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Sony Nex-7 with Leica legacy M lenses rolling review #1

January 15, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Sony Nex-7 Metabones Leica M - E mount adapter and Leica Summicron 35mm F2Leitz Summicron 35 mm F2.0 mounted on the Sony Nex-7 with the Metabones Leica M - E mount adapter. The adapter has proved to be very tight with this lens. Sony Nex-7, Metabones Leica M - E mount adapter, and Leica Summicron 35mm F2 Vers.1

Leica Summilux 50mm f 1.4 Vers.1 = 75mm f1.4 with the 1.5 sensor crop

Leica Tele-Elmarit 90mm F2.8 = 135mm f2.8 with the 1.5 sensor crop

Leica Tele-Elmarit 90mm F2.8 = 135 f2.8 with the 1.5 sensor crop

Leica Summicron 35mm f2.0 Vers. 1 = 52.5mm f2.0 with the 1.5 sensor crop

Leica Summicron 35mm f2.0 Vers. 1 = 52.5mm f2.0 with the 1.5 sensor crop

 

Rolling Review -

This is the first post in what I hope will be a long series of blog posts about my experiences with the Sony Nex-7 and legacy Leica M lenses which were part of my fathers collection in the early 70's. I am using the Metabones Leica M mount to Sony E mount adapter. UPDATE: I have since purchased a used Novoflex which is 100% better in both construction and use. I will not be trying to rehash what folks have been writing about for the last two years but to give you my honest opinion of my experiences with the equipment. The images above are some basic shots of Rockport Harbor and the surrounding area and are just test shots and not meant to be "art". They are all jpegs that have gone through Photoshop, toned or converted to B&W, resized, and sharpened a bit. You will not see any pixel peeping shots of 100% blow ups - it's not my style. I'll let the pixel peepers do that.

 

First off, I have to tell you that the Nex-7 is a joy to work with. As much as I love my rangefinders I don't shoot film any more and this camera gives me the look and feel of those wonderful Leica bodies. It's small, hangs around my neck like my M3 and feels good in my hands. Right off the bat I was shooting tons of frames using the camera in full manual and using the OLED to focus with using the wonderful fringing feature. A couple of times I employed the magnification feature to focus on a specific area which was a bit tricky. If you are using a medium telephoto like the 90 it gets a bit jumpy.

 

The first problem that I ran into was with the Metabones adapter. My 35mm went on the adapter very tightly. It seems to be getting better but is still really tight. I try not to force things so it was hard getting it onto the adapter. The 50 mm was much easier and the 90 mm was somewhat in between. Initially this really bothered me as I really don't want to do any damage to my lenses. I am on the alert for the much more expensive Novoflex M mount to E adapter. Update: I now own a Novoflex which is much better. I can not recommend the Metabones as it is too much of a tight fit.

 

Now for the big disappointment! I was dying to use my Leica 21mm f3.4 Super Angulon, my favorite lens of all time. The combination of the Metabones adapter and this lens did not work on the Nex-7. The lens recedes to far into the camera body and it touches the plastic housing around the sensor. What a problem - I'm still looking for a solution. If it prevails I might have to opt for the Sony 16 f2.8 which is a 24mm in 35mm terms. UPDATE: I have since purchased the 20mm 2.8 which is a pretty nice little pancake lens. I have not used it much and am in the process of doing more real world testing with it. Here are two blog posts about the Sony 20mm f2,8 pancake lens here and here.

 

One of the things I enjoyed was to have two other lenses in my coat pockets. With my really large Canon L glass this is not possible. I felt transported back to my formative days shooting with the Leica M3 and M5. Since I have no zoom, moving myself to re-frame the shot, focusing the lens and adjusting the exposure was pure heaven. It brought me back to my roots and what I really love about photography. With the new cameras any idiot can point the thing on auto and come up with something decent. In the old days it was all you not the camera.

 

Update: All of the images I shot today were also shot in Sony raw. I have run them all through Lightroom 4 and have noticed that some are not quite as sharp as I would like. I know it must have something to do with how I am focusing the camera. There seems to be no reason for some of them to be out as there was no movement on my part and the shutter speed was high. So tomorrow I am going to be really careful when focusing. I like the fringing of what is sharp but when you use a rangefinder you know when it's in focus when the two images combine. When using this camera on manual you can adjust everything so you can focus at f16 and still see what's going on but the fringing hits most everything. So it's a bit difficult to figure out. I will try to be more organized with my thoughts as well not just ramble on about my experiences. I am going to shoot with the 135 f4.0 tomorrow as well. I can't wait to see what happens.

 

 


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