Non-Leica body and Leica M lens, Part 1: Canon M50

After testing Leica glass I got convinced that yes, Leica glass and size are better for my 35mm film Leica M2 camera. Digital Leica Q camera with the fixed lens is great too. The problem is with digital Leica M cameras, for obvious reasons.

I found that many people have the same issue, and adopting precious little gems to other camera bodies. Luckily, there are cheap lens adapters to different mounts.

Canon EF-M is one of those mounts that can be adapted for Leica M lenses.

The benefits of Canon M50 body:

  • Small size
  • Zoom
  • Manual Focus Peaking
  • RAW format
  • Black&White shooting mode like Leica Monochrome camera
  • 4K Video mode

The drawbacks:

  • ASP-C crop
  • High ISO grain
  • Converting Canon RAW format to DNG in post

It is possible to use other bodies, including full-frame sensor ones with better ISO handling:

  • Canon RP, R, R6, R5
  • Sony A7R, A7R II, A7R III, A7R IV
  • Panasonic Lumix S1, S1R, S5
  • Nikon Z 5, 6, 6 II , 7, 7 II

One benefit on Canon M50 is tiny Canon EF-M lenses with autofocus, and ability to adapt Canon EF lenses. Unfortunately, it is not possible to adapt new Canon RF lenses.

Sony A7R cameras are interesting since they cost less than Canon R bodies and provide more features. For example, Canon A7R II costs almost the same as Canon RP, but has 42 MP resolution – as Leica M10-R.

The idea is to leverage existing camera bodies and existing lenses, and adapt in addition Leica M or Leica R lenses to get the special “Leica Look”.

Update: There is one particular problem with Leica M lenses on digital cameras, explained as following:

Most companies decided to change their lenses to work with digital. Leica decided to make their sensors work with film lenses. Leica worked with Kodak to design what are called offset microlenses. There are tiny lenses in the sensor glass itself that redirect the off-axis light coming out the rear of the lenses to redirect them straight at the sensor. Unfortunately, no one else bothered to do the same, so M lenses are pretty much guaranteed only to show their best on M bodies or to a less extent, SL bodies which have a similar cover glass, though not quite as strong. M lenses still do best on M bodies, and unfortunately that is not likely to change.

In order to mitigate this problem, some companies offer the upgrade of this cover glass to simulate Leica’s offset microlenses.

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