Sony a7S vs. Leica M Typ240 infinity test with 21 Leica, Zeiss, Voigtlander rangefinder lenses

December 9th, 2014

The Sony a7S is the third camera in Sony’s a7 series and this write-up is the third installment in my series testing various rangefinder lenses on this platform to determine technical performance when photographing a distant, near infinity scene. While this may seem a simple task, the combination of a rangefinder lens with a short exit pupil distance and a scene at infinity is the most technically demanding combination of variables influencing technical image quality from these ‘mirrorless’ cameras. Please refer to the original a7 shootout for an explanation why infinity focus is such a ‘torture test’ for these cameras.

Click on the image above or HERE to go to the full review.

The previous two installments of this series can be found here for the a7 and here for the a7R.

As a bonus comparison, I photographed the same scene on the same day, with the same lenses, using the Leica M Typ240 camera.

As with the previous a7 tests, I’m making this information and the high resolution files freely available for personal, non-commercial use only. If you find this useful, please consider making a donation through the Paypal button below, or making your next purchase through B&H using the indicated links throughout the article. Any amount is appreciated!

New Zeiss Distagon 35/1.4 ZM lens preview

November 10th, 2014

I happened to be in the NYC area during the PhotoPlus Expo. There were a few things I wanted to see, but the number one priority was to have a look at the new Zeiss Distagon 35/1.4 ZM. Zeiss had a couple on display for actual hands-on use and I spent a few minutes running it through a few tests on my M240. Unfortunately I didn’t have access to a Sony a7/R/S body to also try it on…

Initial impression is that it is somewhat large, but it’s not gigantic, IMO (but it is a big lens on a Leica, compared to many Leica lenses). Well, maybe it is gigantic. But it’s lighter than its size implies, just as the spec sheet indicates that it’s lighter than the Voigtlander 35/1.2.

Focus feel was excellent – extremely smooth. And the throw seems decent. Viewfinder blockage is there… it’s creeping into the bottom right quarter of the frame, but should be manageable.

I knocked my M240’s rangefinder out of alignment a few days prior, so had to rely on the EVF for critical focus. But the Distagon seems to deliver very nicely. It’s very sharp near or far wide open, with a hint of SA that cleans up a stop down. It also seems to be very sharp across the frame with a flat field of focus already from near wide open. Couldn’t see any wavy field curvature typical of Leica glass. I could sometimes make out faint onion rings in the out of focus specular highlights… we’ll see how bad this is in real life, but I suspect it probably won’t be a major concern.

Difficult to judge rendering character with the limited time and location, but it seemed quite neutral. Double edged blur can appear in some situations and the blur balls towards the very edge of the frame sometimes take on odd shapes.

But so far, I’m very enthusiastic about the lens and plan to get one. The Zeiss rep I spoke to indicated it should be available already in December and B&H lists it at $2290 US.

Below are a few web-rez snaps from the ZM. I’ll see about posting a link to some full-rez versions in the near future… I believe these were all wide open. Note that the template for this page keeps images at 600 pixels wide. Right-click to download the 1200 pixel wide version.

EDIT – Click here to access full-rez Jpegs of most of the images below from a Google Drive gallery

And a smartphone snap of the ZM on my M240 with the 21 Lux for a size comparison. That’s the 28 Cron behind the camera (with non-standard $5 vented hood):

Also, the above ZM sample images were all shot uncoded and couldn’t make out any obvious color shift/tinge along the edges. Looks promising in this respect, too.

Preorder the lens via B&H and help support this site:

Black version

Silver version

Leica M (Typ 240) rolling review

March 15th, 2014

In February 2014, after about three years shooting with the Leica M9, I added the new M (Typ 240), also called M240, to my Leica kit.

I’ve created a page, linked here and at the right side, to serve as a rolling review where I can share my thoughts about the M240 in general, and compared to the M9.

Click the image above, or here for the Leica M (Typ 240) rolling review.

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