Let’s be honest, Leica lenses are just fine the way they are. But sometimes you’d like them to autofocus. And that’s what the Techart LM-EA9 adapter is doing for Sony photographers. This is one of the most fun ways to give new life to your Sony camera and Leica M-mount lenses. And we tested a prototype of the unit. It’s not going to win any major awards, but man, is it cool!
The Big Picture
The Techart LM-EA9 is an extremely innovative piece of machinery. Looks are surely deceiving. This adapter is insanely small and it’s incredible that they managed to cram four motors into here. You can use it with a multitude of Leica M-mount lenses and get subjects in focus. What’s even more incredible is the fact that it works with things like face-detection on humans and animals. Don’t be fooled though, it’s not winning any autofocus awards. Sometimes it can be frustrating to work with this adapter, and the speed reminds me of old Sigma point and shoot cameras.
If you’re just looking to give new life to some Leica M-mount glass, then consider this. The Techart LM-EA9 receives four out of five stars from us. Want one? Check out Amazon for the latest deals.
- Face detection works
- AF-C works
- Gives a lot of new life to Leica M-mount lenses by bypassing Sony’s awful focus peaking
- It can support some fairly heavy lenses too!
- Wide Area AF is good, but still better when you use a specific area instead.
- This is insanely small and incredibly innovative.
- Doesn’t give me the aperture reading
- Doesn’t focus all that closely
- The autofocus speed isn’t winning any awards.
The Techart LM-EA9 was provided to us free of charge. We tested it with the:
- Sony a7r III (purchased by us years ago)
- 7Artisans 50mm f1.1 (provided to us free of charge years ago)
- Funleader 45mm f2 Contax Conversion (on loan to us)
- Funleader 35mm f2 Contax Conversion (bought by us years ago)
- Leica 35mm f2 Summilux (borrowed from Brent Eysler, who also shot some of these photos)
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The Techart LM-EA9 makes Leica lenses autofocus on Sony camera bodies. That tech has been out for a few years now, but the way that this was made ensures it stands out. This one little adapter literally has four small motors inside that get the lens in focus or not.
Here’s the in my hands. This may not seem like much of a scale, but my hands aren’t the largest. And for what it’s worth, it’s not even as large as the upper mobile part of my thumb. Take a look at your thumb and guesstimate how large yours would be compared to a man that’s five foot six inches tall.
On the front side of the Techart LM-EA9 adapter is a button to attach and detatch the Leica M mount lenses. It has a very nice feel to it, though I’ll admit that the prototype we used feels a bit rough.
Here’s the rear of the adapter. Not much here to know or understand.
The build quality on this thing is really fantastic. It’s made of metal through and through and nothing about it feels cheaply made. Mind you, I used a pre-production variant of the product. And the two end caps were a bit extra tight; but the reps let me know that those are still being worked on.
The Techart LM-EA9 isn’t weather-resistant, so you’ll need to be careful in inclement weather. But what’s even more important is whether or not your sensor will get dirty. If you own a Sony camera where the shutter doesn’t come down over the sensor, you’re going to need to be careful here. Even so, Sony’s sealing at the mount is notorious for being pretty bad. I’d be cautious here and always bring some cleaning equipment.
Ease of Use
Luckily, the Techart LM-EA9 is pretty simple to use. Slap it onto the camera, attach a lens, point, and shoot! That’s it. It will work with the AF-C mode as well. Techart recommends attaching a lens and then focusing it out to infinity. It can focus closely, but not very easily. And overall, it’s still sometimes going to freeze up. In a few occasions, it froze up my Sony a7r III. Hopefully a firmware update can fix that.
For the record, we also cleaned our contacts a few times with isopropyl alcohol and that still didn’t have a major effect on the focusing speed and accuracy.
Extra Image Samples
From day one, The Phoblographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. They’re not showing what the lens can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.
Who Should Buy It?
The question of who should get the Techart LM-EA9 is a tough one to answer. If you’re a Leica M-mount lens owner that also owns Sony cameras, this is a no-brainer purchase. But otherwise, every Chinese-made M-mount lens also probably comes in Sony E mount. And you’re probably better off just getting that one and manually focusing it.
We couldn’t find any official specs, but we’ll update this when they come in.
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