Lens Adapter Heresy
Old 06-16-2015   #1
mktgdoc
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Lens Adapter Heresy

I have an M9 as well as a slew of Canon EOS EF "L" zooms, EF-s lenses and Canon SLR bodies. I want to expand the Leica beyond the 50mm. Even used, the Leitz lenses are out of my price range. Rather than getting into Zeiss or Voigtlander lenses, which are in my price range, I'll still face the same non-indexing issues with them as I would with the adapter mounted Canon lenses. Selling my Canon equipment to buy Leica replacements is not a reasonable solution either because an SLR can do things a rangefinder can't. Also, selling the M9 isn't a solution because it can do things an SLR can't. My questions are:
1] has anyone used an EOS to Leica M adapter mount; and what were your results
2] which adapter would you recommend
3] how to resolve the framing issue other than constantly holding the frame lever
4] can EF-s lenses be used on the M9
5] any exposure compensation issues

Thanks in advance for your input.
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Old 06-16-2015   #2
Godfrey
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I've seen just a couple of Canon EF to M-mount adapters offered for sale.

There's a fundamental problem with adapting these lenses to M-mount: Canon EF lens apertures are regulated by an electronic signal from the camera body to the lens and default to wide open when powered off. So even if you do adapt one to M-mount, it has to have both a power source and an aperture control to be able to make use of the lens at anything other than wide open. For me, this makes these lenses unusable.

(There's a kludge to set an aperture: on a compatible EOS body, set the aperture you want on the body and press the DoF preview button. With the button held down, remove the lens. The lens will be set to the set aperture, and will hold it until it is once again fitted to an EOS body and powered on. ... Not a very useful thing to do as it means you have to have an EOS body as well as your lens and Leica.)

The framing issue is minor: If you adapt a 35 or 135mm lens, the default Leica framelines are in place for those focal lengths. Since you already have a 50, why would you adapt that? The only framelines you'd need otherwise are the 28/90 pair, which are at the inner limits of the frame line selector lever ... Just push in to see where the 90 is, if you have a 90 mm lens fitted, or use most of the viewfinder for the 28 (they're so close to the edges of the M9 finder the framing error will be minimal...).

Then there's the issue of focusing properly. You'll be limited to scale focus with any adapted SLR lens on an M9. This works fine for short focal lengths and is pretty much hopeless with longer focal lengths for any kind of rapid shooting.

All in all, unless you have an M/M-P typ 240, you're best off sticking with M-mount (or LTM+adapter) lenses on the M9.

I don't know what you mean by the "non-indexing issue" with M-mount Zeiss and Voigtländer lenses. I used these all the time on my M9 and use them today on the M-P. If you mean the lens codes, well, you can either set the lens code manually, not use it at all, or have the lens mount modified to include the lens code. I created user profiles for my commonly-used uncoded lenses ('Lux 35 v2, Nokton 50, M-Rokkor 90) so when I fit a lens I set the User Profile for it. It works just fine. If you use an LTM lens, buy the correct adapter to set the frame lines properly. This is not a big deal.

What you're best off doing is deciding what second M-mount lens you want for the M and saving up your money to buy it.

G
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Old 06-16-2015   #3
View Range
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There are really nice Leica lenses that can be had at reasonable prices:
35mm f2.8 Summaron
90mm f4.0 Elmar
135mm f4.0 Elmar
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Old 06-16-2015   #4
Sooty_1
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It doesn't have to be Canon, there are many decent manual lenses out there, cheap, plus adapters for pretty much any manual lens.

Tbh though, the coding issue isn't really a biggie, and coding manually or dealing with it in post isn't really a problem.
The rangefinder experience is often better for limiting your lens choice, allowing you to see and work for the images, rather than changing / zooming the lens to suit.

There are great Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses, just look at some of the stuff produced in the galleries. Better quality, mostly, than adapting other types of lenses, plus they bring up the correct frames and usually couple to the rangefinder.

Nick

Ps: I have a Nikon AI adapter, and it works just fine, but the limitations it imposed pushed me into getting rangefinder lenses in the end!
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Old 06-16-2015   #5
sevo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Then there's the issue of focusing properly. You'll be limited to scale focus with any adapted SLR lens on an M9. This works fine for short focal lengths and is pretty much hopeless with longer focal lengths for any kind of rapid shooting.
Scale focus is impossible with many consumer lenses (they did away with the focus scale on many of them), and is horribly inaccurate on zooms (where the existence of SLR finder and AF means that their FL dependent focus shift is barely corrected).
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Old 06-16-2015   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevo View Post
Scale focus is impossible with many consumer lenses (they did away with the focus scale on many of them), and is horribly inaccurate on zooms (where the existence of SLR finder and AF means that they FL dependent focus shift is barely corrected).
And there is the problem of many Canon EF lenses focusing past infinity, so it's impossible to simply set the lens to the infinity hard stop. Even if it is possible with some, you'll likely have to shim the adapter to ensure the lens focuses correctly at infinity. Most adapters are slightly too thin, erring on the side of caution, which results in focus past infinity, which quickly degrades image quality.

I've seen some work done with the wide TS-E lenses on the M9, but the photographer would have had to constantly make test shots, adjust the camera, tripod and head, make more tests, adjustments, etc. The inconvenience around stopping down EF lenses, as already described, is a big one. If you're going to have to bring a long a Canon body just for this, you might as well shoot with it too.

Adapting such lenses, particularly manual SLR lenses, makes a lot more sense, IMO, with the M240 model.
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Old 06-16-2015   #7
Godfrey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevo View Post
Scale focus is impossible with many consumer lenses (they did away with the focus scale on many of them), and is horribly inaccurate on zooms (where the existence of SLR finder and AF means that they FL dependent focus shift is barely corrected).
Indeed... most modern zooms are not parfocal, and both they and many modern primes have no or crappy distance scales. It's been a while since i played with EOS System stuff, I'd forgotten about this.

My SLR lenses are Leica R and Nikon manual focus models, which generally have good and accurate distance scales; I don't have any zooms. Even with them a calibration exercise is needed because the adapters are not all right on the money with respect to the infinity index registration.

The RayQual M-mount adapters that I have for Nikon and Leica R have a ridge which locks the M rangefinder to 3m (IIRC), which aids in estimating distance somewhat if you don't have TTL viewing. They also generally have fairly accurate infinity registration. Again, adaptation works best with short focal length lenses; longer than normal become very difficult to get accurate results by scale without a lot of trial and error.

It's not heresy, it's just impractical to play with adaptation without the TTL viewing on the M/M-P 240 and MM 246 bodies. And even there the Canon EF lenses are not the best suited to adaptation due to the aperture control problem.

Godfrey
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Old 06-16-2015   #8
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Novoflex makes excellent adapters. The only SLR lenses that are useful on an M camera before the M240 are lenses under 21 mm with an external viewfinder. Focusing gets too inaccurate otherwise, the viewfinder gets obstructed by huge SLR lenses, and an exercise for the exercise imo.
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Thanks for All the Input & Advice
Old 06-17-2015   #9
mktgdoc
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Thanks for All the Input & Advice

Thanks to all for the valuable insight. I wasn't going to adapt my Canon lenses merely buying an add-on mount adapter so I could use the lenses on both types of cameras.

Until you pointed it out, I didn't consider the focusing problem; Leica cam driven vs. Canon electronic; or the f-stop issue.

Thanks to all of you, I'll save my money to buy Leica or Zeiss or Voigtlander lenses.
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