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.