Fuji Velvia 50

Some film photographers talk about how great Velvia is, so I gave it a try. It was a morning at the Brookside Garden with some morning dew on the flowers. I used Leica M2 with Leica Summarit-M 35/50/75 and KEKS light meter. No overexposure, no underexposure.

I want to show both the original and the processed result in C1. I assigned Leica M10 camera profile to boost the colors.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the pictures from my first ever attempt to shoot very demanding Velvia 50 film. I would do it again, but for the landscapes only.

Leica Summarit 50 and TTartisan 50

Let’s try to compare Leica Summarit-M 50 f/2.4 ASPH and TTartisan 50 f/1.4 ASPH mounted on Sony A7RM2.

Leica F/2.4

TTartisan f/2.5

In the center 100% crop shows that TTartison lens is sharper, but bokeh is more rounded in Leica.

In the corners TTartison is much sharper. Not sure what is going with Leica lens here.

The lens is front-heavy, but medium-small. Focusing is smooth with Leica-style tab and aperture clicks. Feels good.

While the Summarit is a much slower and much smaller lens, this TTartisan lens definitely goes beyond that into the territory of the Summilux level lens. If you need 50mm for Leica M mount, this is the one. It will work on any camera, and it will be working for a long time.

For 35mm this is a different story. 7artisans and TTartisans are close, but both are of less quality than Leica 35mm Summilux.

Hotshoe Light Meter, Part 2

Last time we reviewed a $30 external lightmeter. This time it’s a $112 one.

KEKS EM-01 Light Meter fits much better Leica M2. It has multiple location options on the top of the camera to choose from.

The metering buttons:

  • Next to the LCD screen – the Metering button, also a wake-up button. The device goes to sleep mode very quickly.
  • On the top to the left – Aperture increase/decrease buttons. If you press and hold the Metering button, and then press those buttons, it will increase/decrease the ISO.
  • On the top to the right – Shutter speed increase/decrease buttons.

Usually I set the ISO to the film speed that I put in the camera, and then change the aperture to what I selected on the lens, and then read the recommended shutter speed, and set it on the camera body.

Brookside Garden, Digital

There is a small but beautiful garden in Maryland near me that I adore. One cloudy morning I decided to test my macro adapter of Leica M lenses to Sony E-mount.

Leica Summarit-M 35:

Leica Summarit-M 50:

Voigtlander Heliar 75:

I met several other photographers that morning. Some were using Canon DSLRs and huge lenses, some carried Sony mirrorless bodies like Sony A1 (!), but nobody else had such tiny lenses like I had. That’s the point of using Leica glass on small bodies – to get great results while traveling light. Of course, I forgot to bring extra batteries, but that’s another story – how would film look like using the same lenses on Leica M2 body that has no battery life issue.

Non-Leica body and Leica M lens, Part 6: Sony A7RM2 and Zeiss

Here we compare Leica Summarit-M 35 f/2.5 (with the adapter) and Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens (native E-mount) on Sony A7RM2. We use exactly the same settings in Manual Mode and on a tripod, with manual focus.

The overall optics is slightly different. Zeiss has a little more narrow view (maybe because Leica uses the adapter). Leica has a little more red.

The center looks sharp in both cases:

The corners are different – Leica has some smudging in the left bottom corner of the lamp shade – possible due to Sony sensor glass:

In general, both lenses are good. Zeiss has autofocus, and enables face, smile, and eye detect. It is a little bit bigger, but not much. manual focus is easy too. The aperture cannot be controlled via the lens.

I did not like the hood that came with Zeiss, so I put another one that I found on eBay.

When I want a Leica SL/SL2 (aka mirrorless Leica M) experience, I just use Sony body with a Leica lens. When I want a Sony mirrorless experience, I put Zeiss lens. The results are pretty much the same.

Non-Leica body and Leica M lens, Part 5: Sony A7RM2 and Leica Q

Can Sony A7RM2 with Leica Summarit-M 35mm lens provide the same result as Leica Q with 35mm crop given the same aperture of f/2.5? I made some nature shots during the sunny day, and found some interesting points to discuss.

I relied on cameras’ indicators of the horizontal level, manual focusing and peaking.

I set Leica Q to Leica M10 Generic camera profile in Capture One, and keep the lens profile to manufacture by default. For Sony A7RM2 I set the camera profile to Leica M10 Generic, and lens profile to Leica Summarit-M 35 f/2.4. Since these cameras are on Aperture Priority mode, they define the ISO and Shutter Speed automatically, and they are different, so I balanced the exposure in the post. The Sony colors are different from Leica ones, and I tried to match them using the White Balance only. Both cameras show different color cast using the same Kelvin settings.

Example 1: The Shadow

Example 1 shows how similar the images can be given the right conditions: the shadow.

Example 2: Flare

Example 2 shows how different the images can be: the lens flare. Both lenses have aspherical design, but look how differently they handle it. The flare shape is different, and the impact on colors is quite different. Leica Q maintain strong green color while Sony adds lots of yellow tint.

Example 3: Geometry

Example 3 shows that 28mm lens of Leica Q creates more geometrical distortion – look how different the verticals are vs 35mm M-mount lens.

In addition, Sony A7RM2 42MP creates a telephoto effects of the same image with 100% magnification over Leica Q 24MP. It adds to more details and more cropping without loosing quality.

Example 4: Sensor resolution

I found that Leica Q has better experience in manual mode with auto magnification to x6 and really visible blue peaking. I had to press C1 button on Sony A7RM2 several times to get to x10 magnification, and its red peaking was hard to see. Leica Q has that annoying switch problem while Sony does not have it. Leica 35mm crop out of camera was little bit off, and I had to resize and reposition it in Capture One to match Sony’s 35mm frame.

Leica Q Summilux f/1.7 lens is sharper at f/2.5 than Leica Summarit-M 35 f/2.5. Since Q has a hidden 24mm crop, and then adds a 35mm crop, the corners are quite good. Sony’s full frame gives some tiny smudges in the corners.

Bokeh at f/2.5 is quite similar. Leica Q has the advantage of f/1.7 lens, and macro capability, as well as 24mm capability without extra lens.

For one camera one lens travel solution Leica Q wins. It delivers 90% of what I need with a pleasant manual focus and fast auto focus experience.

In the case of going wider than 24mm or down from 35mm Sony is a better choice as a Leica SL/SL2 alternative. Sony can work with lenses from many brands, including Canon EF and RF, as well as Zeiss and Sony, modern and vintage lenses on different mounts: M, L, E, EF, RF, etc. It’s better for a high-resolution professional studio work.

Non-Leica body and Leica M lens, Part 4: Sony A7RM2 and Canon M50

Leica Q made me try Leica M2, and want Leica SL and M10. I cannot afford Leica SL or M10, so I was looking for an alternative. Canon M50 is good, but cropped. Let’s review my new shiny Sony A7RM2.

The first question was whether Sony A7RM2 works well with Leica glass due to different sensor cover glass. While there are many articles about the problems, and solutions to fix those problems, one article was very specific for my decision: Travel Photos, Sony A7rII & Leica Glass.

My initial tests demonstrated no side effects for 35 mm and for 50 mm. The problem was Sony colors and green fringing. It was worse than Canon colors. Capture One v.20 was not able to help much since it has purple defringing only, until I tried a different approach – I changed the camera profile to Leica M10. Suddenly colors are nice and there is no green fringing.

Vignetting problem, as well as light falloff I was able to fix with the lens profile. Also I found a script to add the lens information into EXIF profile of the image. The generated output from DNG file had the right camera and lens EXIF info.

The main advantages of Sony A7RM2 vs. Canon M50:

  • Full Frame
  • 42.4MP vs 24MP
  • High ISO looks better
  • Complete silent shutter
  • 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization system

The main advantages of Sony A7RM2 vs. Leica Q:

  • Ability to change lenses
  • 42.4MP vs 24MP
  • Complete silent shutter
  • 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization system
  • Smaller size

Let’s take a look at some images taken with Sony A7RM2 and Leica Summarit-M 35 f/2.5 with ISO 6400 and shutter speed 1/20 sec handheld:

Shooting experience:

Leica Q provides auto magnification when adjusting manually focus distance, Sony A7RM2 (and Canon M50) do not. I press C2 custom button several times to get the magnification with peaking.

Leica Q movie button is located next to the shutter button, but on Sony A7RM2 it’s on a side. I assigned C1 custom button a movie function.

Silent shooting is excellent. I also muted movie start and finish sounds. Leica Q always has some quiet shutter sound.

I shoot using the Aperture Priority, but for the dark environment I might need to switch to the Manual mode to adjust shutter speed. Even Exposure Compensation -3 EV is not enough to get to 1/60 sec.

While Sony design is quite different from Leica, the practical use is still simple enough to forget about the camera settings, and focus on the image itself. Sony focusing (as well as Leica Q and Canon M50) is definitely more like Leica SL mirrorless, so no Leica M10 experience here, which is completely fine with me. Leica M2 will give me that.

Non-Leica body and Leica M lens, Part 3: Canon M50 and Manual Lenses

At this point I have 4 manual lenses that can be mounted on Canon M50 that I decided to test and review.

From left:

Esthetics view on the camera is important as it makes a lens likable and usable:

The Mitakon lens is the biggest, the heaviest, and does not have focus clicks, also focusing ring is stiff, has no focusing tab that makes the shooting experience the most difficult.

Leica Summarit-M 50 lens has more loose focusing ring than Leica Summarit-M 35. Voightlander focusing ring stiffness is similar to Leica Summarit-M 35. Voighlander has a focusing knob instead of a tab.

Leica Summarit-M 50 has a really nice hood that is similar to Leica Q hood.

I liked Leica Summarit-M 35 shooting experience and esthetics more than other lenses. It is small and provides best kinesthetic enjoyment of using it. Next one is Leica Summarit-M 50. Then Voightlander.

The common max aperture view is at f/2.8:

The common max aperture view 100% crop is at f/2.8. For 50mm lens the crop is 75%:

The max aperture view – for each lens is different. 100% crop for 35 mm, and for 50mm lens the crop is 75%:

All lenses are sharp in the center wide open.

All lenses produce good bokeh, Mitakon is more creamy at f/0.95, and Voightlander is more structured (nervous).

Optically the Mitakon lens wins. It produces wider scope of usage with acceptable quality.

Practically, Leica Summarit-M 50 makes more sense for street photography. It allows to have some distance from the subject, and provides some nice bokeh of the context while keeping the subject sharp as a whole with f/2.4 aperture. It has focusing clicks and a tab to make the adjustment completely kinesthetically without looking. It reminds me a smaller version of Leica Q, especially with the hood.