Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Leica E-P2

What?? I can hear you scream... there is no such camera as a Leica E-P2! April 1st was 19 days ago!

The camera above is my "Leica E-P2", ha ha ha... it is actually a Olympus Pen E-P2 with a genuine Leica lens!

In my younger days with the papers, I used two Leica-M rangefinder cameras; I still have the M4-P and M6 Titan and FOUR lenses. Sad to say after adopting digital I have not touch my Leicas for years!

Legend has it that Leica lenses are the BEST in the world! At the present price of NZ$2-3,000 per lens, they better be!

But my Leica lenses are OLD, bought in the late 70s, are they even good enough for digital? I can't wait to find out!

Obviously you are unable to attach a Leica lens to the E-P2 body, you need a special adapter ring. I know Panasonic make one, after trying for days to get without success, I turn to CameraQuest; they stock the Voigtlander variety.

I email Stephen at CameraQuest and in less than 6 days I received my Voigtlander M4/3 to Leica M Adapter!

Thanks Stephen! Great service!

One Ring To Rule Them All!

The Voigtlander M to M4/3 adapter ring being franked by the four Leica-M lenses.

From left, the Elmarit 28mm f2.8, the Summilux 35mm f1.4; the standard Summicron 50mm f2 and the incredible Summicron 90mm f2. Notice how tiny the 35mm f1.4 lens is!

Since the E-P2 behave like a half-frame camera (the sensor is half of a 35mm film), focal length of lenses attach to it will be doubled. For instance, the 50mm Summicron will "become" a 100mm f2 portrait lens and the 90mm, a 180mm f2 telephoto!

I decided to ask our very photogenic colleague Brooke if she can be my lens test model, she agreed! Thanks Brooke!

Below are pictures of Brooke shot with the four Leica lenses, see for yourself how good the 25 years old Leica optics on digital!

Beauty and the Beast...

Shot with the incredible Elmarit 28mm f2.8 lens, there are virtually no chromatic aberration! I purposely have Brooke strongly back lit and yet there are no lens flare to glare out the fine hair!

When Leica released the tiny 35mm f1.4 lens in the early 1960, the world was stunned that such a small lens have the enormous light gathering ability of f1.4! What a lens!

This delightful study was done with the "standard" lens for my Leica, the Summicron 50mm f2. Like other Leica lens, the optical correction and resolution is impeccable! On the E-P2, it behave as a 100mm short tele and show lovely bokeh.

Heavy for it's compact size, this "big chunk of glass" was my favorite portrait lens in the good old film day :) With the E-P2, it is now a longish 180mm f2 telephoto, but just look at the resolution!

Overall I am really happy with what my old Leica lens can deliver in digital form! Just as well I did not sell them!

Famous Last Words:

You will need to set your E-P2 to "M", I used 1/180 sec and f4 to 5.6 for all the shots. ISO was at 400.

the excellent EVF (Electronic View Finder) is really good for manual focusing. I am glad I am still able to focus quickly and accurately :)

* Special thanks go to Brooke, Nigel and Heather; without which this test is not possible.

You Might Also Like:

A Paparazzi Tale!

My Nikon E-P2

My Leica E-P2 Do Landscape.

My Leica E-P2 and Summilux-M.


cy.leow said...

This is the post with the HIGHEST (1,223 to date) page view, yet NO ONE make any comment! What's the matter with all this people? ;)

Spot Dogs NYC said...

Here's a comment:

How do you like the EP2? I'm considering it or something like it (maybe lumix gf2). I have a leica Sumicron f2 40mm I might want to try with a small digital body. I use a 5d MKII mainly, but it's so big, I'd prefer something I can take when I don't want to lug that around (it has it's place for sure).

cy.leow said...

Hi Spot dogs NYC... Thanks for comment :) I love my E-P2! The EVF is incredibly good, that is the only way to focus a prime manual lens! I doubt the GF2 will be better. I am completing a detail test of my Leica M lenses on the E-P2 for landscape, I discovered a few surprise! The results will be out soon. Your Summicron will be great on an E-P2.
Cheers - CY

Farès said...

Hello CY!...Just today I was thinking about getting an adaptor to try some Leica prime manual lenses on the E-P2... I also seriously considered getting a Leica M9 today...which looks like a great toy, if not difficult to justify to my bank manager!...so still mulling that one over!... *Very much* looking forward to seeing how your Leica lenses came up on the E-P2 for landscape, since that's precisely the sort of usage I had in mind!...you're a man after my own heart!... cheers, F

yfc said...

Love my E-P2 but having used it this past 8 months my one gripe with it is its total ignorance of 'AF Assist Illumination' available with external flash i.e. FL-36R or even the lately available Nissin Di466(4/3)...so wish Olympus would reconsider in its next firmware offering to have it enabled as a menu option(unless h/w restricted...then its a donk...or contrast detection doesn't work with illumination? doubt it..) because menu has option to only do exposure calculation on full depression of shoot button(after focus has been acquired)...Its most apparent weakness is AF in low-light!...To be long-winded my 2 most desirable fantasies that would make my E-P2 (equiv large sensor DSLR-capable) is:

1)Firmware above for AF Illum. Assist....plus

2)VF-3 that has an option for plugging in a cable for remote flash(or an adapter that mounts in place enabling remote flash yet allow use of VF-2..)

Anonymous said...

You think your Leica lenses are old! I'm using three m39 screw mount lenses on my E-P2, and like the look very much. The three are a 50mm Elmar f3.5 made in 1933, a 90 Elmar f.4, made in 1946, and a 1949 Elmar 135mm f4. The 33, uncoated, gives a very flat original image, but adjusting the levels in Photoshop brings into line very quickly. Both the telephoto Elmars are single coated, and need a bit of level adjustment too, but all the lenses resolve good detail, and at long last you can get open shadows easily on the digital sensor without blowing out highlights or depending on raw conversion scale fixes. The vintage 30s 50mm cannot focus to infinity on the adapter I have, but I'm working nearer, so it's not important. Wish I could afford more in the Leica brand than my ancient IIIb and those old screw mounts, but if anyone has any, don't discount them. There are a couple of examples at this link: http://www.mediafire.com/?okwkt581zgnn8

cy.leow said...

Hi you with the OLD Leica lenses, please get in touch with me. I would love to do another write up on Leica-E-P2 and use your pictures too. With credit to you of course :)
Look forward hearing from you!
Regards - CY - cy.leow@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I'm fascinated by the MFT system's compatibility with older lenses. I don't own such a camera yet. I was thinking about the OM-D E-M5, but - even with a very low profile lens, it is not easily 'pocketable' (front jeans pocket). For that reason, I was considering the new E-PL5, and buying a detachable EVF like the one you are using here. That way, it can go in my pocket, with say, the new 15mm/8 'lens cap' lens, for casual everyday use (front jeans pocket), and with EVF attached, and some good prime lenses - a more serious set up. I wonder Mr Leow how you find using the Leica glass with the EVF for focusing? Easy?

- Linden

cy.leow said...

Hi Linden... E-PL5 is a great compact M43 camera,it got the same sensor as the OM-D and should give the same result!Your plan for a jean pocket compact is interesting,go for it!
It is not that easy to get critical sharp focus with Leica prime on the EVF.When I need that I resort to the "magnified view" feature or the "hidden focus peaking" of the OM-D.

Unknown said...

Hi Leow, I haven an EP2 with the Mizuko lens 17mm that came with it. Been reading other reviews in attaching my 35mm Summarit 2.5 but waiting for the adapter. The EVF is a bit expensive for me but if you say it is justifiable, I'll get it as well. Thanks for the post, it convinced me now and I love manual focusing as much as auto. Waiting for your post on landscape pictures.