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Novoflex Information


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#1 Robert_M

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 03:03

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There have been some recent threads in the M9 forum on the Novoflex Follow Focus systems. I have several pieces of old literature on these (which came with used equipment purchases) and I said I'd post the information. I thought this forum area was a more appropriate location. If the moderators feel it is better elsewhere, feel free to move it to the appropriate location.

First, some terminology and background for those unfamiliar with the Novoflex systems.

1) Original Pigriff: Sometimes called Pigriff A, however, I have not seen any literature from Novoflex referring to this in any way other than just "Pigriff". This is a Pistol Grip Follow Focus system which seems to have been first offered in the mid-1950's. The interface at the camera end of the pistol grip uses the LTM 39mm x 26tpi thread. Since the flange-to-focal plane distance of the Pigriff is 100mm, there is plenty of room for adapters and spacers for all available camera systems.

By about 1960, I've seen 4 lenses were on offer with this system.
- 240mm f/4.5
- 300mm f/5.6
- 400mm f/5.6 (this is the most common I've seen on the used market)
- 640mm f/9

The 400mm and 640mm lenses were doublets and used the same F-stop mechanism so that just the lens head is necessary for interchange. In fact, the F-stop mechanism (called PIFAS) is marked on the f-stop ring for both lenses.

Also available was a bellows system in LTM at both ends for attaching for attaching to the Pigriff. I believe this was called BAL-S.

For visoflex use, one needs the VISLEI-P adapter. This is used without the bellows unit. The adapter allows use of the camera in both horizontal and vertical position. The adapter seems hard to find and expensive. An alternative (my solution) is to find a LTM (39mm) spacer tube of 30mm length and use a LTM to M mount adapter. With that, you are only 0.2mm off. This is easily adjusted out with the infinity stop mechanism.

One will often find this version of the system with a PITUB-J spacer tube and then an adapter to the camera. The system was used with several SLR cameras of the day. The PITUB-J tube took up the available space that a BAL-S unit would use, compressed. The PITUB-J unit is 36.5mm long.

2) About 1965, it seems the Pigriff B system was introduced to replace the original Pigriff system. The main change is that there is a breach-lock bayonet mount at both the lens end and the camera end of the Pistol Grip (Pigriff). Same flange-to-focal plane distance. Same lens heads (with minor evolution in some cases). The lens offerings were now
- 280mm f/5.6
- 400mm f/5.6
- 640mm f/9

The optional bellow attachment now used bayonet mounts and is referred to as BAL-U. Adapters could take the Pigriff-B to the camera or the BAL-U to the camera. The pdf files attached in the following posts give more detail.

The manual for the Pigriff-B is dated as a 1965 printing, so I assume that is a fairly accurate date for the introduction of this system.

For visoflex users: One needs the VISBA adapter direct to the PIGRIFF-B. For use with the bellows, a VISA adapter is needed , however, infinity focus is not possible unless one shortens the optical system elsewhere. Do a search in the M9 forum for some details and solutions.

From the literature, one will see that there were many attachments available for the Pigriff-B. Gun stocks to steady, tripod mounts, etc.

3) Sometime later, a triplet lens was introduced for the 400mm f/5.6. This is labeled as a "T-Novoflexar" (ie T for triplet). This was available for both the Pigriff-B and later Pigriff-C systems. This lens appears to be a better performer but since I do not have one, I can't comment. In addition, it seems the 640mm lens was dropped and replaced with a 600mm f/8 lens.

4) Pigriff-C: This is a further evolution which seems to make the system more elegant and integrate many of the options into a simpler system. I do not have one, so will leave it to others to comment. In addition, there was a Pigriff-D system. Available lenses for the Pigriff-C:
- 400mm f/5.6 (both doublet and triplet versions)
- 600mm f/8 doublet

Someone else can add more information here about the Pigriff-D system and uses of Leica Telyt lens heads.

Ok, enough with the background. The following posts give the pdf files with some comments. I don't want to post too much bandwidth at once.

RM
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#2 Robert_M

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 03:18

Attached is a pricelist (in USA) from 1969. Note that some of the adapters for the original Pigriff system were still available in 1969 and were still in use with a bellows system, although the system was several years out of date.

RM

Attached Files


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#3 Robert_M

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 03:21

Attached is the pricelist from 1974.

Attached Files


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#4 Robert_M

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 03:24

Attached is a summary table of adapters and ordering numbers. This was a large, A3 poster size piece of paper and you will see that I've scanned it into A4 sizes (in pairs) since my scanner is only A4 max.

Attached Files


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#5 Robert_M

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 03:30

I've got much more, but I now realize the scanned pdf files are too large. I'll break it up or reduce and send more later. Sorry.

RM

#6 Robert_M

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 16:30

Ok, had to rescan at a lower resolution to meet the pdf size limits here. Seems to be OK now.
Here is the Novoflex Catalog for 1973 (split into 2 files). This is very useful for understanding the various parts, options, adapters, bellows, etc.

RM

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#7 Robert_M

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 16:33

And, here is the instruction manual for the Pigriff-B, which should have come with the device.

I see that there are sharks on ebay who will sell you xerox copies of this manual and the catalog for 10s of $ each. Enjoy the free version here.

RM

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#8 Telyt2003

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 17:40

Robert,
thank you very much for your efforts to provide the catalogues and instructions for the older Novoflex Pigriff systems! Very welcome.

(...)
For visoflex users: One needs the VISBA adapter direct to the PIGRIFF-B. For use with the bellows, a VISA adapter is needed , however, infinity focus is not possible unless one shortens the optical system elsewhere. Do a search in the M9 forum for some details and solutions. (...)


For those interested,
please have a look at some possibilities for shortening the length of the Novoflex system(s) to be able to use them on the Visoflex2/3 while retaining infinity focus AND the full additional extension for close focus, be it the Pigriff (B) with bellows, or be it the Pigriff-C with integrated extension tube.

1) In some cases, the lens head itself can (simply) be shortened:
- for the Noflexar 600/8 lens head, please compare here:
http://www.l-camera-...00-8-first.html and
http://www.l-camera-...9807-post9.html
- for the Novoflex-adapted Telyt 560/6,8 lens head,
please see here (the normal adaptation):
http://www.l-camera-...026-post38.html
http://www.l-camera-...325-post44.html
I would propose to shorten such an adapter tube, or to make it modular so that it can be shortened by ~16-20 mm for use with Visoflex2/3.

2) Novoflex formerly provided (no longer provides) a service for shortening the length of the system © by replacing the front part of the Pifas(-C)-unit, a "spacer ring" with a shorter version (This should also work with the Pifas-B for system B).
Thereby, all Novoflex-Pifas-compatible lens heads (with the M77,5 x 0,7 thread) can be focused to infinity and the addtional extension remains functional with the Visoflex2/3 (adapted via the adapter VISA).
Please see here for Jaap's description:
http://www.l-camera-...943-post11.html
http://www.l-camera-...783-post19.html
and some more detail here:
http://www.l-camera-...589-post17.html

3) For your consideration: It has been proposed to shorten the system by taking out the front part of the PIFAS (i.e., the "spacer ring") completely.
http://www.l-camera-...234-post18.html
Please compare my comment here:
http://www.l-camera-...487-post19.html
However, this was not intended by Novoflex, and may result in technical problems (with the iris mechanism of the PIFAS-unit). Not recommended. Please compare here:
http://www.l-camera-...226-post30.html
To my experience, this works not nicely with the Noflexar 600/8 (the connection isn't really stable without further alterations/breaking internal rings against stray light),
and it does not work at all with the T-Noflexar 400/5,6 (because of its protruding rear lens element).
Could not check this with the (no T) Noflexar 400/5,6 since I don't have it (testing is underway here: http://www.l-camera-...553-post40.html).

Best regards,
Telyt2003
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#9 Telyt2003

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 17:59

There have been some recent threads in the M9 forum on the Novoflex Follow Focus systems. (...)

3) Sometime later, a triplet lens was introduced for the 400mm f/5.6. This is labeled as a "T-Novoflexar" (ie T for triplet). This was available for both the Pigriff-B and later Pigriff-C systems. This lens appears to be a better performer but since I do not have one, I can't comment. (...)


Please compare my post on the T-Noflexar 400/5,6 on the Pigriff system C (and its compatibility with the Visoflex2/3) here:
http://www.l-camera-...887-post43.html

(...)
4) Pigriff-C: This is a further evolution which seems to make the system more elegant and integrate many of the options into a simpler system. I do not have one, so will leave it to others to comment. (...). Available lenses for the Pigriff-C:
- 400mm f/5.6 (both doublet and triplet versions)
- 600mm f/8 doublet
(...)
RM


Please see the Novoflex system C sheet here:
http://www.l-camera-...l1060164-sm.jpg
and some additional experiences with the Pigriff system C (incl. when used with the Visoflex2/3 ;)) as a beginning:
http://www.l-camera-...314-post31.html
http://www.l-camera-...771-post41.html
http://www.l-camera-...00-8-first.html

Best regards,
Telyt2003

#10 wildlightphoto

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 00:09

3) Sometime later, a triplet lens was introduced for the 400mm f/5.6. This is labeled as a "T-Novoflexar" (ie T for triplet)... This lens appears to be a better performer


The triplet was named "T-Noflexar". At f/5.6 its performance is nothing to get excited about however at f/8 its performance is quite good, though with a color rendition I'd describe as "pastel" when compared with the Leitz 400mm f/6.8
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#11 Telyt2003

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 16:43

It is a pity, that the triplet T-Noflexar 400/5,6 on Pigriff system C cannot be adpated to the Visoflex2/3 as proposed here for the (no T) Noflexar 400/5,6, since it is physically impossible to screw the T-Noflexar into the rear part of the PIFAS-C unit (i.e., with the PIFAS-C's front part, the "adapter ring" removed; please compare PIFAS-C complete and PIFAS-C without its adapter ring).

This lens, the T-Noflexar, will only focus to infinity with the Visoflex2/3, if the Pigriff system C is adapted as was intended by Novoflex: By replacing the front part of the PIFAS-C unit (the "adapter ring") with a shorter version. (Please compare above: Novoflex adaptation to Visoflex2/3). Into this shorter "adapter ring" of the PIFAS-C unit, also the T-Noflexar 400/5,6 lens head apparently screws directly (as shown by Jaap).

I called Novoflex once more to ask them, if they by chance have any of the shorter "adapter rings" for the PIFAS-C left over, but the answer (by the boss) was a clear NO! (nothing left, nothing made any longer).

Thus, the only way to adapt the T-Noflexar will be having this shorter ring made by ourselves :rolleyes:.
Anybody possessing a Visoflex2/3-adapted (done by Novoflex) Pigriff system C willing to take the measures, please? ;)

Best regards,
Telyt2003

Edited by Telyt2003, 27 July 2011 - 16:58.


#12 jaapv

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 16:48

I sold mine - the last one done by Novoflex- to a forum member, Rip is in contact with him :)
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#13 Nick_S

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 08:18

I tried to get Novoflex to supply a Visoflex adapter for their final system, with the Leica lens units, but they were unable/unwilling to do so. They insisted that they could only supply for the R system. It is a pity as it now looks like the M-bodies are the ones which will remain available in the future.

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#14 jaapv

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 09:13

:confused:I think Rip bought a VISA very recently.
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#15 Telyt2003

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 09:40

I tried to get Novoflex to supply a Visoflex adapter for their final system, with the Leica lens units, but they were unable/unwilling to do so. They insisted that they could only supply for the R system. It is a pity as it now looks like the M-bodies are the ones which will remain available in the future.

Nick


Nick,
the "final system" of Novoflex should be a Pigriff system D, shouldn't it.

There are several major differences to the former systems B and C that make it incompatible with their lens heads, and in addition it is no longer possible to (relatively easy) adapt the system D to the Visoflex2/3 while retaining infinity focus.
Thus, Novoflex is, in fact, unable, as probably nearly anybody else, to do such an adaptation! (if possible at all, this adaptation would be quite laborious with the system D).
The major differences, as compared to the Pigriff systems B and C:
(The system C otherwise is very similar to the system D)
- The system D, to my knowledge, no longer consisted of separate Pigriff (focusing) and Pifas (iris) units, but both had been integrated into one unit (the "PIGRIFF-D").
- Moreover, at the front end (of the iris "unit"), there apparently no longer is a "spacer ring", as was before with the PIFAS units of system B and C. This "spacer ring" was formerly replaced by a shorter version to shorten the systems B and C for adaptation to the Visoflex2/3. This is probably not possible (or, at least more laborious) with the PIGRIFF-D.
- Instead of the Novoflex standard lens head thread (M77,5 x 0,7), there is a new bayonet for the two Leica lens heads (Telyt 400/6,8 and 560/6,8) in special mounts (the standard Leica versions of these lens heads cannot be mounted).

Since the old Novoflex bayonet for the camera adapters (at the camera end) was not changed (as far as I know), the PIGRIFF-D, in principle, can still be used with the Visoflex2/3, but then not focused to infinity, because the optical system is too long.
What you need for this, is the famous adapter VISA (see here: http://www.l-camera-...-real-visa.html). It is still supplied by Novoflex, I just ordered it.

Best regards,
Telyt2003

As you likely know, it exists also a "Leica version" of the complete PIGRIFF-D with the two lens heads that had a fixed (as fas as I know) R-bayonet at the camera end, offered from 1990-1995.
Please compare the Leica Pocket Book, 7th ed., p.230 (in the German edition).
Here is an image from a recent offer (with only the special Telyt 560/6,8 lens head):
Attached File  PigriffD-Leica-560_27-7-11-3-LUF.png   113.38KB   744 downloads
It appears to be the "Leica version" of the PIGRIFF-D, but contrary (?) to the unit shown in the Leica Pocket book, it has the exchangeable camera adapters (with rubberised bayonet ring). However, I do not know, if "Leica" was not always imprinted to it because of the lens heads ...

Edited by Telyt2003, 28 July 2011 - 10:01.
typos


#16 Telyt2003

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 14:16

:confused:I think Rip bought a VISA very recently.

(...)
What you need for this, is the famous adapter VISA (see here: http://www.l-camera-...-real-visa.html). It is still supplied by Novoflex, I just ordered it.
(...)


It is even better: The VISA is an 'actually existing' adapter! ;)
I just GOT it from Novoflex.

So, the VISA can still be ordered (it is listed in the pricelist, but probably not listed among the products on the website. I phoned them for ordering).

It answers to its full name of "VISA - Anschlußring Visoflex II+III (an Baluni)", as well as to its short name "VISA" :D

Telyt2003

#17 Robert_M

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 16:34

The VISA is also the visoflex adapter to the Novoflex bellows system. Thus, it is not just for the follow focus application and that is probably the reason Novoflex continues to offer all these adapters. Indeed, the VISA is not on their web site. I emailed the US distributor about a month ago and got a fast reply that confirmed that the VISA was still available from them by direct order. Also, it is listed at B&H Photo on-line at a better price than from the distributor. There is probably a bit of a delivery time for this. Be prepared that the item is pricey - at about a 50% premium over the same adapter for other cameras. I guess it reflects what the market will bear....

RM

#18 Telyt2003

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 17:58

The VISA is also the visoflex adapter to the Novoflex bellows system. Thus, it is not just for the follow focus application and that is probably the reason Novoflex continues to offer all these adapters. (...)


Robert,
thank you, surely it is normally thought for use with the Novoflex bellows system.
Therefore its nice full name :D ('Adapter ring Visoflex2/3 to Baluni bellows unit'):

(...)
It answers to its full name of "VISA - Anschlußring Visoflex II+III (an Baluni)" (...)


The main reason that they offer(ed) the VISA adapter was (and maybe is) the bellows system.
That the VISA also fits to the Pigriff follow focus systems (B and C) and connects them also to the Visoflex2/3 - but then does no longer allow "correct" focus, is a (not really wanted and exotic) side product of the Novoflex bayonet - Novoflex will not (at least no longer) deliberately point you to this possibility.

The main reason that they still offer the VISA adapter today, as far as I understood them, is that they still HAVE it, albeit they no longer produce it.

(...)
Also, it is listed at B&H Photo on-line at a better price than from the distributor. There is probably a bit of a delivery time for this. Be prepared that the item is pricey - at about a 50% premium over the same adapter for other cameras. I guess it reflects what the market will bear....
RM

Here I have to contradict: Compared to the other adapters they currently offer, it is not pricey (it may be even considered a special offer).
(Within Germany, I got it in less than 3 days.)

Best regards,
Telyt2003

Edited by Telyt2003, 28 July 2011 - 18:00.


#19 Robert_M

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 02:52

Here I have to contradict: Compared to the other adapters they currently offer, it is not pricey (it may be even considered a special offer).
(Within Germany, I got it in less than 3 days.)

Best regards,
Telyt2003



The B&H web site will give you the prices we have to pay here. Better than Europe, probably. But remember, they do not include tax. A couple of the prices:
- NIKA (Nikon) $115
- NEXA (New Soney NEX) $125
- CANA AF (Canon EOS) $120
- LEA R (Leica R) $125
- VISA (Leica Visoflex) $160

Hardly what I'd call a "Sonderangebot" for the VISA. :( And, hence my comment that the VISA is pricey compared to the other offerings. It is ironic that I can find Pisgrif and lens systems on ebay for $70 - $200 and then must pay $160 plus shipping for a simple adapter. Hence my emotional response (yes I know it is not rational in the larger scheme of things).

Actually, I'm working on a bricolage version of a VISA and will post if I succeed.

Best,

RM

#20 Telyt2003

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 10:09

The B&H web site will give you the prices we have to pay here. Better than Europe, probably. But remember, they do not include tax. A couple of the prices:
(...)
- VISA (Leica Visoflex) $160
(...)

Incredibly overpriced! :mad: (if compared to the Novoflex pricelist and to the other adapters mentioned!)

(...)
Hardly what I'd call a "Sonderangebot" for the VISA. :( And, hence my comment that the VISA is pricey compared to the other offerings. (...) Hence my emotional response (yes I know it is not rational in the larger scheme of things). (...)

I agree, I did not take it personal ;).

(...)
Actually, I'm working on a bricolage version of a VISA and will post if I succeed.
Best,
RM

I am looking forward to it!

With the VISA adapter, focusing the (unaltered) Pigrif system C on the Visoflex2/3 is quite comfortable, even with the T-Noflexar 400/5.6 lens head. As you calculated exactly, the system is "only" 15,9 mm too long for infinity focus.
If adapted via VISA, focus with the T-Noflexar 400/5,6 ranges from approx. 4,5 m to more than 10 m (without the extension tube), and down to approx. 2 m with the full extension of the Pigriff-C. Not perfect (a bit limiting), but quite usable for my taste (In most situations, I can cope without infinity focus, because I mostly use this system for shorter distances and macro-at-a-distance anyway).
(And since the Noflexar 600/8 lens head can be shortened :), it can be focused from below 5 m to infinity with the same otherwise unaltered Pigriff system C).

Best,
VISA2003

Edited by Telyt2003, 29 July 2011 - 10:11.

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