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Newbie question on legacy lenses -- which don't need big adapters

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by WT21, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Forgive my ignorance, but I've got a super-tak and an OM lens to use with my EP1. Great fun.

    I am wondering what lenses can be adapted to m43 WITHOUT the big adapter. That is, are their lenses built for smaller flange-back distances than OM and Pentax. I see a lot of Voigtlander pancake lenses in all sorts of different mounts.

    I don't mind buying an adapter, I'm just looking for a smaller kit, so wondering which mounts and/or types of Voigts to look for that will keep the adapter size down.

    Does this question make any sense?

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Any lens designed for standard 35mm SLR cameras requires the bigger adapter.

    Any lens designed for a rangefinder camera, eg Leica, Canon, Nikon etc, requires the smaller, thinner adapter.

    Any lens designed for C mount cameras, typically cine, requires a very thin adapter.

    Cheers

    Ray
     
  3. Vidar

    Vidar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    545
    Dec 31, 2009
    Bergen, Norway
    That makes sense!

    Lenses for the Leica M mount (or screw mount) needs only a small adapter to fit.

    I got two Voigtlander lenses I can use on my E-P1 as well as my M2:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vidargrov/4295035197/" title="Olympus E-P1 with Voigtlander Nokton SC 35mm 1.4 by VidarFoto, on Flickr"> 4295035197_be91ab8c0d_m. "240" height="180" alt="Olympus E-P1 with Voigtlander Nokton SC 35mm 1.4" /></a><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vidargrov/4250154679/" title="Olympus E-P1 with Voigtlander Color - Skopar 50mm 2.5 by VidarFoto, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="Olympus E-P1 with Voigtlander Color - Skopar 50mm 2.5" /></a>
     
  4. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    So, I got an m42 screw mount type for Pentax that needs the bigger adapter. What are the "names"of the mounts that need the smaller adapters (or is it not the simple)?

    e.g. is a Leica M mount more shallow. Is anything for Leica more shallow?

    Are names like "nokton" or "ultron" indicative of the mount, or more of the glass and speed of the lens?

    Again, thanks for your patience around such ignorant questions.
     
  5. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Generally the most common ones are the M mount. Lenses made for Canon and Nikon rangefinders, I think, had a slightly different mount, but you can get M mount adapters for them that still keep the size down. Minolta also made rangefinder lenses and I have a very good 90mm f4. You can also look for mounts designated LSM ot LTM, which means the 39mm Leica screw/thread mount.

    The M42 screw mount was a common lens mount format, similar to the T mount (Tamron Adaptall - same 42mm thread, different pitch), as you could then use different adapter to use the lens on just about any camera. This still has a longer registration distance, so needs a bigger adapter.

    Voigtlander, Zeiss and many others make/made lenses in the M mount and LTM to suit the Leica rangefinder, they also make lenses to suit 35mm film/digital cameras, so you need to make sure that you're getting the right one. The naming conventions only indicate the speed of the lens, more or less.

    See here for more info on the rangefinder lenses: http://www.cameraquest.com/mlenses.htm

    Cheers

    Ray
     
  6. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Thanks for the help. So, I'll need an m to m43 adapter, and then look for m lenses (just to make it easier for me).

    A great help.

    Great forum, too.
     
  7. hohoho

    hohoho Mu-43 Regular

    170
    Jan 24, 2010
    Tokyo
    Canon rangefinder cameras allowing you to change lenses take the 39mm Leica thread mount. It's absolutely the same mount as Leitz and Cosina used; no difference whatever.

    (There's an additional wrinkle, to complete the story: the Canon 7 and 7s have an additional bayonet mount to take the 50/0.95 lens. No other lens was ever made for this mount, and the 50/0.95 was not made in any other mount for still cameras, though many have subsequently been adapted.)

    What may well have been a slightly different mount is that used for (Soviet) FED and Zorki cameras. Putting aside the issue of crap quality control and unsuitably malleable materials, these will screw into a Leitz/Cosina/Canon/Leotax/Nicca etc mount, but focusing may be slightly off. (Google for Dante Stella's comments on this. Certainly Soviet 85/2 lenses that give good results with non-Soviet rangefinder cameras are vanishingly rare.) However, even if this is so, it poses no problem for m4/3 (but see below).

    Nikon rangefinder cameras had an utterly different mount, or more strictly speaking two (internal and external) mounts. They'll take lenses designed for the Contax rangefinder and the Kiev (though there may be focusing issues).

    Nihon Kougaku (later Nikon) also made Nikkor lenses that fit Leitz/Cosina/Canon/Leotax/Nicca etc.

    Canon also made a single, uncommon lens for either Contax or Nikon (I forget). You don't have to worry about this: it's extremely unlikely that you'd buy this by mistake; and if you somehow did you could later sell it for more than you'd paid for it.

    Some lenses have external projections that clash with projections on some bodies; some lenses go back a long way and clash with baffles within some film cameras. I doubt that the Soviet 35mm lens, for example, would agree with an m4/3 body.
     
  8. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    there are also m39 screw mount for old leica style rf lenses and some russian ones too...and other cameras use that mount too and an electronic rangefinder too the contax g mount etc.....
     
  9. genji

    genji Mu-43 Rookie

    12
    Feb 20, 2010
    Your question makes perfect sense. What doesn't make any sense at all is that no-one has suggested the obvious alternative to Leica M-mount lenses.

    Olympus Pen F lenses.

    The Pen F register distance of 28.95mm is only a millimeter longer than that for Leica M lenses, so the Pen F -> m4/3 and Leica M -> m4/3 adapters are almost the same size.

    The Pen F lenses are of high quality, the 40mm and wider lenses focus closer than the 0.7 meter CFD of most Leica M or screw mount lenses, there are no smearing problems on m4/3 sensors for focal lengths wider than 35mm, and -- compared to even a Voigtlander lens of the same focal length and aperture -- many Pen F lenses will be cheaper.

    Apart from the 25mm, my Pen F collection includes all the focal lengths from 20mm to 100mm and each of them draws beautifully.

    Skip Williams has a great Pen F archive of PDF documents, which includes a Pen F - Guide to Interchangeable Lenses and Camera35 - Pen FT Lens Tests.

    The most reasonably priced Pen F lenses are probably the 25/4, 38/1.8, 40/1.4, and 100/3.5 -- each of which you should be able to find for less than USD 200. The more exotic ones -- including the 25/2.8, 38/2.8 Pancake, 38/3.5 Macro, 42/1.2, 60/1.5, and 70/2 -- are more expensive.

    I'd suggest that, for a start, you might try to pick up a 38/1.8 or 40/1.4. I had the Voigtlander 40/1.4 but found that, while it may have been technically superior to the Pen F 40/1.4, its rendering style was (to my taste) somewhat cold and clinical (and the bokeh was awful). (I much prefer the M-Rokkor 40/2 but it doesn't allow me to get as close as I'd like.)

    In the unlikely event that the Pen F lens doesn't suit your needs you'll have no problem recouping most of what you paid.

    On the other hand, there are the Contax G lenses, which have almost the same register distance (29mm) as the Pen F and Leica M mounts. However, there are only really a few viable choices: 35/2 Planar, 45/2 Planar, 90/2.8 Sonnar, and (perhaps) 35-70/3.5-5.6 Vario Sonnar. The 21/2.8 and 28/2.8 Biogons smear badly on m4/3. Plus, the Contax G lenses don't have a focusing ring so most of the available adapters have a geared focusing wheel (and they're not cheap). Despite that, the 45/2 Planar is generally regarded as one of the best "normal" lenses ever released. If you like the legendary Zeiss look (I do), it's well worth having.
     
  10. Vidar

    Vidar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    545
    Dec 31, 2009
    Bergen, Norway
    Well, the Pen F lenses are great.. But they are old, and often expensive..

    Brand new Voigtlanders with guarantee is not too bad..
     
  11. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Thanks for the tips on the Pen-F, but checking my usual sources (which doesn't include eBay) I see a lot of "WTB" postings for Pen-F, but few for sales. I'll check eBay, though I can't stand that place.

    Do you have a source you recommend?
     
  12. genji

    genji Mu-43 Rookie

    12
    Feb 20, 2010
    I'm kind of surprised that your experience suggests there are more people wanting to buy Pen F lenses than there are those wishing to sell. I would have thought that Vidar's opinion -- "Why spend money on an old lens when you can buy a new one?" -- would be the majority viewpoint. Though a scarcity of Pen F lenses does lend credence to my opinion about their quality. I would have saved some money had I come to appreciate the virtues of Pen F lenses sooner than I did; but better late than never.

    I've only had a couple of negative eBay experiences which, had I been smarter and/or more experienced, I could have avoided. But one can say the same thing about pretty much any experience in life. The main things I take into consideration are: the item description; the item's condition as revealed by the photographs (no photographs, no bid); the seller's feedback rating (preferably over 99% positive); and the return policy. But I don't expect all of those conditions to apply to the same item. As they say about lenses: "Good, fast, cheap. Pick any two."

    To get something that you want at an attractive price on eBay requires both patience and luck. Still, frequently enough to make it worthwhile, the planets align and you find yourself bidding against weak competition for something you really want.

    I agree that Voigtlander lenses (whether for Leica M or various DSLR mounts) offer great value, combining excellent build quality with reasonable prices. But I'd rather spend my money on "old" lenses because I simply prefer the way they render. Additionally, I don't have a strong belief in the idea of "progress" -- in that I don't accept that things are continually improving. My own experience suggests that for every gain something equally worthwhile (or, sometimes even better) is lost.

    For example, I particularly like the 28mm focal length (on m4/3, APS-C, and full-frame). If I were in the market for a Voigtlander 28mm RF lens (I'm not because the 0.7 meter close focusing distance is a deal-breaker), I would want a copy of the discontinued 28/1.9 without a guarantee, rather than the current 28/2 with a guarantee.
     
  13. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Sometimes the quaity of the older lenses can be exceptional, comparable or better than some of the current crop, yet the price can be a lot lower. For example, I just bought another Minolta CLE lens, the 40mm f2, as I was considering a Voigtlander, but on doing some research, this lens is on a par with Leica lenses.

    Just returning to the question on adapters, I posted here (https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=2108) about a discovery I made with my M42 lenses and adapters, but I did some thinking about what was going on with the adapters and discovered another thing. My 200mm Komura lens, when attached to an M42 to Leica M39 thread adapter, and that subsequently attached to a M39 to M mount adapter, attached to the M mount to m4/3s adapter (phew!), works perfectly. However, the 35mm Komura does not work this way and requires the addition of the extension tube for some reason.

    This combination gives you a pretty small adapter for the M42 to m4/3s lens, but I don't know why the 35mm won't focus correctly like the 200mm. So, if you want to take your chances, and have M42 lenses, you may want to try this option and see how you go. I haven't seen a direct M42 to M mount adapter anywhere.

    For those who might be in the know, the M42 to m4/3s adapter is about 24mm from flange face to flange face. The adapter combination for the 200mm is only about 14mm from flange face to flange face. With the extension tube attached, the distance becomes about 24mm. So why does the 200mm work with the lesser distance, but the 35mm doesn't?

    P.S. OK, an answer found. Without the extension tube attached to the 200mm, the closest focus distance is about 4m. With the extension tube, it's about 2.5m, which is what's marked on the lens barrel. So not using the extension tube increases the minimum focus distance, but doesn't really affect infinity focus, though it may overshoot it somewhat (not tested). So with the 35mm, for anything close(ish), it needs the extension tube to bring back a usable registration distance. For the 200mm, it's not really a problem, because I'm really looking to focus further away anyway.

    As a final note, even with all of the adapters put together, the total combination is still an overall smaller package than the M42 to m4/3s adapter.

    Cheers

    Ray
     
  14. genji

    genji Mu-43 Rookie

    12
    Feb 20, 2010
    Yep, the M-Rokkor 40/2 is one of the great M mount lenses. Mike Johnston (The Online Photographer) wrote this about it:

    A few years later, looking for a "Leica with AE," I became aware of the Minolta CLE. It, too, had a 40mm normal lens—the Minolta 40mm ƒ/2 M-Rokkor. This turned out to be one of the best lenses I've ever used, fantastically sharp and smooth. My friend John Kennerdell, a photographer who lived in Bangkok at the time, told me that one Japanese connoisseur had dubbed it "the Water Lens." Curiously, it was one of the only lenses I've ever used that consistently drew positive comments about sharpness and clarity from non-photographers looking at my prints.​
     
  15. Vidar

    Vidar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    545
    Dec 31, 2009
    Bergen, Norway
    But the M-Rokkor 40/2 goes for over 1000$ on e-bay... While a brand new Voigtlander Nokton 40/1.4 cost 399$ (cameraquest)..
     
  16. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    You must be looking in the wrong places, I got mine for less than a new Nokton, (in near mint condition according to the seller - and coming from Japan, I tend to think it will be), delivered. :biggrin:

    Cheers

    Ray
     
  17. Vidar

    Vidar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    545
    Dec 31, 2009
    Bergen, Norway
    Then you made a very good deal, congrats! :thumbup:
     
  18. genji

    genji Mu-43 Rookie

    12
    Feb 20, 2010
    That's not correct. When I just checked, the Buy It Now prices ranged from USD 888-1287 -- for an M-Rokkor 40/2 and a Leica CL.
     
  19. HuubL

    HuubL Mu-43 Rookie

    17
    Feb 28, 2010
    The ones on Ebay include the CLE (film camera). And these prices are quite steep. You would be better off looking for the equivalent Leica Summicron 40mm F2. They usually go for around 300 USD (without the Leica CL camera). The rokkor lens is in fact the same lens as the Summicron, just rebranded Minolta.
     
  20. Vidar

    Vidar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    545
    Dec 31, 2009
    Bergen, Norway
    Ah sorry, my mistake. But how much must you expect to pay for a nice M-Rokkor 40/2?