When Techart sent for review the TZM-02 Leica M to Nikon Z autofocus adapter, there was one small problem in that I couldn't source any Leica lenses for the review, only Canon EF. But the great thing about the adapter is that it can be stacked with additional adapters, allowing for versatility for a wide range of lenses, including the Canon EF mount. Armed with both adapters, I set about testing the capabilities of these on the Nikon Z 7II.
Build and Quality
The Techart TZM-02 Nikon to Leica lens adapter is of full metal construction and feels solid. The mounting points to the camera body are precise, as they should be, and I had no hesitation or concern that it would damage the camera's lens mount as I've had with other adapters I've tried. The adapter doesn't add significant weight to the camera lens combination, and due to the redesign of the focusing motors, it creates a slim profile when attached, allowing clearance from any mounting plates.
Firmware updates are carried out via a micro-USB point on the adapter's baseplate, and you just simply drag and drop them onto the icon of the adapter when connected to a computer.
For this review, I have two adapters connected to the camera, the TZM-02 and an EF-M. Ultimately, you would purchase the adapter that is suitable for your camera and lens choice, and both adapters worked in conjunction faultlessly, allowing me to test a couple of EF mount lenses. Even with the two adapters connected, there are no significant size and weight differences.
I tested the combination of adapters using the two lenses, and remarkably, the 50mm was the noisier of the two in terms of how the adapter works. The new streamlined internal motors allow the lens to move back and forth in the adapter to find focus, but the movement is minimal and relatively quick. The noise is minimal, but I thought it worth mentioning in case your photographic subject requires silence. I later discovered that if you set your lens to infinity and then focus, the noise dissipated dramatically to nearly nothing at all.
Even with the two adapters, everything worked as expected in terms of connection and power. It's also important to note that you have to turn off the camera when swapping lenses, as the manufacturer states that not doing this could damage the adapter's motors, making it a brick. The compact size and build of the adapter are another bonus when attaching the lenses, as it doesn't add any bulk to the camera, allowing you to attach an array of lenses. However, I personally wouldn't attach larger focal lengths due to their size, as I would feel slightly hesitant when using them.
Focusing with the adapter is delivered by four small servo motors encased within the housing and allows for quieter motor noise and a faster focusing speed when moving the lens in and out from the camera body. There is minimal movement of these due to the newer streamlined design compared to the older incarnation.
The autofocus is fast and works well in a variety of lighting. However, in lower light, it did struggle to find focus, and once it was locked, it didn't always return with a sharp image. Manual adjustments worked well in correcting this, but not in all situations. Eye detection for both humans and animals worked as expected and locked on quickly. In daylight, the focus was fast, yet again, at times, wouldn't return a sharp image. This could be the lenses I was using, as they are old and have been used extensively, so are a bit worse for wear, but it would be against my moral judgment to tell you that everything was sweet with my findings when it was not.
To better illustrate this point, I set up a series of unscientific focus tests with the lenses to see if I could figure out why this was happening. I used static subjects and the same lighting for all and although not the equivalent focal length, I photographed them again with the Viltrox 35mm f/1.8 just to look at sharpness. I understand that there are no comparisons between the lenses and that a native lens will perform better, but I wanted to see if I could determine what the issue was.
As you can see from the images below some are sharp, whereas others tend to be on the soft side. I also noticed that sometimes, the focus point would be off, which an be seen in the final image of the gallery, where my focus lock was on the ruins of the castle and not the marram grass in the foreground.
The video below demonstrates the speed of the autofocus
The adapter opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to lens choice and means you can utilize your older lenses on the newer camera bodies, giving them new life. With a slim profile and weighing next to nothing, it doesn't add bulk or really any weight to your camera. It can be used in conjunction with other adapters from the Techart range, allowing for more versatility when it comes to lenses. The autofocus speed, as you saw in the video above, is great, and the ability to enable manual focus lenses to work with the camera's system, including eye and face detection, will, I think, have a lot of photographers very interested in the adapter and quite rightly so.
What I Liked
- Compact size.
- Build quality.
- Firmware Update via base cap.
- Enables autofocus on manual lenses.
What I Didn't Like
Some focusing issues.
Update: Availability has been updated to January 20, 2023.