One of the great things with mirrorless cameras is that with a shorter flange distance, one is able to adapt lots of lenses on the mirrorless bodies. One of the most intriguing options out there is to adapt Leica M lenses on Sony mirrorless bodies. Initially, I used the Voitglander VM-E adapter. It doubles as a hellicoid and allows M lenses to focus closer than they were originall designed to. But due to the thickness of the ‘glass stack’ on top of the Sony sensors, the Sony cameras have issues using Leica M lenses at and wider than 35mm or so. Phillip Reeve’s website is an excellent resource on the various issues of using diff manual lenses on Sony bodies.
Then a, Chinese company did something no one thought of at the time. Techart introduced the Techart PRO Leica M – Sony E Autofocus Adapter. By using this adaptor on the Sony, one can turn M mount lenses into Auto focus lenses. What an awesome idea that is! Even though there is certainly room for improvement in the autofocusing department, it is still a ‘outside of the box’ product that I believe has been very well received by the photography community.
So what is this camera that i think someone should build?
Simple. A photographer’s rangefinder camera that has the technology of the Techart Pro adapter INTEGRATED into the body. This is a photo-only camera (no hybrid capabilities needed) that takes M mount lenses and will autofocus all M mount lenses using the same principal how the Techart Pro adapter focuses the M lenses. It needs to feature a sensor stack design in such a way that wide angle M lenses will not pose any issues to the image quality. Of course, with this AF capbility integrated, the performance needs to be more reliable then the Techart. The AF mechanism should be locakable and then the RF can take over for manual focusing.
Who should build this? Maybe Voitglander can resurrect the Bessar line of cameras? Or maybe Zeiss too, since their upcoming ZX1 certainly shows some very ‘daring’ thinking. Or even Leica… Leica actually has one of the most interesting camera line up at the moment. Leica has done a lot to move the company forward, to diversify from its most iconic M series cameras, but Leica fans remain most faithful to the M line of products. Such a camera would breath new life into the M lenses. Perhaps a “Ma” (M autofocus) line of cameras with this integrated AF technology built in?
One can always dream…