Leica R lens to Nikon DSLR adapter

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by avishek_aiyar, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. Hi,
    I am new to this forum.I am interested in purchasing a Leica Elmarit 90mm lens that I can possibly "doctor" to fit into my Nikon D60.
    I saw some instructions on http://www.leitax.com/conversion/leica/elmarit-90/index.html, but the adapter available there is very expensive. I saw a cheaper Chinese adapter for Leica R lenses to Nikon DSLRs.
    Can that be used in place of the Leitax adapter, but I follow of the rest of the instructions for doctoring the lens.
    From the pictures I saw, as long as there are 6 holes (for the corresponding six screws that go into the Leica 3 cam R lens), I should be fine...right?
    Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. Two things to consider:
    1. Buy a D200/300 class nikon body that will meter with manual focus lenses or switch to Canon, etc.
    2. The Leitax adapter is the one to consider for F mount. There are no other equivalents.
    (again, if you switch from Nikon to Canon, Pentax, etc., then you do not need this conversion and use adapters and get metring).
    There is nothing special about Nikon, so, I would strongly suggest that you dump it and get a more versatile brand.
  3. Vivek is correct; a Canon DSLR will be the smarter play. The more liberal sensor plane distance allows for a simple adapter which is attached to the Leica R lens (Some have focus assist contacts!) and you're taking Leica lens digital images! Don't mess with the valuable Leica lens...
    Though more expensive than you'd probably like, the optimum Canon body in the used market would be a 5D. (Full frame sensor)
  4. Thanks guys.......
    Well.....I am stuck with a D60 for now.......thanks to my student status I cannot afford another pody.....but I definitely plan to get another body later on..........which Pentax body would you recommend and whats the mount on it?I am looking at different lenses from Leica, Hasselblad, Carl Zeiss......which body is the most versatile to fit all these lenses and more?
    About the adapter....I saw this cheap adapter for $42 on ebay.....I am going to try that first....if that does not work, I can always return it and get the Leitax one.......my main issue is the Leitax adapter alone comes for $112!
  5. Pentax/Sony has the same problem as Nikon - with a simple adapter fitted you can't get the Leica lens elements close enough to the film plane to retain infinity focus. There are only two solutions to this - completely replace the Leica bayonet with a Nikon or Pentax bayonet (what Leitax does), or buy an adapter that contains a glass element that restores infinity focus. The second option will degrade the image quality - whether this is significant is something you'd have to determine by experiment.
    Everything is much simpler with a Canon body, for which simple adapters can be designed (without glass elements) that retain infinity focus and leave the lens unaltered (these are readily available on ebay). Canon's other advantage is that even the cheap bodies will allow (stop down) metering with adapted lenses (your D60 won't do this even with Leitax, though a D200/D300/D700/D3 etc would).
    Is there any particular reason why you want the Elmarit? There's a legendary Nikon manual focus lens with a focal length not much greater, the 105 f/2.5! Still no metering with the D60, however (this is true of all nearly all manual focus lenses, with the exception of a handful of 'AI-P' lenses).
  6. Richard,
    Thanks a lot for info. I figured that I would need to do some hacking and remove the cams from the Leica lenses to get it closer to the Nikon film plane. I am still thinking about the purchase.
    Anyways, you raised an excellent question about why I am interested in the Elmarit.....I actually have the beautiful 105 f4 micro nikkor.
    To be honest, I am interested in the Elmarit (and the Carl Zeiss Jena, Sonnar....) just to add to my collection.....I love vintage, antique stuff and I have a real fascination for stuff back from the dark ages. So, from a photography point of view I don't really have a defense, especially since I am pretty new to photography.
  7. For what it's worth, UK magazine Amateur Photographer tested one of the Nikon adapters with a glass element and got surprisingly good results (YMMV vary, of course, and an adapter from a diffferent source may not perform as well as the one they tested). You might also come across Nikon adapters without glass (intended only for close up work).
    I suspect a 'home brew' Leitax-style conversion would be pretty tricky, but you could maybe get one of the custom adapter builders like SRB-Griturn or SK Grimes to fabricate something for you. If starting from scratch it might be easier to cannibalise and adapt a Nikon bayonet from a sacrificial lens (broken 3rd party zoom, perhaps) than an existing adapter (the face of the adapter meant to engage with the Leica lens wouldn't help you as you'd be removing the Leica bayonet anyway). But unless you're really handy with this sort of thing, the Leitax may start to look like a bargain :)
  8. Look here:


    I'm not so sure these "new" mounts allow for stop down metering, but the available adapters most certainly do not.
  9. The Leitax conversions do (see above) but only with a D200 or better.
  10. I disagree with Vivek. There is something special about Nikon (depending on your taste or application). Some wedding photographers won't touch Canon even though technically they are just as good (or better). It's all about how the image looks and a lot of people have good things to say about output from Nikons, even older models.
  11. You can disagree all you want but your claims about wedding photographers choosing Nikon difficult to believe. As I recall, there is a religious following of Fuji cams (has a Nikon F mount) among wedding photogs citing better dynamic range and the "looks" which are definitely "non-Nikon".
    For a starting photographer/wanna be collector, Nikon dslrs are the wrong way to go.
  12. Collector? If there's one thing not worth collecting it's DSLRs! Not that I'd turn back a mint, boxed D1H for cheap...
    Beginners may be better served with used equipment such as the D1X or Pentaxes or what have you. My biggest mistake when I was a beginner was to buy new and without much research. Brand is not that big a deal for beginners, but they should not skimp on image quality either.
    I can only speak from one part of the world. Weddings are not my usual thing so I just listen to what others say. Fuji or Nikon doesn't matter to the point at hand: is it worth getting R lenses modified for the F mount? The answer is 'yes'.
  13. Thanks a lot!
    I know that the D60 is not the best option around, but I wanted something to get started. I hope to gather knowledge and my second camera is definitely going to be a more versatile one.
    For now....I am just going to try and get the best lenses on the cheap and keep my collection ready when the next camera comes in.
  14. I suspect a 'home brew' Leitax-style conversion would be pretty tricky​
    Depends on the lens - it was a breeze on the Apo-Telyt 180/3.4. But one looses the "stops" at either end of the aperture ring and hence needs to be careful when turning the ring. What I find most frustating though is the difficulty focusing MF lenses on - in my case D200 and D300; the image appears sharp in the viewfinder but focus is slightly off in the image. The green dot focus confirmation helps, but is rather impractical for anything that moves. Still considering changing the standard screen for a Katz-Eye - just haven't gotten around it yet.
  15. Perhaps I could suggest keeping the D60 and getting a Canon XTi. I have a Nikon D70 but I got a second hand D300 (original Digital Rebel with EOS mount) and I'm have great fun with Pentax and Yashica Screw mount, Olympus and even Nikon AI lenses onthe Canon (with adapters).
    Curiously, the Nikon D70 does not meter AI (non-CPU) lenses, but the Canon D300 does! The nikon boots up in milli-seconds, the Canon takes about 20 seconds. Interesting trade offs...
  16. You need to decide what your priorities are. If you want to take pictures then the Nikon system can tackle every situation and is pretty strong in many areas. If you want to adapt different lenses then consider a Canon EOS or even a Olympus/Panasonic micro 4/3 camera. These are good for shooting too, just not better than Nikon. If you want to purely collect lenses, do you actually plan to sue them? Value goes down with wear you know...
  17. Hi Oskar,
    I want to collect and use if possible. I am very happy with the Nikon D60.......but I will consider the Canon EOS and other bodies when I am ready for my next camera.
    For me, an antique lens will always be priceless! I am not expecting any resale value from them, since if i get my hands on a working one, I would never sell it.
  18. Pentax/Sony has the same problem as Nikon - with a simple adapter fitted you can't get the Leica lens elements close enough to the film plane to retain infinity focus. There are only two solutions to this - completely replace the Leica bayonet with a Nikon or Pentax bayonet (what Leitax does), or buy an adapter that contains a glass element that restores infinity focus. The second option will degrade the image quality - whether this is significant is something you'd have to determine by experiment.​
    I own a D60 and Leica R glass as well and was looking into the adapter issue. But to my surprise I found that there is an Leica R>Nikon F adapter on sale in different shops (e.g. enjoyyourcamera.com), without glass element and with infinity focus guaranteed. So was the person above wrong with his post?
    Does anybody use this adapter, does it work? Any limitations using this adapter?
  19. I will let you know in a week.
    I just bought a Leica R 60mm macro elmarit. I also got a Leitax type bayonet (its a bayonet and not an adapter note) from the bay and I am going to follow the instructions to remove the cams and replace the Leica bayonet with the Nikon F one.
    Supposedly, that should guarantee infinity focus.
    I am going to test it on a D60 and a D200. I should get metering with the latter. No AF on both of course.

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