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Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review

  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review









About the Techart Pro LM-EA9 adapter

It's now available for pre-order at B&H Photo for $399.

After 7 years of development, Techart officially released the new LM-EA9 adapter.

It's the company second generation Leica M-mount to Sony E-mount adapter, and it's capable of autofocus while reducing minimal focus distance for M-mount lenses.

Main Features:
  1. Allows Auto-Focus when using a Leica M Lens on a Sony E-Mount body.
  2. Compatible with older and all latest Sony Full Frame & APS-C camera models.
  3. 4 radially positioned, small, quiet and light servo motors.
  4. Reliable USB Dock firmware update.
  5. Shifts Lens up to 4.5mm for autofocus.
  6. Supports heavier lenses without wobbling.
  7. Compatible with PDAF with AF-S (contrast detect) & AF-C (phase detect) modes.
  8. Shortens lens minimal focus distance (MFD).
  9. Stack additional adapters to enjoy autofocus with literally ANY lenses (EF / F / OM/ PK/ FD / LR / L39, etc).
  10. Compatible with 3-Axis Stabilization (pitch, yaw, and roll).
  11. Drives Lenses weighing up to 500 grams on its own and heavier lenses with hand support.










Many improvements are jammed inside this little powerhouse compared to its predecessor, the LM-EA7 model. I'm pretty happy about the mini-facelift lift too - they removed that AF motor bump eyesore at the bottom of the adapter, which is a welcome change, making it so much easier for the camera to click onto a tripod, and it tones down the motor noise too, by replacing one big motor with four smaller and quieter ones. Nice!

Take a look at this animation to see how the newly designed servo motors work:




After using the LM-EA7 model for the past few years, one of my biggest complaints has to be that nagging "wobble". You know the one - the annoying slight jiggle that causes unevenness on the focus plane. This happens because the entire focus unit was supported in only one section. The issue was accelerated when using larger lenses but after testing out a few copies, the wobble eventually would happen with all the units.

Finally, I'm happy to report -- that the radially positioned motors on the LM-EA9 model allows the 'lens carrier' to extend and contract evenly. Meaning, you guessed it... they fixed that annoying "wobble" issue. Techart recommends lenses up to 500 grams but heavier lenses can also be used with hand support.











Another great feature is the set up for quick firmware updates through LM-EA9's rear cap with electronics built-in and a Micro-B USB 2.0 port -- instead of the previously cumbersome bluetooth update method.








LM-EA9's rear cap with electronics built-in and a Micro-B USB 2.0 port



A potential issue for some shooters is that the adapter is noticeably wider than average and therefore the space between the grip and adapter is diminished. It does not affect my grip when shooting with the Sony A9 but could be an issue with other Sony bodies. Another shortcoming is the inability to set Focus mode to "MF", so this must be set as a custom button or in the case of the Sony A9 series and A1, it can be set via dial.








Sony A6100 + LM-EA9 adapter + Leica 35/1.4 Summilux v2. (Notice distance between grip and adapter is small)


Lens EXIF transmission:

A pre-set aperture value can be used to allow the lens' focal length to be recorded, so the correct focal length can be shown in the image EXIF. Also, in-body 3-axis stabilization can work accordingly when recognition is done. For example: Set to camera aperture to f/8 and take a picture. Change the aperture back to f/2. When taking another picture, "50mm" will be added to EXIF.

Here is a list of apertures that must be set for the correct focal length to appear on the EXIF data:









Both versions of the Techart Pro adapters require the camera aperture to be set to f/2 before taking a picture to allow proper exposure. With the previous model (LM-EA7), it was possible to write the lens working aperture to the EXIF with the help of exposure compensation, The procedure was to set the aperture on the camera the same as on the lens, then compensate exposure accordingly by using the exposure compensation dial or menu. For example: If the lensí working aperture is f/2.8, set the camera aperture to f/2.8 (instead of f/2) while correcting the exposure by using exposure compensation " -1EV". If the lens is at f/4, set exposure compensation to "-2EV" and so onÖ

Unfortunately this is no longer feasible with the LM-EA9 because it requires wider apertures like f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, etc...to assign focal lengths and therefore this conflicts with the aperture EXIF recording method of the past.








Sony A9 + LM-EA9 adapter + Leica 35/1.4 FLE



Focus Speed and Accuracy:

The LM-EA9 adapter is compatible with Sonyís phase detect autofocus (AF-C) and although not as good as native E-mount lenses, autofocus speed and accuracy is much improved compared to the LM-EA7 model. With wide and normal lenses, I usually rotate the lens' focusing ring to infinity distance and let the adapter do its job. However, when shooting at very close range or with a telephoto lens, a tweak in the focusing ring distance may be needed to allow proper tracking. Macro shots require the lens to be set to 0.7m or shorter distances when available.

Iíve tried all focus area options and found the adapter to be most responsive and accurate when using Focus Area: Tracking (Center or Flexible Spot). The focusing point sticks to the subject, even if in motion. I tested it with cars coming towards the camera which are usually torture tests for AF lenses and found it to give accurate results. It's a great way to focus on the subject and recompose as the phase detect tracking sticks to the initial focused area.

Take a look at this 33 sequence with the Sony 6100 + Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux using Focus Area: Tracking (Center) to lock on the subject and follow the car towards my direction:










All images were in focus! Below are 100% crops showing the focused area showing the car every 7 frames. The LM-EA9 adapter was able to lock on the subject and track it with accuracy.































When shooting portraits, my best setting was "Focus Area: Wide". This setting allows Eye-AF (phase detect) to do its job and I'm quite happy with the results even when the model's face is not in the center of the frame. I've tested lenses like the Leica 75/1.4 Lux, 90/2 AA and 135/4 Tele-elmar. As long as one pre-focus on the subject, Eye-AF works great following the eyes as the model moves. Having AF increases the number of keepers compared to shooting portraits with a Leica M body.








Leica APO-Summicron 90mm f/2 ASPH.



Here is 30-image portrait session shot with the Sony A9 + Leica APO-Summicron 90mm f/2 ASPH. and Leica 75mm f/1.4 Summilux lenses:
Camera settings: "Focus Area: Wide" + AF-C (EyeAF)
Only two images were slightly out of focus due to the model's hands blocking both eyes or moving too fast between shots. With telephoto lenses, pre-focus is needed for the AF to work properly. My technique is to roughly focus on the subject by using the lens' focusing ring and then let the adapter do the AF tracking. I'm getting great results with Eye-AF.
















Leica 75mm f/1.4 Summilux wide open









Leica APO-Summicron 90mm f/2 ASPH. wide open









Leica APO-Summicron 90mm f/2 ASPH. wide open


Crops at 100% magnification:







Leica APO-Summicron 90mm f/2 ASPH.







Leica 75mm f/1.4 Summilux


Final thoughts:












I'm impressed with the Techart LM-EA9's improvement in aesthetics and functionality. I consider it to be a step above the previous version in terms of durability as well -- no more wobble!

It looks like Techart fixed most of the gripes I had with their previous adapter and it's now more reliable, quieter and more enjoyable to use. Although it's still not perfect, if you have a Sony body and want to add AF to your manual focus lenses, I highly recommend the new LM-EA9 adapter.

It's now available for pre-order at B&H Photo for $399.

Further reading: Techart LM-EA9 FAQ



Aug 10, 2022 at 01:22 AM
Alan Parker
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Thank you for the detailed review! This certainly paints a much more positive picture than some of the other less in-depth reviews so far. How would you rate the value for money now? Is it still steep or does it feel a lot more acceptable with the improvements all around?
Are tehre any lenses you feel nervous about using on this adapter because they are close to that 500 gram limit? I can think of a number of tele-options that are either close or just over that limit.

Edited on Aug 10, 2022 at 03:40 AM · View previous versions



Aug 10, 2022 at 01:54 AM
Juha Kannisto
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


> Compatible with all the latest Sony Full Frame & APS-C camera models (A7R4, A7R, A1, A9, A9II, A7C, A6100, A6600, ZV-E10, etc).

I saw this same list on TechArt's website as well and I wonder why TechArt include A7R in this list of compatible models (since it's one of the oldest models and very far from the latest) but they didn't include any standard A7 models like A7IV or A7III etc. that are some of the most popular bodies. Also since A7R4 is included but A7R3 and A7R2 are not, it would be strange to include the very first A7R.

I suppose A7R in the list is meant to be some other model instead but they made some simple mistake there...

It's good to see that my current actively used Sony bodies (A7C and A9) are both in the list of supported models anyhow. I'm not planning to get this adapter soon but might get one later on once my my camera / lens equipment budget has been recovered



Aug 10, 2022 at 03:28 AM
genji
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Golly Fred, Leica 75/1.4 Lux, 90/2 AA, and 135/4 Tele-Elmar support has removed any doubts I might have had about getting an LA-EA9. Those 75 Lux and 90 AA samples look great.


Aug 10, 2022 at 03:53 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Alan Parker wrote:
Thank you for the detailed review! This certainly paints a much more positive picture than some of the other less in-depth reviews so far. How would you rate the value for money now? Is it still steep or does it feel a lot more acceptable with the improvements all around?
Are tehre any lenses you feel nervous about using on this adapter because they are close to that 500 gram limit? I can think of a number of tele-options that are either close or just over that limit.


Hi Alan,
I was surprised when told about the 500 grams limit but I think it's conservative. The 75/1.4 Lux weighs around 600 grams and the adapter drives it without any issues. I was advised to add hand support for lenses that exceeds 500 grams but I have asked Techart to confirm this again.

The previous adapter is still priced at $380 so it does seem that $400 for the newly improved one is a fair price.



Aug 10, 2022 at 10:44 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Juha Kannisto wrote:
> Compatible with all the latest Sony Full Frame & APS-C camera models (A7R4, A7R, A1, A9, A9II, A7C, A6100, A6600, ZV-E10, etc).

I saw this same list on TechArt's website as well and I wonder why TechArt include A7R in this list of compatible models (since it's one of the oldest models and very far from the latest) but they didn't include any standard A7 models like A7IV or A7III etc. that are some of the most popular bodies. Also since A7R4 is included but A7R3 and A7R2 are not, it would be strange to include the very first
...Show more

I'm not sure about support of the original A7R since it was not fully compatible with the EA7. However, I have only tested the LM-EA9 on the A9 and A6100 cameras. Perhaps it will have limited functionality when used on older bodies.



Aug 10, 2022 at 10:46 AM
MAubrey
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Fred Miranda wrote:
I'm not sure about support of the original A7R since it was not fully compatible with the EA7. However, I have only tested the LM-EA9 on the A9 and A6100 cameras. Perhaps it will have limited functionality when used on older bodies.

The original A7r only had CDAF, so however well the adapter works, that body is the necessary limit on performance.



Aug 10, 2022 at 11:43 AM
genji
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


I donít know why this is causing so much consternation. The A7R was never supported on the LA-EA7 so itís obviously an error. Since ďA7RĒ follows A7R4 and A74 is missing, itís clearly meant to be A74.


Aug 10, 2022 at 04:09 PM
lattesweden
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


I count basically all FF models (plus many APS-C) Sony have made on this page (scroll down a little): https://techartpro.com/?product=lmea9#iLightbox[product-gallery]/4


Aug 10, 2022 at 05:43 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Here is the info from Techart:










































Aug 10, 2022 at 06:39 PM
 


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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Extra images showing three other lenses I've tested on the LM-EA9 adapter:




A9 | LM-EA9 | Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron II






A9 | LM-EA9 | Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f/2.8






A9 | LM-EA9 | Leica 28mm f/1.4 Summilux




Aug 11, 2022 at 12:38 PM
Alan Parker
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Fred Miranda wrote:
Extra images showing three other lenses I've tested on the LM-EA9 adapter

Have you also tried putting another adapter on top of the new LM-EA9? For example M42-M?
I wonder how that might impact performance.



Aug 11, 2022 at 01:13 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Alan Parker wrote:
Have you also tried putting another adapter on top of the new LM-EA9? For example M42-M?
I wonder how that might impact performance.


Yes, in the case of the Triopan 100mm f/2.8. (It has a silver adapter on it)
It does not impact performance in any way but the adapter should be counted as extra weight.



Aug 11, 2022 at 01:39 PM
Alan Parker
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Fred Miranda wrote:
Yes, in the case of the Triopan 100mm f/2.8. (It has a silver adapter on it)
It does not impact performance in any way but the adapter should be counted as extra weight.


I didn't even notice! Nice! Thank you for the info!



Aug 11, 2022 at 02:09 PM
Michael Gordon
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


I would not expect to circumvent the "no free lunch" rule of optics with stacked adapters. Somewhat disconcerting was the discovery that even the use of one well made expensive adapter usually degrades performance --readily measured on an optical bench. Roger at Lensrentals has commented upon this.

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/09/there-is-no-free-lunch-episode-763-lens-adapters/

If Roger cringes with one adapter, I wonder what his reaction would be with stacked adapters?

That be said, I do it all the time but don't expect perfect corner performance with WA lenses. With the
nicely rendering bubble bokeh wonder, Triopan 100 f2.8, I doubt it would matter.



Aug 11, 2022 at 06:04 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Michael Gordon wrote:
I would not expect to circumvent the "no free lunch" rule of optics with stacked adapters. Somewhat disconcerting was the discovery that even the use of one well made expensive adapter usually degrades performance --readily measured on an optical bench. Roger at Lensrentals has commented upon this.

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/09/there-is-no-free-lunch-episode-763-lens-adapters/

If Roger cringes with one adapter, I wonder what his reaction would be with stacked adapters?

That be said, I do it all the time but don't expect perfect corner performance with WA lenses. With the
nicely rendering bubble bokeh wonder, Triopan 100 f2.8, I doubt it would matter.


I think this is a different matter though. Adding an extra adapter won't change how effective the LM-EA9 is but it does increase the likelihood of skew on the focus plane. There is the worry about mount parallelism for the LM-EA9 adapter itself but also for the extra adapter, adding an extra variable.



Aug 11, 2022 at 06:39 PM
nehemiahphoto
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


I may have just gotten lucky, but when I stacked adapters with the LM-EA7, I did infinite testing with the Pentax 31 limited + a7r2 without any issues.


Aug 11, 2022 at 06:56 PM
Michael Gordon
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Fred Miranda wrote:
I think this is a different matter though. Adding an extra adapter won't change how effective the LM-the EA9 is but it does increase the likelihood of skew on the focus plane. There is the worry about mount parallelism for the LM-EA9 adapter itself but also for the extra adapter, adding an extra variable.


Exactly what I meant. I think I interpreted ďperformance ď slightly differently and not just the physical function of the EA9 adapter.



Aug 11, 2022 at 07:18 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Yes, I also tested it on the Voigtlander 50/1.5 Heliar which just like the Triopan is a soft focus low contrast lens wide open. Surprisingly the LM-EA9 worked well with these two lenses.


Aug 11, 2022 at 08:28 PM
Henning
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Techart Pro LM-EA9 Review


Fred Miranda wrote:
Yes, I also tested it on the Voigtlander 50/1.5 Heliar which just like the Triopan is a soft focus low contrast lens wide open. Surprisingly the LM-EA9 worked well with these two lenses.


As you know, wide angle lenses are much more sensitive to poorly manufactured adapters especially insofar tilt is concerned. Lenses with floating elements are sensitive to the adapter length, with wideangles again being more sensitive than longer focal lengths. I don't have experience with the Trioplan, but I believe that neither it and definitely the Helier do not have floating elements and certainly with the Heliar's spherical aberrations tilt becomes very hard to detect.



Aug 11, 2022 at 10:09 PM
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