Leica M lenses on Sony NEX-FS100

In preparation for testing of one special new lens in the near future I wanted to check how good is the Metabones Leica M to Sony NEX adapter. So I turned to my friend Boštjan Lah from Maribor who is using Leica M9 system with various lenses. He lend me two of his lenses Leica Summilux-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH. and Leica APO-Summicron-M 90 mm f/2 ASPH.

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Leica M9 w/ Leica Summilux-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH.

I wanted to see if the lens adapter is sturdy enough. I bought some cheap adapters of Amazon for Canon and Nikon and their quality varies. Some lenses can be somewhat loosely mounted. I said that I need to go one step better and test some higher range adapter and Metabones brand presented it self to be an interesting option. I ordered one of eBay and got it quickly.

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Shipment from Hong Kong

As expected adapter preformed flawlessly. I guess the form and design of Leica M mount has something to do with it to. It is still bayonet type as Nikon and Canon are and it’s no breech lock type as PL mount is but it still looks sturdier than other bayonet types to me. And Leica lenses fit perfectly on it. Flange distance of Leica lenses is only about 10 mm longer than on NEX lenses so that means that adapter is only that much wide. In comparison Nikon mount is almost 30 mm deep so using it on small cameras as Sony NEX-5N can be bulky. Small Leica M adapter and lenses are perfect match for NEX-5N.

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Freezing Dino

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Sad Hugo

Both photos were made with Sony NEX-5N and Leica Summilux-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens. Maybe the evening light was just perfect but they both look great to me. Dog has tack sharp whiskers and out of focus parts are creamy. Out of focus highlights behind Dino are in perfect circle. Of course I also wanted to see how the lenses perform when recording moving pictures. I put them on Sony NEX-FS100 and point the camera at some swans and other local birds swimming in the cold river Drava.
Weather was perfect. Low sun coming from behind the subject. Quite difficult to focus in glaring sun reflecting from the water. But thanks to SmallHD DP4 new focus assist function shots were most of the time in focus. I shot everything handheld. I helped myself using Half Inch Rails RnG S2 rig, from Sam Morgan Moore.

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Run and Gun Half Inch Rails S2 rig w/ SmallHD DP4 monitor

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Even the 90 mm lens is small.

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From the top the camera looks really big.

It was difficult to focus with the lenses being so small, so using them on bigger camera can be challenging. I didn’t have any ND filters that small so I had to stop the lens down a bit. I did notice one quirk of the camera thought as mentioned before by my college Frank Glencairn, Green ghost effects.

Green Ghosting White Hordes

Frame grabs from the footage - green ghosting on the woman

When there was strong light shining into the camera there were lots of green ghosting seen in the footage. Frank was using different lenses with Heliopan ND filter and it seems that the filter is amplifying the ghosting, but I was using the lenses without the ND filters. So it has got to be some weird coating on the filters in front of the sensor (IR or OLPF). At first I thought I was seeing some burn in in the SmallHD DP4 monitor as the light was quite bright, but then I remembered Frank mentioning it on Twitter the other day. I have to ask some friends at Sony if they know about the issue and what could be the cause for it.
I used Frank’s G-log B picture profile for better dynamic range so the footage is coping quite good with extreme contrast. I was using the new 1.1 version of the profile.

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Me being careful not to fall into water (©2012 Boštjan Lah)

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Shooting the birds (©2012 Boštjan Lah)

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Focus assist on DP4 made things easier (©2012 Boštjan Lah)

I shot everything in 50 fps slow motion. I recorded some sound with the enclosed microphone so that I could use some location sounds. Having the setup so small I could record the people feeding and photographing the birds and they didn’t mind or they didn’t want to get away from the camera as they just took me for another tourist shooting the scenery.

The video was edited in Final Cut Pro X. I color graded it using Magic Bullet Mojo. Additional sounds were produced on iPad using an app Animoog.