M42 teleconverters that don't suck

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Michel Hardy-Vallée, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Last time I used one I think it was a Hanimex 2x I had bought for pocket change at a camera fair, but I got what I paid for, and the resulting images had no sharpness, no contrast, no detail, no nothing of any quality. My lens was a 200mm f/4 SMC Takumar which is plenty nice when used normally, but the degradation was severe with the converter.

    I know that Pentax made converters for their K-mount lenses, but apparently none for their M42 lenses. My Takumar Lenses brochure does not list any.

    So has anyone ever found and used an M42 converter (2x or 3x) that doesn't suck?
     
  2. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    a teleconverter that does not suck?

    Surely, you jest.

    :smile:
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    The higher the X the lower the quality. At least I think that's the general rule.


    Also most M42 items are going to be fairly old. You'll never know if the quality of the item you get is the way it was new or if it's the result of years of abuse.

    Plus any 3x is going to cost you lots of stops.
     
  4. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Err... that does not suck TOO much, let's just say. If it's made of glass, it's already a good point.
     
  5. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    I had in mind for example the 2x converter by LZOS, the MC TKL - 2 Teleconverter. Sure, it's russian made, but at least it's MC and is still in production. I'm just not terribly excited by their Western Union payment method.
     
  6. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Rather than spend money of a tele converter find an aftermarket 400mm, like a T4 mount. I have several 2X tele converters and a 3x which I have aquired over the years and none of the older 42mm are worth much.
     
  7. mawz

    mawz Member

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    They pretty much all suck.

    general rule is 1.4x/1.5x TC's suck less. 2x TC's suck, 3x TC's suck hard.

    I've never seen a 1.4x or 1.5x TC in M42 mount. If I do, I'll buy one. I've yet to see even an acceptable 7 element 2x, although some must exist (from vivitar if nobody else).
     
  8. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Even a prime 200mm of the finest quality will usually exhibit some loss of contrast from atmospheric degradation, except perhaps early in the morning on a clear, bright day. Putting a doubler on -- even the best -- will not improve matters.

    The best 5-to-7-glass MC doublers are better than no doubler, but not as good as a 400 prime, which itself will be flatter than a 200 prime of comparable quality.

    If I use doublers, I prefer contrasty slide films; or increased dev times for B+W; or even (whisper it) digital manipulation to increase contrast and saturation, whether I've scanned a tranny or shot it on digital.

    Cheers,

    R. (www.rogerandfrances.com)
     
  9. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    OK, that confirms my suspicions: better invest in good ol' 400mm Takumar if I really want long focals rather than waste film with a crappy converter.

    You know, I was just hoping that somewhere there was a used Leitz-level M42 converter waiting for me. Oh well, thanks for the answers!
     
  10. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    In defense of teleconverters

    I tend to disagree with previous posts in the sense that they don't "suck": they simply do what they are designed for, that is giving a final picture which will be better than the picture taken with the lens only and then enlarged twice in its central area.

    Of course one can't epect the lens+converter combo to work better than a prime with a double focal length, does he? On the other hand, a 2X converter is much, MUCH lighter than a prime telelens, which may be important under some conditions (treks, alpinism, etc.).

    I remember (we're talking of 20 years ago) having a Vivitar 2X teleconverter for a Yashica FX-Dquartz. That one was pretty good. Well okay, it was the Yashica lens which wasn't impressive in first place, but at f:8 and lower the pcitures with the combo were just fine. Perhaps the lens+converter combination was lucky, though, don't take this suggestion as an absolute value.

    For sure, that Vivitar converter was significantly better than a previous Panagor 2X that I used to have. I'm sure they sell for coins today. Perhaps buying one would be worth it, just to give it a try.
     
  11. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    George Lepp once gave a lucid explanation for the use of teleconverters. His explanation was that with a 2X teleconverter, under ideal conditions, you might suffer a 20% loss in quality. Without the teleconverter you would lose 50% because you would have to enlarge more. Decent teleconverters were made in M42 mount but you have to be patient in finding them. Komura made a 7 element 2X. For macro use the Panagor Auto Macro Converter, with fewer than 7 elements, is also very good. I think there was a Soligor 7 element 2X as well. M42 mount lenses are so low in price now that it might only make sense to use a 2X with a very long lens.
     
  12. polaski

    polaski Member

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    There is one such

    Typically found under the Vivitar brand, the 7-elements in 4 groups, multicoated, 2x, macro teleconverter stands above the rest. I believe, from all my research, that it was originally made by Kiron, a company that made a lot of good Vivitar equipment, but which started selling under its own brand when Vivitar started outsourcing to third parties with lesser quality design and control.

    The adapter might be found under other brands, but the 7-element design with a helical macro adjustment is a clue that this is the correct model.

    The problem is finding it in your specific mount. I have used it successfully in Pentax K-mount, but it took years of haunting the auction site to find it.
     
  13. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Thanks for the tips, guys, I'll keep on the lookout for them.
     
  14. mawz

    mawz Member

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    The Vivitar 2x Macro converter is a later item that I don't believe was ever available in M42 mount.

    As to Vivitar/Kiron. Vivitar always sourced from multiple maqnufacturers, they did a lot with Kiron in the 70's before Kiron decided to concentrate on sales under their own brand. Vivitar's quality issues started in the mid/late 80's with the beginning of the AF era, and their work with Cosina.