Showcase Schneider Xenar 5cm F2.8, modified for Leica Mount

Discussion in 'Adapted Lens Sample Image Showcase' started by Brian, May 13, 2013.

  1. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    I picked this Karat-Xenar up at a Photorama show for $30, no camera. It was made for the Karat camera, the serial number puts it as World-War II vintage. Fully coated optics, had internal haze. I always thought the Xenar was a Tessar formula lens: this one is not. It is 5 elements in 4 groups. Later Xenars used the classic 4-elements in 3 groups Tessar formula, as did the Elmar. The Tessar formula was "stretched" to reach F2.8, and did not do well until higher index of refraction glass was used to reformulate it in the late 1950s.

    This Xenar does quite well at F2.8, better than the Tessar of the day. I also think it is better than my 1947 coated Elmar 5cm F3.5.

    The lens is converted to RF coupled Leica mount using a Canon 50/2.8 focus mount. The glass in the Canon was badly etched, was not repairable. I tried. This is a great use for the mount. Filter size is 29.5mm, same as the Kodak Retina. I need to try this lens out on the M Monochrom.

    Pairs of images at F2.8 and F4, single images at F2.8.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    F2.8, F4, and F5.6.
     

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  3. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    This lens is close enough to the Leica standard to maintain proper focus from 0.9m to infinity, at F2.8. The lens coating is as good as Zeiss, not soft as is the Leica lenses of the day. This lens was not meant to be interchangeable, so if you run across any- they were taken from a fixed-lens RF and modified as this one was.
     

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  4. Kookie B.

    Kookie B. Leica Place Regular

    40
    Dec 26, 2013
    Brian,

    I've newly registered to ask this question:

    I have a virtually full complement of Schneider lenses from my Retina IIIS (28, 35, 50 Xenar, 50 Xenon, and 85 -- and a genuine still fully working body!). Recognizing that the lack of an aperture scale is the biggest impediment, have you ever accomplished -- or heard of -- a successful method to modify the lenses to adjustable aperture and focusing in a LTM or M-mount?

    Thanks, and best regards.

    Ed B.

    <Kookie B.>
     
  5. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Ed- I use a Retina to Nikon F-Mount adapter, which has the aperture ring built into it. I have not seen a similar adapter for Leica. You can use two adapter, Retina to Nikon, Nikon to Leica- will give aperture control but not RF coupling. A coupling could be made for the 50mm lenses. The Leica M Type 240 would allow "Liveview" for focus with all the lenses.

    I'm going to use my Retina IIIS lenses on the Nikon Df, as it gives aperture and focus easily. I have the 28/4, 35/2.8, 50 Xenar and Xenon, 85/4, 90/4, 135/4 and 200/4.8. They are all fine lenses.

    Welcome to Leica place, and feel free to post images from the IIIS. I currently have "a couple" of those, and a Retina Reflex-S with a new prism. Only system that I know of that lenses can be shared between rangefinder and SLR cameras without using an adapter.
     
  6. Kookie B.

    Kookie B. Leica Place Regular

    40
    Dec 26, 2013
    Brian,

    My days of using the IIIS are long since passed. I went digital and never looked back, but I always did enjoy using the camera - quirks and all. It and my Retina IIa (50/2 Xenon) are relegated to display and regular exercise to keep them functional.

    > Only system that I know of that lenses can be shared between rangefinder and SLR cameras without using an adapter.
    I believe you're correct. And, in fact, that was Kodak's marketing strategy at the time -- one series of quality lenses for two types of bodies.

    You're much more fluent with lens mounting dimensions than I, but rather than doing the two adapter workaround, it seems to me there is plenty of registration distance for a Deckel/DKL to Leica adapter, as there seems to be for most SLRs. A search on Ebay for "Deckel DKL adapter" gives many options, even including a focus confirmation for Canon DSLRs. Am I right about this? Of course, that would only address the physical mounting. There's still the minor detail of accurate focusing for the non-M240 crowd.

    It seems a shame that such fine, affordable, glass goes fallow for lack of a Leica mounting/focusing adapter. Fortunately, they can be used with adapters for the mirrorless breed of today, such as what I have for use on my NEX.

    Best,

    Ed
     
  7. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    One of the projects that I want to get to- remounting the Xenon 50/2 front and back elements to a new housing. I have a spare. The 90/4 Arton, someday I'll come across a 90/4 Elmar with bad glass.

    The registration distance of the Retina mount gives lots of options, it would be possible to make an M-Mount adapter for these lenses.

    The Nikon Df will be my "Digital Reflex-S" for the Retina lenses.
     
  8. Kookie B.

    Kookie B. Leica Place Regular

    40
    Dec 26, 2013
    Brian,

    > it would be possible to make an M-Mount adapter for these lenses

    I, for one, would love to see you try. Let me know if there is any way I can facilitate the process. I could be talked into contributing a lens for the project. I also have an uncoated 75mm/f3.5 Voigtlander Heliar in an otherwise unusable Perkeo folder that with a little loving could prove a very interesting lens to adapt for portraiture.

    Speaking of Leica mounts -- my 1957 J-3 seems to have the common back-focus issue. Are you still fine-tuning them? Can we talk about it off-line?

    I'll be very interested to learn your thoughts about the Df as a Retina body redux.

    Best,

    Ed