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Is a Leica lens better than the Oly 17mm?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by arpoador, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. I'd be interested in hearing the mu-43 forum take on this one:
    How To: Pair High-Quality Vintage Leica Lenses With Your Micro Four Thirds Digicam | Popular Science

    He tests out the Leica Elmar-M 24mm f/3.8 lens on an E-P2, and includes a few quotes from Leica’s VP of Marketing. Key quote:
    His final recommendation is that if you want a Leica, you're probably better off buying one of the Panny-Leica 4/3 lenses to adapt to µ4/3.

    (I won't comment on his grammar.)
  2. revzoom

    revzoom New to Mu-43

    Jul 26, 2010
    I have a M8 and use a 35 Cron, 50 Cron, 90 Tele-Elmarit (1st version) and a Color Skopar 21mm. I have not tried the latter yet on my EPL1, but the other 3 are incredible. I can magnify 10 the 14X in the camera and 150% on the PC and the image is still sharp. Color is Leica as is the contrast - or, should I say, micro contrast. I am very, very pleased with the combination. Now, that said, if you can find a used Leica lens - an older Cron, for example, at a good price, I would say go for it. On the other hand, the Oly 17 or the Panny 20 are very good lenses at a very good price. Why don't you see if you can rent of borrow a Leica lens and give it a whirl. You may not like manual focusing - although the EPL1 with the magnifying screen makes it easy.
  3. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    the general consensus is that most legacy lenses below 35mm focal length do not give particularly great results on the 4/3 sensor - though I have used a 24mm oly lens with some pleasing results - its all to do with the wider lenses making the light hit the sensor at an angle

  4. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    I have a feeling some of the magic of the Leica rangefinder lenses is lost in the fitting to a 4/3rds sized sensor... and considering the deadly serious price of these beauties, I'm left hoping for some moderately expensive (i.e. <£1500) SHG prime lenses for m4/3rds in due course...

    In other words, designed for m4/3rds lenses... Super High Grade, fast primes in the 17mm, 25mm and 45mm, maybe also 57mm range would make me take my eyes away from the Leica rangefinder dream :smile:

    Perhaps we'll see hope with the high spec m4/3rds body due for release next by Olympus... a high spec body could use a high spec lens.


  5. sebastel

    sebastel Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 18, 2010
    not your business
    only my opinion:

    yes, the leica lens (or zeiss, or cosina/voigtländer) is a better lens. on the M-body.

    on µ4/3, some are quite nice to use (i like the ZM c-sonnar, for example, and the snapshot-skopar is my standard on the E-P1), but the real beauty of the M-lens shines on 135 format.

    so, no big surprize, i use film a lot.
    but - other people, other tastes.
  6. Darell Miller

    Darell Miller Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 14, 2010
    I can't comment on the wide angle lenses but I recently picked up a Lieca C 40mm Summicron (mainly driven by Brian's recommendation as I remember :smile:)  and it really is a gem of a lens. It's relatively inexpensive second hand (approx £250) as it comes from the Leica CL camera and 40mm is not that popular a focal length compared to 35 and 50. On micro 4/3 it gives a really nice short telephoto with the Leica glow and the focus is excellent.
  7. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    This is the general consensus and there are distinct technical reasons as to why. I can't believe that such an article was written without this consideration.... they didn't do their research.

    I have an M8 and R-D1 with 24 Elmarit, 35-50-75-90 Summarits, a few older Summicrons, 21-28-35 voigtlanders, and Noctilux. They perform admirably on the system they were intended. My E-PL1 serves only as a secondary to share those lenses and use them in a different way... knowing very well the problems with shorter than 35mm lenses. The E-PL1 works wonderfully with the 90mm.. nice telephoto in a quick pinch. I am having a darn time getting a sharp photo from my 21mm color skopar on my G1.. haven't tried the E-PL1 yet.

    For this reason, the 17mm or 20mm panny is on my list to look into. (perhaps after i sell my G1). I was at the store looking at the 9-18mm recently and it seems pretty good even though I didn't have a card to take samples home to examine up close.
  8. Charles2

    Charles2 Mu-43 Regular

    May 17, 2010
    I don't doubt the technical reasons, but guess I'll have to look for a persuasive image comparison.

    Don't have Leica experience, but I'm happy with the sharpness I can get from a Yashica ML 28 mm f/2.8. I find the colors and textures richer than the Oly 17mm, though not as bright. So far I have not found a way to post-process an image from one of these lenses into the look produced by the other lens, so they are both useful. My aesthetic preference is for the legacy look.
  9. photoSmart42

    photoSmart42 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 12, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    The Leica VP or Marketing should stick to talking marketing, because he's clueless on the physics of his own cameras. He's making an argument AGAINST using Leica lenses on the M9 FF sensor. By his own definition, smaller sensors using Leica lenses designed for FF sensors should be sharper and more contrasty because they're using the center portion of the lens image, and don't require offset microlenses to make up for the greater angles of incidence at the edge of the larger sensor. PopSci reporters should have knows this and wrote something in the article as well, but perhaps they're not all that savvy after all.
  10. G1 User

    G1 User Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 20, 2010
    Good Question...
    I have a 25mm snapshot (in the mail) that I want to try on my G1... I'll make a comparison with my VC 25mm/4, VM 35mm/1.4, and ZM 50mm/1.5 in a few weeks... Both the 25 and 50 are in mail system to be delivered in a week or so..

    I can make a comparison with the VM 35mm f/1.4 SC Nokton and the Oly 17mm if you like in the meantime. same subject will be used, at different f/stops and 2 distances... 3m and INF

    Here is an image of my Son, with the 35mm at f/2.5 and about 4 feet away. ISO 125 and no flash
  11. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 11, 2009
    The distance from the rear element of the Olympus 17mm lens is fairly close to the sensor. Unless there is a lot of non-uniformity correction going on within the camera to correct for fall-off at the edges, I have a hard time believing that a Leica wide-angle lens will be any worse.

    The Kodak sensors used in the M8 and M9 use offset microlenses to correct some of the problems with light fall-off at the edges with wide-angle lenses with rear optics close to the sensor. 6-Bit coding for wide-angle lenses also brings in a non-uniformity correction to prevent light fall-off.

    I use a Nikkor 24mm F2.8 on my M8, with an F-Mount to M-Mount adapter.


    A retro-focus wide-angle lens does not have these problems.
  12. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Different issue altogether. M-mount lenses were designed with the short film flange distance and your 28mm Yashica is of a retro focus design for SLRs.
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