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Tuesday, 12 November 2013


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delightful pictures with a wonderfully small package!

with regards to using rangefinder lenses on sony's new FF mirrorless, it seems results are starting to come in on how different lenses work with various people taking their lenses to sony events. in general it seems most lenses wider than 35mm will have issues with color casts (correctible in post) and corner smear (not correctible in post) to variable degrees. most lenses longer than 35mm seem to perform well while 35mm lenses can go either way. i'm particularly happy to note that the tiny leica 40/2 c-summicron and contax g 45/2 both perform as they did on film when used on the A7r (can't say about the A7). the A7 seems to induce less color cast towards the corners than the A7r with rangefinder lenses, but it is yet to be determined whether the same is true for corner smearing (different aspects of the sensor cause each issue).

"Moreover, the Canon somehow imparts a feeling of illumination from within—I don't know how else to put it."

I know what you mean; there is something special about my Nikkor 50/1.2 on my NEX-7.

"Moreover, the Canon somehow imparts a feeling of illumination from within—I don't know how else to put it."


It looks like a lovely lens. Wonder how much it costs. I saw one ad for $850. That is quite a lot for a vintage lens. I mean, it is like Zeiss 25 Biogon price which is a very good new lens.
I am convinced that Bruno Masset Is right in his comments about adapting wide angles to initial bodies. I have tried it myself with bad results on many different lens and camera combinations.
Your results clearly show that you are right about this camera and lens working very well together. These two opinions are not contradictory at all. Some cameras have now been made that do indeed work okay, or even very well, with RF wide angles. But it is still a fair warning that many camera and lens combinations just do not work. Leica is getting better at it. Fuji seems to be one. Not sure if it applies to all their models. And I was completely surprised when I got the M module for my GXR. Even my 15mm VC is tack sharp to the corners with practically no fall off or colour shift. I still cannot believe this kind of quality from a digital system not optimised to one particular lens, let alone with a difficult lens like this. It might work very well with this Canon lens too. But if it costs as much as the Biogon...

I am glad to see praise for adapted lenses here. And I am surprised to see how well the tiny Canon works on the Fuji.
My NEX 7 usually has a 28mm Elmarit on it, probably a little more crisp in the center and soft at the edges than a Sigma 30mm most of the time if my impressions and Roger Cicala's tests are correct.
After lots of practice it does not seem slower than my old Leica M cameras and on a tripod it offers magnified view and is more reliable than anything I have used short of a good loupe on a large ground-glass.

Love these photos, especially that there is a center of attention within or around the cars themselves. Had not looked closely at the front of an old 2cv; I love the outlook implied by those springs on the bumper.

"Moreover, the Canon somehow imparts a feeling of illumination from within—I don't know how else to put it."


Canon glow

Thanks for posting this. I've been playing with old Canon FD SSC lenses on my Fuji XE1, but sticking to the longer focal lengths. This post made me dig out my 24mm f/2.8 SSC (Breech Lock) lens. It's nice and sharp at f/4, and will make a good combo with the Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 on the other camera -- the old 35/85 (well, 75) set. The 50 is pretty darn good at f/2.

While I'd love to have the 23mm f/1.4 Fujinon, this was about $899 less expensive.

Smoke 'me if ya got 'me, as they used to say, Jim. Sticking 20th manual glass to 21st cameras is part of the fun of the hobby these days. Why the heck shouldn't you give that old rf lens a go?!

But I have to say that my personal experiences In using my stockpile of M mount lenses with Fuji X and Sony NEX cameras is very much reflective of many of Bruno's comments, especially with lenses wider than 35mm. Cyan vignetting and extreme corner softness have been the principal issues I've seen, not to mention the difficulty of locating infinity.

But even with more agreeable lenses the fact of the matter is that the reward for the effort is moot, or sometimes less. I know I would love to claim that my $6,000+ 24mm Leica Summilux produces superior renderings to my Sony/Zeiss 24mm on my NEX 7. But it doesn't. At best they're equal but usually the 'Lux looks much worse than the Sony. There are several well-ruminated reasons for such results, but that's the way it is. I'd like to hope for different results with the new A7R but early reports foretell otherwise.

So if you're getting good results with your old glass more power to ya, Jim. For me, the effort has exceeded my allowable Pain/Gain Ratio of 0.75. Sophisticated contemporary native brand lens designs, bolstered by even more sophisticated active correspondence with camera firmware and post-processing profiles usually produce results that exceed my expectations for color , contrast, sharpness, and geometry for a small fraction of the cost of the finest dead glass of the film era. Happy, happy me!

This lens is well stopped down as are the other Canon lenses in your prior article on the Fuji X-e1. These lenses do quite well on film and on the Ricoh GXR M mount at much wider apertures and at all focus distances. Here, though, focus distance makes a big difference. Practically all your shots here and in the other article are rather close in. These lenses on the X-e1 at infinity are a somewhat different story even at f6.7 or f8. I have tried them out at all focus distances. I think you might differ less with Bruno if you took distance into consideration as well as aperture set.

Del wrote: "Had not looked closely at the front of an old 2cv; I love the outlook implied by those springs on the bumper."

Jim's reply: Those are, I believe, shock absorbers from a motorcycle. The fellow "building" this little French Rod is a retired cinematographer (he volunteers at the local high school teaching filmmaking) whose hobby has been, as far as I can tell, making old bikes "new" with scavenged parts. He seems now to be expanding to four-wheeled machines..."

I have been using a Voigtländer 15mm/F4.5 mounted on a Panasonic GX1, works great as far as I am concerned,

That flat element at the back wasn't there for protection. It has a definite optical effect. And if it's thin enough to not have an optical effect, it's also too thin to be much use as protection. It's probably there to improve field flatness. How? It lengthens the optical path to the edges of the image as compared to a lens without it, so if the field had been curving backwards, this would tend to align it with the film plane.

About 3 years ago I tested around 50 different lenses on the full-frame Leica M9. The Canon 25/3.5 rangefinder lens was indeed amongst the better lenses tested and showed only a minor purple discoloration along the left edge of the frame. The 25/4 rangefinder Nikkor of similar (Topogon) design was also good. The worst lenses for color issues were the Leitz 21/4 and 21/3.4 SuperAngulons and the Zeiss 21/4.5 Biogon. These three lenses were essentially unusable, even using CornerFix to correct the problem. Surprisingly, the Voigtlander 12/5.6 was only slightly worse than the two 25s. The Voigtlander 15/4.5 was worse than the 12 but still quite useable with CornerFix applied. Generally, lenses of 28 mm and longer showed no need for correction, although the current Leica 28/2.8 showed a bit of a color problem if in-camera correction was turned off. I saw few if any sharpness issues. Yes, there was a general trend towards in unsharpness in the corners, but this was in line with my recollections of their characteristics with film. The Canon 25/3.5 was better than most in this regard - by f/11 the corners were sharp.

More recently I tried a few of the same lenses with the MFT Panasonic G1. I was surprised to find that many lenses shorter than 35 mm showed edge sharpness issues with this camera. Longer lenses were no problem. I saw no color issues with the G1.

I think understand the issues with the M9. I don't understand the issues with the G1.

I keep forgetting to acknowledge your writing Jim. I also LOVED Camera 35. In fact, my first ever published photograph was in Camera 35 edited at that time by Patricia Caulfield (sp?). I was so sorry to see it go and now, your occasional articles here bring back old memories.
Thanks for the article.

Impressive photos! But I should also note that it seems to me that this particular subject matter always tends to look impressive in photographs. These subjects flatter any lens, no?

My Leica 35mm ASPH on the FujiX-E1 had very evident smeared borders wide open, decreasing up to f/5.6; at f/8 it was sharp on all the APS-C frame.
I imagine that your pictures (very beautyful, btw) have been shot with the 25mm in full light, probably below f/8, and at this aperture the decrease in resolution on the borders should be practically invisible.

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