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Reader Comment: Leica SL as Platform for Leica M Lenses

See my Nikon wishlist and Fujifilm GFX system wishlist .

Roy P writes:

Leica 28mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH

I’m still looking for a good 28mm fast prime I can use with my Sony A7x cameras as a street photography lens. The Otus is just too big and heavy. The Sony 28mm image quality is underwhelming. The Nikon 28mm AI-S is REALLY bad, brutally exposed by FF sensors with 24MP or resolution.

Right now, the Batis 25 is my 28mm lens. Not exactly extreme hardship, but I’d love to find a lens like the Leica 28/1.4. I don’t know why Zeiss hasn’t already come out with a few f/1.4 primes as part of the Loxia series. hey will never be as small as the Leica M lenses, but they should still be quite compact. I think there’s a market for a set of FE f/1.4 lenses that parallel the Leica M line up (21, 24, 28, 35, 50). Is that an input you could pass on to your friends at Zeiss?

Talking about Leica M, I have been hanging on to my 50 lux and 50 APO, but on the Sony cameras, even using the lens profile in LR, I can’t totally eliminate vignetting. In fact, it’s so bad that it takes a slider setting of 30 to as much as 60 on the Vignetting slider in LR to fix it, and sometimes, even at 60, you can’t fully eliminate it.

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon

I even briefly considered the Leica M10, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay $8,110 for a usable 24MP camera – body, add on grip, goofy add on EVF that is still crappy, Thumb support, and pack of three plastic protectors for the LCD back, because Leica is too cheap to put the gorilla glass on its cameras that every $300 smart phone comes with as a standard feature. Not to mention all the usability issues you pointed out.

I hate the Leica SL for its crappy design, but if I used it only as a digital back for my remaining M lenses, maybe the user interface is less of an issue. But I still can’t see myself paying so much for a 24MP camera with a sensor inferior to the original Sony A7 from 2013.

Just out of curiosity: do you know if the M lenses work any better on the SL than they do on Sony A7x bodies?

DIGLLOYD: taking the the last point first, Leica M lenses are far superior on the Leica SL as compared to Sony mirrorless ; the SL was designed with M lenses in mind. While the SL does not offer quite as good results as the Leica M240 or Leica M10 (it lacks the needed micro lenses), Leica M and Zeiss ZM lenses all work great on the SL because there is no fundamental mismatch on sensor cover glass (that mismatch is the problem with M lenses on Sony). For example, the Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon delivers gorgeous images on the Leica SL.

I greatly dislike the Leica SL design also, but some people think it’s just brickly.

As for a 28mm for Leica M, I own the Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH and Leica 28mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH both, but the one lens I’d love to have and that I would trade both for would be the Leica 28mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH —I consider it Leica’s finest Summilux and perhaps the best all around wide angle, setting aside the Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon which I put at the top of the heap.

The Leica M10 is badly overpriced (body + EVF + batteries + etc all adds up to a huge cost).

Bottom line is that Leica could have a great offering for many folks by taking the M series forward with the EVF of the SL (drop the rangefinder) and a ~36 megapixel sensor. But they just don’t do it. And it would cost $10K. Sigh.

As for input to Zeiss, I have given it many times. They make their own marketing and design decisions, and don’t adopt strategies that I think would be successful . Plus Sony has been very aggressive about rolling out lenses—not sure what kind of volume would accrue to Zeiss versus the R&D costs.

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