Older Alternative lenses on Canon EOS

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by art_major, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Hello,
    Im primarily a Large Format 4x5 8x10 photographer and i Love shooting older brass Petzval lenses. I use my 5DII camera when theres no budget and I was wondering if they're lenses out there that has that unique signature. I tried the Biotar 58, rokkor 58mm 1.2, but its not quite what I am looking for. Maybe the Helios 40 might work or Biotar 75mm. any thoughts? thank you.
  2. Nikon Ai(s) lenses play well with Canons. There are some real gems if you know what you are looking for. I am a fan of the nikkor 0 35 f2.
  3. Contax Zeiss lenses are commonly used as an alt lens on Canon EOS bodies
  4. Check out Bob Atkins' older but still valid website on what lenses play well with Canon EOS ( http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/eosfaq/manual_focus_EOS.html ).
    For an antique, Petzval sort of look, it's harder. The old lenses that fit the Canon with commercial adapters are too good for what you want. The Helios, Biotars, etc., are often the best of their day and will not produce a Lomo- or Petzval-like effect.
    Probably your best bet is to actually adapt a real Petzval to your Canon body with bellows.
    Pry a plastic lens off a Diana or some such. and tape it on. There are some "soft focus" lenses like the old T-mount Spiratone Portragon that might work for you since they are built to have CA in spades.
    If cost is not a problem, you might try a Lensbaby.
  5. I 've used some Leica R lenses with an adapter. Once I got the hang of having to Manual AF, Meter, Av and basically rely on the eyes and photographic instincts, the images produced were awesome. Beautiful bokeh from the Summicron 90/2. Very contrasty and smooth.
  6. Wish I was born with "photographic instincts"! Albeit God did bless me with ah kickin' inner eye!
  7. use a petzval ?
  8. I suppose it would be difficult to get a petzval in a shorter focal length.
    I do use Zeiss Contax lenses, they are superb, but they are not the same thing.
    The Russian lenses I've used don't do it either.
    I wonder about Voigtlander Heliar, there was a 105mm I think for a folding rangefinder.
    My 15cm Heliar is not the same as Petzval, and much sharper when stoppped down, but probably the closest I've come to it.
    Then you have the 75 and 105 Tessars and Triotars. e.g. the 75 Triotar from an early Rolleicord.
    For a focus mount I thought of taking the glass out of a Helios 44, and it should not be too difficult to fit these lenses to the front.
  9. I have most of all the Canon L Primes from 24mm-200mm. They're all great lenses, but im just looking for something with character. Im not looking for any Nikon, Leica R, or Contax CY lenses.
    Nice setup Keith, do you have any examples?
  10. this was actually taken with an Eos D60, thats with a smaller sensor, but it should give an idea, its the image I can find most easily
  11. More special than the 85mm f1.2 USM II ?
    I got the helios 40 http://www.photo.net/photo/9318999 (m39) that give me some nive picture. I don't have sample online. I also have some nice OLD USSR lens (peleng, zenitar, rubinar, zenith : all m42) that give some nice result.
  12. the 85mm 1.2L II is a very good lens, Im just not looking for the cleanest, clearest result.
    everyone seems to mention the Helios 40, I wish I could rent it somewhere to try out. It would be nice to get a lens like the Helios since it has a focusing helicoid. I would love to shoot my Petzval lenses on the Canon, but all my focal lengths are 180mm and above. Its hard to find really old glass at shorter focal length around 80mm.
  13. <de-lurking>
    Why not adapt an old 35mm format lens? That format has been around since the 20's. How about an old Leica lens, or one of the Russian knockoffs -- e.g. Zorki and FED. Maybe one of the 35mm Kodaks -- e.g. the Retina, Signet, Star -- or maybe one of the excellent Bantam lenses (similar format). You have smaller format options in antique cameras, at least starting from the early 20th Century.
    <re-lurking> ;-)
  14. I repeat, if you are looking for the old look, then use an old lens.
    Any recent (last 60 years) lens except for a box camera lens is going to be too good for what you want.
    It is the long rear of lens to focal p[lane and focal length of a real Petzval that makes it adaptable as Keith has done.
    However, you are going to be using only a tiny center section of the total coverage of the lens, and that would possibly make it perform much better on the smaller camera than on the larger format. (A sort of extreme version of the "sweet spot" idea).
  15. If yout not looking for the cleanest, clearest result, what are you really looking for ? I got a nice collection of non-standard lens, I use it some in combinaison of tilt adaptor, tube, etc to give them some texture.
  16. I guess I was looking for a lens with a focal length of under 100mm with a petzval look, but in a focusing helicoid.
  17. speaking of old 35mm lenses like leica, zorki fed, they are mostly rangefinder lenses, and although leica screwmount would appear worth trying, they will be too far from the sensor on an Eos body, so only good for close ups.
  18. Thanks for the Link Dennis. I have a Verito, a few Heliars and some random Petzvals, but they are all in longer focal lengths above 180mm. I think my only options are the Helios 40 or Biotar 75mm.
  19. I'm working on adapting a Rodenstock Imagon 200mm to use on my 5DII. Of course, it will be a pretty severe center crop of the entire field but with the flexibility in adjusting the softness, I expect that I'll be able to find something useful!
  20. Good point, Keith!
    Art Major, I don't see why a (relatively modern) Helios 40 or Biotar 75 is your only option. All you need is a leaf-shutter type lens from a vintage folding camera. Mount it in the hole of an EOS body cap, and put that at the end of a bellows. If you're handier with building things, buy an EOS extension tube, remove the flange, and replace it with a mounting plate with the correct sized hole. To shoot, you will open the leaf shutter with either the B or T setting. Then use the camera's shutter to shoot the picture.
    Anyway, you're not going to get shorter focal lengths unless you go to smaller formats. FAIW, I have a Voigtlander Bessa sitting next to me right now. It's got a 105mm f/7.7 lens on it -- 620 format. So that format gets you pretty close. Focus is helical, with a minimum distance of 1.5m.
    In the same format, I have a Kodak Monitor Six-20 (see http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Kodak_Monitor) with a faster lens -- 101 mm Anastigmat Special, f/4.5. I LOVE that camera and did quite a lot of portraiture with it as a teen. It's out of the 1930's and 1940's. As I recall, minimum focus is approx 6', but it can of course be almost anything you want at the end of a bellows.
    There won't be a lot of lenses under 100mm, but there will be SOME. You'll need to do your research. Here are your formats:
    You are probably looking for a format smaller than 620/120 to find a lens fl under 100mm. Then start looking for folding cameras that accept those formats. You'll find something interesting. You just have to do the research.
  21. Sarah makes a good observation: look at formats smaller than 120! There are loads of small folding cameras out there with 75mm lenses that used 127 rollfilm. The lenses range from the simple one element meniscus found in the lesser Kodak Vest Pocket cameras on up to Tessar formula lenses in Balda and Zeiss cameras. I'd bet that a lens from one of the cheapest Vest Pocket Kodak or Vest Pocket Hawkeye would give a distinctive look. If you want to go further, open up the shutter housing and take out the aperture, allowing the lens to go beyond its designed maximum aperture, introducing lots of uncorrected aberrations.
    I've got a 75mm Tessar f/4.5 sitting on my desk right now that came from an old Contessa Nettel. It's still waiting it's turn on the bellows to see how it performs on the DSLR. I suspect it's too good to emulate the Petzval.
  22. 120mm and 620 cameras sound like a great option. the 105mm 3.5 Ektar on the kodak medalist comes to mind. Its a Heliar formula and takes great pictures. is their any fast glass out there?
  23. Fast? In an antique lens? I think 3.5 was considered decently fast glass back then. Exotically fast was the Bantam Special's 45/2.0, but it won't clear your mirror.

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