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How different rangefinder lenses perform on Nikon Z6
Old 02-28-2019   #1
Timmyjoe
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How different rangefinder lenses perform on Nikon Z6

I searched the internet for over a month, trying to find information on how different rangefinder lenses performed on Full Frame mirrorless cameras. There was quite a bit of info available for how different lenses performed on the Sony A7 series of camera, but little about how they performed on the Nikon Z series.

I was able to acquire a Nikon Z6 for a couple days, so I went thru all my rangefinder lenses, and a series of adapters, to see how they performed with the lower end Nikon Z camera. Here are my results.

I set myself up about 6 feet from this rather messy bookcase, with lots of detailed LEGO's on top, and focused the camera each time (using the zoom focus feature) on the red USA logos on the bottom of the Saturn V rocket.



I shot each lens from wide open to f16. Here's what I discovered.

Voigtlander Super Wide-Heliar 15mm f4.5 (Leica M mount)
--Edge to Edge Sharpness f4.5 – f16
--Vignettes at all apertures, but can be easily corrected in post

Voigtlander SC Skopar 21mm f4.0 (Nikon S mount)
--Edge to Edge Sharpness f5.6 – f16
--Vignettes wide open, but can be easily corrected in post

Canon 28mm f2.8 (LTM mount)
--Edge to Edge Sharpness f8.0 – f16
--Vignettes at all apertures, from f5.6 can be corrected in post

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 (Leica M mount) (pre-ASPH)
--Edge to Edge Sharpness f5.6 – f16
--Vignettes wide open, but can be easily corrected in post

Canon 35mm f1.8 (LTM mount)
--Edge to Edge Sharpness f5.6 – f16
--Vignettes wide open, from f2.8 can be corrected in post

Nikon W-Nikkor 3.5cm f1.8 (Nikon S mount)
--Edge to Edge Sharpness f4.0 – f16
--Vignettes wide open, but can be easily corrected in post

Nikon Nikkor-S.C. 5cm f1.4 (Nikon S mount)
--Acceptably sharp center area f2.8 – f5.6
--Edge to Edge Sharpness f8.0 – f16
--Vignettes wide open, but can be easily corrected in post

Nikon Nikkor-S.C. 5cm f1.4 (LTM mount)
--Acceptably sharp center area f2.8 – f5.6
--Edge to Edge Sharpness f8.0 – f16
--Vignettes wide open, but can be easily corrected in post

Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 (Leica M mount) (pre-ASPH)
--Edge to Edge Sharpness f2.0 – f16
--Vignettes wide open, but can be easily corrected in post

Nikon Nikkor-P.C. 8.5cm f2.0 (LTM mount)
--Acceptably sharp center area f2.0 – f4.0
--Edge to Edge Sharpness f5.6 – f16
--Vignettes wide open, but can be easily corrected in post

Nikon Nikkor-P.C. 8.5cm f2.0 (Nikon S mount)
--Acceptably sharp center area f2.0 – f4.0
--Edge to Edge Sharpness f5.6 – f16
--Vignettes wide open, but can be easily corrected in post

Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f2.8 (Leica M mount)
--Acceptably sharp center area f2.8 – f4.0
--Edge to Edge Sharpness f5.6 – f16
--Vignettes wide open, but can be easily corrected in post

Nikon Nikkor-Q.C. 13.5cm f3.5 (LTM mount)
--Edge to Edge Sharpness f3.5 – f16
--Vignettes wide open, but can be easily corrected in post

I took the RAW camera files, ran them thru Adobe DNG converter, then imported them into Apple's Aperture 3. I used Aperture's vignette control to correct vignetting.

Hope this information is helpful for anyone considering a Nikon mirrorless full frame camera to use with their rangefinder lenses.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 03-01-2019   #2
mothertrucker
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Thanks Tim, I've been thinking about the Z6 - My most difficult lenses are a 21mm super-angulon-R f3.4 and a Jupiter-12.

Looks like a great option for adapted lenses.
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Old 03-01-2019   #3
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Nice work. If u can u should also do infinity tests.
I dont think i found any edge to edge sharpness w my M lenses on my z7. I will check again but it seems the z6 works better.
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Old 03-01-2019   #4
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Huss, the one lens that I was most concerned about was the Voigtlander SC Skopar 21mm f4.0 (Nikon S mount). I did test that at infinity, and the vignetting was the same (and could easily be corrected in post), but at infinity, edge to edge sharpness didn't really come on strong until about f11 to f16.

Best,
-Tim

PS: The un-cropped image shown above was shot with the Voigtlander SC Skopar 21mm f4.0 (Nikon S mount) at f8.0. The edge to edge sharpness is quite good.
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Old 03-09-2019   #5
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Just popped a Voigtlander S-Heliar 50mm f3.5 "Vintage" (Nikon S mount) on the Z6 to see how it stacked up against the Nikon Nikkor-SC 5cm f1.4. From f3.5 with each lens, the Nikkor almost held it's own all the way up to f16, in the center of the image, with the S-Heliar being only slightly sharper at close distances, and a wash at infinity. But when you move away from the center of the image, the S-Heliar really outshone the Nikkor. At infinity, edge to edge sharpness with the S-Heliar was way ahead of the Nikkor from wide open with the Nikkor almost catching up by f16.

Going to be doing some landscape shots with the Z6 at the end of the month, and I'm going to go with the S-Heliar.

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-Tim
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Old 03-19-2019   #6
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The Z6 is yet another camera I'm considering as I want a full frame camera with good image quality, autofocus and video, and will play well with M lenses. The Sony A7 cameras just don't handle M lenses that well, and I'm wondering if the Z6 will. I have lenses like:


- Zeiss 21mm Biogon
- Zeiss 25mm Biogon
- Zeiss 28mm Biogon
- Voigtlander 35mm f1.4
- Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 v1
- Leica 50mm Summicron
- Zeiss 50mm Sonnar


If most of these lenses are acceptably sharp wide open, this will be very much in the Z6's favour. I don't care about vignetting as I actually like it in my images. As I don't own a XQD card, I can't really test a Z6 with these lenses in a shop unless I spend a fair chunk of money buying a card. Not cool.
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Old 03-19-2019   #7
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You'll probably be good with the 35mm & 50mm lenses, and possibly the 28mm, maybe even the 25mm. The 21mm might be dodgy, especially wide open, as far as edge to edge sharpness.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 03-19-2019   #8
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I would love a Z6 but to use my Konica AR lenses, not my one remaining Leica lens (DR Summicron.) I'd also like to be able to use all the great Nikkors that I own but really, I want to see how the Konica lenses stack up on a top shelf digital sensor with no crop. I think this would be an amazing tool for collimating lenses since I do so much hobby repair work these days. I could even work on my C-mount lenses. One body to calibrate them all...

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Old 03-30-2019   #9
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I just picked up a Z6 and plan on testing my M lenses with it before too long.
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Old 05-18-2019   #10
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Am I missing something?
I see lots offenses mentioned.
Lots of f/stop ranges mentioned.
NO mention of the brands or models of the adapters used.
I have a Sony a7II and two Fotodiox adapters, Canon FD and Leica M mounts, enroute from B+H as I type.
It would be nice to know which adapters does the Rangefinder community find acceptable.
Cheers!
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Old 05-18-2019   #11
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Timmy, thanks for the excellent comparison. That was my question too, what adapter did you use? Would that affect vignetting? I am not looking seriously at the Z6 or Z7 for now, but some day.
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Old 05-18-2019   #12
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Hi, sorry I didn't list the adapters used. The adapter attached to the Nikon Z6 was a "no name", probably made in China, Leica M to Nikon Z adapter.

To that adapter, the Leica M lenses mounted directly. For the Leica LTM mount lenses, I used the appropriate Leica LTM to M adapters, then mounted those lenses to the Leica M to Nikon Z adapter.

For the Nikkor rangefinder lenses, in the original Nikon S mount, I used an Amedeo (Nikon S to Leica M) adapter attached to the Nikkor rangefinder lenses, then attached that to the Leica M to Nikon Z adapter, then to the Nikon Z6 camera.

Hope that helps.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 05-18-2019   #13
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Fyi there is a recall for the z6/7 but not all are affected. enter ur serial # on their site. some issue w the in body VR. Mine was affected, the turn around is a week for the repair.
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Old 05-18-2019   #14
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Hi, sorry I didn't list the adapters used. The adapter attached to the Nikon Z6 was a "no name", probably made in China, Leica M to Nikon Z adapter.

To that adapter, the Leica M lenses mounted directly. For the Leica LTM mount lenses, I used the appropriate Leica LTM to M adapters, then mounted those lenses to the Leica M to Nikon Z adapter.

For the Nikkor rangefinder lenses, in the original Nikon S mount, I used an Amedeo (Nikon S to Leica M) adapter attached to the Nikkor rangefinder lenses, then attached that to the Leica M to Nikon Z adapter, then to the Nikon Z6 camera.

Hope that helps.

Best,
-Tim
Thank you!
So, a "No Name" adapter worked. Good to know. Hopefully the "Name" adapter that I ordered will work as well.
Wayne
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Old 05-18-2019   #15
Timmyjoe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Fyi there is a recall for the z6/7 but not all are affected. enter ur serial # on their site. some issue w the in body VR. Mine was affected, the turn around is a week for the repair.
Saw that Huss. Was fortunate in that my Z6 serial number wasn't effected.

Best,
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Old 05-18-2019   #16
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I use a Novoflex LM to Z mount and the Amadeo NIKON rangefinder to Leica M. I have test all of my Nikon Rangefinder lenses (7) as well as many AIS lenses and Leica M including 28mm Cron - they all work great with the Z6.
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Old 05-27-2019   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Saw that Huss. Was fortunate in that my Z6 serial number wasn't effected.

Best,
-Tim
Mine has now a status of 'parts hold"'.
Kinda annoyed by that as I had no issues in actual use, and I ASSumed that if Nikon announced the recall, they had the parts ready.
I would have held onto it until parts are in stock. I have a lot of projects to scan...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #18
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Maybe I'm just late to the party on this one, but I just discovered that with the Z6 and a Leica M to Nikon Z adapter (and an LTM to M adapter) you can use the Nikkor-SC 5cm f1.4 LTM lens as more or less a macro. The lens is designed to overstroke past the minimum focus distance of 3.5 feet, and actually focuses down to about 12 inches. Though this doesn't focus on a rangefinder camera because when you overstroke the lens you lose rangefinder coupling, it works great on the Nikon Z6.

Just thought I'd share.

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-Tim
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #19
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Interesting. I’m curious how the 50dr lens would
work as it cant be used on a digital M. I should try it out.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #20
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I was not aware that the 50mm Dual-Range Summicron would not work on the digital M cameras. Are you referring to the new digital M's, or even the older M Monochrom CCD and M9?

And what makes them not work, do they protrude into the camera body too far?

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
I was not aware that the 50mm Dual-Range Summicron would not work on the digital M cameras. Are you referring to the new digital M's, or even the older M Monochrom CCD and M9?

And what makes them not work, do they protrude into the camera body too far?

Best,
-Tim
The close focus part of the cam hits something inside the body which prevents the lens from focusing through most of its normal range. If that part of the cam is machined off I have read that they work OK on digital bodies. Apparently they work OK on some M10 (without machining) or they require a minor tweak to the cam to get them to work.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
I was not aware that the 50mm Dual-Range Summicron would not work on the digital M cameras. Are you referring to the new digital M's, or even the older M Monochrom CCD and M9?

And what makes them not work, do they protrude into the camera body too far?

Best,
-Tim
The physical construction of the rear of the lens does not allow for the full focus range. On the M9 series it can only focus from 1m to 4m. Not sure about the M240 etc.
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