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Thread: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

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    Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    I converted this lens to Minolta/Sony mount via a focus confirm m42 adapter. Had to remove a little metal from the inside to accomodate some projections from the Leica lens.

    The lens is manual focus and a two lens doublet design. It focuses via a sliding tube at the front of the lens. It breaks down into two halves which makes it reasonably easy to carry.
    These were taken using a monopod in combination with a shoulder stock that comes with the lens. I'm still getting used to it and today took 109 shots of which 9 were acceptable.





    100% crop


    A 4 shot pano:




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    Mike

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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    Great shots Mike. Nice to see some really good lenses can be used on this great camera. I have just sold all of my R lenses darn it! The Zeiss lenses for the Sony are as good as my Leica's and AF/MF which suits me but no real long telephoto's yet. The Telyt looks good. Where were the seals taken by the way, It looks a bit like Southern Australia?
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    Quote Originally Posted by dhsimmonds View Post
    Great shots Mike. Nice to see some really good lenses can be used on this great camera. I have just sold all of my R lenses darn it! The Zeiss lenses for the Sony are as good as my Leica's and AF/MF which suits me but no real long telephoto's yet. The Telyt looks good. Where were the seals taken by the way, It looks a bit like Southern Australia?
    These shots were taken at MacKerricher State Park in Northern California.

    Second your opinion on Leica and Zeiss. I am also in the midst of doing some Contax conversions. The M42 adapter didn't work out well on the contax so I am trying another technique. Hopefully I'll come to a positive result today.

    Best,

    Mike

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    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    hope resurrecting works.
    does this setup use the image stabilization? I an interested in using long Leica R lenses but see several approaches incl. the leitax.com

    any suggestions?

    Victor

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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    It does use the stabilization and focus confirm as well. I removed the leica flange and replaced it with A minolta m42 adapter with focus confirm. However, the lens is designed for someone with longer arms than I have. The quick focus button is located too far to the front for me to reach comfortably and the discomfort makes it hard to focus.

    I've purchased a Minolta 200mm f2.8 with a 2x TC that I just tried for the first time today. It looks very promising.

    I also have a Contax Zeiss 35-70 f4 that has been converted and works very well. I had to remove a good part of the contax rear plate to get the m42 adapter close enough for infinity so it is really an irreversible change.

    I did these before the Leitax conversion process was available. I would go with the Leitax for the contax lenses but the m42 adapter is still workable for leica non rom lenses. Part of the m42 threads have to be milled out though if you have cams in the lens. The telyt has only one cam. Some lenses have as many as 3.

    Mike

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    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    I'm a little lost.If you remove the leica lens flange from the leica, what does it mean to mount an 'adapter'? do you mean one side of an adapter?
    The flange that needs to go on is what? (I have no experience with minolta or sony mounts or even M42 for that matter)
    what is on the A900? a minolta mount? (is that the MC?)
    Sorry for the questions, but it sounds like you were able to do the 400/6.8 telyt without the Leitax But you are right in suggestiong I go with the Leitax and the confirm.

    regards and Thx
    Victor

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    Very nice shots, Mike, especially the first one.

    My opinion on the subject is that it is really a pity to do irreversible damage on a Leica lens to make it work with the A900. I am not sure about the market value of such lens but I assume it must be expensive. Wouldn't it be better to keep the lens integrity and sell it/replace it with something like the 70-400? Just my 2 cents.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    To know Leica lenses is to love Leica lenses
    or not :-)

    I do. In fact I have three 400/6.8 r, M (Visoflex) and a combo pack. Got the cheapest for around $400. Ask Doug Herr about giving up his 400/6.8....see the reaction.

    Actually, I am looking at a possible Visoflex to Sony adapter. There are Viso to Hassey and with a Hassey to Sony no mounts or cams need be changed.

    Victor

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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    It means I drilled appropriate holes in the adaptor and milled some of the m42 threads out to make room for the cam in the lens. No damage to the lens at all. The only damage is to the adapter where some of the M42 threads have been removed and 6 new holes drilled into the adapter.
    this should be possible for all non-rom lenses.

    I'm on the lookout for an 80-100 f4 Leica zoom. Most have roms but I saw one on ebay that didn't and have heard others say that a few were made without roms. That lens is one of the ones Leitax says can't be converted reversibly. I believe the rom is soldered inside the lens tube instead of at underside of the flange.

    Mike

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    hope resurrecting works.
    does this setup use the image stabilization? I an interested in using long Leica R lenses but see several approaches incl. the leitax.com

    any suggestions?

    Victor
    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    I'm a little lost.If you remove the leica lens flange from the leica, what does it mean to mount an 'adapter'? do you mean one side of an adapter?
    The flange that needs to go on is what? (I have no experience with minolta or sony mounts or even M42 for that matter)
    what is on the A900? a minolta mount? (is that the MC?)
    Sorry for the questions, but it sounds like you were able to do the 400/6.8 telyt without the Leitax But you are right in suggestiong I go with the Leitax and the confirm.

    regards and Thx
    Victor

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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    Edward,

    I replied above as well but in this case there is no damage done to the leica lens at all. The leica flange is removed and the modified m42 adapter replaces it. I'm pretty sure this can be done for any non-rom lens.

    The vario-sonnar 35-70 is a different story though. It was dropped a couple of years ago and I decided to convert it then have it repaired. It works fine. I have a 28-85 that is also faulty that I will probably convert the same way.

    Mike

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Very nice shots, Mike, especially the first one.

    My opinion on the subject is that it is really a pity to do irreversible damage on a Leica lens to make it work with the A900. I am not sure about the market value of such lens but I assume it must be expensive. Wouldn't it be better to keep the lens integrity and sell it/replace it with something like the 70-400? Just my 2 cents.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    Wow, that would be great if you could use the 35-70 and 28-85 on the A900. I have used the 35-70 as my main lens (on the 1Ds2) for a long while. The results are really outstanding. I didn't have luck with the 28-85 though. The previous owner had dropped it, and it was impossible to get anything in clear focus. Even a trip to Oberkochen didn't help, Zeiss refused to repair it.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    Edward,

    do you still have the 28-85? I need a good rear element for mine. The coatings on it are pretty much gone. Still takes good pics but I'd really like to have a good rear element.

    Mike

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    Sorry Mike, I sold it last year shortly after it came back from Oberkochen.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    Quote Originally Posted by docmaas View Post
    It means I drilled appropriate holes in the adaptor and milled some of the m42 threads out to make room for the cam in the lens. No damage to the lens at all. The only damage is to the adapter where some of the M42 threads have been removed and 6 new holes drilled into the adapter.
    this should be possible for all non-rom lenses.

    I'm on the lookout for an 80-100 f4 Leica zoom. Most have roms but I saw one on ebay that didn't and have heard others say that a few were made without roms. That lens is one of the ones Leitax says can't be converted reversibly. I believe the rom is soldered inside the lens tube instead of at underside of the flange.

    Mike
    Sorry to persist but I always thought an adapter had TWO flanges, a lens side and a body side. Are you saying just find ANY adapter that has an M42 flange on the body side (that is, it is the "lens flange")?

    I also wonder why Leitax says this is non reversable. I guess they recommend filing the CAM down, rather than filing the thread.

    Again, thanks for responding, but the flange vs adapter terms are mixing me up

    best regards
    Victor

    PS OK, I see what is going on; the A 'adapter' is just a thin ring with M42 threads. I assume that means that the Leica M registration distance is preserved when the 'flange' is drilled and set on the dlange seat of the 400/6.8
    BTW, which adapter with confirm did you get? There seem to be many.
    Last edited by gogopix; 10th October 2009 at 14:57.

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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    You got it I think. I don't remember exactly what was said above.

    When doing a conversion you need to mate the lens flange to the body flange. So there are two flanges one on the lens and one on the body.

    In an adapter like most of those for Canon one side mates to the body and the other to the lens flange on the subject lens. But aside from canon with its wide throat there aren't many adapters that work without putting an optical element in because there is no way to be the lens close enough to the film plane.

    The solution to that problem is a conversion, meaning replacement of the original lens flange on the lens. That works for a lot more potential lenses. The biggest problem with doing them for Sony cameras is if they have an aperture lever inside the lens that projects into the body. Many if not most such levers will hit something inside the camera and must either be clipped off or removed depending on whether you want to preserve the lens for its original mount or not. On Leica lenses one probably will want to preserve the lens for future use on leica cameras. On contax yashica lenses it is less desirable to preserve those levers since the camera mount is basically dead to digital.

    I've not encountered any leica lenses other than the telyt so I don't know if they have an aperture lever or not. If they do they may require more work than I have described.

    Yes, for the Leica removing enough of the m42 threads from the AF confirm adapter for M42 lenses on Sony/Minolta AF to clear the cam was sufficient and resulted in no permanent change at all to the leica lens. I think the register may be a bit off on the past infinity side but it does focus to infinity for sure.

    I got the cheapest adapter I could find that was brass rather than aluminum. Stay away from the aluminum ones as they are too soft. One could probably file away the necessary metal but I had it milled out. I have a local hobbyist machinist who is very skilled, bright and reasonably priced.

    Mike

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    Peseecot73
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    Leica 400mm f6 8 Telyt on Sony A900

    Spot on, Maddox.

    I dislike Sony as a company, yet there are too many franchises on their consoles I'd rather not overlook.

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    Member Agnius's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    I have started using 400mm f6.8 Leitz Telyt on my Canon with an adapter. So far the results have exceeded my expectations - lens is quite sharp in the center wide open while the far corners go soft (so you have to frame appropriately) and there seems to be a little of purple fringing on specular highlights, but what do you expect from a 40 year old design? I am looking forward to compare it to Leitz 350mm too.

    There are couple of keeper shots from a walkabout today in the morning - I am in Santa Monica, California.

    P.S. For small birds and surfers 400mm is not close enough - I am already looking for 1.4x extender.
    Last edited by Agnius; 9th April 2010 at 20:13.

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    I've been thinking of buying a long telephoto (400 or 500). Anyone know how this Leica 400mm would compare with the Canon 400mm f5.6 L? I have both the Leica R8 and Canon 5D, so could use the Leica on either camera.

    Gary
    Last edited by bensonga; 9th April 2010 at 20:12.

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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    Gary, Canon's 400mm f5.6 does not have IS. It does autofocus, which is nice (I have lost quite a few shots due to misfocus using MF 400mm Leitz), my eyes have never been too good. But also I have never liked the color rendition of Canon's medium tier glass - it seems somehow either forcefully contrasty (200mm f2.8) or colors are too pastel (70-200mm f2.8). I have not shot 400mm Canon in comparison, but from what I remember it had characteristic "Canon color" - little cool. The only way to get pure colors out of Canon is to invest into Big White Primes, which becomes an expensive proposition (and they are in a different weight class too).

    If you plan on shooting R8 - get 400mm or 560mm leitz, which will work with Canon as well. I like Leica colors better, but I am not in love with MF.

    Good luck!

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    Yes, I realized my mistake re IS on the Canon 400 a few minutes after posting that note. It's too bad.....I think IS on that focal length would be very helpful. I'll have to keep my eye out for a Leica 400.....I have no idea what they cost. I missed an opportunity to get a mint 250 f4 Telyt a couple months ago (although I realize it's not in the same class as the 400) and won't let that happen again if I decide on a 400 Telyt.

    Gary

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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    I have both the Telyt 400/560_5.6 set (Televit rapid focus) and the Telyt 400/560_6.8 set (slider focus). They both are capable of capturing beautiful images but, to be very honest, not easy. To start with they are both manual focus, and they are quite big (long lens vs telephoto lens).
    For me a sturdy tripod is a must. Trying to focus manually is not easy, and trying to focus and at the same time keep the lens steady is even more difficult.
    I have been toying with the idea of selling the Telyt 400_6.8 and Telyt 400_5.6 to finance other Leica glass. Both have the R-mount. Anyone interested in either one is welcome to PM me.
    Phil

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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    I found the lens difficult to focus as well. Primarily it was because my arms are barely long enough to reach the button on the barrel to release the slide. In order to have the dexterity to move the slide in smaller increments you need a longer reach. I'm 5'8".

    Ultimately I put a rail on the bottom but I've now put it back to its original form and it is for sale on ebay.

    In the meantime I have a 70-400 Sony and a 300 F4 minolta on the way. Will choose between these two.

    The soft edges of the 400 telyt are actually an advantage I think for wildlife as they help to make the center stand out. Douglas Herr has taken many many photos with this lens on both film and his DMR and he has some really excellent images.

    Mike

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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    The Televit rapid focus system is a bit easier to focus comparing to the slider focus system, IMO, especially for fine tuning. A trigger button in front allows quick push-pull action to bring the lens roughly into focus and then the fine focus knob on the right side of the pistol grip can quickly made the final adjustment. However, the Televit is bulkier and heavier.
    Phil

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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 400mm f6.8 Telyt on Sony A900

    It isn't necessary to spend "an arm and a leg" on good lenses to capture A900 wildlife shots. There are many 3rd party lenses that do a more than satisfactory job on the A900 body; many with A mounts and AF if required, providing full metering etc without using aperture stopdown.

    I have a sneaking regard for some (not all!) Tamron lenses....their 90mm macro is a classic and I know that I shall have to have one one day! As I also like "shooting" wildlife, I have for the last 6/7 months been using the Tamron 200-500 lens with A mount. I really enjoy using this lens, it is not too conspicuous considering it's size and it's not too heavy either. I also love the results it gives me, excellent colour and contrast and shaaaarp!

    Take a look at this sample, "shot" well into the English New Forest in early April, ISO 400, at 460mm, 1/1000 sec at F7.1. The maximum aperture of this lens at that focal length is F6.3, so you get an idea of how this lens performs near to wide open and near to maximum zoom.
    Last edited by dhsimmonds; 18th April 2012 at 02:39.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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