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Voigtlander creates VM-E Close Focus adapter for Sony cameras

By dpreview staff on Oct 24, 2013 at 10:57 GMT

Voigtlander has announced the VM-E Close Focus adapter, which will allow the use of M-mount lenses on Sony E-mount cameras such as the recently-announced full frame A7 and A7R. Unlike most similar adapters, though, Voigtlander's latest includes a focusing helicoid for close-up work, with 4mm travel. This overcomes a limitation of many rangefinder lenses, which tend to have longer minimum focus distances than similar SLR lenses. It's set to be available in December for €289.

Sony's own lens options for its groundbreaking full frame mirrorless models are a little thin at launch, and Voigtlander is clearly hoping to persuade A7 and A7R owners to buy its own highly-regarded M-mount lenses and use them with this adapter. Other M mount lenses will work on it too, most obviously from Leica, but also from Zeiss, or old lenses from other manufacturers (such as Konica or Minolta). A list on Voigtlander's website shows how the adapter will improve the minimum focus distances for each of its current lenses. 

Voigtlander VM-E Close Focus adapter specifications

Adaptable Body mount Sony E mount
Adaptable Lens mount VM mount 
Diameter  62.7mm
Weight 125g
Helicoid extension 4mm
Other • With infinity lock button
• Can cover full frame 24x36mm

Currently-available compatible lenses

Click the links below to see lists of current and recent M-mount lenses from our lens database (opens in a new window):

Source: Photoscala

Comments

Total comments: 25
TN Args
By TN Args (6 months ago)

So, what adapters will fit an A7 and allow a full frame image circle at present?

0 upvotes
Rooru S
By Rooru S (6 months ago)

My rainbowimaging Canon FD to E adapters works just fine, tested it last night at a Sony launch event of the a7 and a7R here in Panama with a FL 55mm f/1.2 (Central America)

2 upvotes
TN Args
By TN Args (6 months ago)

Oh that's great to know Rooru, did you get a full image circle on the A7 sensor?

0 upvotes
sroute
By sroute (6 months ago)

This adapter isn't a new idea or genius. NEX / E mount shooters have long been buying the Hawk Helicoid adapter (somewhere < $200, ebay) which does exactly this.

The Hawk adapter isn't finished as nicely as the CV adapter appears to be, but as far as function, it offers exactly the same capabilities. Fantastic.

Let's correct a few other bits of miinformation in the comments:
1) So far, the only semi-comprehensive look at rangefinder lenses on the A7 cameras was done by Ron Sheffler using only the A7.

2) Lenses of wider angle and of symmetrical degisn (like the Zeiss Biogons, a number of other degins from Leica and CV) generall perform worse on the A7 than longer focal lengths or telecentric / retrofocal design.

3) Even on the A7, there are going to be a number of lenses that work exceedingly well, and a larger number that work well enough to meet user expectations in many cases.

4) The story on the A7r is as yet untold. Don't guess, wait for testing. Will happen soon.

8 upvotes
jameshamm
By jameshamm (6 months ago)

A7R, with its higher pixel density, will be even more of a challenge IMO.

However, for landscape work, longer exposures are a possibility, so shooting with a smaller aperture might do the job (up to a point where software can correct the rest).

It seems like telephoto work (wildlife in particular) will be no problem.

So if you plan on using the A7/A7R for street photography (which after all made the likes of Leica rangefinders famous), you will be better served by an RX1.

0 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (6 months ago)

Good to be cautious about the Sony A7. We do not know how user friendly and capable the camera is yet. Professional photographers are still shy of using Sony cameras as their main kit because of their unpredictability. Sony are good in innovation but they are usually not follow through effectively. For example, we need to know how good is the tracking focus. A DSLR replacement need to be good at it otherwise I would prefer to stick to my Canon 1DX or 5D Mk3.

You are right. Adaptors, usually made in China, have been around for some time. If they are cheap it maybe worthwhile to buy if one already has some M mount lenses. However, it is not wise or feasible to buy a new M mount lens to use on a new camera like the A7 especially if the camera is not cheap. It is always better to use original lenses for full functionability.

0 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (6 months ago)

@jameshamm

Landscape or low light photography on a tripod perhaps especially when it is manual focus all the way.

I do not know of any M mount lenses long enough for wildlife photography. For wildlife, one need at least a 400mm f/2.8 to be effective and one must be fast. Thus, it is stilll better to use an AF lens. For this purpose, I still prefer to use my Canon 1DX or 5D Mk3.

0 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (6 months ago)

The A7R could do a better job here, what differs the 2 sensors, is the fact that A7 sensor has flat lenses on outer pixel configuration, while on the 7R sensor, the outer circle's lenses are turned inwards, what redirects the light that falls in in a more correct angle and thus we encounter less diffraction problems.

To say now that this will resolve the problems that Ron Scheffler encountered with M lenses that are wider than 35mm on the A7 body, is not evident.

So, let's wait Steve Huff to test this for us as soon as he gets his new A7R body. His obsession to compare all that exists to Leica and to screw his Leica and Voigt lenses on just everything where this is possible, gives us a good overview of what combinations will do a good and which do a less good job on this or that camera.

A great thanks to Steve for this tests, it prevents us form bad surprises since many M mount lenses are not cheap stuff, and once you buy one, it's better to know what you will encounter.

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (6 months ago)

I sure hope there will be one for Fuji X-Mount as well !

1 upvote
ChrishsChan
By ChrishsChan (6 months ago)

Yes, you can find one for Fuji X-mount at eBay, I bought one last year when I was in HK for approx. $80-. well built, made in China, the sales told me, should be originated by Korean. I like it very much.

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (6 months ago)

Is that with focusing helicoid ? And it focuses smoothly, and stays on infinity correctly when needed etc. ?

0 upvotes
shigzeo ?
By shigzeo ? (6 months ago)

I hope so, too. I have the Hawk's Factory adapter. It is decent, but made of aluminium and wears fast. Its helicoids are pretty weak and grind when lenses heavier than 180g are attached. And no infinity lock.

The VM one looks to be much better made. The infinity lock would be a great asset as currently infinity focus necessitates checking very carefully at the lens' largest aperture and then when switching to the shooting aperture, hoping that you don't bump the ring at all.

The Hawks may be the first, and currently it is one of the best, but it looks to be outclassed completely by the VM-E.

1 upvote
M Jesper
By M Jesper (6 months ago)

Outpriced as well, but not in a good way. ;)

I think people underestimate the precision needed to make something like this work smoothly and keep it that way. Especially indeed when there's a weight on it. So i'm not surprised by the pricing, but it sure is a lot to cough up for an adapter. Considering that i bought a 15mm Heliar including Bessa L for €11 more.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (6 months ago)

Still not going to cure the problem that the RF lenses do not perform well on the A7 to start with though due to short lens flange.

0 upvotes
ianimal
By ianimal (6 months ago)

Time will tell...

1 upvote
Jogger
By Jogger (6 months ago)

Thats why there is the A7R with offset microlenses.. or maybe it just makes more sense to turn every RF lens into a tele lens as in the case of adapting them to m43.

4 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (6 months ago)

Copy-paste from their website:

"Please note that there is a possibility that low resolution of the edge and the colour cast will emerge due to the combination of camera body and lens."

Meaning if you use the A7, but we still don't know yet to what degree the A7R fixes that problem, if at all. Those microlenses better work !

1 upvote
Kinematic Digit
By Kinematic Digit (6 months ago)

Steve Huff has already reported that colour shifts are happening on the A7R. This isn't a total deal breaker for me since I don't have any legacy lenses wider than 28mm. I do have a Voightlander 25mm that I hope to test out next week and see how it works on it. I'll report back if I see any colour shift.

Disappointing, but ironically, newer designed lenses that will work are way cheaper than legacy lenses. Not an M9 or M240 replacement, but still something worth considering. This new adapter makes it even more appealing.

1 upvote
tesilab
By tesilab (6 months ago)

To M Jesper: "Those microlenses better work".
Unfortunately they cannot compensate too much for multiple reasons.
1. The camera must primarily deliver good results for FE-mount designed lenses
2. Anything optimized for one particular wide angle would make it suboptimal for lenses of longer focal length.
3. Compensation is also a matter of firmware correction. Leica achieves acceptable results with lens encoding system for their own recent model lenses. Sony simply won't support or recognize third party lenses in this way.

1 upvote
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (6 months ago)

Whenever a camera comes along that allows the use of multiple brands of lenses, old lenses, etc. everybody gets fired up. But it often turns out that the adapters are hundreds of dollars, the setup is clunky (slow, front heavy) and the optical results aren't that great, especially with wide angles. The one exception that comes to mind is the 14-24 on Canon bodies.

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (6 months ago)

@tesilab - Leica is much more advanced than just firmware correction, and the results are a lot better than acceptable. Even with the 21mm F1.4. Leica's sensor also uses microlens tricks, but it seems a different one, and certainly doesn't degrade the quality of longer focal lengths! They speak of extra tall microlenses instead of the offset they're talking about at Sony's. http://cdn.minoc.com/zd_images/2013/06/128343_webangularresponse.jpg

They may lack some (or a lot of) gimmicks that other brands have, but getting the most out of their glass, that they can do. It just has always been taken for granted before Sony showed us the difference that it makes!

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
MAubrey
By MAubrey (6 months ago)

I'd say they came up with a great idea if it wasn't for the fact that these have been around for quite some time already...

0 upvotes
Thomas88117
By Thomas88117 (6 months ago)

True, but the infinity lock button is new at least. Hardly miss that one on my Hawks Helicoid adapter.

1 upvote
shigzeo ?
By shigzeo ? (6 months ago)

What is wrong with improving upon something that right now, is quite flawed? It is a great idea. My Hawk's is a great idea, but it is a weak design. Infinity must be searched for, the helicoids grind, the mount is aluminium, not steel or brass, and wears fast. It is good, but not great. I'd rather pay once and get a great adapter that will last the life of my lenses than a make-do adapter that merely does the job but may need to be replaced.

Also, the Hawk's has a reflective inner surface that causes very bad flare with longer lenses such as LTM nikkor 10,5/2,5 and Leica 90/2,8 tele-elmarit. I've taped the inside in order to ameliorate the flare.

Voight is a better brand. I hope that the issues of the Hawks' will be addressed. I always will pay more for better quality.

0 upvotes
Infared
By Infared (6 months ago)

Genius! The best ideas are always so simple!

0 upvotes
Total comments: 25