****Unfortunately I have recently removed the images of my boys because they were being teased by school mates not blessed with such remarkable physiques!!! There are therefore no images illustrating the post below, but you may still find it useful, so I have left it up. ****
I thought I would quickly blog to let you know how the Leica 75 Summarit-M performed on the Sony A7R (using a Kipon adaptor). The quick version would be to say that it is a jaw dropping combination. I really was not expecting it to be this good and unfortunately it has reminded my why I believe Leica has an edge over Zeiss when it comes to top end optics. I say unfortunately because Leica lenses are absurdly expensive and I was hoping to sell some from my collection to free up funds. Now, I am not so sure….
The idea behind the ‘fun shoot’ with boys was to produce some record shots (they are 9 and 11) of them as they develop into young men. Tehy’re still little, but beginning to take an interest in exercise keeping fit. They’re always checking out my muscles, each others and pretty well everyone else’s, so I figured there was something in this idea. Some time ago I decided to do some muscle poses against a neutral backdrop and a few days ago I had the chance. We were in Spain for a week and I found some great rocks on a local beach that provided a perfect platform for the statues!
The boys were posed towards the sun (eyes closed when facing it) and I took a series of images together and alone. The image above was shot at f11, focused to cover both of them and far from suffering visible diffraction effects, the shot is bitingly sharp and the tones just wonderful. Although the image above has been processed, the bite from this lens is superb, but its not ‘wire sharp’. There is a roundedness to the images I like a lot… typical punchy Leica colours without the harshness one sometimes sees in Zeiss shots in bright sunlight.
The above shot is similarly processed and I used a not too shallow aperture to ensure there was good depth of field to cover his body. The rock behind him is a little ‘energetic’ in terms of bokeh, but its still pretty good considering the shadows present. The 100% crop below gives you an idea of sharpness if you look at the grains of sand stuck to his face and the eyebrow hairs to the left.
Bokeh above is immaculate as the aperture was a bit wider than with Ethan.
Time for general comments on the A7R: I am still wowed by the image quality. This sensor is head an shoulders above the Panasonic GM-1, Canon 5D III etc when it comes to the flexibility of the files. I do not know it it is the super high resolution, exceptional colour depth or what, but the files also have a certain ‘high end’ look to them. The dynamic range makes the files great to work with in high contrast situations, but there is more to it than just that. They look less digital than my 5D III files. Its perhaps the sublime colour balance, colour depth and, well, ‘sparkle’ this sensor illustrates when matches with top lenses. I’m not knocking the 5D III, because I think in overall terms its the best DSLR available today for a commercial photographer, but complimenting the A7R.
Although I do not have any formal test images to place in this post, I can assure you that the 75 Summarit-M is incredibly sharp at all apertures on the A7R and peaks at about f4 in terms of central resolution. It dips a tiny, barely perceptible amount, by f8 and its nice to see that at f11 its still producing incredibly sharpness. Its a compact lens, quite a bit lighter than the 90 Elmarit-M (although the latter has slightly better bokeh) and a wonderful choice for the A7R as a ‘short tele’ for portrait work. Its pin sharp from wide open, so you will get shallow depth of field if you want it without compromising on resolution. From what you have seen here, it should be clear that performance on any of the other FE mount bodies (A7, A7S, A7R II, A7 II) will be equally stunning.
That’s all for now, but I am amassing a horde of certain legacy glass to test on these cameras and will post in due course. Canon FD and Zuiko OM, here we come….