then choose an appropriate shutter speed. Yes, if the M lens is wide open you’ll get a shallow depth-of-field, but you can choose any aperture you want to get whatever depth-of-field you want ..just like using M lenses on an M body.
3 – Image degradation? No. there’s no glass in the adaptor ..it’s just like using an M lens on a Leica M body. Except that, as mentioned in (1) above, you’d lose the extra fine adjustment for closest focus which is built into those M-fit lenses which have ‘floating elements’. Of course, you could always adjust the focusing distance on the lens itself (instead of leaving it set at infinity) which would then move the FLE elements, and would give even closer than normal focusing when used on the Techart adaptor. Generally speaking, at normal distances – say 2 metres or more – there’d be no visible difference in the results between using an M lens on an M body and using it with this adaptor on a Sony body (..except for the usual possible differences in colour and resolution, etc, between, say, any picture taken with a Leica M and a Sony A7RmkII).
I use manual-focus Leica-fit lenses on my Sony cameras much of the time (e.g; the teeny wide-angle Voigtländer 15mm f4.5) with just a normal, non-moving simple manual adaptor, which is really just a spacer ring with an M mount on the outside and a Sony mount on the other side. Works perfectly!
This Techart is just the same, except that it’s intended to do the focusing for you, instead of your having to manually focus a lens ..which is no problem anyway with the very deep depth-of-field of the 15mm. It’s just as easy to (manually) focus as normal with, say, the Leica 50mm f1.4 or a 90mm ..especially as the Sony cameras give ‘focus peaking’ (..a coloured outline of what’s in sharp focus..) AND focus magnification (..to double-check what’s sharp and what’s not). The Techart is intended to focus faster, and with less need to double-check, than you would normally manually focus these lenses. But whether it IS faster and simpler (..and more noisy..) will be known for sure only when these adaptors become available. Nice idea, though, and works well with the Zeiss G1/G2 lenses on the latest Techart G1/G2-to-Sony adaptor.
David, thanks very much for your reply. That was a very clear explanation and you answered all of my questions.
I’m a neurosurgeon, and although I look through lenses to do my job every day, it’s a different experience than shooting images. I am excited with the potential of this adaptor because I can’t use my Leica rangefinder very easily anymore, so I look to the SONY-Techart combination as a way that I can still use cherished Leica glass with autofocus capabilities.
I tried using a ‘cron on an A7mii with peaking and magnification, and it was not easy for me. Ditto using the same ‘cron on the new Leica SL. Even with that gorgeous viewfinder, my shots were not crisp (granted no stabilization, and these were done quickly in my local Leica store…).
So my only chance is for this to work, otherwise I will purchase the SONY and some Zeiss autofocus glass…probably will do the trick very well.
Dr G, I think you may get more satisfaction with the Sony/Zeiss autofocus lenses. That’s because:
(a) the Sony/Zeiss lenses will focus much faster – almost instantaneously – compared with this adaptor-and-Leica-lens combination,
(b) the Sony/Zeiss lenses are made specifically for the Sony cameras, and deliver light straight-on (..perpendicular..) to the sensor, whereas some older Leica lenses – especially wide-angles – which were intended originally for film may give slightly darker edges because light may spread out more from the rear of those lenses at widest apertures, and not hit the sensor straight-on at 90 degrees to it,
(c) the Sony/Zeiss 55mm f1.8 – as an example – gives images pretty much indistinguishable from the slightly shorter, and wider-aperture, superb Leica 50mm f1.4 ..in other words extremely sharp, with very smooth out-of-focus highlights, just like the Leica lens,
(d) there are autofocus zooms available from Sony, and – of course – there are / were no Leica M-fit zooms (as well as no autofocus lenses). The Sony zoom lenses cover a more useful range than the roughly 1.5x ranges of the Leica 16-18-21mm and the 28-50-35mm ‘Tri-Elmars’, although the Sony lenses are much larger and heavier than the Leica ones.
However, if you’re finding it difficult to focus accurately even with peaking and magnification on a Sony A7mii and a Leica SL, I’d (i) check the viewfinder diopter adjustment on those cameras so that you have a clear, sharp view of the info in the finder before you even try focusing; and / or also (ii) consider having your eyes checked (you may need new eyeglasses, or possibly even a cataract operation, which some of us sometimes need), and / or also (iii) ..we-ell, really on a side-note; I’d be really nervous of having neurosurgery done on me by a surgeon who cannot satisfactorily focus a camera through a viewfinder. Could it be, perhaps, time to hang up the scalpel, and just write surgery text-books?
Your Leica glass may be precious and sentimental to you, but think of it like a car; would you buy a brand new model and want to put on it the same tires (tyres) from your previous car ..and the same brake shoes, and insist on putting the same engine and gearbox into it? It’s possible to put old lenses on new cameras (..I do it all the time..) but there are disadvantages and compromises: if it’s difficult to focus with the old lenses, just bite the bullet and buy new ones which will do the focusing for you!
David, again, your reply was very helpful. A few notes:
– First thing I do with a new camera is set the diopter properly, so all good there
– No cataracts…
– Surgery done via robotics with beautiful optics…I only miss occasionally…joking….many more years before I toss the knife, even without any new technological advances…which inexorably keep coming along! But thanks for your concerns. BTW, surgery done with binoculars or large-screen video, so both eyes wide open.
– Real problem is that I am a perfectionist…and sometimes known to pixel peep….bad combination when you want to evaluate new gear.
Dr G ..Glad to know your eyes are great.
You say “..Even with that gorgeous viewfinder, my shots [..with the SL..] were not crisp (granted no stabilization, and these were done quickly in my local Leica store…)..”
Sometimes what looks like bad focusing may be just camera shake. If you were shooting in your local Leica store, and the light wasn’t very bright, and you had a low ISO selected, then your shots may have been unsharp because of a little shake. (Check, perhaps, the shutter speed in the EXIF data of your shots.) A Summicron 50mm – when you’re testing things, and to be absolutely sure – really ought to be shot at a minimum of 1/125th on a 24megapixel SL, just so that there’s no confusion between mis-focusing and camera shake.
But perhaps I’m teaching my granny to suck eggs! ..So I’ll stop!
Screw-in viewfinder magnifiers are available for M cameras, of course, to get easier focus ..but they cut off the edges of the finder. So they’re OK for 75mm and up, but you lose a bit around the edge of the finder with 50mm and wider.
I use several M-fit lenses on my A7S (..and on the higher mpxl but not so nice A7RmkII..) from 12mm Voigt to 90mm and more, and the high ISO performance of the A7S (..and the A7SmkII, but I don’t like the handling of any of the MkIIs so much..) and get glorious results. (I always use silent mode, so that there’s absolutely no sound from the camera at all.) The results are great – I think, anyway – so you may want to try persevering with the newer cameras and see if you do finally get to focus OK with them.
Last word: the Techart should work very well, but may hunt a bit, may make a bit of motor noise, may not have instantaneous focusing, may need to be programmed with best parameters for different M-fit lenses, may not give absolute best results at close distances with ‘floating element’ lenses, and won’t tell the Sony camera(s) the focal length of the lens you’re using. So the Sony(s) may often try to give you a shutter speed of 1/60th – indoors, for instance – whereas with longer-than-50mm-lenses you ought to use a faster speed (..the Sony stabilisation is not as good as the 3-stop stabilisation of Olympus cameras). Er, that’s it!
Yes the lens needs to be set to infinity.
The aperture is set on the lens because it lacks a pass through connect (not sure if Leica m even supports that).
As for the IQ in their FAQ it describes how the system works and if the lens elements are fixed its the same as manually focusing. If the lens elements are floating IQ may suffer, I imagine it would be lens specific to what effect it will have.
Lastly M Mount glass is know to have corner issues on Sony bodies. This might of been fixed by the time of the A7rii
So I just ordered mine with a MD to M adapter because I own no M lenses but own a bunch of MC/MD. also grabbed off eBay a M42 to MD so I can get extensive collection of m42 glass to work as well.
I take it this new adapter will not work with A7S as no PDAF? Please confirm. As I exclusively use C/Y, M and MD lenses on the A7S, if it works well, it may be a reason to save and switch to the A7RII…. Cheers, Nick
Doesn’t work on A7S/II according to the manufacturer.
It should work on the A6300 and A7 II (test videos are on A7 II) in addition to A7R II.
First off, I think this is pretty amazing, and if it works as well as advertised, wow my head is exploding with the possibilities. Second, curious why they aren’t offering a way to give auto focus capability to the Loxia lenses. Seems like a great place to start, as the lenses are optimized for the E mount.
That would add to the flange focal distance, which will mean the loxias can only work in Macro mode (like a macro extension tube). It will be interesting though with the upcoming voigtlander which will come in E and M mounts.
I will probably never buy one (since I don’t do Sony) but I just love the idea of the Techart. It’s great to see independent manufacturers coming up with innovative products that fill genuine needs. I’ll bet every photo gear head has dreamed of coming up with a useful idea and taking it all the way to reality, and it’s fun to see that kind of dream coming true.
They already made several versions – each an improvement on the last – of an autofocus adaptor letting you use the great (and very small!) Zeiss lenses for the Contax G1 and G2 autofocus film cameras on Sony E-mount (and FE mount) digital cameras.
(Those lenses already have an autofocus screw inside, worked by a little motor in the Contax cameras. The adaptor has a small motor inside itself, which turns and focuses the Zeiss G lenses by way of the Sony contrast-detect and phase-detect [Sony A7RmkII] capability.)
(Contax [Yashica/Kyocera] created that short-lived autofocus SLR – the AX – which accepted normal non-autofocus (manual) Zeiss lenses, and which focused by moving the BACK of the camera – and the entire film chamber – backwards and forwards to achieve correct focus!)
With the Techart adaptors (and inbuilt teeny motor) successfully autofocusing the G1/G2 lenses on Sony cameras (and now nice and FAST, with the latest Techart firmware) the Techart PRO promises to be actually useful.
“..A complimentary mobile app will be available for users to save 10 sets of lens data to the adapter and perform firmware upgrade via bluetooth..” which is how the latest Techart for G1/G2/Sony gets its firmware updated: incredibly (?!) you just download the firmware to your phone, rest the phone next to the Techart adaptor, and the adaptor updates itself!
However, only the latest G1/G2/Sony adapter can be updated like that, and it took at least three iterations of that adaptor for it to be really fast at focusing, so this very FIRST M-to-Sony autofocus adaptor might not deliver usefully fast focusing – as fast as, or faster than manual – until a later version, or firmware upgrade, emerges. We’ll just have to wait and see..
That was, in large part, due to Sony’s PDAF not working with third party lens adapters. Once they could and wrote accompanying FW to support it, that is when things changed. However earlier adapters couldn’t be FW updated.
This has those benefits already out the gate. Sure someone will come up with something faster with ring type motors etc, but this doesn’t look like early days G adapters at all.
Your website (and the attached TA press release) says the product costs $349. Following the link from your site to the TechArt website indicates the price is USD $479. What’s the process for getting the $349 USD price? At checkout, their site indicates $479.
It is priced at 350 and 70 dollars for each additional M to MD/FD/OM/EF/etc adapter.
Check the link on sonyalpharumors, that’s the one I used
Thanks. I used the other link, too. It is strange that the Steve Huff link is more expensive than the other link–some bug, somewhere, since the Huff site’s press release clearly has the right price, but the link consistently takes one to a much higher priced TechArt offer page.
Steve – a bit off topic – but are you going to test the new Jupiter 3+ lens? Brand new, 50mm 1.5, made of brass (much better build than the old Jupiter 3s), with correct focus on LTM and M bodies, and only $650! By far the cheapest fast new 50mm rf lens made.
I hope to, already requested a sample!
Since I own a pretty good Jupiter 3, and since I appreciate its character more than the Zeiss C Sonnar, I’m specifically interested to know if the new 3+ will be up to the 43MP sensor of the A7RII and if the dynamic range will be vintage or modern.
Well that is unless SLR Magic make more of their 50mm f1.1 in M-Mount like Steve’s…
Speaking of which what happened to your review Steve? Are they going to make more M-Mount versions or some on request?
They recalled that lens, told me to send it back and not review it. Had some softness issues, contrast, etc. I was supposed to hear from them and get a replacement but that was a while ago, so far, nothing.
Cinema 5D have reviewed the corrected version of the lens. There’s much better sharpness at the corners, but it’s still soft.
It looks intriguing. Just wonder how accurate/fast it will track-focus a subject walking towards the camera with a lens wide open. Not talking the Noct., but maybe the 35 1.4 or 50 f2.
Sony A7’s AF systems struggles with that even with native glass. I wouldn’t hold my breath…
I’m with Steve. The AF on E Mount cameras is pretty bad.
Based on the A7 and A7ii using native glass: 35, 55 and 70-200, 28-70 isn’t that bad
It looks good, but it will require re-learning how a camera is held – so as not to interfere with the moving lens.