“Part 5” of the very popular ‘Leica on a Budget’ series is ready. This is the last lens we’ll test for this series. 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? Please follow the links at the bottom for the last article of this series “Leica on a Budget: Conclusion”
For part 5 we’ll take a look at the Leica 50mm F2.0 Summicron 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. How will this lens perform in these different scenes. The Leica 50mm F2.0 Summicron has the reputation for being one of the sharpest lenses out there. Will this reputation transfer to Digital?
Results: Sony NEX-7 with Leica 50mm F2.0
Results: Close Up Sony NEX-7 with Leica 50mm F2.0
Results: Fuji X-Pro1 with Leica 50mm F2.0
Results: Close Up Fuji X-Pro1 with Leica 50mm F2.0
So how does the king of sharpness perform in the digital world? To me the sharpness of this legendary lens falls a little short in the digital world. With the formulation of many digital specific lenses, the landscape of sharp lenses is ever-changing. The digital cameras these days are stuffed with so many mega pixels that camera manufacturers have to develop newer lenses that will be specifically formulated to take advantage of this added resolution. I’ve found for myself first hand, many of the lenses that I used with a 10 or 16 megapixel camera, are no longer acceptable with higher 22 or 24 megapixel cameras. It’s only a difference of like 8 mega pixels you say? Why would there be a huge difference? But for some reason there is. For example even on a cropped body Sony NEX-7 I used the Leica 50mm F2.0 and the Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS. At a wide open aperture the Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS lens was able to out resolve the Leica 50mm when we did some close up pictures of some hibiscus flowers. You cold see the individual hairs of the stem of the flower. See the 100% crop image here.
Is the performance horrible? Of course not. I’m really being nit picky here. For this test the Leica does very good. More accurately, comparing it to its peers, the Leica 50mm F2.0 Summicron is the sharpest of the bunch, when you factor in edge to edge sharpness and sharpness per given aperture. I just wanted to point out that our expectations of these older lenses should not be in the same class as modern lenses. The modern lenses are made specifically to the modern sensor’s specification and I’m sure it factors in larger sensors also. I think because I have found memories of the “wow” factor that I had when I looked at the negatives from this lens under a loupe, my expectation were pretty high. Usability wise, the lens lives up to my nostalgic memory. The smoothness of the lens, build quality, all top of the line. When connected to the Fuji X-Pro1 it really feels like you’re shooting a Leica Rangefinder. When connected to the Sony NEX-7, there is a little bit of a disconnect. It feels like a Frankenstein camera. I don’t mean that in a bad way, just different! 😉 Happy Image Making!!
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