Finally, Part 4 of the very popular “Leica on a Budget” series is ready. We are testing the two latest contenders the Sony NEX-7 and the Fuji X-Pro1 with various M mount lenses. We will see if they have the quality and usability to be called “Leica on a Budget”. Which Camera will reign supreme? The Sony NEX-7 or the Fuji X-Pro1?
For part 4 we’ll take a look at the Zeiss 50mm F1.5 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. Once again we will have two setups, one with a wider angle of view and one close up. The Zeiss 50mm F1.5 is a lens with an “old school” formula and was a great portrait lens for 35mm film because of its circular focus plane. A circular focus plane means the lens will be sharper in the center then on the edges of the frame usually in a nice gradational manner. When shot wide open or with large apertures, the lens has beautiful bokeh. We will see if the image circle of this lens will allow for the beautiful focusing effect to be transferred to digital. This is one of the reasons I love this lens so much, if it didn’t transfer well into digital, there are many other 50mm lenses that are sharper than this lens or perform “better” for what they do. Take a look at how the lens did below. You be the judge.
Results: Sony NEX-7 with Zeiss 50mm F1.5
Results: Close Up Sony NEX-7 with Zeiss 50mm F1.5
Results: Fuji X-Pro1 with Zeiss 50mm F1.5
Results: Close Up Fuji X-Pro1 with Zeiss 50mm F1.5
As you can see in the results images, the Zeiss 50mm F1.5 ZM is a great performer at F1.5 on both the Sony NEX-7 and the Fuji X-Pro1. It retains some of its reputation for being soft on the edges and sharp in the center. Other Lenses are not as sharp in the center as this Zeiss 50mm F1.5, so that sets it apart from the competition and really gives it a specific purpose. Most lenses are more uniformly focused from edge to center to edge, and wide open they are not as sharp. As you start to stop down this lens you see the edges come more and more into focus but the sharpness doesn’t equalize until about F8.0. This “feature” is what gives this lens an identity. It has character, and it transfers to digital via the Sony NEX-7 and Fuji X-Pro1. To be completely honest, I feel that the “Character” of this lens was more apparent on film then it is on “Digital”, that being said, I like that fact that its still there, even though not as prominently.
From camera to camera, I feel that the lens works best with the Sony NEX-7 as opposed to the Fuji X-Pro1. The Fuji X-Pro1 has some smudging issues on the edges of the frame. The colors from the Fuji X-Pro1 are more preferable to me, compared to the Sony NEX-7. The Sony NEX-7 warm and magenta cast in the shadows are somewhat off-putting to me, although as most of you will point out those things don’t matter much if you plan on post processing. I’ve never been a big post processing guy, but in the day of the digital camera it seems unavoidable to a certain extent. There are many photographer’s out there that use post processing as a part of their “Style” and I’ll admit that if we were to have a lengthy discussion about the Digital World vs the Film World, I could be convinced that “post processing” is equal to working in the “darkroom” in traditional photography and that until you have that final print, your process as an image maker is not complete. In the same way as an image maker in the “Digital” world, your process isn’t complete until you have made your final output. So go out, make some images, play around with your “process” until you find your identity. Happy Image Making!!
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