Leica Leica R 35-70mm f3.5 adapted to M mount


Feb 6, 2013
In shooting the M with a Zeiss 25mm f2.8 and an Canon 50mm f1.4, I found that although I love the shots, I don't like missing a shot because the wrong lens is mounted.

So I decided to try a zoom on the M. Since it has live view and great focus peaking, the M can use many lenses. Not having had a Leitz lens to try it out with, I thought I'd try a Leica R zoom. The R lenses can be bargains, as their system is largely history, and they don't have the rangefinder focus coupling that most M mount cameras require.

After a bit of web searching, the lens of this thread's title came to the fore. Better zoom linearity than the 28-70mm, and from what I was reading sharper too. So after a bit of eBay hunting, a copy made its way here yesterday. Today I took it out to check it's character and sharpness.

Here are a few to evaluate sharpness.

Lens Check 1 by cbmn, on Flickr
Not bad for near-field sharpness. Focus is on his eye, a 100% crop shows things aren't too bad here at f3.5.

Lens Check 3 by cbmn, on Flickr
Mid-field focus on the memorial's text at f10 or such for decent DOF. Again not too bad.

Lens Check 2 by cbmn, on Flickr
Mid-field focus on the memorial's text at f3.5. Not as crisp as I'd like, but not bad.

Lens Check 4 by cbmn, on Flickr
Near-field focus on the foot's front left at f3.5. Again not bad.

So how is it in use? Here are two I'd normally take while trying for the best shots I can do:

Using the 35-70mm 1 by cbmn, on Flickr
This was at f10 or so, didn't want to push further and risk diffraction. Focused for best focus overall, allowing for a bit of fall-off near field and again far-field. A bit processing as I'd normally do in post - hopefully nothing over-the-top, but to help with impact: small amount of sharpening, a bit of contrast work, cut back on overall resulting color for some semblance of realism.

Using the 35-70mm 2 by cbmn, on Flickr
Same shooting as above, again about f10 or so. Same approach and goals for post.

So, what do I think? It's not bad. But it's not up to the 28-70mm equivalent lens on the X-Vario for wide or for sharpness. Look at a few 100% crops of the above pics. Would I rate this as one that has that special something? No, can't touch the Canon f1.4 for a great character. Can't touch the zeiss 25mm for sharpness or contrast.

So probably a bust, but maybe I'm expecting too much.

What do you think? :)


Feb 6, 2013
Based upon these initial results and a tip from Vince, I have a copy of a Leica 35-70mm f4 coming. I'll compare the two as soon as I can.

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