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Future Sensors: Will they be Friendly to Rangefinder Lenses? (Ray Angle)

Zeiss ZM 21mm f/4.5 C-Biogon

Neither the Sony A7 nor its A7R sibling are particularly friendly to rangefinder lenses; it’s the ray angle at issue and it causes all sorts of image quality losses, from color shifts to sharpness to white balance.

Moreover, DSLRs have too great a backfocal distance to be useable at all with rangefinder lenses, so mirrorless is the only hope for a wide range of some very fine lenses, Leica M Typ 240 aside, with its out of reach price for most photographers.

So where does that leave outstanding Leica M and Zeiss ZM lenses in the changing landscape which is shifting heavily to mirrorless cameras of all stripes?

Suppose the landscape were to change, e.g., what if sensor technology were to evolve such that a 36 or 50 or 60 megapixel mirrorless camera were to appear with a sensor that by design is far more friendly to ray angle, perhaps even made usable for the worst case lens, the Zeiss ZM 21mm f/4.5 C-Biogon with its demanding 44° chief ray angle?

After all, the Leica M9 and Leica M Typ 240 already do have sensors that are relatively friendly to rangefinder lenses. That further improvements might be in the pipeline is well worth pondering for anyone with a stable of Leica M or Zeiss ZM lenses, e.g., some patience might be worthwhile.

Not so friendly ray angle behavior
(Sony A7R)

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