Contax to LTM adapter UPDATE

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by paul t, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. Many people here will remember emailing me, or posting messages, towards
    the end of last year about our Contax to LTM adapter project. This update will
    also be posted on the rangefinder forum, and hopefully the Beststuff forum.

    The aim is to manufacture a short run of Contax to LTM adapters. By using
    donor Kiev lens mounts we hope to keep machining - and hence costs - to a

    This is just a short email to update everyone on:<p>

    1: who's interested in subscribing<p>
    2: funding! Whether we'll need any money, and if so when.<p>
    3: Harry Geron's progress so far on fashioning a prototype<p>
    4: Whether we can find an expert to work closely with a machinist, most
    probably SK Grimes.<p>

    Do feel free to email me with your thoughts. I intend to co-ordinate our efforts,
    although we will need other technical experts. FYI, I'm in the UK.<p>

    Those who've asked to be involved so far are as follows:
    Chris Chen, Oscar Reina, Harry Geron, Paul Trynka, Carlin Meyer, Brian
    Sweeney, David Berger, Andrew Lee, William Barnett-Lewis, Ashley
    Edworthy, Anthony Oresteen, Sheldon Hambrick, Jim McBride, George
    Verbryck, Johnson Cheung, Roger Michel, Leo Cristoffer, Bob Shell, Roberto
    Carmeli, Joseph P Long, Parlin 44, André Chor. NB, I need an email address
    for Leo Cristoffer, if anyone has one, please tell me.<p>

    2: FUNDING<p>
    Are present this is a feasibility exercise, so no funding is necessary. When
    Harry has fashioned a mock-up for us to send to a machinist, we will then
    make at least one prototype. Envisaged cost: $300-500. If this is the case, I
    will ask everyone to contribute circa $25 towards running costs.<p>

    Once we've successfully made a prototype(s) we will then do a small
    production run. More about this later!<p>

    Harry has done some work on one Kiev lens mount, and has a second Kiev
    mount to use if necessary. His most recent update:" I have all my materials
    and have made some preliminary lathe operations but want to be more
    precise. I think I can make a working model rather than a rough prototype."

    SK Grimes reckon this project is within their capabilities, and agree that using
    salvaged Kiev mounts will cut out the bulk of the machining. They also confirm
    that a short production run, of 10-30 units, will cut down the unit costs

    This is as far as we've got with them so far. If any of you know of a better
    company with whom we should proceed, please make your suggestions now!
    Whatever the company, we need someone who's technically literate to liaise
    with them and Harry (even if this is by post). SK Grimes are in Rhode Island,
    so ideally we need someone with technical knowledge, who's in that area.
    Duties might include testing the prototype to see that it works.<p>


    Other points:
    We want this adapter to work with both internal and external mount Contax
    lenses, and this does look feasible. If the situation changes, I will update.
    Secondly, if we get to the initial production run, we will need more Kiev
    mounts. THis should be simple, as we've already had offers of around 10
    spare mounts. I suspect that we might be better off using pre-1970s Kiev
    mounts, as these are more accurately made. This type has the distance
    markings engraved both at the side, and at the front, of the mount. Of course, if
    you want a higher-class adaptor, you are also welcome to send a Contax
  2. i have used grimes many times for custom machining projects and they have always come thru. they are first rate and continue to do great work even after stephen's death.

    i am still in. the price sounds right.
  3. Paul, could you post a link to the thread where the project was presented? I'm always interested in tinkering projects but I'm not enough into Contax lenses to understand which benefits exactly could be carved from these adapters (I suppose recycling lenses on a Leica RF - but would it also be attractive to participate for anybody not already owning tons of Contax compatible ones?) and which would be the practical downsides, compared to CV and L glass. Thanks.
  4. Lutz, the idea is essentially to build an adapter which functions like the Cooke & perkins ones (more info from cameraquest). Essentially, it will only be of real use if you already have Contax lenses - of course, if we can manufacture cheaply, it might be worth going out and buying a Contax-mount Sonnar 50/1.5, as these sell for a lot less than LTM ones. And of course those old Sonnars will never be replicated, as they were very expensive to produce. Many people, like me, happen to own them, and it might be more cost-effective to buy a sub$200 adapter than to buy a Summicron/Summilux. In addition, Jupiter lenses in Kiev mount are thought to be better made than those in LTM.
    Roger, if you've already dealt with SK Grimes on some projects, does that mean you might be able to do the technical liaison with them??!?
  5. Paul,
    I don't see me name in the list of interested people.
  6. Raid, you're on my update list now, as are John Haeger,
    Zhao Lin and 'Ben' from the UK. And I have Leo Christoffer's email now. That
    makes 26 'subscribers' so far. <p>
    This is like publishing in the 18th century! Are there any members of the
    aristocracy who would like to shell up $$$ and we will dedicate the results to
    their honour?
  7. Paul, I'll step up with $25 too!
  8. Is this the right time to grab as many Contax mount Soonar lenses as possible before the adapter is made and before prices of Conatx mount lenses will increase? Maybe not.
  9. Dare I ask which Contax mount you're talking about? SLR? Old Contax RF?
  10. Never mind. Looks like you're talking about Contax RF lenses on Leica LTM body.
  11. At what price do you think you will sell this adapter? I too am interested---depending on price.
  12. add me to the list,
    Alan Chin, New York, rat101 at aol dot com
  13. There was a time when Zeiss Contax lenses were much better than Leica
    factory offerings. That day is long past. It just doesn't make any sense to
    spend any time, energy, or money to adapt them. It is a really dumb idea.
  14. You're on there Alan. Gary, target price is $200 or less. That will make the
    total price of my Carl Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 for Leica around $246. We'll let Bill
    continue to pay far more than that for vintage Summicrons/Summiluxes, if
    that's what he's happy with!
  15. New info just in from the ever-helpful Taffer at the Rangefinder forum. Oleg is
    supplying Kiev lens mounts for $5 (if this project takes off, we might have to
    ask people to supply their own Kiev mounts). <p>
    THe bulk of the cost of the Orion etc adapters, is machining the parts that we
    will be using from the Kiev. Hopefully the mounts will therefore not need a
    huge amount of machining, and this will keep costs down. But of course we
    will have to wait and see.<p>
    I would also point out to Bill that this adapter is only useful to people who like
    classic Sonnar lenses, and have some already. The classic 50 Sonnar has a
    lot of fans - it was a very expensive lens to produce, which is why Zeiss
    stopped using that configuration and why the new designs are apparently not
    a classic Sonnar . A 50s Sonnar holds its own in many respects with
    contemporary lenses, so for those who already own one, being able to use it
    on an M7, or an M3, or an RD1 for an outlay of hopefully less than $200
    makes total sense.
  16. I'm interested in chipping in, and although I'm a little afraid of what I'm about to write, I
    could possibly serve as a liason to SK Grimes, as I live in Rhode Island (about 20 minutes
    from them). Hopefully I can handle the technical side well enough. Sounds like fun!
  17. Add me to the list please TAN. Thanks.
  18. It's real good to see more people joining both here and in the RFF, hope the same is happening in the BestStuff forum :)

    I'm not sure but I guess we can end having enough Kiev mounts between the ones some people already have (as mounts or as parts Kievs) and getting the rest from sellers like Oleg, Alex-Photo, Fedka, etc. We're lucky that so many Kiev cameras were produced.

    Oscar / Taffer
  19. Paul, this is a brilliant project.
  20. Is it possible to make the Voigtlander Nokton lens fit the LTM?
  21. I presume you would need a Prominent S adaptor first. And perhaps it might
    be at the mercy of the tolerances of two adapters combined, but it could well
    work. <p>
    We now have 35 interested subscribers.
  22. Add me to your list as well, Paul. Thanks!
  23. Please add me to the list of interested buyers.
  24. Please add me to the list too. I'm very interested in such an adaptor. Thanks!


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