What is best (non-Leica) digital slr back for Leica R lenses?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by TJ, Dec 22, 2007.

  1. TJ

    TJ Guest

    Recommendations please on the best value digital slr back Leica R
    lenses can be adapted to.
    TJ, Dec 22, 2007
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  2. TJ

    Tony Polson Guest

    The Leica Digital Modul-R will fit all R9 and later R8 bodies,
    converting them from 35mm film to 10.3 MP digital bodies. Results are
    outstanding as there is no anti-alias filter so resolution is
    extremely good. Production of the Digital Modul-R has now ended but
    they do appear on eBay and at Leica specialists, albeit at fairly high

    Otherwise, the Canon EOS system is the obvious choice. I use two
    Canon EOS 5D bodies with Leica and Carl Zeiss (Contax) lenses, plus
    three Canon L zooms, and I am very happy with the results. I
    recommend buying and using one adapter per lens; using one adapter for
    several lenses is false economy and slows you down considerably.

    Obviously you only get manual focus and you have to meter with them
    lens stopped down. You can get adapters with focus confirmation but
    they need to be carefully calibrated for the specific lens in use and
    my experience with them has been poor, so I don't use them.

    I have a Leica 21-35mm zoom, a 50mm f/2 and a 180mm f/3.4, plus Contax
    18mm, 21mm, 35mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 lenses plus a Tamron 90mm macro.
    The Canon L zooms are the 16-35mm f/2.8 II, the 24-105mm f/2.8 IS and
    the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS. For the work I do, this is as near to a
    perfect outfit as I could imagine, although I am tempted to buy a
    Nikon D3 and some Carl Zeiss ZF lenses, which would give me full
    aperture metering. Maybe next year!
    Tony Polson, Dec 22, 2007
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  3. TJ

    Tully Guest

    You seem to be tiptoeing around Nikkor lenses. Although I'm a Nikkor fan
    of long-standing, I don't regard my preference as a religion, nor do I
    indulge in the "Brand N is better than Brand Z" rhetoric.

    Still, for the focal lengths you favor, (opinion alert!) I consider
    classic Nikon glass like the 17-35/2.8, 180/2.8 (ED versions in MF or
    AF), several of the 20's. 35's, and 85's, as well as the modern VR
    zooms, to be superior in quality to the Canon counterparts, and any
    pro-level Nikkor to be so close in IQ to the Leitz and Zeiss offerings
    as to make the price premium of German lenses ridiculous.

    (I should break that last sentence up into at least three.)

    Sooooooo, why would you buy ZF's for a D3? I sometimes (not often)
    manually focus my AF lenses, but basically have been won over by AF, and
    it's been my observation that most comparisons (here's one)
    either favor Nikon outright, or at least acknowledge that differences
    are slight, while price differential isn't.
    Tully, Dec 23, 2007
  4. My understanding is that there are Leica R to Canon 5D adapters.

    The 5D is available for around US$2000, and it gives you full frame, 12.7MP,
    a correctly designed sensor (Leica sensors lack IR and low-pass filters),
    and good high-ISO performance.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Dec 23, 2007
  5. TJ

    RichA Guest

    Best value? Canon's 5D body at around $1800 discounted. If you want
    a pro body, Olympus's E-3.
    If you really want to save money, Olympus's E-510 would be a good
    choice at about $500. All can use adapters.
    RichA, Dec 23, 2007
  6. TJ

    TJ Guest

    Many thanks for this info,

    I have the Elmarit 19, 35 and 90mm F2.8 lenses. Fankly although the 35
    and 90 are everything you expect from Leica it's only the 19mm wide
    angle I would put on an adapter on a digital back. Probably on a Canon
    EOS because of the huge range of Canon zoom lenses to use on auto with
    the digital.

    I want a 'super' wide angle lens for occasional shots

    The 19mm lens is an 'old' 70's optical design and weighs so much it's
    probably more an a Voigtlander 35mm rangefinder camera with a 15mm
    super wide angle lens combined.

    What are you recommendations on super wide prime lenses (manual use is
    OK) which like Leica can go on a Canon digital back?
    TJ, Dec 23, 2007
  7. TJ

    Tony Polson Guest

    Having been a Nikon user for many years, I am well aware of the
    existence of some great Nikon optics.

    I left the Nikon system because the Nikkor lenses in some of my most
    used focal lengths were disappointing. They might have been sharp but
    their OOF rendition left a lot to be desired.

    There are no really good Nikkors in 20mm, 35mm and 50mm focal lengths.
    The 20mm has hideous "moustache" distortion which needs careful
    correction. The 35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.8 and f/1.4 all have very harsh
    bokeh. When I changed to Pentax I found an outstanding range of
    lenses which had a combination of sharpness and bokeh that was only
    bettered by Leica glass.

    The Carl Zeiss ZF lenses for Nikon AIS bring new levels of optical
    performance to Nikon bodies. And they are far from expensive,
    probably because they are made in Japan by Cosina, but under Carl
    Zeiss quality control.

    Your assertions that, overall, Nikon's lenses are superior to Canon's
    and equal to Zeiss and Leica (not Leitz any more) are not borne out in
    practice. This is a classic case of brand worship obscuring the truth.
    I'm not surprised that you chose to quote such a biased opinion,
    because by sheer coincidence, it just happens to agree with your own
    biased opinion!

    The Zeiss lenses are not expensive. For the quality they offer, they
    are actually remarkably cheap. And the reason that I would buy them
    for a D3 is that Nikon's own lenses are still not good enough. Yes,
    they are plenty sharp, but that is at the expense of other desirable
    optical qualities.

    People who judge lenses on sharpness alone are missing the point. It
    is like judging a DSLR body solely on the number of megapixels its
    sensor delivers. And there are a great many people who make that
    silly mistake too.

    It does seem to me that digital capture has blinded a great many
    people to the more desirable optical qualities of a lens. Perhaps
    they think that you can buy any old junk lens, make a few corrections
    in software and get a superlative result. But you cannot.
    Tony Polson, Dec 23, 2007
  8. TJ

    John Bean Guest

    This is an often overlooked - but true - assertion that can
    never be over-emphasised.

    Needless to say: I agree.
    And then some :-(
    John Bean, Dec 23, 2007
  9. TJ

    Tony Polson Guest

    Thanks, John.
    Tony Polson, Dec 23, 2007
  10. TJ

    TJ Guest

    I believe what you're saying, Tony, (and I have to agree with you) is
    the thing that sets Pentax and German lens makers apart from the rest,
    is somehow they put an extra piece of SOUL into the photograph the
    others don't, irregardless of how sharp they are.

    And SOUL can't be measured, only marveled at.


    TJ, Dec 23, 2007
  11. TJ

    Tom Hook Guest

    Lovely photograph but doesn't the photographer provide the soul rather
    than the lens?
    Tom Hook, Dec 23, 2007
  12. TJ

    Tony Polson Guest

    Absolutely. And this soul appears to be increasingly lost to the new
    generation of digital SLR users who cannot see beyond counting
    megapixels and finding peak values of MTF.
    A lovely shot!
    Tony Polson, Dec 23, 2007
  13. TJ

    Tony Polson Guest

    Of course the photographer has a *huge* influence on the result, but
    part of that influence comes from the photographer's choice of lens.

    You can shoot exactly the same scene with three different brands of
    50mm f/1.4 lens used wide open and get three surprisingly different
    results. Or shoot them all at f/8 or f/11 and the differences are
    small - sometimes impossible to tell apart. A good photographer will
    know why that is, and use his/her knowledge to inform the choice of
    Tony Polson, Dec 23, 2007
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