Jun 062012
 

I had a reader ask me what camera would be the best camera for his older M mount lenses that didn’t cost over $5000.00 USD. He had an assortment of Leica M mount lenses as well as a few Voigtlanders. So basically he wants a Leica M9 on a budget. I’ve been wondering what the answer to this question is for a long time also, so I decided to do some tests. This will be a multi part review that will test the two latest contenders the Sony NEX-7 and the Fuji X-Pro1 with various M mount lenses and compare them against each other. Which Camera will reign supreme? The Sony NEX-7 or the Fuji X-Pro1?

Part 1

For part 1 we’ll take a look at the Voigtlander 15mm F4.5 lens on both the Sony NEX-7 and the Fuji X-Pro1. For the Sony NEX-7 we used a Rainbow imaging LM to NEX adapter and for the Fuji X-Pro1 we used the Kippon LM to FX adapter. I decided to do two setups one at Close up about 0.5 meters or 1.5 feet, and one at infinity, so you can see the difference in performance with each lens and camera combination.

Results: Close-Up Sony NEX-7 with Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Sony NEX-7 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Sony NEX-7 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Sony NEX-7 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Sony NEX-7 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Results: Infinity: Sony NEX-7 with Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Sony NEX-7 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Sony NEX-7 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Sony NEX-7 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Sony NEX-7 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Results: Close-Up Fuji X-Pro1 with Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Fuji X-Pro1 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Fuji X-Pro1 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Fuji X-Pro1 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Fuji X-Pro1 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Results: Infinity Fuji X-Pro1 with Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Fuji X-Pro1 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Fuji X-Pro1 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Fuji X-Pro1 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Leica on a budget Part 1: Fuji X-Pro1 w/ Voigtlander 15mm F4.5

Conclusion

There are a couple of surprising results when you look at the images side by side. The first of which is that the Voigtlander 15mm F4.0 has more smear on the edges of the frame on the Fuji X-Pro1 vs. the Sony NEX-7. This was a surprise to me because of the color shift that the Sony has with this lens, I thought maybe the flange distance was too close, but as it turns out it may be the opposite. The Fuji X-Pro1 may have a different flange distance that may cause the edges to have more smear then the Sony. The smear does go away at F8.0 but that is one stop more than it disappears on the Sony (Sony smear is gone at F5.6). In practical shooting this may be a small issue for street photographers that like to shoot wide open, but when using hyper focal shooting, it is less of an issue because you will most likely be shooting at F5.6 or F8.0 for most scenes.

Sharpness throughout the F-Stop range is good and if you were to use hyper focal focusing technique and an ISO of 400-800 you may not need to focus at all for subjects between 1.5 feet to infinity at F8.0. “Tape the Lens down and Shoot” pretty cool!! Can’t be easier than that. In the next articles with different lenses we’ll start to build a profile of these camera’s to see if they really can be a ”Leica on a Budget”. Check back often for the next parts of this series! Happy Image Making!!

Leica on a budget: Part 2

Leica on a budget: Part 3

Leica on a budget: Part 4

Leica on a budget: Part 5

Leica on a budget: Conclusion 

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  8 Responses to “Leica on a Budget: Part 1”

  1.  

    You should get your friend to consider the Ricoh GXR A12 Mount, which takes Leica M mount lenses directly, has a sensor without an AA filter and doesn’t smear the corners with wide-angle lenses.

    •  

      David thanks so much for the comment. You are right the Ricoh GXR is a great camera. I will let him know that this is also a viable option. Maybe you can help us out. What are some of your likes and dislikes of the camera?? I’m sure there are many in the photo community that would love to know what your feedback of this camera with the A12 mount and how it performs. Happy Image Making!!

  2.  

    On the last day of March 2012, I got myself a Ricoh GXR A12 M-Mount set up with 3 Voigtlander lenses – 15/4.5, 35/1.4 and 75/1.8. These are much more portable than my earlier APS-C D-SLR gears with comparable outcome if not better. Here are some results;
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2555038294153.89563.1799831440&type=3&l=3cf8ee1b86
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2547801793245.89400.1799831440&type=3&l=06aa7d816b

    •  

      Bob, These are great images. The colors are great and very interesting points of view. The Voitlander 35mm F1.4 is a beast of a lens. How is it in real life shooting?? Considering the weight and having it attached to a smaller camera?/ Does it feel unbalanced? I’ve been wondering that. Did you adjust any of the images in Lightroom or any other photo editing software>? Or is that all from the camera?? Thanks for your comment!

      •  

        The images were processed in Lightroom 4. The DNG file from GXR works in LR4 nicely since the camera profile well matchs with the Adobe’s raw format. Images require little touch up, compared with my earlier set up, Nikon D80.

        Regarding the Voigtlander 35/1.4, I won’t consider it a beast – 200g, filter size 43mm, 1.1 inch in length, 2.2 inch in width. Put the lens on the GXR, most people could easily saw the set up as a mere one of the serious point-n-shoot cameras.

        Please see the size of the lens compared with Leica Summicron;
        http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/SDSD3535.jpg
        (It’s a bit smaller than the Cron, to my eyes)

        Cheers,
        Bob

        •  

          Bob, thanks for the reply!! My face is red!! I was thinking of the voigtlander 35mm F1.2 oops!! I’ve been curious about the F1.2 for a while and the only thing that’s preventing me buying it, is size. sorry for the mixup! From your images the 35mm 1.4 seems like a great candidate for a APS-C normal lens. seems more compact then the zeiss 35mm f2.0. what do you think?? quality up to par???

  3.  

    Lots of used Leica M8′s available too for €1500 or so, I love mine and much prefer the files even to my D700.

    •  

      Jeremy, Thanks for your comment. There are lots of Leica M8′s out there. but in personal experience it’s a crap shoot to see if you get one that has been cared for. It’s like buying a second hand mercedes or porsche, if you don’t get one that has been cared for well, you inherit the large maintenance cost too for a premium product. I like the M8′s I have many friends with them and the output is undeniable, but in this economy are you willing to gamble with 1500 Euros or even 2000 USD?? For that much you can get a Fuji X-Pro1, Sony NEX-7, Ricoh GXR wA12, new with warranty. And if I’m smart I will use my Discover Card or Amex card to extend the warranty an extra year. Spoken from the man who has been burned a couple of times on Ebay and the secondary market. (thats me) Just to be clear also, I’m not an Idiot! I’ve used all my safeguards and such, and when it was all said and done, I did get my money back. But do you really want to put up with the headache. It takes lots of time to go back and forth with the seller and Ebay. When I buy second hand equipment, I tend to stick with things that are manual, such as lenses, tripods, traditional photography stuff, not too much with the heavy electronic things. And Always in person, face to face. My Two Cents.

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