Visoflex III with my lenses, what will I get?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by brandan, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. Hello friends
    I have a MP and I would like to experiment sometimes the use of a reflex camera, so I am planning to get a Visoflex III.
    Mostly for tripod shots and other purposes.
    The lenses I have are thought for street photography and light weight.
    - Voigtlander 35mm f2.5 pancake PII
    - Leica 50mm f1.4 asph
    - Leica Tele Elmarit 90mm f2.8 (the one made between 1974 an 1990)
    What will I get when I use those lenses directly with the visoflex III?
    Will I lose infinity focus or will I lose close focus?
    Will sharpness be affected?
    etc ...
    Thanks for the help.
    In my opinion visoflex is a system that is easier to understand when you start using it.
    But if you can give some clues, I would apreciate it a lot.
  2. I can tell you from experience that a Visoflex is by no means a reflex camera. With the prices of film slr's going/begging for peanuts today, you are much better off buying another camera than fooling around with this contraption. The lenes that you have listed will only work in close up range. You would have to buy leica lenses that can unscrew and use them with a focus mount for that particular lens. IMHO it is not worth the effort.
  3. Chet was right concerning the lenses - none of them were made for use on the Visoflex, although they may work in the close up range with the proper adapter and either a focussing ring or the Bellows II.
    I've done a lot of flower photography with my M2, Visoflex III, Bellows II and 65mm Elmar. A tripod is a must but one is usually used for these kind of shots. I've also taken the same kind of photos with my Leicaflex SL and 60mm Elmarit. While there is a bit of a learning curve associated with the Visoflex, it's not difficult and it is a very flexible system. I started with the Visoflex III since I had an M2 and M4, but no reflex so it was an economical way for me to get started with macro photography with Leitz cameras and lenses.
    If you get a Visoflex III you will need either the focusing ring 16464 or the Bellows II. The 3 lenses that are most useful are the 65mm Elmar (look for the black Wetzlar version), and the lens heads from the 90mm Elmarit or the 135mm Tele Elmar. Leitz made all kinds of adapters for use with other lenses but those mentioned above are the most practical. Let us know if you go with the Visoflex and if you need any further help.
  4. Thanks John
    The 16464 ring will give more focusing capacity to the lenses, right?
    But the bellows II will give more capacity to get a closer focus, and magnifying, am i right?
    Chet, I will use the visoflex for shots that I can prepare and think before, I still think that the system can be useful for a slow workflow, also answering to you, M is a expensive system to get in, but once you are in you can use the 65mm elmar with the camera, so you get a 65mm focal length to work with. Do you?
  5. "IMHO it is not worth the effort." ?
    I would not be so negative about getting a Visoflex. I have two different Visoflex III housings, with 90 degree prism and an upright finder. Three of my M lenses, 50mm/F2 Summicron, 90mm/f2 Summicron and a 13.5cm f4.5 Hektor have removable lens head for use on their respective short focusing mounts for Visoflex. All of your lenses will be useful in the close-up to macro range.
    For the moment, I only have the short mount for the Hektor, which permits infinity focus, and with it's extension tubes, scales to 1:1. It is an excellent lens, and was the standard issue for Leitz Bellows extension units. Many dismiss this lens now because of it's slower maximum f stop. Everyone wants fast, faster and faster. Which is an unfortunate obsession, because the quality of high speed emulsions now is far superior to the film stock when the Hektor was in it's heyday. It harks back to the un-coated screw-mount era, when it still produced very good images, excellent for that period. I don't find 4.5 restrictive at all.
    I find the Visoflex quite enjoyable to use, and once you get the hang of the procedure (nothing is automatic) ... it's a breeze.
    With a Leica screw to M adapter, I also use other lenses such as Rodagon 80mm f4 (plus a tube).
    If you do buy a Visoflex, there's plenty of info out there on the various lenses and adapters, but to make the journey shorter, you can contact me offline, and I'll send you what info I have, which is just about everything.
  6. Brandan,
    I think you should take the hint from Mr. Boyle above. Buy yourself a Leicaflex SL and the 60mm Elmarit macro lens. This will give you Leica quality and a more versatile system then the Visoflex can deliver. Plus you can use the outfit without a tripod and add lenses that are very reasonable today. The only other suggestion I have is try before you buy the Viso. For more info do a google search and you should be able to find the old Leica diagram of what fits and the proper adapters need to make things work. Good Luck.
  7. You are lucky to find a Leicaflex with a meter that works, and none as well as your MP.
  8. With respect Chet, buying a Leicaflex, the most desirable being an SL 2 mot, requires a considerably greater investment, not least the commitment to a range of Leicaflex lenses. Whereas anything (except the 65mm) purchased for the Visoflex can be used both in rangefinder or reflex mode.
    If I were to get into Leitz/Leica reflex photography, I wouldn't look further back than the R5, and no later than R7. But this is not what the post is about.
  9. A visoflex III plus a 65 elmar plus a 16464 is about 600 - 700 USD
  10. Brandon: As others have stated, the visoflex is outdated, but enjoyable to use. The first item IMHO to purchase with a Viso II or III is an appropriate adapter ring if one is not supplied. The 90 Tele-Elmarit will work on the VISO III, but only in a close-up mode. The lens head does not come off of this lens, hence it may not be used for infinity focus. A 35 Summicron will give you an approximate range of 2.1:1 to 5:1. These are larger than life size on the negative. A 50 gives you about 1.4:1 to 3.2:1. I do not have info on the 90TE. Try looking at these two sites for more information.
    This is an address for the Viso II and III manual.
    This is an informative site on the VISO system. Both of these can be found with a search engine and "LEITZ VISOFLEX".
    Good luck.
    Mark J.
  11. Thanks Mark.
    Your answer is what i was looking for, very helpy :)
    So in your opinion the first item is a 16464 adapter?
  12. Brandan, the first item is a Visoflex III housing with viewfinder.
    The 16464 is only useful if you have the corresponding lens heads from M lenses which allow the removal of the head.
    Are my postings not visible on your screen?
    In the above photograph showing the 135 Hektor mounted on the Visoflex III, it is actually in a 16464K focus mount.
    The focus mounts and adapters are many and various. It is pointless spending money on any of them until you decide on a specific lens .
    However, I have just checked, and the only 16464 mounts available at this time are at ridiculous Buy-it-now prices. (they've seen you coming.)
    The PDF files found at the links Mark has given are simply copies of original Leitz booklets, which the PDF author somehow claims copyright to. I could point you to a source of booklet reprints, better than the PDFs, but think I'm wasting my breath here.
  13. Brandan, I used to play with the Visoflexes -- bought them, used them, sold them all. Love their tactility & their solid manufacture. Yes, the 60 Elmarit R is a great lense for normal to macro on an SL or SL2 (don't know why someone above pushes the "mot" version). IMHO, unless you like to play with old Leicas as I do, don't waste your money or time! My biggest M folly at this point is using the 28 Elmarit R and the 21 Super Angulon R on my M2 with the Leica adapter 22228.
  14. ok Kevin.
  15. Brandan,
    All three lenses you mentioned will mount on the Visoflex but will only operate over a very limited focus range (not too useful, but some don't mind). The 16464 adapter is a focussing unit which accepts the 65mm (screw mount) or possibly (one does one doesn't, I forget which) also the screw threaded heads (front parts) of the 90 and 135mm lenses mentioned (not the Tele-Elmarit 90, which does not disassemble into two parts like the others). A 65mm Elmar and the 16464 are good items for the Visoflex and to get even close you will need the 16471 extension tube(s) or a Bellows-2.
  16. As mentioned already, the Viso outfit with your three lenses only gives you extreme close focus and the range is so tight on the 35 and 50 that you'll focus by moving the camera, not turning focus ring. TTL metering is almost a must and you'll need to use Viso style lenses 65 mm or longer to get to infinity with the appropriate focusing mounts and lens heads. Fun to play with but within a year you'll wind up selling it, as the Visoflex system is quite clumsy by todays standards. If you must insist on macro M use, The new 90/4 Macro Elmar- M with macro adapter gets you down to 1:3 at great expense but is quite compact and manageable. The only advantage to the Visoflex is it's cheaper and you can see exactly what you'll shoot SLR style.
  17. Unless the lens was made for the visoflex (such as my 90mm which can screw off the front of the lens and then screw onto a separate focus adapter onto the visoflex) you lose infinity focus. Basically you turn it into a close macro lens. Not really worth it. The 200/4 visoflex lense is a pretty good piece of glass but very heavy. Cheap too, as is my 90/4 Elmar. But I never carry them around.
    Possibly useful for experimentation, but you're really better off with another camera and a macro lens if that is what you want.

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