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short Leica Lenses on DSLRs


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#1 David Grantham

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 12:37 AM

Anyone been using them happily?

On a GH2 the adaptation doubles the focal length, (which defeats the usefulness of a 24mm, for example) and i can only find one compatible (55mm) front of lens wide angle converter which would then decrease the effective length by the same amount. By Optex and $30 so I wonder about quality.

On an EOS adaptation seems to increase the length 1.5x. But most wide angles aren't compatible.

thanks for any comments. (it's R series Leica lenses I'm wondering about, BTW.)

Edited by David Grantham, 02 July 2011 - 12:40 AM.

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#2 georg lamshöft

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 03:07 AM

There are some interesting Leica-R-lenses available which can be used on a Full-Frame-Canon (5DII, 1ds - no crop - 19mm = stays 19mm regarding image angle) as well. Some of them might collide with the mirror but there are modifications (shaving the mirror) for that (modify the camera, not the lens - the mirror costs a few bucks, the lens might be irreplaceable!).

Here is a nice site:
http://www.pebblepla...l/Leica_db.html

Do yourself a favor: get a Novoflex-adapter, not the Chinese ones

Keep in mind that some designs are already 30 or 40 years old, don't expect Leica-superiority with those (the 24mm is even based on a Minolta-design, forget abot that). The Leica Elmarit-R 28mm (with rectangular shade) and the 19mm (small version with internal filters) as well as the Vario 21-35 and 28-90 are really good lenses.
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#3 David Grantham

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 03:36 AM

Thanks Georg. Been to that site. I'm pretty sure I read that lenses were effectively lengthened in the adaptation process from Leica to Canon. Maybe on that very site...

I'm shopping for a DSLR. The long takes, possible (but arduous to accomplish) HDMI out, and non-moire features of the GH2 are appealing when compared to the Canon. But less bokeh is a big strike against it

There are 3 versions of the Elmarit 24 - I'm not sure which one I have as that site names them identically. Wonder if all are minolta-based?

Others I have:
Vario Elmar 35-70/3.5
Macro Elmarit 60/2.8
Telyt 250/4

Also third party:
Schneider Kreusnen PA 35/4
Angenieux 70-210/3.5

In reality though I'm not sure I can effectively shoot my little handheld dramas without at least one of either auto-focus or auto-aperature, so the leica lenses may keep gathering dust anyway no matter what camera I get.

I love the bokeh so maybe it'll be a Canon, short takes, and no tweed jackets.
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#4 Garry Torrance

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 05:25 AM

You can get very shallow depth-of-field with APS-C and Micro 43 formats, you just need to open up another stop or two. Micro 43 is only a x1.2 crop from Super 35mm, APS-C is effectively crop-free. I don't think it's useful to quote crop factors in relation to full-frame stills format: we're generally talking about using these cameras for making films in 16:9 so surely we should be making the comparison to 3-perf 35mm, not 8-perf stills?
For me the shallow dof on a 5D is a bit extreme for many purposes, particularly hand-held drama. I would just go for a GH2 or a 7D and use the money you save to get some newer lenses with wider apertures, that way you have the dof and more light sensitivity.
Don't use auto-focus or auto-aperture, or auto-anything for that matter. The point of focus and exposure is a creative decision that you can control yourself as you film, would you really leave those decisions to a little microprocessor?
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#5 David Grantham

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 11:25 AM

Thanks Gary, well if that's the case then I should consider my wide Leica lenses. But I'd have to use a .5x wide angle converter to get them back to their intended length, which feels like a hack. But maybe any loss of resolution wouldn't be aparrent down resed toHD from the CMOS res. What do you think?

Compared to my leicas, I can't see any wider faster zoom lens (my ideal for what I'm doing) in this list of four thirds lenses. http://www.four-thir...roft/lense.html I don't see any wider faster fixed-length lenses either.

Yeah I know what you mean about focus. Come to think of it, more likely I manually focus (esp at wide aperature), dial in a correction to ensure that I'm not blowing out any highlights and let AE take it from there. When I'm focussed on the performance it's hard to monitor all the adjustments (the other day my finger was in the frame of the tiny test camera I"m using to shoot rehearsals and I didn't notice it most of the time. But no budget means I'm the entire crew)
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#6 Garry Torrance

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 08:12 AM

You may or may not notice any loss of quality when you use a wide angle adapter on Leica lenses on highly compressed HD, it depends on the quality of the adapter, but I think that's kind of missing the point: attaching a wide-angle adapter defeats the purpose of using the nice Leica lens in the first place.
If you're moving to Micro 43 format, and you're used to full-frame stills format, then your 19mm lens will appear to have a narrower field-of-view but it is still a 19mm lens, it is still wide-angle: you just get used to the different format. I'm used to lens focal lengths using Red One cameras, Letus adapters, 7Ds, etc, all of which have a similar sensor-size to 3-perf 35mm. This means that the full-frame format of a 5D looks weird and alien to me. Is it a problem? No, I just use each lens differently to compensate for the difference in format. So if you decide your 19mm isn't wide enough on a smaller sensor, then you use a wider lens..
If you were to go down the Micro 43 route, you have access to a huge range of lenses in addition to the ones designed for Micro 43, the absence of a mirror and the short flange distance means almost all 35mm lenses can be attached with the right adapter.
I hear what you're saying about concentrating on the performance, but seriously dude, there's no excuse for using auto-exposure on a drama.. Even if you have no budget I'm sure you could find some collaborators to help you put a crew together?
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#7 David Grantham

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 10:43 PM

then your 19mm lens will appear to have a narrower field-of-view but it is still a 19mm lens, it is still wide-angle: you just get used to the different format. ....So if you decide your 19mm isn't wide enough on a smaller sensor, then you use a wider lens..
If you were to go down the Micro 43 route, you have access to a huge range of lenses in addition to the ones designed for Micro 43, the absence of a mirror and the short flange distance means almost all 35mm lenses can be attached with the right adapter...


Speaking in those terms, I need a (max) 12mm to (min) 40mm zoom. Can find it neither designed for Micro 4:3, nor for 35mm cameras. Doesn't appear to exist. So it appears I have no choice but to down-adapt an existing lens. (Right?) And if I do, I'm wondering what to expect in terms of DOF.

Also; in the long run I'd like to wokr out the bugs to taking the HDMI image out, so that would be quite a good image which (I wonder?) might lose some leica quality.

Edited by David Grantham, 08 July 2011 - 10:46 PM.

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#8 georg lamshöft

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:53 AM

As long as it's only about highly compressed HD-output from an HDSLR and using certain optical adapters, optical performance won't matter that much. Basically any Leica-lens will give you decent mechanics and bokeh/color-rendering. The same will be true for regular lenses from Nikon/Cnnon/Olympus.
A lens in the 12-40mm range will be hard to find. Maybe some APS-C-lens from Sigma, Tokina or Tamron?

When it's about highest quality, investing into newer Leica-designs makes sense - 21-35mm, 28-90mm, last-gen 19/28/35/50mm and so on. Most of these lenses are capable of outresolving even high-resolution sensors. But they're expensive.
The 24mm R-lens was always a mediocre Minolta-design, as well as the 3,5/35-70 (I think the 4/35-70 was designed by Leica but made by Sigma - back then, Leica still believed in "consumer-grade-lenses" - something they no longer do).
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#9 David Grantham

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 02:05 PM

Basically any Leica-lens will give you decent mechanics and bokeh/color-rendering. The same will be true for regular lenses from Nikon/Cnnon/Olympus.
A lens in the 12-40mm range will be hard to find. Maybe some APS-C-lens from Sigma, Tokina or Tamron?


Thankyou Georg. I'm assuming from the above (and from 35mm reputations) that the Tokina and Tamron would have visibly lower quality?

Thanks to your suggestions I've discovered that Tokina and Tamron in fact do have the shortest mid-range 2.8 lenses I can find (16 - 50 and 16- 55.) Cheapest, too, at about $600 ($900-1000 with converter). There are 17 to 55 / 2.8s from Nikon (about 1800 with converter) and canon (about 1400 with converter.)

thanks
DG

Edited by David Grantham, 13 July 2011 - 02:06 PM.

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#10 Mei Lewis

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 06:27 AM

The canon 17-55 f2.8 IS is a very nice lens.
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