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Focusing M Lenses on the SL. Is it cumbersome? Feedback appreciate it.

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Although I've been considering the SL, I've been put back by the realization that it seems that focusing M lenses on the SL will not be a straight forward action.

 

Based on what I read in Reid Reviews (and another source I don't now recall), since the M lenses are designed for a mechanical finder, and not for focusing Through The Lens, they lack auto aperture stop down (AASD - which is what every SLR has, as well as the native lenses for the SL). So the implication seems to be that in order to focus well an M lenses, you will need have your lens wide open to focus and then re-adjust aperture as desired prior to pressing the shutter. I'm attaching a brief screen capture that helps explain my concern in a more articula way. 

 

Is anyone out there using M lenses and is this in fact necessary? I don't have the experience, but would seem to be a cumbersome task to do for every shot made, making me feel it will only work for very 'still' kind of image making. Any thoughts? I would really appreciate 'real life' feedback. 

 

Thanks so much. m. 

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I don't have the SL yet, I still need to save for awhile, but I have shot a ton of lenses that do not have AASD on SLR, DSLR, and EVF cameras. For many types of shooting it works quite well to just set the aperture to what you want for the shot, look through the viewfinder and focus, and take the shot. The occasional problem with this method is when you need precision in placement of the focus plane, but you want to stop down quite a bit. In that situation focussing at wide open aperture and then stopping down to shoot will get you better placement of the focus plane (but only if the lens doesn't have focus shift as you stop down). I would say for 95% of my shooting I have no problem focussing at the shooting aperture and not having AASD is not a problem. Landscapes I usually have plenty of depth of field so precise placement of the focus plane isn't an issue and usually I can take my time with an EVF to zoom around the screen and check focus in different locations with magnification. This gives a lot of certain about the focus. For portraits I typically don't shoot wide open, but close enough to wide open that focussing at shooting aperture isn't an issue. For street shooting I often prefocus and just hope to get close so that hasn't been an issue either. The one place where I find AASD to be very helpful, however, is macro shooting. For my macro shooting precise placement of the focus plane is important, but I often shoot pretty far stopped down. That is why for macro I plan to get the S-120 Macro APO. Your use and experience may be different, but I have found I can do quite well without AASD in many situation and one benefit of focussing at the shooting aperture on an EVF is that you can see the depth of field of the shot quite clearly in most circumstances as you compose and focus. You can with AASD, but you have to hold down the depth of field button which I find cumbersome especially when focussing.

Edited by Steve Spencer

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I have the SL and use it with M lenses. It is a non-issue as far as l am concerned. I focus at whatever aperture l wish to shoot at, and the EVF seems to be good enough to allow accurate focusing, Only in very low light is it easier to open up for focusing and stop down for shooting.

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HI There Martin

Like Paul, I shoot at the chosen aperture and have no problem focusing.

Sean Reid and I have talked about this at some length - he will point out that you can get more accurate focusing by focusing at open aperture and then stopping down . . . I will point out that with practice you can get it spot on at the chosen Aperture . . and remember, some M lenses have focus shift, and those are definitely best focused at the chosen aperture.

 

In real life (rather than studio/tripod situations) I'm sure that the amount of swaying you do when faffing about with the exposure does more harm than focusing wide open.

dSLR cameras have to have AASD because it's too dark to focus with the lens stopped down (especially in poor light) - of course the EVF of the SL gains up, so this is no longer a problem.

 

Really, for practical purposes don't give it a thought - just focus at the chosen aperture.

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HI There Martin

Like Paul, I shoot at the chosen aperture and have no problem focusing.

Sean Reid and I have talked about this at some length - he will point out that you can get more accurate focusing by focusing at open aperture and then stopping down . . . I will point out that with practice you can get it spot on at the chosen Aperture . . and remember, some M lenses have focus shift, and those are definitely best focused at the chosen aperture.

 

In real life (rather than studio/tripod situations) I'm sure that the amount of swaying you do when faffing about with the exposure does more harm than focusing wide open.

dSLR cameras have to have AASD because it's too dark to focus with the lens stopped down (especially in poor light) - of course the EVF of the SL gains up, so this is no longer a problem.

 

Really, for practical purposes don't give it a thought - just focus at the chosen aperture.

 

For the most part I agree with Jono and with the others—in practice, it's really a non-issue. 

 

I do find that focus magnification is a plus when stopped down a bit far (like past f/8) with normal and longer lenses and when shooting with shorter focal lengths. But that's a matter of "tap tap" on the magnification button, focus, half press the shutter release, frame, then push the shutter release the rest of the way. It becomes totally fluid and easy in moments. 

 

I had a giggle this morning: for the first time in several weeks (been using the SL constantly while learning it) I took out the M-P, set my 50mm lens wide open, and was amused as heck to see what I was focusing on didn't look *anything* like what I saw in the viewfinder. And that I got the focus wrong on the first exposure, knocked the focus setting a hair closer by scale, made another exposure, and it was right on. You get used to seeing what you're going to get with the SL very very quickly. 

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I have the SL and use it with M lenses. It is a non-issue as far as l am concerned. I focus at whatever aperture l wish to shoot at, and the EVF seems to be good enough to allow accurate focusing, Only in very low light is it easier to open up for focusing and stop down for shooting.

I agree with this. The EVF is good enough to focus at any aperture especially magnified. I use the joystick to move the magnified area to a desired spot in the frame as opposed to finding center focus and recomposing. This is an advantage over the M. Having said that, I wish turning the focus ring would automatically trigger the magnified window like the M.....perhaps in the next firmware update. Edited by leitztozeiss

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HI There Martin

Like Paul, I shoot at the chosen aperture and have no problem focusing.

Sean Reid and I have talked about this at some length - he will point out that you can get more accurate focusing by focusing at open aperture and then stopping down . . . I will point out that with practice you can get it spot on at the chosen Aperture . . and remember, some M lenses have focus shift, and those are definitely best focused at the chosen aperture.

 

In real life (rather than studio/tripod situations) I'm sure that the amount of swaying you do when faffing about with the exposure does more harm than focusing wide open.

dSLR cameras have to have AASD because it's too dark to focus with the lens stopped down (especially in poor light) - of course the EVF of the SL gains up, so this is no longer a problem.

 

Really, for practical purposes don't give it a thought - just focus at the chosen aperture.

Thanks Jono. Very much appreciate it. m. 

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Wait until the FW update on the 14th and you may find things improve. 

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Wait until the FW update on the 14th and you may find things improve. 

It's already glorious Wilson. Of course, improved focus AIDS can't be a problem, but I think they're an unnecessary crutch and it's much better to practice a little and learn to focus on the EVF without zooming or focus peaking. 

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It's already glorious Wilson. Of course, improved focus AIDS can't be a problem, but I think they're an unnecessary crutch and it's much better to practice a little and learn to focus on the EVF without zooming or focus peaking. 

Jonathan, 

 

I am not quite in agreement with you. Yes it's good already but I have been trying some experimentation on a tripod with the 50/.95 Nocti and 80-200 Vario Elmar R, focusing as best I can with no aids, then turning magnification on and peaking to see how near I had got. I was a little bit surprised how much further I could often refine focus, particularly with magnification rather than peaking. I understand the new FW enables magnification to be moved to the joystick or TR. No obligation to use it of course, but it will be there and in a more accessible fashion, for when you want it. 

 

Wilson

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Jonathan, 

 

I am not quite in agreement with you. Yes it's good already but I have been trying some experimentation on a tripod with the 50/.95 Nocti and 80-200 Vario Elmar R, focusing as best I can with no aids, then turning magnification on and peaking to see how near I had got. I was a little bit surprised how much further I could often refine focus, particularly with magnification rather than peaking. I understand the new FW enables magnification to be moved to the joystick or TR. No obligation to use it of course, but it will be there and in a more accessible fashion, for when you want it. 

 

Wilson

Hi Wilson

I've also done the same thing Wilson, and I seem to be nailing it every time, sometimes the focus peaking actually makes it worse, and if you're going to zoom in hand holding, then by the time you zoomed out you moved. . . .  . But I've been practising with this camera for 4 months, and with the T for 2 years (we accepted that focusing with a rangefinder required practice didn't we?).

 

Shooting on a tripod is a different thing altogether 

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Great suggestions. Although I don't have SL (and probably won't, wait for next M iteration), I do shoot with sony Nex6 and M lenses. I also focus with whatever aperture I am shooting with.

 

Once AASD has let me down in the film days. My aperture blade started sticking in sub zero temperature and camera shot with lens wide open (even if I had smaller aperture set). This was during Mt Shasta climb. The photographs at the base camp were fine but all pics in the freezing morning climb to the summit were washed out. Fortunately my climbing partner's camera worked.

 

This is one of the picture I liked that was shot by my friend's properly working camera. I would have liked to take the same picture from my camera too but it was washed off.

 

https://flic.kr/p/BVMvGD

 

since then I have always worried about AASD part of the SLRs.

 

One less thing to worry with M.

Edited by jmahto

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AASD offers one more thing -- if you meter as well as focus wide open, and the camera knows the intended aperture that you will be stopping down to, then it can set exposures for you that are much slower than the limit for which it would be able to meter stopped down.  This avoids a glitch that you an run into if you use A mode with an R lens, auto ISO, and set the max ISO not too high, and the min shutter speed not too low.

 

scott

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Hi Wilson

I've also done the same thing Wilson, and I seem to be nailing it every time, sometimes the focus peaking actually makes it worse, and if you're going to zoom in hand holding, then by the time you zoomed out you moved. . . .  . But I've been practising with this camera for 4 months, and with the T for 2 years (we accepted that focusing with a rangefinder required practice didn't we?).

 

Shooting on a tripod is a different thing altogether 

 

Jono, I can get everything down through the lovely 21mm Elmarit ASPH nailed on the SL...  but the WATE, which I just leave at 16mm, is quite challenging. I look for the contrast to jump, but the resultant "jumped" zone is too big. Do you employ any WATE tricks focusing it on SL?

Thx

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The EVF is good enough to focus at any aperture especially magnified. I use the joystick to move the magnified area to a desired spot in the frame as opposed to finding center focus and recomposing. This is an advantage over the M. Having said that, I wish turning the focus ring would automatically trigger the magnified window like the M.....perhaps in the next firmware update.

 

Second this. Moving magnified area is such a great feature - I have just had chance to play with SL and my M lenses. Not needing to recompose is a real advantage over M

EVF is so good by the way - that I would say you have to be half blind to miss the focus - well at least  in magnified mode

 

Activating the magnified mode bu pushing the left bottom button is not that practical though...

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50mm M-lenses and up are easy to focus with the EVF.

 

Wide angle are a little tricky. You can turn on blue focus outline help on or press the button in the bottom left side of the screen to call up magnification to focus (hopefully the magnification will be automatic or easier soon). 

 

I have met several Leica M 240 users who are trading their M 240 in for a Leica SL to get that EVF and be able to focus the Noctilux easier. That's how easy it is. 

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Great suggestions. Although I don't have SL (and probably won't, wait for next M iteration), I do shoot with sony Nex6 and M lenses. I also focus with whatever aperture I am shooting with.

 

Once AASD has let me down in the film days. My aperture blade started sticking in sub zero temperature and camera shot with lens wide open (even if I had smaller aperture set). This was during Mt Shasta climb. The photographs at the base camp were fine but all pics in the freezing morning climb to the summit were washed out. Fortunately my climbing partner's camera worked.

 

This is one of the picture I liked that was shot by my friend's properly working camera. I would have liked to take the same picture from my camera too but it was washed off.

https://flic.kr/p/BVMvGD

 

since then I have always worried about AASD part of the SLRs.

 

One less thing to worry with M.

 

That's a pretty rare occurrence, and a fault in a particular lens. I've never had it happen in any of the cameras and lenses I've owned and used over the past half century. Anything can break, of course, but I wouldn't worry about that over-much. 

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Jono, I can get everything down through the lovely 21mm Elmarit ASPH nailed on the SL...  but the WATE, which I just leave at 16mm, is quite challenging. I look for the contrast to jump, but the resultant "jumped" zone is too big. Do you employ any WATE tricks focusing it on SL?

Thx

Hi There

Well, basically, even at f4, almost everything on the WATE is in focus . . . I can see that it's harder to see what is in focus . . .but the real issue is whether you are getting out of focus shots or not. The wider the lens the great the depth of field - 

Certainly, you can zone focus on the WATE without any difficulty (and that goes for most other wide angle lenses). 

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Hi There

Well, basically, even at f4, almost everything on the WATE is in focus . . . I can see that it's harder to see what is in focus . . .but the real issue is whether you are getting out of focus shots or not. The wider the lens the great the depth of field - 

Certainly, you can zone focus on the WATE without any difficulty (and that goes for most other wide angle lenses). 

 

Yes: Hyperfocal distance with the WATE set to 16mm and f/4 (wide open) is 7.05 feet, which nets 3.5 feet (1m) to infinity in acceptable focus. Stop down to f/8 and you should be able to just point and click for most subjects. 

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