Do Leica M lenses really render in a special way versus other brands? Are they sharper?
Fact is, they are not sharper. Rendering... that gets into preferences and rationalizations.
Roy P writes:
I used to have the Leica 75mm f/1.25 Noctilux-M-ASPH, which I had bought from a dealer at a discount for $10K, but when the price , but when the US prices went up to $14K, I didn’t have the heart to not take a decent profit, so I sold it :)
But my reason for selling it was, in my head to head comparison (pretty extensive, BTW), my Sony FE 85/1.4 GM at f/1.4 consistently gave me a center sharpness that was at least as good as the Nocti at even f/1.4, let alone f/1.25, and gave me an even more nuanced bokeh at f/1.4 compared to the Noctilux at f/1.25 for both constant magnification and constant camera-to-subject distance (with both lenses on my Sony A7R IV).
The 75mm Noctilux was also a PITA to use, needlessly heavy and clumsy to handle. Last but not least, for its primary intended use (portraiture), even with the goofy EVF, it doesn’t come close to eye AF on a Sony camera. In the time it takes to achieve eye focus with the Nocti, even assuming both the subject and I had stopped breathing and remained perfectly still, I would have 10-12 shots already taken with a Sony in the AF-C mode, giving me a big array of images to choose from. The 75 Noctilux is an ill-conceived product made to showcase Peter Karbe’s (undeniable) talent at the user’s expense.
I also have a Sony 135mm f/2.8 (t/4.5) STF lens (A-mount) and an adapter to the M mount. It’s a little clumsy, but works pretty well. The Sony images are far more pleasing than you’d get out of the Leica 135mm f/3.4 APO-Telyt-M.
DIGLLOYD: I concur on every point.
And sticking with M-compatible lenses, I’d take the Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 over any Leica 35mm lens, the Zeiss being superior in sharpness and micro contrast, bokeh, focus shift, field curvature,and rendering style—for less than half the price.