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faxao

Focusing M lenses on CL body

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It is now almost two weeks that I am shooting with the my second hand CL body and some of my M lenses (Zeiss Biogon 25, Cron 35 ASPH and Lux 50 1.4) that I generally use on my M10.

Wanted to ask here whether is it my impression or it is really more difficult to nail the right focus with the CL as opposed to the "traditional" RF patch on the M10 ? The EVF magnification/focus peaking procedure seems to me less fast and efficient compared to the OVF patch alignement of the M bodies.

I do not own any TL autofocus lenses so far and I am currently in the market for a (gently) used TL 23mm to test the Leica AF experience on the CL body.

Thanks

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Yes, you are correct.

i don’t own a CL, but I did own a TL2 and used my M lenses on it frequently. The experience is quite like that of using the old, screw-Mount Leicas, in that you focus with one “window” and shoot with another. 

Slower, yes, but not that slow for most snapshots. 

In general, though, I find these cameras more enjoyable when used with the AF lenses, although I find the size of some of those lenses to be unenjoyable. Oh well, there’s always a trade-off. 

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I hold a contrary view. With focus assist selected and magnified image I find it more comfortable and convincing than using the straight split image method. It certainly adds to the versatility of the fine CL body. Very occasionally a subject is less easy to focus. I slightly alter my viewpoint to expose a better target area. Like all new experiences, practice makes perfect. I do spend otherwise idle time practising my framing and ranging skills on a fairly regular basis. Stick with it; the results are amazing.

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Depends on the level of focus accuracy you are after. For fast good enough focusing, typically street at medium to small aperture, nothing can beat a good RF although the CL with focus peaking is no slouch to be honest. Choosing the white color for peaking may help then. But if you need to nail focus in difficult situations typically closeups at wide aperture, macro works and/or high magnifications, a good EVF with image magnification will beat the RF hands down.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for your valuable comments. Besides being easier or more difficult to manually focus I am also noticing that the IQ of the pictures shot with the CL and M lenses is considerably "softer" compared to pictures shot with the same lenses on the M10 body.

I do not know if this is to be considered kind of normal (i.e. APS-C vs. full frame sensor) or it is due to some defect of my CL (second hand) copy. The Cron 35 ASPH and the Lux 50 both give me stellar results on the M10 (crispy and popping images when wide open) whereas they look much less stellar on the CL.

Do anyone have the same experience ? Thank you

Edited by faxao

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Some M wides below 50mm may give slightly softer results at edges and corners at wide apertures on the digital CL but i would not call this "considerably softer" and all my 50mm lenses including asph and pre-asph Summiluxes work perfectly on the CL. May i ask if you shoot jpegs or raws? Just asking since jpegs may look a bit soft in default mode on the CL.

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Just practice a bit, it's actually easier on CL to achieve critical focus then on rangefinder

For longer lenses 50mm+ I actually prefer Cl

For 35mm or wider, rangefinder is faster for me

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i think I like my Summilux 24 M (even) better on the CL.

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1 hour ago, lct said:

Some M wides below 50mm may give slightly softer results at edges and corners at wide apertures on the digital CL but i would not call this "considerably softer" and all my 50mm lenses including asph and pre-asph Summiluxes work perfectly on the CL. May i ask if you shoot jpegs or raws? Just asking since jpegs may look a bit soft in default mode on the CL.

I usually shoot raw only and yes I also find pictures taken with M lenses <50mm more prone to edges/corners softness. Need definitely to practice more with the CL and looking forward to use a TL lens (most likely the Cron 23) to test the AF.

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Leica M is best for not too fast 35 and 50mm lenses only  

For all other lenses, CL is better and more accurate. 

Just practice the new way of focusing. It is not the same experience than mastering the rangefinder patch. 

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Longer lenses, fast ones and those with focus shift (ZM 50 Sonnar as an extreme example), obviously are easier to nail focus with the CL. 

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I find focussing with manual lenses on the CL is a good experience and for me personally, I find it easier to focus on the CL than with an M rangefinder.

Don't get me wrong, I shot with an M for many years (M7 / 8 / 9 / 240 / MM ) you get the point, but now my eyes have deserted me and I need the extra help the CL's focus peaking offers.

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I have no problem focusing my M lenses on my CL, I don't have a digital M but remembering my film M2s it is about the same. My Canada 35 Summilux is not a contrasty lens, but still is sharp, it was great with transparencies. The 25 f3.5 Canon and my 90 Elmarit seem better on the CL. I do use the magnification and focus peak readily. The lens on my CL mostly is the 23 Summicron. 

Carried just the 35 a couple of days ago.

 

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Posted (edited)

I've been shooting with TTL cameras (SLRs, now EVF) alongside RF cameras for many, many years. "Better" and "worse" for focusing accuracy and speed is a bit simplistic. Note also that I am not talking about AF in either in what I write that follows ... 

An RF camera requires that I believe and accept that the indication of coincident images in the optical viewfinder is properly calibrated, that the viewfinder display is correct, and that the lens has small enough focus shift not to throw the focus off. Every time I've  been working with TTL cameras for a while and switch back to the RF, I have to review and re-invigorate my "faith" that this is so before I am comfortable again. For some situations and with some lenses, RF focusing seems faster and and more precise. But not all ...

A TTL camera camera's focusing speed and accuracy is directly tied to the qualities of the lens being used, as well as to the qualities of the focusing system. In an SLR, the screen, the viewfinder optics, the quality of the prism, are all critical. In an EVF camera, the quality of the mini LCD display and its optics, its ability to adapt to changing ambient light for my eyes, and its refresh speed are all critical. Whether a lens has good contrast wide open or at the taking aperture is critical. And so forth. 

TTL Focusing aids are just that ... aids. Whether optical gizmos incorporated into an SLR screen, or peaking and magnification tools with an EVF: I have to learn what they're telling me and devise a workflow that accommodates using them sensibly. Split image prisms in an SLR can only be so accurate, just like an RF coupled system can only be so accurate in an RF camera, and what they tell me varies with the lens I use; peaking is a contrast sensitive mechanism so both the lens's native contrast and the quality of the peaking display can lead me to false impressions of in or out of focus. Magnification assist in the EVF is a big boon, but it takes time to operate and is subject to jitter with long lenses and refresh jitter in low light when the camera struggles to find enough photons to illuminate the sensor. Most of the time, I judge the quality of any SLR or EVF focusing system—and my lenses!—by completely ignoring and not using focusing aids. 

What's key to both RF and TTL systems is learning their strengths so that you can use them, finding their weaknesses so you can work around them, and practice, practice, practice. The more you know, and the more you practice, the faster and more accurate my focusing becomes with either. 

I also find excellent use of an accurately calibrated distance scale on the lens. There are many, many situations where I've found the absolute fastest way to get perfect critical focus is to simply judge/see the distance I need and set it on the focusing scale. I would say that this happens about 30-40% of the time when I'm out shooting, or maybe even more. 

AF systems are a whole other game to work. Every camera's AF system, with all the options for ways and means to make them give you accurate focus 'automatically', I find to be actually much more work to learn, in general slower than either RF or TTL viewing systems and manual focus, and less consistently on the mark. Partially, I must admit, because even today in the second decade of the 21st Century, I don't really trust what they are doing a good bit of the time and keep having to work around their foibles. My bottom line with an AF system is that if it doesn't choose what I'd choose in setting the focus distance "automatically", well, it's simpler, faster, and more accurate if I can just turn the focusing ring myself... with whatever other tools are available for focusing. :D

In the last analysis, I find that I work either RF or TTL with about the same speed on either my M-D or my CL ... depending upon the lens I'm using and the situation at hand. I use only M and R lenses on the CL, and M lenses on the M-D, and both systems work very well for me.

Edited by ramarren

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9 hours ago, jpreisch said:

How hard is it to focus when you are stopped down to f8 or f11? 

Easy with focus zoom if you don't shoot in the dark.

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using old Nikon glass on the CL, with the Leica M --> L adapter, and a cheaper Nikon --> M. Still getting used to it, but no problem. More difficult with the r mount 80-200 f/4 plus 2x extender, but that's more a question of getting the best shooting position to avoid shake, not "seeing" the subject through the EVF at f/8 or even smaller.

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I ran some tests with both my CL and my M240 and decided that focus peaking has some drawbacks. Note that the focus peaking ( I use red setting) will change in intensity with very slight movement of the focus ring, especially on the CL. The peaking will go from just recognizable to intense to fading but still visible. To those who have more time with their CL ( I just got mine), at which of the three intensities do you find the focus is the sharpest? When just visible, at its peak.or as it fades?

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Focus ought to be most accurate in the middle of the range. You can study this easily by pointing your camera at a gravel road. You see that the focus peaking is most clearly visible in the middle of the range. That's where the contrast is the greatest, and this is taken to mean that the image is the sharpest.

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