Five M Mount Lenses Begging To Be Adapted To Your Mirrorless Camera

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Five Manual Focus Lenses Begging To Be Adapted To Your Mirrorless Camera (1 of 1)ISO 2001-250 sec at f - 3.2

At the time of publishing this post, there are rumors abound about a full frame Sony NEX series camera and murmurs that something similar might one day be coming from Fujifilm. But overall, folks are drooling more and more over mirrorless cameras and everything that they offer. And the more savvy amongst us as shooters are also seriously considering them if we haven’t bought one already.

Since the early days of the system, one of the biggest things to do was to adapt manual focus lenses to take advantage of the size. And if you’re still looking to do that, the Leica M mount is perfect.

Here’s a roundup of lenses that you’ll be envying.


Zeiss 15mm f2.8

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For what it’s worth, Zeiss’s 15mm f2.8 is one of the fastest aperture manual focusing lenses that you’ll be able to get your hands on in the ultra-wide focal length range. Indeed, 15mm is quite wide, and the design of this lens has been translated over to their DSLR lens of lenses.

Zeiss’s 15mm f2.8 lens for M mount rangefinders and cameras ,though, has not only a full manual focus action, but also manual aperture that stops in 1/3 intervals. Plus it has 10 aperture blades for super creamy bokeh–if you can even get any due to just how wide the lens is. The lens also sports 11 elements in 9 groups.

What’s even more interesting about this lens is the minimum focusing distance of just under a foot–which is extremely rare for rangefinder lenses.

Adapt this lens to your camera and use it for photographing architecture and more unless you’ve got a Micro Four Thirds camera. In that case, this lens will render a 30mm field of view while it will still be wide on APS-C sensor cameras. Of course on a full frame, it will render a full 15mm field of view.

Buy Now: B&H Photo

Leica 50mm f2

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Leica’s 50mm f2 Summicron lenses have always been one the must-have list of many photographers; and with their recent update to their Summicron lineup, the lenses just got even better.

For this list though, we’re featuring the non-APO version for those of us that reach for lower hanging fruit. This version received a 6-bit coding chip in the mount to communicate with the digital M series of cameras. It features six elements in four groups and is super sharp. Many photographers also reach for this lens over the f1.4 or f0.95 lenses (the latter is for obvious reasons).

When adapted to your mirrorless camera, it can become an excellent portrait focal length.

In the end, it’s still a Leica–and Leica glass is often amongst some of the most highly regarded in the world despite how expensive they are.

Buy Now: B&H Photo

Pro Tip: Manual focus lenses are best used by looking at an area, quickly figuring out how far your subject is, setting that distance on the lens, bringing the camera to your eye, touching up the focus, and shooting.  In the end, it's also quite a rewarding experience to know that you've nailed the shot.

Pro Tip: Manual focus lenses are best used by looking at an area, quickly figuring out how far your subject is, setting that distance on the lens, bringing the camera to your eye, touching up the focus, and shooting. In the end, it’s also quite a rewarding experience to know that you’ve nailed the shot.

Voigtlander 21mm f1.8

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As a more affordable version to Leica’s f1.4 lens in the same focal length, the 21mm f1.8 turned a lot of heads when it was first announced. For a long time, Voigtlander had been very quiet and only announced lenses for the Micro Four Thirds lineup. But then out of nowhere, this lens appeared.

The lens features 10 aperture blades to render bokeh that is as smooth as can possibly be at the price point along with 13 lens elements in 11 groups characterizing its design.

As with the rest of the lenses on this list, it is a manual focus M mount lens. Perhaps more than any other manufacturer on this list, we tend to really appreciate the build quality behind Voigtlander glass. They always feel extremely solid and well constructed every time we pick them up–which we can’t always say for Leica despite their price tags.

If you’re using an APS-C camera, then the lens will render a semi-wide field of view. If you’re using a Micro Four Thirds camera, it will become more in the normal field of view.

The Voigtlander 21mm f1.8 is for the person that really wants a wide angle lens with a fast aperture at an affordable price. For what it’s worth, Voigtlander is the most affordable of the three manufacturers on this list.

Buy Now: B&H Photo

Voigtlander 40mm f1.4

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The 40mm field of view has always been a very highly regarded one. It is just shy of true normal–which is 43mm.

The cool thing about this lens though is not only the image quality, but how compact it really is while having a fast aperture. It has two aspherical elements and a single coating for lower contrast. Essentially what that gives you is more film-like renderings to your images since digital cameras really tend to bump contrast up.

If a full frame is being used, then it will render the true 40mm field of view. But if you’re going to use an APS-C sensor camera, then you’ll get a 60mm field of view–which to us is a bit weird.

Where this lens will really shine though is with a Micro Four Thirds camera due to the 2x crop factor. This lens will essentially become an 80mm 2.8 due to the depth of field wide open combined with the field of view. It’s a great alternative to the lineup’s current 45mm f1.8–especially if you want the ability to easily mount one lens to various systems.

Buy Now: B&H Photo

Leica 35mm f1.4

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Of course, what would this list be without a good 35mm lens? A couple years ago, Leica announced their update to their popular 35mm f1.4 lens. Then sample images were shown and prototypes went out. We seriously don’t remember as much excitement over a Leica lens in the past five years as this one stirred.

Indeed, we got to try it out and we instantly fell in love. Not only is it capable of some insane sharpness wide open, but it maintains the full Leica look to its bokeh that no one can possibly duplicate. If you owned the old M9, this was the single lens that we would tell you to buy and never look back on.

If you’re working with a mirrorless camera though, this lens would work best with an APS-C option as it will render a near 50mm field of view and images that you won’t be able to take your eyes away from. Micro Four Thirds users will get a 70mm field of view–which is another weird option.

Buy Now: B&H Photo

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