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BTM_Pix

Sigma MC-21 EF and SA To L Mount Adapters

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As the price of existing L mount lenses for my Leica SL and T are frankly ludicrous, I've been awaiting the release of these adapters with bated breath and Sigma have now finally confirmed that they will be available next month and they will be very reasonably priced ($249 for the EF and $169 for the SA).

All set to go and pre-order and then saw this 

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At the time of the initial announcmenet Sigma said the adapter would work with 'any L-mount camera body.' Sigma is now saying that the MC-21 won't work with existing Leica L-mount camera bodies due to 'specifications [that] have changed.'

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What an absolute bummer.

It throws into doubt how this alliance is going to work if they couldn't get this to work for existing L bodies, which when you add up the number of T/TL/TL2/CL and SL cameras out there, is quite a big market. 

I'm not quite sure how a 3rd party company like Novoflex can have a working EF to SL adapter and a member of the alliance (and not exactly a company short on resources and expertise in these adapters) can't get one to work ?

It doesn't quite smell right to me.

The presumption would also be that if the adapter doesn't work then the new L lenses from Panasonic and Sigma won't work with them either.

Which is also an absolute bummer.

Anyway, selfish moan over.  

Good news for S1/R buyers that these adapters should be in the shops not far after you get your camera.

https://www.dpreview.com/news/6837838631/sigma-announces-pricing-availability-of-its-mc-21-sa-and-ef-l-mount-adapters

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That's really weird. Makes you think Leica doesn't want non Leica lenses on their cameras, and have asked their "partner" not to allow it. Perhaps it's how they intend to keep the Leica brand "premium?" 

Frankly it seems rather short sighted. And it'd be nuts if it extended to actual L-mount lenses made by Panasonic and Sigma. But maybe that's the only way to have been able to use the L-mount on their new cameras? If that's the case though, I'm not sure why you even bother and just don't make your own new mount? 

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2 minutes ago, newfoundmass said:

That's really weird. Makes you think Leica doesn't want non Leica lenses on their cameras, and have asked their "partner" not to allow it. Perhaps it's how they intend to keep the Leica brand "premium?" 

Its certainly what it smells like to me.

The Novoflex adapter (whilst being far from ideal to say the least) proves that any suggestion of EF adaptability to existing L mount being impossible is clearly a load of bollocks.

2 minutes ago, newfoundmass said:

Frankly it seems rather short sighted. And it'd be nuts if it extended to actual L-mount lenses made by Panasonic and Sigma. But maybe that's the only way to have been able to use the L-mount on their new cameras? If that's the case though, I'm not sure why you even bother and just don't make your own new mount? 

You'd have to think that an upcoming SL2/CL2/TL3 would be able to use them as an inducement to upgrade for existing owners.

There was always an element of too good to be true about Leica being involved in this (though how much real choice they had bearing in mind the origin of the technology inside the existing cameras is open to debate) but I thought they'd differentiate by having exclusives on the more exotic lenses rather than just flat out have a restriction like this.

The restriction could also be coming from Sigma themselves of course who will have a vested interest in restricting access to already sold lenses to Leica owners.

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I have also read that Sigma only guarantees that their own lenses will work, but seems like everyone believes that Canon EF lenses and other EF lenses will work as well. Possible it's something like that? Basically, "we can only guarantee that our products will work as suggested" but others could?

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10 minutes ago, currensheldon said:

I have also read that Sigma only guarantees that their own lenses will work, but seems like everyone believes that Canon EF lenses and other EF lenses will work as well. Possible it's something like that? Basically, "we can only guarantee that our products will work as suggested" but others could?

They were always very cautious about ever suggesting non Sigma EF lenses working on the MC11 E mount adapter so it was always unofficial even though most lenses did work so its likely the same story with the MC21 from that point of view.

The big difference here is the restriction they've got on the body side of the adapter so even Sigma's own EF (and SA) lenses won't work. 

I'm sure someone will have a go to see if it does actually work in any way with existing Leica cameras but it sounds like its software locked to me as it seems unlikely they've only just discovered it doesn't work with them ;) 

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13 hours ago, newfoundmass said:

Frankly it seems rather short sighted. And it'd be nuts if it extended to actual L-mount lenses made by Panasonic and Sigma. 

I asked @Andrew Reid to check last night and unfortunately he has confirmed that the Panasonic 24-105mm L lens doesn't work on his Leica SL but his Leica 23mm L lens does work on his Panasonic S1.

So, its bad news for Leica owners who wanted to use cheaper lenses but good news for Panasonic owners who want to use overpriced ones!

Definitely smells like a software based lockout to me and I'm not sure where this leaves it with regard to the next generation of Leica bodies if they too lock out lenses and adapters from the other members of the alliance.

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1 hour ago, BTM_Pix said:

I asked @Andrew Reid to check last night and unfortunately he has confirmed that the Panasonic 24-105mm L lens doesn't work on his Leica SL but his Leica 23mm L lens does work on his Panasonic S1.

So, its bad news for Leica owners who wanted to use cheaper lenses but good news for Panasonic owners who want to use overpriced ones!

Definitely smells like a software based lockout to me and I'm not sure where this leaves it with regard to the next generation of Leica bodies if they too lock out lenses and adapters from the other members of the alliance.

Or maybe they need firmware update to fix lens incompatibility issue

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7 minutes ago, ntblowz said:

Or maybe they need firmware update to fix lens incompatibility issue

You would hope so but that statement from Sigma had a permanence to it.

The Leica lens working on the Panasonic is a red flag as well.

Oh well, just have to wait and see now.

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Hmmm,...So, Leica is telling Panny and Sigma to go have fun on their own together and to leave them out of it.

Y'know,...I see Leica has a true fashion brand on the camera industry. (Just like Hasselblad) They never really were a serious "electronics" company anyway. I have a suspicion that they contract Panasonic to design their motherboards and even program their firmware too. Hell, it would not even supprise me if Panasonic even manufactured modern Leica cameras for them in Panny factories.

Is Leica just a snobby logo on a severely over -priced Panny-made body???

CT

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52 minutes ago, Cliff Totten said:

I have a suspicion that they contract Panasonic to design their motherboards and even program their firmware too. 

We outed them over this last year during my development of a controller for the Leica cameras.

Hardware wise they are definitely produced in Wetzlar though.

 

58 minutes ago, Cliff Totten said:

Is Leica just a snobby logo on a severely over -priced Panny-made body???

As an owner of multiple versions of both, I'd say a resounding 'no'.

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9 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

I asked @Andrew Reid to check last night and unfortunately he has confirmed that the Panasonic 24-105mm L lens doesn't work on his Leica SL but his Leica 23mm L lens does work on his Panasonic S1.

So, its bad news for Leica owners who wanted to use cheaper lenses but good news for Panasonic owners who want to use overpriced ones!

Definitely smells like a software based lockout to me and I'm not sure where this leaves it with regard to the next generation of Leica bodies if they too lock out lenses and adapters from the other members of the alliance.

What an "alliance." 🙄

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I think its a bit to early to be rushing to conclusions.  It seems entirely plausible that the L-mount communication specification has been updated, possibly to allow for DFD autofocus speeds, IBIS + OIS or even to improve Sigmas AF performance but still allowing backward compatibility to existing L-mount (Leica) lenses .  The Leica SL is nearly 4 years old, so its possible it may not physically be able to handle the new communication protocols or may need a firmware update at the very least.   I can imagine allocating resources to a firmware update to allow a 4 year old camera to use other manufacturers lenses is a low priority for any camera maker, let alone Leica, so not sure if you can be too critical.  Sure Sigma could probably release an adapter that works for the SL/TL etc but maybe that has absolutely crappy performance like the Novoflex adapter which isn't going to make anyone happy or help establish L-mount.  Now if the Leica SL2 comes out with no compatibility to other L mount lenses then sure complain all you like.  Anyway interesting to see the underlying vibe people have towards Leica.

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I don't understand the decision to go with the L-mount... What does Leica brings to the table aside from a name and the marketing argument? Their optics are nothing special for the price, their cameras are designed by Panasonic already. Obviously Leica is not ready to open its system.

Sigma is great but already has a foot in every system and they keep developing their own camera. Essentially Sigma, seems to be the default partner, they said yes to the alliance without committing much.
 

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On 3/29/2019 at 2:58 PM, newfoundmass said:

That's really weird. Makes you think Leica doesn't want non Leica lenses on their cameras, and have asked their "partner" not to allow it. Perhaps it's how they intend to keep the Leica brand "premium?"

On one hand I can assume that a normal person would never buy any SL lens as soon as Sigma propose its optic in L-mount. I mean seriously, $5000 for cheap variable aperture zoom?!

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1192094-REG/leica_11176_vario_elmarit_sl_24_90_f_2_8_4_asph.html/pageID/accessory

But then I remember we are talking about Leica and I don't see Leica fanboys buying "vulgar" Sigma lenses...

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When I was in the US Navy in 1966 I said when I get overseas I am going to buy a Leica M3. Well I saved up for like 6 months and when I got to Naples, Italy at the Duty Free store they had a brand new body. I think it was like 375 dollars. So I bought it. Well it took me about a year before I got back to Naples to buy a 35mm lens for it lol. So I had a virgin body in this beautiful box for over a year I could not use. I finally had a camera I could actually use, and the time to shoot with it. Me and my shipmates just about wore the camera body and box out admiring it before it ever had a lens on it..You were shitting in High Cotton like they said back then having a camera like that.

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I dont understand why Panasonic just didnt make a new mount diameter that was simply based on MFT data protocol. Panny could have made this new mount standard in one meeting. Essentially, a full frame ring with MFT data pins. I dont see how the Leica partnership help Lumix at all. What tech does Leica give to Panny? Their lenses are niche and very few people will ever buy them. Sigma?....now THEY are a fantastic partner and absolutely key to making these Panny camera sell. I think Panny only really needed Sigma and any profit sharing could have stayed between two companies instead of being split three ways.

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10 hours ago, mat33 said:

I think its a bit to early to be rushing to conclusions.  It seems entirely plausible that the L-mount communication specification has been updated, possibly to allow for DFD autofocus speeds, IBIS + OIS or even to improve Sigmas AF performance but still allowing backward compatibility to existing L-mount (Leica) lenses .  The Leica SL is nearly 4 years old, so its possible it may not physically be able to handle the new communication protocols or may need a firmware update at the very least.   I can imagine allocating resources to a firmware update to allow a 4 year old camera to use other manufacturers lenses is a low priority for any camera maker, let alone Leica, so not sure if you can be too critical.  Sure Sigma could probably release an adapter that works for the SL/TL etc but maybe that has absolutely crappy performance like the Novoflex adapter which isn't going to make anyone happy or help establish L-mount.  Now if the Leica SL2 comes out with no compatibility to other L mount lenses then sure complain all you like.  Anyway interesting to see the underlying vibe people have towards Leica.

You are right to say that this may be subject to change and I do hope it is addressed in a future update.

However, the SL already uses DFD and the 24-90 has OIS so these are not new things for it.

They don't have IBIS but this shouldn't preclude lens compatibility, although overall stabilisation won't be as effective as a combined OIS/IBIS combination.

There may well be additional operations in the protocol but there should be a base level to this protocol that will be compatible. This is something that is illustrated by the 5 year old Leica 23mm lens being perfectly functional on @Andrew Reid 's Panasonic S1.

I honestly think this whole thing has to be viewed through the prism (ho ho) of what we know about the relationship between Panasonic and Leica over the electronics in the Leica cameras. If there is an incompatibility between Panasonic and Leica cameras from a software control point of view then it is essentially an incompatibility between Panasonic and itself, which seems as unlikely as it is unfixable.

After all, what do we think were the exemplar lenses used by Panasonic during development of the S1 and by Sigma during the development of the MC21? For me, I think its safe to presume that they would have been using the only available L mount lenses available, which were the Leicas. Something which, again, is shown by the Leica lens working on the Panasonic body.

Would there be tweaks along the way to accomodate different lenses or future options? I don't doubt that possibility but, again, it seems clear that that has been done without destroying the backwards compatibility.

The performance of Novoflex's attempt at making an EF adapter is, to me, a very different proposition to Sigma making one. Sigma not only have a far more extensive track record in the EF side of the adapter but they are official partners in the L side of the adapter whereas Novoflex would be having to reverse engineer both parts of the puzzle. 

If we leave aside the EF version of the adapter, then the situation with the SA version of it becomes even less understandable, when one side of the mount is their own protocol and the other one is an alliance that they are an official party to.

It doesn't seem credible to me that six months after the official public announcement of this alliance, not to mention at least a similar period unofficially before this, Sigma have discovered six days before they release it that it doesn't work on Leica cameras.

There was plenty of time to get in front of this before the Panasonic lenses and Sigma adapter were released to clarify just how all encompassing, or not, the L mount alliance was going to be.

Is it definitely something sinister in terms of protectionism from Leica? It is not difficult to see it in that way (as I have ;) ) but at the very least its sloppy and doesn't send out a great message about how interlocked and cohesive this alliance truly is and whether Leica are a reluctant member.

The cohesion is important for all three of them when they are asking people to adopt what is to most people a brand new mount.

The attitude to Leica is always going to be the attitude to Leica unfortunately. But as someone who drinks so much of their Koolaid that I've bought a Sodastream and the syrup to make my own in case they run out, I have to say its dissapointed me and will do nothing to change the attitude from everyone else.

We might only be a firmware update away from all this being moot of course.

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7 hours ago, OliKMIA said:

But then I remember we are talking about Leica and I don't see Leica fanboys buying "vulgar" Sigma lenses...

There are plenty of Leica's (mine included) that have inexpensive non-Leica lenses on them like Voigtlander and 7Artisans to be fair.

I suspect there are plenty of us who won't baulk at the vulgarity of a Sigma ART lens given the opportunity.

 

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Leica just published new firmware versions, 3.5 for Leica SL and 2.2 for Leica CL.

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Performance Improvements:
The firmware update enables compatibility with current and future L-Mount lenses from Leica as well as from our L-Mount Alliance partners Panasonic and Sigma.

Any test previously made with either camera and a Panasonic L-mount lens should be redone with this new firmware before drawing any conclusion.

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Good news.

Odd that they have (currently) left the T/TL/TL2 behind with the update, though the TL2 is listed on the new compatibility chart released by Leica for Panasonic lenses by an undated future firmware update. Again though I suppose it may change over time to bring the TL and T onboard. 

Hopefully this will prompt a news update from Sigma regarding the MC21 now being compatible as I'd like to get on and order it.

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