Dual use lenses…

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by AgX, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Have there ever been made lenses to be fitted on SLRs as well as on coupled rangefinders with the system having the following features?

    -) same mount at both cameras an the lenses

    -) same flange distance at both cameras

    -) steering device for range finder on the lenses

    -) coupling for automatic-aperture on the lenses (or more coupling of controls)


    Not to my knowledge, but perhaps you know more.

    (automatic aperture is an ambiguus term, I refer to an diaphragma which is automatically closed to a value somehow set, manual or automatically, before the shutter opens and is fully opened again afterwards)
     
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    No, because no-one would want an absurdly thick-bodied RF camera (your point 2) or pay for an auto-aperture they didn't need (3).

    On the other hand, early 35mm Alpas had both reflex viewing and mechanical coupled rangefinders. They antedated the wideapread adoption of auto diaphragms as far as I recall.

    You might want to look for a copy of A History of the 35mm Still Camera, by yours truly, but it's rare and long out of print (Focal Press, 1984).

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  3. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Roger,

    Those rangefinders would not necessarily get excessively thick, as one could use an intermediary coupling.

    Well, you would have paid for that automatic diaphragm, but in return would get two lenses for the price of one, so to say.

    I didn’t think of the early Alpas. Thanks for that hint.

    Of, course this whole dual use concept is questionable. But photographers using two complete kits of gear means a questionable expenditure on resources too.
     
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Yes they would. It's the flange-film distance, typically at least 15mm greater for the reflex in order to accommodate the mirror. Imagine a Leica 15mm thicker: that's a 50% increase. Even an M8 (5mm thicker than an MP) feels quite fat and ungainly.

    Also, the wide-angles would have to be Retrofocus design (bigger, heavier, lower image quality, more expensive) in order to clear the mirror when being used on the reflex body.

    Why not approach it from the opposite direction, and put a Visoflex housing on a Leica? Infinity focus with 65mm lenses and upwards, though still no auto diaphragm as this adds very considerable bulk and complexity.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  5. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Roger,

    You misunderstood my reply. Fitting a special coupling ring to enable lenses made for that long film/flange distance would enable the use of them on a range finder, concerning this very issue, without making the rangefinder bulky as a whole.

    As you said that reflex intermediaire would only enable the use of certain lenses. Most probably I would prefer a reflex body to that.

    Yes, using a retro-focus construction on a rangefinder wouldn't yield best results concerning optical performance.

    Anyway, I'm not advocating such a system, just asking if this was ever given a try.
    We are speaking of a hybrid system, something being a compromise. Not neccessarily a good one.
     
  6. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Ah, sorry, yes, I see. But the expense and inconvenience would, I think, dissuade most people. Two systems might be cheaper...

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  7. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Hmm. I'm away from my reference materials, but I believe that there were some lenses that could be used on Retina Reflexes and on some rigid body Retina rangefinders.
     
  8. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Dan,

    The front groups may have been interchangeable (I don't remember) but as the rear groups were fixed in the camera I'm not sure this counts.

    Cheers,

    roger
     
  9. Jon King

    Jon King Member

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    I have a Retina IIIS in front of me. It does share lenses with the SLR versions. Not all of the lenses have the rangefinder cam, but they will all mount. The IIIS has all the elements in front of the shutter. The folding Retina rangefinders had elements on both sides.
     
  10. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I only knew that that Retina was a leaf shutter coupled rangefinder camera constructed in a way that one could exchange lenses the same way one was used with focal plane rangefinders: leaving the shutter at the camera. Inter-changeability with a reflex model was new to me. Does the leaf shutter housing bridge exactly the film/flange distance to make the lens compatible with the reflex body? And there still would be the aperture issue.
     
  11. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Thanks Jon. I have to confess (if it were not already obvious) that my knowledge of late rigid-bodied Retinas is lamentably poor.

    Possibly because they're so big...

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  12. Jon King

    Jon King Member

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    They aren't small, that's for sure. My knowledge of them is current, which helps tremendously - If I had not seen them for 5 years I doubt I could keep them straight. I have a Retina Reflex III which came from my grandfather, and when I learned that there was a rangefinder that could take the same lenses.. well.. I had to try it. They are very interesting cameras, excellent lenses, but I think they are showing their age a bit more than some other old cameras. My avatar shows an older camera that is older than me, and I'm sure will outlast me.

    Regards,
     
  13. Philippe-Georges

    Philippe-Georges Member

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    Dear Roger, Jon, AgX and Dan,

    In the past, heard about an adaptor for the Leitz Super-Angulon-R to be mounted on the M-4, I will have to consult some old catalogues to be certain...
    But, tell me, what 'Zwischenring' did Lietz NOT have?

    Philippe
     
  14. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Can confirm that earlier Retina Reflex lenses also coupled with a Retina IIIS (I have a Reflex III in front of me, just sold a IIIS). The shutter and aperture RING are permanently installed in the camera, the aperture ring is marked F1.9(the largest aperture of any available lens) down to f22, the actual aperture(iris diaphragm mechanism) is built into each lens. If you put an f2.8 lens on the camera, the aperture ring will not turn wider than this.

    The Retinas are, among other things, a celebration of the wonders of string, since this is what is used to connect the aperture/shutter spped rings to the (non-TTL) meter in the camera top plate. Over time, the lubrication of the various pulleys dries out, when an attempt is then made to set the film speed on the meter by pushing a button and turning the aperture, something often snaps! Of course the shutter/aperture/mirror operating sequence is very complex and the mechanism often gums up if a camera is left unused for any length of time. A great pity, since I think the f1.9 50mm Xenon could give a contemporary Leitz lens a good run for its money. The cameras and lenses are very cheap to buy, lenses easy to find in near-mint condition for £25 or less, costly to get serviced even if you can find someone to do it (my friends Newton Ellis & Co. do). The non-instant-return mirror will be an annoyance to younger photographers!
     
  15. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Phillippe,

    Yes, just about any reflex lens can be adapted to almost any RF -- with scale focusing and manual diaphragm. In fact I have a custom adapter from SRB to allow the use of all Nikon-fit lenses on all Leica screw or M compatible cameras.

    But it ain't quite as convenient...

    Cheers,

    Roger