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| p.3 #15 · Leica R lenses on the new M camera |
I am sorry for taking so long to reply regarding the new Leica M that I was able to handle at Photo Plus on October 25. I was quite impressed with the camera along with its handling and usage with Leica R lenses. I believe that we tried both my 100mm f2.8 Apo Macro Elmarit and my 180mm f3.4 Apo Telyt lens on the camera. It operates quite well and balances quite well when used with the Leica Multifunction Grip. However, not everything on the camera is operating as it will since much of the firmware is not completed for the camera. At this point amongst other things we do not know how long the B setting will be able to keep the shutter open.
Though Leica has made no statement at this point, and after discussing this with Justin Stailey of Leica USA, we suspect that with the Leica R adapter M that the new Leica M will be able to accept any and all R lenses that were ever made. For those wondering, no there is no connection between the camera and any of the R lenses via the adapter. Everything works at working aperture (there is no auto aperture for the lenses).
I do have some concerns about the camera however. In order to access the camera battery and the memory card the bottom of the camera must be removed to access and to replace both. Justin Stailey of Leica USA had suggested though that the battery will fire around 3,000 or 3,500 exposures. However, I am not sure as to what is in useage on the camera including such things as the separate EVF viewfinder.
For those considering the camera for usage with your R lenses, this is going to be an extremely expensive proposition. Not only will you want the camera ($6950), but you will need the Leica R adapter M ($310), the separate EVF viewfinder ($500-$550), but in all likelihood the Leica M Multifunctional hand grip ($895), and quite likely the finger loop for the Multifunctional grip ($160). That will be in addition to the cost of at least one extra battery for the camera.
The Multifunctional grip will allow you to add a second hotshoe for the camera when you are using the EVF finder. It will also allow you to tether the camera to your computer. I found though that with the heavier R lenses this was going to be a mandatory piece of equipment unless someone like RRS comes up with an L bracket with the grip available (but this option will limit the usage of a flash when working with the EVF finder- which will virtually be mandatory for usage with the R lenses and if you wish to tether the camera to your computer).
So, for those looking to purchase the when released Leica M which may be in the first quarter sometime undoubtedly with a wait, you will probably find yourself spending somewhere around $9,000 to have the privilege of using your R lenses on the camera.
Be aware, with the need to switch from vertical to horizontal on a tripod Arca type QR system you will undoubtedly want to have an L bracket system. However, the Leica R adapter to M comes with a removable foot that can be attached to a QR plate and drop into your Arca Swiss type QR clamp. The problem is that this is fixed for using the camera in a horizontal orientation. Justin Stailey of Leica USA suggested that we bring this to a machine shop to have it customized so that a rotating collar could be made to switch between horizontal and vertical orientation.
As mentioned, it is going to be inconvenient to access the camera battery and the memory card when the camera is on a tripod, with or without the Multifunctional handgrip. But, I guess like Leica M cameras it is designed mainly as a fast operating hand held rangefinder camera.
As to my decision on a purchase of the camera, that is very much up in the air. This is much more camera (due to the accepting of M lenses now with electronic markings in the camera viewfinder) and as a result with all of the extras much much more expensive than we/I had originally had been led to believe the Leica R solution would be.
At the moment, I am considering the Fujifilm XE-1 or the Fuji X Pro-1 (but these are an APS C sized sensor, 16 MP without an aliasing filter). We are waiting for the new Fuji XE-1 to arrive to compare the 2 Fuji cameras to purchase based on a fairly in depth comparison of the 2 cameras under usage. So, for me, at least for the interim, I will probably purchase one of the 2 Fuji cameras and either wait for another FF Mirrorless camera to be released down the road or to decide to bite the bullet (at quite a cost) of purchasing a Leica M and to then use one of the Fuji cameras as my back-up/second camera.