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Leica T System vs Sony A7/A7R for those M Lenses

A question arises for owners of Leica M lenses (or any M mount lens): compared to alternatives, does the Leica T system make sense specifically for shooting M-mount lenses?

The Leica T with EVF comes in at ~$2450, whereas the Sony A7R has a built-in EVF and 36MP sensor. Its sibling Sony the A7 comes in at half the price (also with built-in EVF).

The issue with M lenses on any digital sensor is quality loss at the edges of the frame due to ray angle. But this varies by focal length and lens and aperture. By comparison, the Leica T is cropping at all times to APS-C, since its sensor size is APS-C.

Now consider these points which really involve wide angles of 28mm and wider, since 35mm on up rangefinder lenses perform quite well on the A7/A7R:

  • The Sony A7R can be shot in APS-C cropped mode and still yield 15.6 megapixel images (10.4MP for the Sony A7).
  • The A7R or A7 can be shot in full frame mode and cropped to 1.52X (APS-C) or 1.3X or 1.2X or 1.1X or 1.0X—if the edges aren’t so great, crop them off. And in most cases by ƒ/5.6 the 1.2X crop is going to be highly satisfactory—and that’s 25 megapixels on the A7R, way more than the 16MP of the Leica T.
  • The A7R or A7 full-frame image can be downsampled to 16MP, which increases per pixel quality throughout and reduces or eliminates Bayer sensor artifacts. Combine that with a slight cropping (say 1.2X) and the resulting image downsampled to 16MP will be of high per-pixel quality.
  • We are likely to see some very nice new lens options this fall for the A7/A7R. And those will be full frame.
  • Sony is on the full frame warpath. Investing in an APS-C system and lenses limited to that format is not “wrong” (always relates to personal needs and desires of course!), but for those not in a rush, it seems dubious until 2014 sorts out the market.

The Sony A7 and A7R deserve a look from the shooter with existing Leica M lenses. In a way, it’s a shame that the Sony cameras don’t just build in crops for 1.4/1.3/1.2/1.1X as well as 4:3 and 5:4 raw output aspect ratio options right off the bat, coupled with the viewfinder showing exactly what will be recorded.

Counterpoint: the Leica T might read the 6-bit codes on Leica M lenses, and thus correct for lens color shading just as with the M9 and M240. That is a significant plus in favor of the Leica T.

  Leica T supports M lenses using the optional M-Adapter T  
Leica T supports M lenses using the optional M-Adapter T

 

Leica T System: Quick Comments

I’m unsure of reviewing the new Leica T (interest?); with native optics it would go into Guide to Mirrorless if reviewed, as did the Leica X2 and Leica X Vario.

Bottom line is that the Leica T will probably be snapped up by the target demographic in Leica stores; there is little doubt in my mind that it will sell very well and that it will fill a hole in the product line for Leica. It is after all, of beautiful construction and lines. Leica knows what drives their business and it is not my place to say they are wrong in that regard. Everyone gets to vote with their wallet, and that I applaud.

  Leica T, rear layout  
Leica T, rear layout

Comments

  • Users worldwide are surely on tenterhooks while they await the “dynamic simplicity” with AUDI flair. But from what I see, the controls will frustrate for non-casual use; with few to no buttons, that means a lot of menu navigation (which I won’t be able to easily see in dim lighting due to presbyopia). Seemingly more jewelry than camera; elegant lines. Style is clearly the key goal, and seemingly achieved in the Leica T.
  • With the camera body at $1850 and the lenses about the same, and the EVF at $595, this is a ~$4200+ system with one (1) lens, or ~$6000 with the prime and the zoom. See comments above on target demographic.
  • Does the Leica T offer an electronic first curtain shutter, avoiding the bang-bang shutter vibration issues with telephoto lenses, as with the Leica M240 ?
  • The press images show the T with the entire M lens line, and there is lens adapter support for M on T. This is the key feature that piques my interest as being a sort of modernized and shrunken Leica M8 with Live View, and Leica deserves some praise for making this effort. How well the M lenses perform on the Leica T sensor cannot be assumed, but Leica might have made some efforts with the sensor to deliver good quality.
  • An optional 2.36M dot EVF for $595 extra is a big plus for aging eyes. Now if only that resolution can be supported on the Leica M Typ 240. But the contacts on the Leica T EVF appear to be completely incompatible.
  • For shooting pictures, it’s hard to get excited about 16 megapixels in a system camera when Sony is on the full-frame warpath, already at 50% or 110% higher resolution than the Leica T. The Sony A7R has 36 megapixels on full frame with built-in EVF. The A7R is not so sexy in the status department, but wow, that’s a huge difference in imaging for less money.
  • A 1/180 second flash sync with external optional flash is of very little practical use. What it means in practice is no flash fill or at best, slow-speed sync, and possibly sacrificing the EVF in order to mount the flash. Highly unpalatable on both counts. That one feature makes the Ricoh GR or Sony RX1R a vastly superior choice for outdoor shooting for people, or similar.

My advice for serious shooters: go straight to the Ricoh GR (about $649), which to this day puts all other APS-C cameras to shame for its outstanding design execution, lens performance, built-in full-sync flash, and overall feature set, lacking only one thing, an EVF. Less is more, but the GR is a case of “more is more and far more for far less”.

Alternately, the Sony A7 is 24MP full frame with built-in EVF, very compact and relatively inexpensive. Or the 36MP Sony A7R. These camera are going to have some very nice lenses arriving late this year; I just cannot see investing in APS-C at this point.

But all of that is sidesteps the target market goals: the Leica T is a strong fashion statement with elegant lines, and it should be understood in that context.

  Leica T supports M lenses using the optional M-Adapter T  
Leica T supports M lenses using the optional M-Adapter T

Leica press release

There is an apparent error: a 23mm lens on APS-C is equivalent to ~35mm on full frame (press release says 50mm).

Los Angeles, California - April 24th, 2014 -- Leica Camera continues to celebrate its journey into the future with the launch of the radically new yet brilliantly familiar Leica T-System. The Leica-T was designed with dynamic simplicity in collaboration with AUDI Design and it is the fourth system ever to be released from Leica. The Leica T-System features Wi-Fi, a rebuilt graphical user interface (GUI), Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom®, a professional digital workflow solution for Apple Mac® OS X and Microsoft Windows®.

Leica has been praised for a century for its precise engineering while understanding the importance of design. As a result, Leica has created tools that are the perfect balance of purpose and emotion. At the heart of this praise is the collaboration with AUDI design and the creation of the Leica T-Unibody. The Unibody was painstakingly made by hand and machined from a single, solid block of aluminum, with a sleek and tactile finish. The new body is a natural extension of the user’s hand and photographic vision allowing complete focus on crafting the perfect image. Using the integrated Wi-Fi module these images can be wirelessly transmitted to smartphones, tablets, and various social media platforms via the new Leica-T app which is available for iOS devices. Leica customers can also download image processing software, Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom®, free after registering their camera on the Leica website. The digital image processing software offers a comprehensive range of functions for the management, processing, and presentation of pictures and video.

Leica has also collaborated with AUDI Design to create new and unique accessories. These accessories include bags and cases available in yellow, orange-red, black and white. The bags, cases, and straps were designed using the new, innovative Easy-Click system. Easy-Click was designed to effortlessly connect the user’s straps to their bags and cases.

Two new lenses are being introduced that will accompany the Leica T-System launch: the Leica Vario-Elmar-T 18-56 mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH and the Leica Summicron-T 23 mm f/2 ASPH. The Leica Vario-Elmar is ideal for creative innovators who want true versatility in their photography allowing them to seamlessly shoot landscapes, portraits, and other limitless forms of creative outlets. The Leica Summicron-T 23 mm f/2 ASPH which equates to the traditional reportage focal length of 50mm gives the user everything they need to capture all the decisive moments. The Leica M-Adapter T expands the lens selections to include all Leica M-Lenses produced after 1954.

The Leica T features a large high performance, APS-C-format CMOS image sensor with over 16.5 megapixels (effective 16.2 MP) that is the perfect combination of performance and image quality. The MyCamera menu can be customized to the user’s preferences allowing easier access to all their frequently used settings. The system also includes a high-resolution electronic viewfinder with an integrated GPS feature and tilt and swivel function allowing angles to be adjusted. The new Leica SF 26 flash unit gives users the ability for perfect flash exposures and fill light. Unique to the Leica SF 26 flash allows it to be used as an LED light source for recording video.

The Leica T-System will be available to order starting Monday, May 26th through Leica Stores, Leica Boutiques, and select Leica Dealers.

  Leica T with M-Adapter T with 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH    
Leica T with M-Adapter T with 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH
Camera type: Leica T (Typ 701)
Lens connection: Leica T bayonet fitting with contact strip communication between lens and camera
Lens system: Leica T lenses
Sensor: CMOS APS-C 23.6 x 15.7 mm with 16.5/16.3 million pixels (total/effective), format aspect ratio 3:2
Resolution: 4944 x 3278 pixels
JPEG: 4928 x 3264 (16 megapixels), 4272 x 2856 (12.2 megapixels), 3264 x 2160 (7 megapixels), 2144 x 1424 (3 megapixels), 1632 x 1080 (1.8 megapixel)
Picture data file formats / compression rates: Selectable: JPG Superfine, JPG Fine, DNG+ JPG Superfine, DNG + JPG Fine
Video recording format: MP4
Video resolution / frame rate: Selectable: 1920 x 1080 p, 30 fps or 1280 x 720 p, 30 fps
Storage media: 16GB internal memory; SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, multimedia cards
ISO range: Automatic, ISO 100 to ISO 12500
White balance: Automatic, presets for daylight, cloud, halogen lighting, shadow, electronic flash, two manual settings, manual color temperature setting
Autofocus system: Contrast based
Autofocus metering methods: Single point, multiple point, spot, face detection, touch AF
Exposure modes: Automatic program, aperture priority, shutter speed priority, manual setting.
Scene exposure modes: Fully automatic, sport, portrait, landscape, night portrait, snow/beach, fireworks, candlelight, sunset
Exposure metering: Multiple field, center weighted, spot
Exposure compensation: ±3 EV in 1/3 EV increments
Automatic bracketing: Three pictures in graduations up to ±3 EV, adjustable in 1/3 EV increments
Shutter speed range: 30 sec to 1/4000 sec 
Picture series: Approx. 5 fps, 12 pictures with constant picture frequency, then depending on memory card properties
Flash modes: Automatic, automatic / red eye reduction, always on, always on / red eye reduction, slow sync, slow sync / red eye reduction
Flash exposure compensation: ±3 EV in 1/3 EV increments
Flash synchronization: Sync time: 1/180 sec 
Guide number of built-in flash unit: for ISO 100: 4.5
Recovery time of built-in flash unit: Approx. 5 s with fully charged battery
Monitor: 3.7" TFT LCD , 1.3 million pixels, 854x480 per color channel
Self timer: Selectable delay time 2 or 12s
WLAN: Complies with IEEE 802.11b/g/n standard (standard WLAN protocol), channel 1-11, encryption method: WiFi compatible WPA™ / WPA2™, access method: infrastructure operation
Power supply: approx. 160 min
Leica BP-DC13 lithium ion battery, rated voltage 7.4V, capacity 1040mAh (based on CIPA standard): approx. 400 pictures, charging time (after total discharge):
Connections: Micro USB port (2.0 High Speed), Leica flash interface with integrated connection for optional accessories; battery charging via USB connection possible with max. 1A
Charger: approx. 96x68x28 mm
Leica BC-DC13, input: AC 100-240V, 50/60Hz, automatic reversing, Output: DC 8,4V 0,65A, Weight: approx. 90 g, Dimensions:
Body: Leica unibody solid aluminum design, two removable dummy plugs for carrying strap and other accessories, ISO flash shoe with center and control contacts for connection of more powerful external flash units, e.g. Leica SF 26, or for attaching the Leica Visoflex electronic viewfinder
Tripod thread: A 1/4 DIN 4503 (1/4”)
Dimensions (WxHxD): 134 x 69 x 33 mm
Weight: Approx. 384 g / 339 g (with / without battery)
Items supplied: Camera body, carrying strap, 2 carrying strap release pins for detaching the carrying strap, battery (Leica BP-DC13), charger (Leica BC-DC13) with 6 adapter plugs, USB cable
Software: Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® (free download after registration of camera), Leica T app for iOS® (remote control and image transfer, free download from Apple® App-Store®)

 

Hy6 Mod 2 with Leaf 80-Megapixel Back: Aperture Series Schneider 50mm f/2.8 PQS

The Hy6 Mod2 was loaned courtesy of Eric Hiss of Rolleiflex USA.

I shot the Hy6 Mod2 with the Leaf Aptus II 12 80-megapixel digital back and several lenses, including the Rolleiflex Schneider-Kreuznach AF 50mm f/2.8 Super Angulon PQS, which is equivalent to about a 33mm lens on a full frame camera.

Aperture Series: Water Worn Boulders

  Pescadero Creek Water Worn Boulders Rolleiflex Hy6 Mod2 with Leaf Aptus II 12 + Rolleiflex Schneider-Kreuznach AF 50mm f/2.8 Super Angulon PQS  
Pescadero Creek Water Worn Boulders
Rolleiflex Hy6 Mod2 with Leaf Aptus II 12 + Rolleiflex Schneider-Kreuznach AF 50mm f/2.8 Super Angulon PQS

Hy6 Mod 2 Medium Format Camera

What can 80 megapixels deliver?

This afternoon, I’m shooting the Hy6 Mod2 with Eric Hiss of Rolleiflex USA. Coverage to go into DAP.

The Hy6 Mod2 comes highly recommended to me from a trusted NYC pro. It can take a wide variety of digital backs as well as film backs (“Hy” = Hybrid).

  Rolleiflex Hy6 Mod2 with Rollei AFD Apogon 80mm f/2.8 HFT PQS  
Rolleiflex Hy6 Mod2 with Rollei AFD Apogon 80mm f/2.8 HFT PQS
  Rolleiflex Hy6 Mod2  
Rolleiflex Hy6 Mod2
  Rolleiflex Hy6 Mod2 with lenses  
Rolleiflex Hy6 Mod2 with lenses

Phase One CaptureONE Pro to Fully Utilize All GPUs Available

PhaseOne CaptureOne Pro offers “hardware acceleration”, meaning the GPU(s) and already does a standout job on utilizing hardware resources.

But PhaseOne seems to be leading the charge on GPU support

According to Lionel Kuhlmann, R&D Manager at Phase One, a future (2014) version of Capture One will fully utilize all the installed GPUs in the system, whereas version 7.2.1 of Capture One Pro utilizes only 1 GPU.

More...

Camera Profiles: Converting Raw in Adobe Photoshop ACR or Lightroom for Olympus OM-D E-M1

  Results of one Camera Profile choice in Photoshop ACR or Lightroom
Camera Profile choice in Photoshop ACR

See previous coverage with Sony A7R and Fujifilm X.

In Guide to Mirrorless, see Camera profile choices for Olympus EM1.

Two examples are shown, with HD and UltraHD images for each profile variant.

The variances in color saturation and tonal relationships are a handy way to push the image in the preferred direction right off the bat, without tweaking controls.

  Results of one Camera Profile choice in Photoshop ACR or Lightroom
Results of one Camera Profile choice in Photoshop ACR or Lightroom
  Results of one Camera Profile choice in Photoshop ACR or Lightroom
Results of one Camera Profile choice in Photoshop ACR or Lightroom

Reader Comment: Sony RX1R

James H writes:

First off thanks for all your hard work, your site is my gear bible!

You hit the nail on the head with your RX1R review. It is a superb camera that I would put toe to toe with anything on the market(minus fast action scenarios).

My hit rate with the RX1R is better than with any camera I have ever used! The lens on the RX1R has a wonderful rendering style and a certain bite to it that I like more than any other 35mm lens I have ever used. I've done side by side comparison prints between the A7R and RX1R at approx. 24 X 36 inches and I can hardly tell the difference.

DIGLLOYD: the Sony RX1R with EVF and grip was one of the most enjoyable cameras I shot all year and with a very high hit rate. The Zeiss 35mm f/2 Sonnar on the RX1R is optimized for the sensor, and it delivers outstanding results by ƒ/2.8 (and results at ƒ/2 the envy of most all DSLR lenses).

It seems a pity that with is vibration-free leaf shutter the RX1R has not been updated to include the 36MP sensor seen in the Sony A7R. Or better yet, a supersized version with the Sony 50-megapixel 44 X 33mm sensor.

  Sony RX1R with Really Right Stuff grip and optional EVF
Sony RX1R with Really Right Stuff grip and optional EVF

Camera Profiles: Converting Raw in Adobe Photoshop ACR or Lightroom for Fujifilm X or Sony A7R/A7

There can be substantial differences in color and contrast that result from a difference choice of Camera Profile when converting raw files in ACR or Lightroom. It’s a feature that can be really useful in interpreting an image to your liking.

In Guide to Mirrorless:

Both with HD and UltraHD images for the various profiles.

A similar discussion in DAP is based on the Fujifilm X-T1 series above.

  Camera Profile choice in Lightroom
Camera Profile choice in Lightroom

Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2: Aperture Series: California Poppies + Picnic Table + Bench/Grasses (Fujifilm X-T1)

Presented in my review of the Fujifilm Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 are two ƒ/1.2 to ƒ/16 aperture series.

The poppy series gives a good sense of the rendering style and bokeh qualities of the lens at close range.

Aperture series: California Poppies at Dusk (X-T1, 56mm f/1.2)

The picnic table series yields an excellent evaluation of sharpness and control of color aberrations.

Aperture series: Picnic Table (X-T1, 56mm f/1.2)

The bench series shows the remarkable uniformity and sharpness:

Aperture series: Teak Bench, Grasses, Cat (X-T1, 56mm f/1.2)

All include HD and UltraHD images as well as large crops across the aperture series.

  California Poppies at Dusk Fujifilm X-T1 + Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 @ ƒ/1.2
California Poppies at Dusk
Fujifilm X-T1 + Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 @ ƒ/1.2
  Picnic Table at Dusk with Frog Fujifilm X-T1 + Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 @ ƒ/2
Picnic Table at Dusk with Frog
Fujifilm X-T1 + Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 @ ƒ/2
  Teak Banch, Grasses, Cat Fujifilm X-T1 + Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 @ ƒ/5.6
Teak Banch, Grasses, Cat
Fujifilm X-T1 + Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 @ ƒ/5.6

Camera Profiles: Converting Raw in Adobe Photoshop ACR or Lightroom

In the DAP Workflow section, I discuss the radical differences in color and contrast that result from a difference choice of Camera Profile when converting raw files in ACR or Lightroom. It’s a feature that can be really useful in interpreting an image to your liking.

This page has been cross-posted into the Fujifilm X section because it applies to Fujifilm X files, in this case the X-T1.

A similar profile comparison is also published for the Sony A7R / A7.

  One possible rendition of color and contrast
One possible rendition of color and contrast

Big Prints: Does 36 Megapixels Help vs 24 with Leica M Glass?

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

The Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH is the finest lens in the entire line of Leica M lenses. At its best, can it deliver a superior large print when used on the Sony A7R versus its native Leica M 240?

The discussion has a distinct Leica M rangefinder lens viewpoint, taking into account performance issues applying to M rangefinder lenses in particular.

High quality image scaling was used to assess actual print quality at 36-inch and 45-inch print sizes, using the Canon PIXMA Pro 100 (sections of course, given the size).

How much does 36 megapixels matter for prints of that size? In Guide to Leica:

Printing Big: M240 vs Sony A7R with Leica 50/2 APO-Summicron (Mosaic)

Includes scaled matched crops from each camera using the Leica 50/2 APO on both under ideal circumstances. This analysis represents the best possible differentation based on the sensor resolution differences.

Image scaling using Photozoom Pro. Includes a general discussion and perspective.

Related

Note that DAP has two comparisons in a similar vein but comparing formats:

Pentax 645D vs Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Leica S vs Nikon D800E

  Leica M240     Sony A7R     
Leica M Typ 240 and Sony A7R

Diglloyd Photo Tours in June, August, September

See the photo tours page.

I run my tours as you (the client) prefer: general photography, sharpness clinic, whatever you want to learn, see or discuss—it’s your time. Opportunistic shooting for weather and conditions as they arise.

Bistlecone Sentinel at Sunset with View of White Mountain Peak (August 2013) Sony RX1R @ ƒ/ 5.6
Ancient Bristlecone Pine, White Mountains
Nikon D800E + Zeiss 25mm f/2 Distagon

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM 'Art': Soon I Hope, and for Nikon and Canon

Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A at B&H for: Nikon F, Canon EF, Sigma SA, Sony A-mount.

See previous notes as well as the initial discussion in review of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM 'Art'.

I’ll be testing the new Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A just as soon as it arrives from B&H.

I’ve requested Nikon and Canon mount versions so that I can evaluate it on both the Nikon D800E and the Canon 5D Mark III.

     
     Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH Aperture Series: Bikes at Night (Sony A7R + Sony A7R)

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

The Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH is an outstanding lens, but sensor design has a lot to do with how rangefinder lenses perform on digital, a situation that might improve in the future.

Aperture Series Leica 50/2 APO: Bikes at Night (Sony A7R)

This particular scene caught my attention for its potential to show a number of optical behaviors—and it does so quite well; it is deceptively simple but quite difficult to render well.

This ƒ/2 - ƒ/8 aperture series includes HD and UltraHD images as well as large crops across the aperture series.

Student Transport Sony A7R + Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
Student Transport
Sony A7R + Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

Consistent Focusing Accuracy Requires a High-Resolution EVF: Leica M vs Sony

Actual pixels from Leica M Typ 240 image  
Actual pixels from Leica M Typ 240 image

Shooting the mosaic with its ultra-fine details with (the same lens), I was struck by just how much better the Sony EVF is than the Leica VF-2 on the M240.

The extra resolution of the 36-megapixel Sony A7R means that at 14X there is more to be seen than with the 24-megapixel M240 at 10X.

But it’s about a lot more than sensor resolution: the Leica VF-2 just looks blurry by comparison to the Sony EVF regardless of what it is displaying, and its contrast is inferior. Which means that the ability to discriminate accurate focus is impaired using the Leica VF-2, in all cases.

The Leica VF-2 is 1.4 megapixels; the Sony built-in EVF is a much crisper 2.4-megapixels. With the M240 + VF-2, grout lines between the tiny tiles all but disappear; with the Sony A7R, grout lines pop into focus when the focus is perfect. Still, it’s fair to say that something around 4 megapixels would be even better.

Moreover, my extensive field work with both cameras tells me that the Leica VF-2 resolution can be a source of errors: it often leads to front-focus errors particularly with slower lenses. It just does not have adequate resolution, so one is forced to use focus peaking, which is a poor solution for optimal focus (close but no cigar).

Leica should support a high-res EVF option, even if the CPU in the M240 can only deliver 10 or 15 frames per second refresh rate. The VF-2 offering feels hugely inferior in comparison to current EVF technology, degrading the M experience.

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH   Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH Aperture Series: Mosaic (M240 + Sony A7R)

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

The Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH is the finest lens in the entire line of Leica M lenses. With esentially perfect performance by ƒ/2.8, almost no field curvature and exceptional color correction, it sets the standard for the M lens line.

Thus it seems fitting to test it on the most demanding test subject of all: a planar subject with extraordinary fine detail, a true stress test that reveals the slightest weakness no matter how fine the lens.

A dyadic approach in Guide to Leica:

Aperture Series Leica 50/2 APO: Mosaic (M240)

Aperture Series Leica 50/2 APO: Mosaic (A7R)

This ƒ/2 - ƒ/16 aperture series includes HD and UltraHD images as well as large crops across the aperture series.

This particular 50/2 APO is a replacement directly from Leica Germany received late in 2013. It incorporates improvements that adddress (in part) the flare issues that troubled the “rev A” lens.

Mosaic Leica M240 + Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
Mosaic
Leica M240 + Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

Pentax 645D Images Updated to UltraHD, Large Crops

With the Pentax 645z 50-megapixel medium format camera due in June, I wanted to refresh my memory of how the 40-megapixel 645D performs (I distinctly remember the fabulous sensor, but other details about lens performance had become fuzzy 3 years later).

Accordingly, my review of the Pentax 645D has been updated to redo many images in UltraHD size with vastly larger crops. I did this anticipating that the 645z will be at least as demanding as the 645D in terms of lens performance.

See the DAP chronological index for pages that are now updated.

Pentax 645D + Pentax-D FA 55mm f/2.8 AL[IF] SDM AW
Pentax 645D + Pentax 75mm f/2.8

Pentax 645D + Pentax-D FA 55mm f/2.8 AL[IF] SDM AW (in anticipation of the Pentax 645z)

To my review of the Pentax 645D is added an aperture series with the Pentax-D FA 55mm f/2.8 AL[IF] SDM AW, which is the normal lens for the 645D and the coming 645z.

A digital image requires a high quality sensor and a lens that can deliver.

Aperture Series: Pentax-D FA 55mm f/2.8 AL[IF] SDM AW (Mosaic)

Pentax 645D + Pentax-D FA 55mm f/2.8 AL[IF] SDM AW
Pentax 645D + Pentax-D FA 55mm f/2.8 AL[IF] SDM AW

Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 to be Introduced in “near future”

I’ve communicated with Zeiss USA, and the following is now official:

We confirm the Otus 1.4/85 lens and our intention to introduce sometime in the near future.

Details about the specifications, pricing or actual sales data are as yet unofficial.

Shown below is the Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 APO-Distagon, the best lens ever produced for a DSLR, as shown in the in-depth review in Guide to Zeiss. I would expect an Otus 85/1.4 to be of similar construction.

Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon
Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

Pentax 645Z: Does Not Have EFC Shutter (Electronic First Curtain)

An electronic first curtain shutter (EFC shutter) is needed for vibration-free exposures.

According to Pentax, the Pentax 645Z does not have an electronic first curtain shutter. The 645z does have the the same excellent mirror lockup feature as the 645D, and its shutter is generally well-damped (quite possibly no medium format camera has an EFC shutter). But a focal plane shutter is not and cannot be vibration free.

Like all DSLRs lacking an EFC shutter, longer lenses can be an issue: see Blur from the Shutter at 300mm in the review of the Pentax 645D.

Pentax 645z, rear view
Pentax 645z, rear view

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