Leica Macro- What do I need

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by chris c, Nov 23, 2002.

  1. Since moving over to Leica the only thing I have missed is the
    ability to shoot macro. <P> I would like to know if; <P> #1 If I can
    setup my M to shoot macro? If so what do I need. <P> #2 If not that
    then what would you recommend to handle this occassional requirement?
  2. Forget about the M system for Macro work of 1:2 or greater.
    I use my nikon 105mm f2.8 macro and 85mm PC lenses with my F5 or D100.
  3. true macro -- a Visoflex (which was.is a mirror reflex housing sits in fornt of M body, with a rather bulky pentaprism or other viwer sitting on top of the body)/ Then, the right adaptors to match a lens (Leica made a 65, and the older 90 and 135 heads, and a 200, 280 on up fit) or bellows (on bellows, you can use almost any enlarger lens). The 65, I think, is excellent, though not up to the modern 100 2.8 macro elmarit for the R system.

    Beware, this does not make the Leica M niot a full fledged SLR. There is no auto diaphragm, so focussing is at closed down, and through the lens metering (unless you have an automatic exposure camera, a la M7 or CLE), is a several step process -- focus, close mirror, move eye to regular eye viewer, adjust aperture/shutter, drop mirror, compose, shoot. All these steps done manually. With the right angle pentaprism, the hot shoe is coverd, so TTL falsh on the MrTTl or M7 is difficult (there is a straight-diown viewer).

    I Like it, but big time/heavy macro, stick with an SLR.

    Leica actually made a full range of adaptors/devices for macro to micro photography -- it was the scientific instrument prior to SLRs. IN addition to visoflex, a focussing stage, mounted on tripod, that moved a camera body and focussing screen alterately across the lens plane. Microspcope adaptors. Some fixed ragne extension tubes (with the focussing distance set by extension legs or mounts -- down to 1:1, great for stamps, not so good for moving bugs). Finally, in more modest macro, there is a "Dual range" 50 mm summircon, that allowed closer focussing, but, say, on a bunch of flowers, but not on individual petals).

    Get an old Leica Manual (usually around in libraries, or a Leica accessory catalog, and peruse. Many now considered collectables, but all still useable. As far as I know, these devices all dropped out of official Leica catalogs from the late 60's to a few in the early 80's.
  4. Can't really improve upon what Lacey had to say, other than if you're not in a hurry, it's kind of fun.

    If you're patient and shop around, you can find a Viso, Bellows II and a couple of lens heads (65, 90, 135) for around a grand.

    One caveat. If you have a M6TTL or M7, make certain you get a Viso III with the correct eyelevel finder. The taller top on these models will not clear the eyelevel finder for the Viso II.

    Flash can be used but requires a cord and use of the PC socket.

    There are a few dozen accessories (lens mounts, tubes, etc.). All of them beautifully made and remaniscent of a different time.


  5. I happen to prefer the Visoflex II to an SLR for macro. I have the 65 Elmar, and the lens head from my 90 Elmarit fits the focussing mount. For even closer pix you can use the 90 in it's original long mount. Stick your 35mm Summicron on the Visoflex and you're seriously close! Get the straight magnifier as well as the prism. It's very useful for low angle shots or while using a copy stand.
  6. Chris:
    You do not say which "M" you have. The Viso I is set up for the screwmounts or M's with the Leica Thread to M adaptor. I have one, and it is very cumbersome. With the Viso II or III you can use lenses in the short mount and focus from infinity to near range. With the bellows II added to either the Viso II or III you can get down to 5:1 with a 35mm lens. I have used it down to 2:1. The metering is a pain, but can be done with the M6 and later variants, including the classic. I understand the CL also works with this. I prefer to use an older 90 Summicron head on the Bellows II which is good down to 1.2:1. You can also use the 65 Elmarit or a host of the 90's with the appropriate adapters. It is slow, but then Macro by it's nature is not a sporting event. I use the 90's and 135 most of the time on either an M6 or M3. You can use any of the Viso II and III combinations on the M6 classic and earlier, but only specific finders work on the TTL's and M7.

    I also have an R4 with the 60 Macro Elmarit, and I prefer the Viso III as it is brighter. The Viso III has an instant return mirror option, where the II does not. You flip a lever to return the mirror after the shot. Mirror lock-up works great ;).

  7. I keep a visoflex, bellows and a 135/4.5 Hektor around for my occasional
    forays into the teeny weeny. Here is a good site for visoflex info:

  8. Elan 7 with the 50mm 2.5 macro lens, which is what I use. The whole outfit less than a Leica macro lens. Splurge and get the EOS 100 2.8 USM macro. Good luck.

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