Kevin Bjorke
Kevin Bjorke
3 min read

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M on L: As Simple as Possible

…and no simpler.

This post is a brief – and simple – description of how I set up my L-Mount Lumix S5ii camera for use with my existing M kit.

There’s very little practical information on the about using M-mount on L, even today, eight years after L-mount was introduced. There are advertisements, sure. But quick practical guides? So maybe this is helpful info for someone.

There are many tricks and video methods in the 800+ page S5ii user manual, but nearly all are unneeded here. Just a couple of steps:

  1. Obviously you'll need a mount adapter. I bought the Leica one, others may be okay. When it's connected, the camera automatically knows to use manual focus mode after a few seconds, but for faster, near-instant start-up set the focus-mode dial to "M" and leave it there. To make the experience a little more M-like:
  2. Close the flippy screen.
  3. Swap the functions of the front and back dials, so the shutter speeds are on the front: instead of the default video-style setting, which puts the aperture on front dial and shutter on the back. For M lenses, you're setting aperture on the lens, not on the camera. So the front dial is a more natural place for the shutter speed (the M5 has a similar placement).
    To swap the dials (this is the _only_ deep menu-dive in this guide), press
      MENU->Gear Icon->Dial Icon->"Dial Set." and then
      "Assign Dial (F/SS)" and choose
      "SET 3".

That’s all you need, really. Anything past this is…

Bonus Round:

Of course, anything can be improved. For a bit of optional polish, to keep your eye at the viewfinder while shooting, rather than looking at menus:

  • For manual focusing, zoom the "punch-in" magnifier all the way in: press the magifier button (AF pattern, a rectangle with a little cross inside) and then using the dials (there's an on-screen guide) zoom it in to maximum (6x) magnification. Just leave the magnification at 6x from now on.
  • The exposure preview button, on the front of the camera near your right middle or ring finger: I like having "shutter speed preview" set to ON. Poke the button repeatedly if you want to alter it, then leave it alone.

I use four custom “Fn” button settings for manual photography. Specifically, the otherwise-unassigned directional buttons embedded in the large dial around MENU button at the back. Once set, they’re easy to use without having to look away from the viewfinder.

You can assign each Fn button by pressing it for a couple of seconds: when a menu appears, select the feature you like and touch MENU to save your selection.

  • The "up" button to control the Metering Mode: spot, average, etc.
  • The "right" button to call up or dismiss a live Histogram (it's usually off).
  • The "left" button to call up the Lens Information display -- this is a list of lenses you can assign to the one(s) you commonly use, including a name that will be written into the EXIF of your image files.
  • The "down" button: Focus Peaking ON/OFF. Focus peaking is great, except when it's distracting. Which is a lot of the time (especially if you're shooting with wide lenses or at, say ƒ/11 instead of ƒ/2). By placing the on/off control at your thumb, peaking is very quick and easy in operation -- unlike using the M Visoflex that requires taking the camera away from your eye and finding the setting in a menu.

You’ve reached the end! That’s the entire guide.

Back dial function
Back dial: Meter, Histogram, Peaking, Lens-select

All of the other Lumix complexities: style settings, video frame rates, highlight metering, 96-Megapixel shooting, touch screen buttons, stabilization, user menus, bluetooth, tethered shooting, “expressive” scene filters, autofocus lenses, video LUTs, etc etc – can come later. There’s still the rest of that 800-page manual waiting for you, after all.

Good luck!

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