Showcase Kodak Anastigmat EKTAR 50mm ƒ3.5 (from Retina 1)

Discussion in 'Adapted Lens Sample Image Showcase' started by rumplestiltskin, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. rumplestiltskin

    rumplestiltskin Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    316
    Aug 16, 2017
    El Paso, TX
    Okay; so this was strictly a labor of love. I harvested this lens (complete with Compur-Rapid shutter) from my late father's Kodak Retina 1 (Model #148, vintage 1939-1941). I actually ran a roll of Tri-X through this back in the 70's and it still worked fine. But I have sworn off film since the late 90's and this camera has been sitting on a shelf for over 40 years.

    I extracted the lens/shutter assembly from the Retina body, set it for "B", fired it off and, with a paper clip through the shutter release and wrapped around the lens, kept the shutter from closing. Then I smeared some JBWeld all over that release and set it aside for 24 hours until the JBWeld was fully cured. Now the shutter was permanently open so it was ready for adaptation. I suspect the rear of the lens has a 1" diameter thread but I could not remove the inner helicoid from the rear of the lens. Here's a picture of the parts and lens assembly:
    retina carcass.
    By the way, this camera really had very little value in dollars as there were so many made (and the newer models had a rangefinder).

    You can see the grey JBWeld on the lens. The flange-to-focal distance was less than I had anticipated so I took the shortest piece of an M42 extension tube set, slid a piece of plastic cut from a flexible notebook under the shutter/aperture area (just as a temporary space to keep the aperture adjuster from rubbing against the edge of the extension tube - I removed the spacer after the JBWeld had cured), and used some Permatex silicone seal (gorilla snot) on the underside (not shown in the picture). You see the black tube? I cut a length of it to wrap around the inside of the extension tube which served to center the 32mm (approx) helicoid inside the 39mm (approx) extension tube. (The black tube was some sprinkler drip line I scrounged from my garage.) The tube also permitted the use of less silicone seal than would otherwise have been required.

    Here's the lens mounted on my GX85:
    both cameras.
    That's the lens > short M42 extension tube > 13mm thick (M42) focusing helicoid > M42/µ43 adapter. This arrangement permits infinity focus.

    Remember this lens is about 75+ years old and, I believe, has no coatings of any kind. The glass, however, is clean and seems to be haze-free. But it flares something fierce. I finished the assembly last night and just had to go out for a walkabout today. While it was a lovely day for a walk, it was bright sun behind virtually 100% cloud cover so shadows were pretty much nonexistent and if I let any sky into the frame, it flared and reduced contrast. Lightroom showed my RAWs having a histogram covering the middle 50% or so of the range; so I did have to use some B&W presets and tweak a number of settings to fill out a reasonable range of tones.

    The lens (in this light) doesn't seem to have much in the way of "character". What I thought might have been some swirl seems more likely to be some out-of-focus misalignment of the lens in relation to the adapter. I'll try again when we get a sunny day with some really directional lighting (that I can keep out of the frame!).

    Most of these photos were shot at f3.5 although a couple of the close-ups were at f8

    So here are a bunch of photos. I suspect I may be the only one who will post photos in this particular thread. :laugh1:
    38898479574_5e51841e34_k. P1020124 by barryjaylevine, on Flickr
    39577328382_32182ff500_k. P1020125 by barryjaylevine, on Flickr
    38898476864_fb50367792_k. P1020127 by barryjaylevine, on Flickr
    38898474614_a0e9ea3685_k. P1020129 by barryjaylevine, on Flickr
    39577325042_dbf9225477_k. P1020130 by barryjaylevine, on Flickr
    38898473004_ea1a02beb7_k. P1020132 by barryjaylevine, on Flickr
    39577323142_82199cdfe0_k. P1020138 by barryjaylevine, on Flickr
    39577321132_3e58f02ea1_k. P1020140 by barryjaylevine, on Flickr
    38898469364_ba1da4225a_k. P1020141 by barryjaylevine, on Flickr
    39577319402_d5f4f64d9f_k. P1020145 by barryjaylevine, on Flickr
    38898468124_5e16c8e96a_k. P1020146 by barryjaylevine, on Flickr
    39577317632_4af5d99e7c_k. P1020154 by barryjaylevine, on Flickr
     
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  2. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    Awesome refit. Kudos for your efforts and the time you took to document here. :clapping:

    About the flare: did you use a hood?.... I find that a lot of older lenses really suffer when direct light falls onto them and fair much better with a hood. It looks like the front thread is really small so you could just test with a section of tubular cardboard (toilet paper roll that ran out of sh*t tickets?)

    If you desire to get closer focusing (and that's where I see the strength in this lens) maybe a slightly longer helicoid? I know you have already stuck that M42 extension on the back but you could just utilize that space with a thicker helicoid that then extends further. As interface between lens and M42 thread on the helicoid I use M39 to M42 adapter (a very thin ring that is only a few mm thick and tall).
    From your samples (viewed on Flickr at max magnification) the lens seems to be only really sharp in the centre with significant vignette on the edges and a bit soft. I am surprised by this, considering that the lens was meant to have much bigger image circle than 4/3 sensor. But you did say it was mostly used wide open.

    Also there is no pronounced bokeh to speak of; after all it is a rather dim lens at f3.5
    But it does give a wonderful vintage look, something that is hard to replicate (if desired) with a modern lens and would require some good post production skills on some images and nearly impossible in others (textured out of focus areas)

    I wish more people would show interest in adapting/refitting lenses where no commercial adapters exist; there are some real gems out there.
     
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  3. rumplestiltskin

    rumplestiltskin Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    316
    Aug 16, 2017
    El Paso, TX
    I did not have a hood but tried to block light using my hand. Only when actually blocking out part of the frame did I see any improvement but, of course, who wants a picture with my hand in it? I will try the cardboard tube though! The lighting was simply awful, however. It was like shooting in a translucent white tent with flood lights on all sides and from above. Nice for product shots but not much else. I suspect when we get back to our usual sunny days here in El Paso, this lens will be much better. I will try adding some matte-black paint to the rear of the lens as the silicone seal, though black, is shiny. (Will verify it bonds to the silicone properly on something "not-a-lens" before trying it on the rear of the lens.)

    If I mounted my 25-26mm(?) thick helicoid (the standard one for an M42 lens, I found that inserting the Ektar assembly (no adapters on it at that point) entirely into the helicoid still didn't achieve infinity; so I went with the thinner helicoid and the adapters I ended up using (which did give infinity). I have a few more shots I haven't yet UL'd to Flickr that were shot at closest-focus (of the thin helicoid) and that distance is much closer than what this lens was ever designed for (had it remained on the Retina). But I can substitute the thicker helicoid for some really close focus if I wish.

    No bokeh to speak of - true. But the OOF areas aren't displeasing. Once we have some directional lighting with specular highlights, that will yield any bubbles this lens might want to offer up.

    As for the vignetting...well, I am fond of adding it to almost all of my photos. Sometimes I use the vignetting feature in Lightroom but often i use four gradients coming in from all sides so they overlap at the corners and provide a much more squared look. I'll post a few more on Flickr without the added vignetting. If I remember correctly (the last time I shot film through the Retina in the early 70's), there might have been a slight amount present at the edges of the 35mm frame.

    I will admit I did not find this focal length (50mm) very useful as a "walkaround" lens but, on µ4/3, it's double the "normal"; I would raise the camera to my eye and find I had to take four or five steps back in many cases. But this "portrait" focal length would reduce distortion and, as a macro lens, would provide more working distance. But once I start going down this "where-else-can-I-use-this?" path, I realize I own a 50mm ƒ2.8 Pentax macro (one of the best they made) and that lens would run rings around this Ektar in every situation except, perhaps, providing charm.
     
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  4. Love this! A camera shop near my office had a pile of "broken" Kodak Retina for $10 a pop, wish I had seen this before they were all gone!
     
  5. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    ah, the vignette is from you edit: I do that to some of my pix too; it just helps to bring the viewer's focus to the more central subject in some images
    Re the helicoid: I was thinking of the M42 thread 17mm to 31mm.
     
  6. rumplestiltskin

    rumplestiltskin Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    316
    Aug 16, 2017
    El Paso, TX
    The lens is bonded into the short extension tube so the rear of the lens is about the depth of the M42 threads away from the rear edge. I'm using the M42 12mm to 19mm as that thinness seems to be what I need. The rear of the helicoid (M42) screws into a C-Mount to µ4/3 adapter that also has an M42 thread in the inner edge of the recessed area. That adapter adds about a 6mm thickness between the rear of the helicoid and the camera flange.
    I could have used a C-mount to M42 adapter at the front so the lens would be recessed but then it would have been more difficult to reach the aperture lever. I might have gained (rather, lost) a few mm in depth and then the 17-to-31mm helicoid might work. But who knew going in?
    :laugh1:
    So the rear of the lens (bonded into the extension tube) screws into the front of the helicoid and sits essentially flush with that end. Add the 12mm thickness of the helicoid and the 6mm thickness of the C-mount adapter and we're sitting at 18mm. I can actually focus slightly past infinity with this setup so I probably could have lived with 20mm (rear of lens to camera flange). Again, this is known only because I went through the very messy process of trying this and that with spot-glueing the lens onto various adapters. I'll note that the previous setup I used had the rear of the lens glued into a small step-up ring (30-37) and then that ring being glued into the front of the short M42 extension tube resting on the little ledge just forward of the threads. Yet the presence of the step-up ring (and the fact I had to mount it forward of the M42 threads) meant that I could not focus to infinity. Everything was conspiring against me here; it became obvious that I needed fewer adapters/rings/etc. and the ones I did use had to be the thinnest I could find. But this was an excellent exercise in practical problem solving. MacGuyver is Eeyore by comparison to what we do.:2thumbs:
     
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  7. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    thank you for your detailed account and explanation of your work: it will serve Forum's members as inspiration for other adaptations.

    On a slightly different note: that 12-19 helicoid has a M42 thread on the back that you have mounted on a C-mount/M42 adapter for Micro 4/3.
    I have the same combo but I always felt that I was getting short changed with minimum focus distance.... and some of my refitted lenses needed a shorter stack to reach infinity.
    So, I have cut away the male threads on the back of the helicoid and glue it onto a thin C-mount adapter to gain a couple more millimeter. It worked so well for some of my lenses that I have now done that to 4 other helicoids. Luckily the longer 26mm helicoid already comes with a Micro 4/3 interface on the back M42 Lens to Panasonic GH3 GH4 G3 G5 G7 GM1 Adapter/ Macro Focusing Helicoid | eBay
     
  8. rumplestiltskin

    rumplestiltskin Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    316
    Aug 16, 2017
    El Paso, TX
    Would be nice to find the shorter helicoids already with µ4/3 on the rear. I also have the same 26mm helicoid (with µ4/3 rear) which I use with an old Mamiya lens that doesn't focus well on its own.

    Might you post a few photos showing one of the shorter helicoids you modified? Also a link to the adapter you use.

    Thanks!
     
  9. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    I actually meant to do it a few days ago but editing got in the way :oops:
    Will try tonite
     
  10. junkyardsparkle

    junkyardsparkle haunted scrap heap Subscribing Member

    Nov 17, 2016
    like, The Valley
    When I saw this thread last night I was too tired to have anything coherent to say... and the same seems to hold tonight! But I'll say this: be careful about that paint... nothing really bonds to silicone, and finding that your adapter is shedding paint flakes into your camera body is a bad, bad feeling (don't ask me how I know). My policy now is to cover shiny parts with black gaffer's tape unless I'm absolutely sure of the bond. :D
     
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  11. rumplestiltskin

    rumplestiltskin Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    316
    Aug 16, 2017
    El Paso, TX
    Thank you for your concern. I'll pass on the paint.
     
  12. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    I took some pix of the helicoid where the back was modified to have a direct Micro 4/3 interface instead of the M42. There is not much to see except this

    thin helicoid 12-19.

    Shown in extended mode the heliocoid has its M42 male thread cut away and I glued a 46mm Ø macro reverse mount adapter (again, with threads shaved off) on the back. I used the 46mm macro adapter because is slightly thinner than the standard C-mount adapter and has also a tighter fit on the bayonet side.
     
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  13. rumplestiltskin

    rumplestiltskin Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    316
    Aug 16, 2017
    El Paso, TX
    I understand exactly what you did and why. Thank you
     
  14. rumplestiltskin

    rumplestiltskin Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    316
    Aug 16, 2017
    El Paso, TX
    Took some more shots this afternoon. Nice bright light, shadows, no haze to speak of. I did see that the lens needs a shade to work properly if anything close to direct sunlight was hitting the front element. I can also see some pronounced defects in the glass but considering the cost, who am I to complain?
    P1020206(cactus). P1020197(moreFlowers). P1020192(cactusFlower). P1020188(centuryLeaf). P1020183(yuccaBranches). P1020178(StoneWallTexture). P1020175(small branch&pods). P1020172(wall texture). P1020161(backlitPods,Ektar).
     
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  15. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    oh, that last image of the golden seed pods: wonderful
     
  16. rumplestiltskin

    rumplestiltskin Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    316
    Aug 16, 2017
    El Paso, TX
    Thank you. That photo was suggested my my wife (who is an artist and, therefore, has much better sense than I). I was surprised by how clean that one was although I did add a bit of de-haze and clarity in Luminar. I was at close-focus around 17mm extension (max of that helicoid) - maybe 1 foot or so away (much closer than the original helicoid would have permitted). Aperture was wide open ("wide"=ƒ3.5, hah!).

    Funny thing about using these purely manual lenses...I find I'm using my Panny with the process and logic I used to use when I owned a view camera. Slow and deliberate. God help me if I get a tilt/shift adapter.
     
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  17. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    same here: for a few years I just dabbed with auto-magic action on my Olympus, eventually starting timidly with one adapted lens with manual focus... and never looked back :)
    I noticed myself taking way more time in searching and then studying the subject to then focus and set the aperture where it would look best.
    Suddenly from average snapshots I started to create images that I am much happier with.
     
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