Best medium format system to adapt OLD lenses to

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Eggboy, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. Eggboy

    Eggboy Member

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    Hi All,

    I've been shooting Canon F-1s and EOS and using vintage glass, including pre-war Exakta mount German lenses etc. I'd like to start shooting some of the various brass lenses (including a 4 1/2 " petzval) I've picked up over the years. What are the options? Too bad the Mamiya RB/RZ series don't have focal plan shutters since they have the bellows focusing which would be great for barrel lenses. I need the convenience and economy of using 120/220 film instead of sheet/plate film. In the MF world, what rigs are people using?

    Eugene
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Classic Bronicas like the S2a are very well suited to lens adaptations. They have a focal plane shutter and the focusing helical or bellows is separate from the lens. They were designed with a dual mount system--Bronica bayonet and M58x1 screw mount, specifically so that press camera shooters could adapt their press lenses to the Bronica with a simple threaded ring or with a lens cap drilled like a lens board.
     
  3. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    MF for old lenses

    From the time the Mamiya M645 came out it was being adapted for use with other lenses. My Bronica cameras (ETR/SQ/GS-1 series) are very nice for general work but not very handy for macro. This is because the bodies have no shutter. A Pentax 6X7 or 67II could also be adapted for use with older lenses as long as they have enough cverage for the 6X7 format. Accessories for the Mamiya 645 cameras are more plentiful than those for the older Bronica S2A.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    An important issue for adapting large format lenses to a MF SLR is that the focusing mechanism needs to be separate from the lenses. Cameras in which is this is the case are the Bronica S2, S2a, C, EC, and EC-TL, the Rollei SL66, and the RB67. Cameras like the Mamiya 645 and Pentax 6x7 could be adapted to a non-focusing lens with a macro bellows, but on the Rollei and RB (and the earlier Bronicas--Z, D, and S), the focusing mechanism is built into the body, and on the early Bronicas, the focusing mechanism is detachable from both the lens and the body, so you can easily switch between bellows (Type II bellows even has full view camera movements on the front standard), helical, or even an extra long telephoto helical.
     
  5. Eggboy

    Eggboy Member

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    Thanks all! I will 'bone up' on Bronicas...I remember them being sold new back in the day...but I was a Contax boy at the time. It's interesting that there's a M58 thread...I've an old Tessar c.1928 that has a 58mm thread on it.

    Eugene
     
  6. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    Of course, one should not forget the Century & miniature Speed/Crown Graphics, 6x9 Linhofs, etc....
     
  7. Eggboy

    Eggboy Member

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    Press cameras scare me for some reason. I don't know why. So many different varieties...or maybe I was a drunken New York City socialite who was shot by Weegee in a previous life... :smile:

    The Linhofs are pretty pricey and don't they use rangefinders? I think I'll need fairly easy to use reflex viewing system. A quick scan of evilBay, and a Bronica group on Yahoo seems to indicate I can get an S2A with 70/2.8 and a back for less than US$400.

    Also, just to confirm, the Mamiya RB/RZ bodies don't have shutters?

    Thanks again for all the responses.

    Eugene
     
  8. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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  9. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    Hi Eugene,
    I've been wrestling with the same questions, trying everything that's cheap and adaptable. The baby Speed is indeed quite usable with all sorts of cadged together lenses, but the need for ground-glass focusing makes roll-back use awkward and slow. I just picked up and refurbished a series B graflex SLR in 3 x 4 size that takes an old 9x12 Rollex back with minimal fiddling. It's great for the lenses in the FL range of about 110 to 250 (WAG) but can't handle short lenses because of the mirror or long lenses due to it's relatively short bellows. Since one of the reasons I bought it was to be able to shoot a short FL little brass lens that I've had for awhile, I'm still somewhat frustrated.

    The idea of a Bronica is interesting. Maybe if I don't let my wife see it for a few months...
     
  10. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Unless, of course, you have a Bronica macro lens.:wink:
     
  11. Vanishing Point Ent.

    Vanishing Point Ent. Member

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    Linhof Rangefinder Cameras.

    From Stephen Gandy's Camera Quest Camera Profiles
    If it's labeled as a Super, it has a Rangefinder.

    http://www.cameraquest.com/lin69.htm

    This just in...
    http://www.cameraquest.com/lint369.htm
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2010
  12. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    Get yourself a mini speed with a graflock back. Guaranteed you will fall in love with the little critter.
     
  13. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    2x3 press/technical cameras are what I would look at. They are cheap as dirt, and very wonderful, but largely-overlooked cameras. If they "scare" you, GET OVER IT! :D

    I would suggest a Century Graphic to start. They tend to run the lowest, and always have a Graflok back TMK.

    The Pentax 6x7 and the Kievs, Pentacon Sixes, and Exacta 66s have FP shutters as well. I'd go for the Pentax first, but if not affordable, a Pentacon Six or Exacta 66. I'd only go for the Kiev if it is truly dirt cheap and you know it has been serviced to overcome its inconsistencies. (There is a company in the U.S. that can do this for you, but it is pricey. At that point, I'd rather just get a Pentacon or Exacta.)
     
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  15. wclavey

    wclavey Member

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    Eugene, I'm going to go back and agree with David... I have 4 LF lenses that I use on my Bronica S2A (two of which date back to the early 1900s), plus a hacked 400mm telephoto. With a few plastic body caps, a set of extension tubes, and a dremel or a drill bit, you can make any lens longer than about 90mm work on it. And the real Nikkor S2A lenses aren't too shabby either!
     
  16. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    The Century Graphic will not meet your needs. No focal plane shutter. You need a mini speed with the focal plane shutter, preferrably with a graflock back. You can use mamiya rb67 film backs with the graflex graflock back too. You can also shoot 645, 6x6, 6x7, 6x8, 6x9, and switch in mid roll with different film backs. I use a Pentacon six, but I don't think it will be as user friendly for lens hacking as the graflex. Focussing would be a problem.
     
  17. Eggboy

    Eggboy Member

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    :smile:

    I can do anything camera and lens-wise, as long as there is no impact on household revenue...i.e., I just have to sell some stuff to pay for it. Maybe I sell a couple of my pre war 5.8cm Biotars...one doesn't really need 4?

    The Bronica route does seem to be the direction I'm moving, tho' a 6x9 rollfilm back on a Graflex with reflex viewing is interesting...
     
  18. Marek Warunkiewicz

    Marek Warunkiewicz Member

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    What about the Rollei SL66? Focal plane shutter, bellow focus, and tilt.
     
  19. herb

    herb Subscriber

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    Old lens on mf

    Eugene, how about the Horseman V models? You can get a reflex viewer for them. I carried one to France for a two week trip, had 3 or 4 lenses all the way from 65mm to 270, and had a great time using it.
    The reflex viewers are easy to attach and detach since the cameras have graflok.
     
  20. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    That's correct, there is no shutter in either the RB or RZ bodies, they use leaf shutter lenses. I'm used to working in mirror-up with time exposures on the RB anyway, using a hat to cover the lens.

    I've been playing with various vintage lenses on MF, but the only camera option I have is the RB67, using drilled body caps to mount the lenses. I've been thinking about a way to put a Packard shutter in front of the bellows on my RB, or maybe getting a 2x3 press camera as others here have suggested (either option means spending money I don't have at the moment).

    Some of the lenses I've got to work with are a Mamiya Z-series 50mm macro that happens to cover 6x7 (at least when focused close), a lens out of a trashed Ernemann Bob II folder, and a glass lens from an early Polaroid Colorpack. Fun times. :smile:
     
  21. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    That is what lens caps are for!
     
  22. Eggboy

    Eggboy Member

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    Thanks all for the great suggestions!
    I'm going to snag a Bronica S2-A setup. They are certainly fairly economical...and there's a shop that I found on the Bronica Yahoo Group list that specializes in servicing and selling:
    http://kohscamera.com/


    The idea of a Graflex is VERY interesting for some of my longer lenses, like the 15cm/2.8 Tessar, but they are much bigger and, well, ungainly looking, and might scare small children. I'm assuming the 2x3 Graflex looks like this:
    http://hankinslawrenceimages.wordpress.com/2008/07/15/graflex-slr-camera/

    These would be fabulous with a 6x7 or a 6x12 back for more formal stuff or landscapes. I'm trolling about evilBay and some other vendors to see if I can snag a servicable one inexpensively to play around with a bit.

    This would be fabulous, except right now I'm not prepared to pay Rollei pricing...alas, if only they were going for close to what used RB/RZs are going for.

    Sweet, but again way out of my budget for just kind of hacking about. If I get sucked up big time into this, and maybe even get it to pay (doubtful) then an investement in higher quality stuff might be warrented.
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Not at all. My son always loves when I have the 5x7" Press Graflex out!

    [​IMG]
     
  24. wclavey

    wclavey Member

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    I used Koh's for a CLA of my S2A body after I had had it for about 2 years and he was fast, reasonably priced, and delivered it back to me in TX exactly when he said he would.
     
  25. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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  26. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    Eugene,
    They are indeed ungainly, but small children are less afraid of things than one might assume. I get far more curiosity than fear. All of the Graflex SLR cameras that I have seen have an older style back (the Graflex back) which is somewhat similar to a Graflock but larger. It will not accept standard roll film adapters, and though adapters are around that fit, they tend to be pretty scarce and pricey. This is why I got the larger 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 and jury-rigged a 9x12 adapter. Jnanian has one with a creatively attached roll film adapter (mostly masking tape, I think) that gave me the idea.

    But hey, we're neighbors. Send me a PM if you're interested is seeing/playing with my camera some time. It lives where I work, in Belmont.