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  1. #1
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    M42 teleconverters that don't suck

    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?
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  2. #2
    BradS's Avatar
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    a teleconverter that does not suck?

    Surely, you jest.


  3. #3

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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. #4
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    a teleconverter that does not suck?

    Surely, you jest.

    Err... that does not suck TOO much, let's just say. If it's made of glass, it's already a good point.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  5. #5
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena View Post
    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.
    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.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  6. #6

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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. #7

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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. #8

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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. #9
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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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!
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  10. #10
    Marco Gilardetti's Avatar
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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.
    I know a chap who does excellent portraits. The chap is a camera.
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