Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Adapting legacy lenses to use with modern mirrorless cameras

Adapting legacy lenses to use with modern mirrorless cameras

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Mirrorless cameras have opened up all sorts of possibilities to use legacy lenses. I have a cupboard full of adaptors, ranging from Canon-to-m43 through to Leica M to SL/TL. I can get confusing and I was interested to see this comprehensive run-down on adapters published in Amateur Photography:

Lens adapters come at a wide range of prices. Top-quality models from the likes of Novoflex are precisely the right length for lenses to focus correctly across their designed range, and have finely machined mounts that are perfectly parallel to each other. In contrast, cheap knock-offs can be roughly made and at worst, lenses may barely fit at all. If you want to shoot seriously with high-quality manual focus primes,

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Mike. I find that the effectiveness of Leica lenses on other makes via adaptors varies. For example, the WATE, which costs an arm and leg, is very good on the X-Pro 2, but the normally reliable 35mm Summicron Asph is quite soft in the corners. The other issue is that focus peaking is not as reliable or precise as a rangefinder for manual focus. The final point is that some of the lenses made by such other manufacturers are now quite superb. I am not not talking about kit zooms. For example, the Fujifilm 35mm f2 and 16mm f1.4 are only a tiny bit behind their nearest Leica equivalents and, given the corner issues, are much better to use than equivalent Leica lenses via adaptors. Increasingly, I find that lenses work best in their native environment, which is only as it should be. I will be holding onto my Fujifilm adaptor for the WATE. I can’t remember the make, but it works well enough.

    William

  2. On my Fuji X-Pro2 I am using my Leica M mount 1.4/50 Summilux and a 2.0/75 Apo Summicron Aspherical as well as 2.8/28 Elmarit M via Fuji’s own X to M mount adapter with great success as far as the IQ goes. After using various modern Leica M mount lenses on M9 and M 240 I cannot see much difference between M and Fuji X lenses.

  3. This article perpetuates the old wives tale about spurious adapters not being flat and containing swarf. This tale is just that -a tale put about by the manufacturers/wholesalers and retailers of overpriced adapters.
    I have a lot of experience of different adapters-I still have ten different adapters for different lens and mount combinations -and I have never experienced any issues with even the cheapest of them purchased off eBay.
    I have tested them all with targets and have never found any evidence of lack of flatness.
    Based on my experience if you are looking to buy an adapter try eBay first.

    • You are right, John. The adaptors are fine, but today’s prime lenses from manufacturers like Fujifilm are superb. They are about 95% or more of the quality of Leica lenses. They also have no mismatch issues such as you will find on lenses from other makes. The issue is not the adaptors, but the fact that the other manufacturer’s lenses are designed for different systems. Leica goes to a great deal of trouble with its digital Ms to ensure that lenses which were designed for film rangefinders will work on their digital models. This includes elements of the sensor design. The only Leica lens that, in my experience does not have an equivalent of the same quality from Fujifilm is the WATE. Of course, at the 100mm + end, Leica does not have anything unless one goes for those monstrous SL lenses.

      I believe that it is worthwhile for any Leica user to have a suitable adaptor if they also use another system. How often they use it is very much a matter of personal taste and experience.

      William

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