I recently acquired a Zeiss ZM 18mm f/4 for use on my X-E2s via Fuji's own M-mount adaptor (which I chose so as to be able to dial in any necessary in-camera corrections).
It turned out that only a very minor correction is required for distortion ("barrel weak"), while some more pronounced tweaking of the vignetting and corner colour shading controls is required to clean up those aspects of the lens' performance.
Here's the corner shading and colour cast without correction...
..and then after dialling in the right amount of in-camera corrections:
With that out of the way, I then set out to take some test shots.
Here's a 100% original resolution file below.
Shot at f/8 as JPEG with "Astia" film simulation and circular polarizer, focused at the f/4 hyperfocal markings (i.e., assuming a stringent 0.015mm CoC, rather than the standard 0.030mm).
The white plumage in harsh midday light made this a good test bed for any chromatic aberration or purple fringing - gladly, there is none whatsoever of either.
Post-processing was limited to some minor lifting of shadows and some added vibrance; no other corrections were applied, and no additional sharpening (in-camera sharpening was set to 0 = default).
I shoot primarily fashion and portraiture, and have been using a Sony A7 since 2013 with Sony/Zeiss glass with great results for the most part.
As my photography improves, I have been gaining a better understanding of my style and have been looking for ways to enhance that style. Essentially, I enjoy photos that have a timeless, vintage look, and sometimes dreamy look to them instead of modern photos that look just like a 100% true representation of the present reality.
I know that this look could probably be obtained by using photoshop, tools like VSCO, etc (and this is likely what most people do). However, I have never enjoyed spending hours to manipulate a photo, nor do I find the results very satisfying (perhaps due to my limited knowledge of post-processing too). My solution became a simple one, where I began to explore the advantages of the mirrorless system by buying legacy lenses with the appropriate rendering for my style. In this case, I bought a Zeiss C-Sonnar 50/1.5 for M-mount. This approach worked well and gave me results that were vintage looking with lower contrast and the all important classical look. Of course, it is no secret that the characteristics of the lens translate directly to the sensor and the final photo, making it difficult to change my mind about the mood of a photo after the fact. Another problem is that the lenses are still not optimized for these mirrorless systems, and lens sharpness and performance is understandably lower as a result. There is alot of trial and error involved in finding and testing the right lenses with the appropriate rendering to fit the mood I am looking for. Yesterday, I bought a Summicron 50mm f2, and ended up not liking its rendering with my camera.
This had me rethinking about my approach, since I also have an XT-1 that I have been borrowing, which is fantastic and achieves similar results with film simulations which could be altered after the photo is taken. Even when compared to Leica lenses, I find the Fuji glass is every bit as good, especially in terms of colour, sharpness, and micro-contrast. Yes, the photos must still be sharp to be acceptable, but for the most part, I prioritize lens rendering over sharpness. I don't need to have the sharpest lens in the world, but it has to be sharp enough for my use for photographing fashion and portraiture.
What are your thoughts on my approach?
Does using legacy vintage lenses produce a unique mood and rendering to the photos that is not possible to be created in post-processing?
Instead, is it far more desirable to shoot using a neutral lens with extreme clarity and sharpness, and then adjust the rendering, colours, etc. in post-processing?
Is Fuji X the solution?
The photos attached shows my Jpegs straight out of camera with no editting using:
1) Girl with blonde hair - Sony A7 with Zeiss 50/1.5 C-Sonnar
2) Door - Fuji XT-1 with 23mm/1.4