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28/90 Adapter, 35/135 Adapter and 50/75 Adapters - notice all are threaded on the inside to accept 39mm Leica Screw mount lenses and have a bayonet M mount on the outside to bayonet into Leica M mount cameras. All work mechanically the same -- the different frameline combinations just bring up different framelines on Leica M, Konica Hexar RF, Minolta CLE and Leica CL rangefinder camera bodies that bring up automatic framelines once the lens is mounted. For wider than 28 screw mount lenses, just use the adapter of your choice. Please note that when adapting Leica rangefinder lenses to digital mirror less compacts like the NEX, M43 and Ricoh M cameras, rangefinder camera concerns about rangefinder coupling and framelines no longer apply!
CameraQuest offers quality Japanese made Rayqual Screw Mount to M Lens Mount adapters that offer 6 bit coding notches for digital M Leica bodies. Of course they work on all film bodies just as well.
|Leica Screw Mount to Leica M Mount adapters : One of the great things about the Leica Rangefinder system is using 39mm Screw Mount Lenses on your Leica M Mount body (of whatever brand) with FULL Rangefinder coupling and COMPLETE compatibility: Rear M lens cap included.|
Type I Adapters - patterned like the original Leitz adapters, most screw mount to M adapters are of this design. They worked well with film cameras, even allowing infinity lock lenses to be fitted. Avoid cheap adapters. You will likely pay the price of frustration in poorly mounted lenses and inaccurate focus. The old adage of "you get what you pay for" applies. The problem with Type I adapters is that they have a cut out notch which just covers the digital bar coding reader on digital M cameras - making Type I adapted lenses un bar codeable on all digital Leica M cameras.
Type II Adapters added that missing notch back, allowing Type II adapters to be bar coded on digital Leica M cameras, BUT they were NOT compatible with infinity lock lenses.
Type III Adapters all have indents for digital Leica M camera bar coding as well as infinity lock compatibility. They also work on all film M cameras just fine!
Rayqual adapters are your choice of all black or traditional chrome
What's an infinity lock? Some older Leica screw mount 35mm and 50mm lenses (mostly from the 1930's to 1950's) have a spring loaded infinity lock to "lock" the lens focus on infinity. To focus closer, you must undo the infinity lock. NEWBIES: If you don't know what I am describing, your lenses don't have infinity locks!
How to Mount The Screw Mount Adapter on Your Lens
Mounting / Un-mounting Screw Mount Adapters: Real world, the screw mount lens / M adapter combination works great. The screw mount adapters tighten with use while still remaining easily removable. Just spin the adapter hand tight on the lens, then mount the lens on an M camera. This will automatically tighten up the adapter so that it stays put. To remove, unlock the lens from the camera body, and then use the camera body as an adapter wrench by turning the adapter off the lens. Please note the above directions are MUCH better and easier and follow than the Voigtlander mounting directions which come inside every Voigtlander screw mount adapter box! Before you ask, M mount lenses can NOT be adapted to Leica screw mount cameras! Any Leica M mount to Leica screw mount body adapter would place the M lens too far from the focus film plane. You would end up with a non rangefinder coupled camera only for extreme close-ups!
Which Frameline / Which Camera / Which Adapter?
If your M rangefinder camera automatically brings up framelines when you mount the lens, you need to use the correct adapter to bring up the right frameline. However shooting with a manually set frameline like the Voigtlander Bessas, or on a digital mirrorless camera, it makes no difference what screw mount adapter you use with what lens.
All Leica M film cameras (except the M1, MD and MDa) use a three frameline set which automatically shows the correct lens frameline once the lens in mounted. The M3 shows the 50, 90, and 135 framelines. The M2 shows the 35, 50, and 90 framelines. The M4, M5, and M4-2 show the 35, 50, 90, and 135 framelines (the 35 and 135 double up). framelines. The later M4-P, M6, M6TTL, M7, MP and M9 with the standard .72 magnification finder all show six framelines by doubling them up (28/90, 35/135, 50/75). The exception are the later cameras with .85 finders which eliminated the 28 frame, and the .58 finders which eliminated the 135 frame. The Leica M8/8.2 has 24, 28, 35, 50, 75, and 90 framelines. By eliminating the 135 frameline on the M8, Leica effectively substituted the 24 frameline for the 135 as far as screw mount adapters are concerned. The Leica/Minolta CL show 40, 50, and 90 framelines. The Minolta CLE shows 28, 40, 90 framelines. The Konica Hexar RF and Zeiss Ikon show the 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 combination like the .72 Leica M finder. The Cosina Voigtlander R, R2, R2A and R2M have manually selected 35, 50, 75, and 90 framelines. The Voigtlander R3A and R3M have manually selected 40, 50, 75, and 90 framelines. The Voigtlander R4A and R4M have manually selected 21, 25, 28, 35, and 50 framelines. Most photogs still match up the lenses for their Bessas to the Leica framelines, since this makes it easier if you ever mount that lens on a Leica M.
IF your camera automatically brings up the lens' frame lines, you want to use the correct adapter for your camera / lens combination to show the proper frameline for that lens in the viewfinder. You can use the "wrong" adapter and still have full rangefinder coupling and accurate focusing. You will just have the wrong frameline showing-- but you can get around if your camera has a preview frameline lever. In practice it's a bit of a pain, but quite workable if you have only one adapter and a lot of screw mount lenses.
The widest automatically selected frameline is 28mm in film cameras, or the 24mm with the Leica M8/8.2. That means as far as the frameline for wider than 28 framelines with film cameras, since you will be using the top mounted accessory finder anyway. While the Voigtlander R4M/R4A offers the world record widest framelines for 35mm cameras (21/25/28/35/50), they are manually selected from the top plate frame selector. The R4 does not care which adapter you use.
Why Leica Screw Mount and M Bayonet Lens Mounts?
Leica introduced their standardized interchangeable lens Leica 39mm screw mount in 1932 on the Leica Model C. The Leica M3 introduced the Leica M bayonet mount 1953. Both lens mounts were still in production in 2010. The M mount cameras feature 100% backward compatibility with screw mount lenses simply by mounting the Leica designed screw mount to Bayonet Mount adapter. The adapter effectively turns a Leica screw mount lens into a Leica M bayonet lens with 100% rangefinder focusing accuracy.
Screw Mount to Bayonet M Adapters:
Allow full and accurate rangefinder focusing (with RF coupled lenses)
Allow quick mounting and removal of the lenses, bayonet style. While you can turn the M bayonet camera into a screw mount camera simply by leaving the adapter no the body, most people dedicate one adapter for each lens for maximum convenience.
The proper lens frameline is automatically brought up in the finder on all Leica M bodies, Hexar RF bodies, Leica CL or Minolta CL, or Minolta CLE bodies, automatically bring up lens framelines in the viewfinder. Of course you have to use the right adapter for the right lens and right body to get the right frameline.
The Leica M8 has 24, 28, 35, 50, 75, and 90 framelines. By eliminating the 135 frameline on the M8, Leica effectively substituted the 24 frameline for the 135 as far as screw mount adapters are concerned.
IF you are new to rangefinders, framelines show approximately what each lens will show in a slide mount when at the minimum focus. Due to reasons too involved to discuss here, as the lens is focused to infinity it effectively has a slightly wider field of view than it does close-up. Between this optical phenomena and the smaller size of slides vs. the full negative, photogs have a fudge factor so they also get slightly more on the negative than what the framelines show.
The bottom line is screw mount lenses are more versatile than M mount lenses because screw mount lenses are useable on more camera bodies -- both Leica screw mount bodies and Leica M mount bodies. M mount lenses will only mount on M mount cameras.
Voigtlander Leica Screw Mount Lenses: 12/5.6, 15/4.5, 21/4, 25/4, 28/1.9, 28/3.5, 35/1.7, 35/2.5 C, 35/2.5 P I (discontinued), 50/1.5, 50/2.5, 50/2 Nickel, 50/3.5, 75/2.5, 90/3.5. Note that many of the above were also produced in Leica M mount versions. ALL Voigtlander made Leica screw mount rangefinder lenses are compatible with ALL Leica M rangefinders by adding a Leica designed Leica 39mm screw mount to Leica M mount adapter. The focusing will be accurate, and the correct frameline will automatically come up in your Leica M viewfinder. Note the framelines are manually set on Voigtlander Bessas from the top of the camera.
Standard 39mm Leica Screw Mount Lenses are by FAR the MOST adaptable and versatile rangefinder lens mount! They fit not only on the hundreds of Leica screw mount cameras including Leica Screw Mounts (aka Barnack Cameras in Japan), Canon rangefinder cameras, "Leica Screw Mount Copies" (hundreds of cameras made from the 1930's to1950's), and the Cosina Voigtlander Bessa L and R. Add the screw mount adapter and in 99.9% of the time they will fit Leica M mount cameras including the M8, the Epson RD1, Konica RF, Minolta CLE and CLE, the Leica CL, and the Cosina Voigtlander family of the R2, R2M, R2A, R3M, R3A, R4M and R4A. In the rangefinder world, no other lens mount comes remotely close in versatility! Of course your adapted lens gets the same rangefinder focusing accuracy as well as the same TTL Metering!
Leica M8/M8.2/M9/M240/M10? its a lot easier to apply a do it yourself lens bar code to Type III screw mount adapters than to most fixed M mount lenses! Screw mount adapters also allow you to switch bar coding between lenses!
RF newbies often get confused about using Screw mount lenses with
often thinking that M mount lenses are somehow better.
Well, don't forget Screw Mount Lenses are more versatile
as they can mount on both screw mount or M cameras!
(M lenses are not adaptable to screw mount bodies)
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Revised: January 14, 2021 . Copyright © 1999-2016 Stephen Gandy. All rights reserved. This means you may NOT copy and re-use the text or the pictures in ANY other internet or printed publication of ANY kind. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.