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Infinite possibilities - M8(9) and Apo-Extender-R

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Dear all,

when I am all day out to photograph landscape/nature with my M8, I often come into situations where animals/birds show up at a considerable distance asking for long distance shots, or birds at the beach allow me to approach, a situation asking for macro-at-a-distance shots.

Formerly, I often had a second camera with me for long reach, at least a digital 'compact' super zoomer of the Panasonic FZ type. Since my first choice is the M, I still don't want to carry another camera system.

However, since the M has gone digital, the old Visoflex has become much more usable.

I anyway like the all manual style, even with long Visoflex lenses, and experimenting with them turned out to be great fun and a wide field for discoveries in almost forgotten land...

Usable 200 to >500 mm (theoretically up to 750) equivalent focal lengths came into reach for the M8 with Visoflex ... (many Visoflex lenses strongly profit from the M8's "crop factor")


My first choice for all day outdoor photographing was the sliding focus Telyt 400/6,8.

This long tube fits (dismantled into its two parts), together with the Visoflex2/3, as a lower layer into my small daypack. With its compact shoulder stock (14188 v.1), it is extremely suited for 'hand held' photos, and the necessary regular training is great fun...

Example for a long distance photo ('focus tracking'): see the Sandwich tern / Brandseeschwalbe (Sterna sandvicensis) below,

and an example for macro-at-a-distance (with macro insert 14182, distance is 2,5 m to sensor): http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/924647-post22.html (Prairie dog).

Oops, no R-extenders so far (despite for macro possibly) ...


Acquiring a Focorapid in 2008 extended my flexibility considerably (please see the 'Visoflex interest group' and my related posts ...).

This more compact (and somewhat lighter) rapid manual focus device, with the M8, offers the equivalent focal lengths of ~ 180, 280, 400 and even >500 mm.

The best direct (no 'bricolage') options with the Focorapid are the heads of the Elmar 135/4, of the two Telyts 200 and of the Telyts 280/4,8 (preferably v.3, please see my related posts):


http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/members/37758-albums4542-picture5657.html [sanderling]

and the second image (Herring gull / Silbermöwe, Larus argentatus) below.


Moreover, the heads of the Telyts 280/4,8 can be fitted to the Focorapid in such a way that it can be combined with an (1,4x) Apo-Extender-R delivering a fully usable (and good) >500 mm equivalent focal length for the M8.

This set-up is NOT limited to macro shots, but can be focused to infinity,

please compare here:


The simpliest formula is:

Telyt 280/4,8 v.3 head (modified) - Focorapid (without adapter 14112) - 14167 - 1,4x Apo-Extender-R - 22228 - Visoflex2/3 - M8/9.

Focusing range from below 4 m to infinity (or ~3,5 m to infinity with one additional 16469).


The principle is clear: Shortening the length of a lens system in FRONT of the extender a little bit results in the possibility to extent the length of this lens system BEHIND the extender considerably without changing the focus range from close to infinity.

Or in other words: Something needs to be skipped in front of the R-extender to compensate for the additional length resulting from the standard adaptation of the R-extender to the Visoflex2/3 (This additional length results from the R-to-M-adapter 22228 and from the greater depth of the Visoflex as compared to the R's reflex housing).

[since the Visoflex will always retain its greater depth, I did not care to have specific (less deep) adapters constructed, because they would not have avoided, but only reduced the additional length].

My rational is to avoid specific makings, and instead to use, in principle, only the four possible intermediate rings: M-M (16469), M-R (14167), R-M (22228), and R-R (several types), and perhaps other standard adapters.

Most Visoflex lenses, in such a way, can be combined with an Apo-Extender-R on the VISOFLEX with M8/9 without loosing infinity focus or close focus capacity. The combinatorial possibilities are nearly endless!


The following, last, example made my long focal lengths for the M8 even more compact and light-weight.

Following the above described principle, Visoflex lenses originally designed for the Visoflex 1 (screw mount) can be shortened when used on the Visoflex2/3, and thereby they can be adapted to an Apo-Extender-R without restricting the focus range.

The Visoflex 1 lenses are shortened simply by replacing the OUBIO/16466 (2,25 cm) with a M39-to-M-adapter (14097/98/99) (0,01 cm).

The resulting general formula is:

Visoflex 1 lens (without OUBIO) - M39-to-M-adapter - 14167 - (1,4x)Apo-Extender-R - 22228 - Visoflex2/3 - M8.

Focusing range (almost normal) from close focus to infinity (variable fine tuning is possible with 1 or 2 rings 16469).


My favourite among the Visoflex 1 lenses is the old Telyt 200/4,5 (from the 1950s), because of its compact elegance, its very smooth and fast focusing helicoid and its astonishing image quality when mated to the 1,4x Apo-Extender-R (at apertures 5,6 and 8). On the M8, when coupled to the 1,4x Apo-Extender-R, it is my most compact and light-weight 400 mm equivalent focal length.

Please be careful when building this lens: The rear lens element of the Telyt 200/4,5 and the (protruding) front lens element of the 1,4x Apo-Extender-R (mantled by the adapter 14167!) should come very closely together, just without touching.

Example images:




In addition, these long focal lengths are also used as simple spotting scope 'surrogates' (with the TO-R) whenever I do not take a spotting scope (Televid) with me.

All these applications can be efficiently stabilised with shoulder stocks (14188 v.1, Novoflex Pistock-C) and a good strap (14130 or the similar Sniper). This is interesting whenever one cannot carry a heavy tripod all day (just started testing a Monostat with ball head and Pistock-C).


Best regards, and thanks for your patience,



PS: I couldn't find any description of the possibility to combine the M and Visoflex with extenders of the R-system without restricting the focus range so far (I am applying this system since early 2009, and I would be greatful for hinds to older sources!)

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Visoflex lenses originally designed for the Visoflex 1 (screw mount) can be shortened when used on the Visoflex2/3, and thereby they can be adapted to an Apo-Extender-R without restricting the focus range.

The Visoflex 1 lenses are shortened simply by replacing the OUBIO/16466 (2,25 cm) with a M39-to-M-adapter (14097/98/99) (0,01 cm).




The M39-to-M-adapter (14097/98/99) mentioned above for sure has a 'length' of 0,1 cm (1 mm) (and not "0,01 cm")! Sorry.


I would be grateful (not "greatful") for your experiences with such or comparable solutions (eventually also on other camera systems. Have been experimenting with Four-Thirds and micro Four-Thirds).


A more specific question:

Did you find other "lucky matings" like the (fairly unexpected) good results from pairing the old Telyt 200/4,5 with the 1,4x Apo-Extender-R?


Forgot to attach a "fresh" example photo of a Visoflex 1 lens (again the Telyt 200/4,5) attached to the 1,4x Apo-Extender-R on the M8-Visoflex2/3 while retaining infinity focus (aperture 5,6-8 (6,8), no IR-cut, lens leaned on fence, slightly cropped; relatively close, but too far away for a macro lens):

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  • 1 month later...
Thanks, Telyt !!! I'm writing in my notepad your precious formula .


Zitat von Telyt2003:

The simpliest formula is:

Telyt 280/4,8 v.3 head (modified) - Focorapid (without adapter 14112) - 14167 - 1,4x Apo-Extender-R - 22228 - Visoflex2/3 - M8/9.

Focusing range from below 4 m to infinity (or ~3,5 m to infinity with one additional 16469).


Of those components, I lack only the Apo Extender... I'll begin some chase....


Hi Luigi,



I am not absolutely sure, if you are "only lacking" the 1,4x Apo-Extender-R.


Did you already check, if YOUR (rare "special") sub-version of the Telyt 280/4,8 type 3 head screws into the Focorapid directly ?

(Forget the 14112: It will/cannot not fit into the so-called "adapter" 14112)


I am asking, because it normally should not ! If you have problems with the (normally) necessary "modification" of the type 3 lens head, please let me know.


With the head of my "ordinary" Telyt 280/4,8 type 3, the modification was easy (and quite obvious).

But since you (and some other "lucky few" that possess copies from the last small batch(es) of this lens (a potential type 3 "b", as I would say) described potentially relevant differences as compared to our ordinary type 3 lenses

, the modification of your lens head could be less easy!


To be concrete: If I remember correctly, you described that on the smaller thread of your Telyt 280/4,8 type 3("b") head (the M46 x 0,75 thread), there is a ring secured by a set screw. Is this correct?

If yes, (I would like to know, and) I would strongly recommend contacting the Leica technical information service before touching it.

You may also PM me.


Best regards,



BTW, the above cited recipe also works with the head of the Telyt 280/4,8 type 2 (without any modification). (I did not check the type 1 myself, but it should also work)


PS: I moved your citation here, because I wanted to reply here, in context.

Edited by Telyt2003
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Zitat von Telyt2003


In conclusion, I am currently opting for the Telyt 560/5,6 head (for Televit) and will try to optionally 'short-adapt' it to the Televit to have the possibility of adding the 1,4x Apo-Extender-R in front of the Visoflex2/3 (without restricting the focus range).




Telyt... I do not remember well, but I seem to have read somewhere that the Apo-Extender 1,4 isn't fit for the long 2-elements Telyts 400/560 (while it was for other telecentric long R lenses like the 280/4 & 350 4,8) ; not 100% sure... but better to verify before making some adapter for their usage with Visoflex 2/3...

Should it work fine... a 560x1,4=800 onto Televit would be surely a lot more manageable than the monstrous 800 of my previous shot... (...)

The full citation can be found here: 800 mm f/8 options?


Luigi, thank you for the hind!

I would appreciate it, if you could find the respective information!


I know that the 1,4x Apo-Extender-R was originally intended for shorter designs of the R-system, esp. the Telyt-R 280/2,8 (the pre-modular version), mine is even marked "For R 2.8/280".

However in most combinations which I checked so far, this extender worked quite well, even with Visoflex lenses on the Visoflex2/3


The simple, modular, easy to transport and relatively light-weight 'telescope'-type lenses appear to be predestined to be stretched to an 800 mm f/8 lens.

The question is how?


Using Apo-Extenders of the R-system with 'telescope'-type long lenses, albeit a tempting idea, is probably difficult to realise with reasonably good image quality.


There are some reasons for that such exotic combinations may work nonetheless, at least for me, because I am willing to make compromises


I am not interested in using the '36x24 mm full format' with 'telescope'-type lenses, but want to limit the image area to the format of the M8 ("half-format") or smaller, with reasonble pixel sizes (M9 images, would mostly be cropped down at least a bit, as was previously done with '35 mm' film when exposed with such lenses).

I am thinking of adding the option of an approx. 800 mm focal length with a maximum aperture of only f/8, but not even less (not f/11), to an existing system (as for example the Televit) with the usual 560/600 mm lens heads extended by 1,4x.


(The Telyt 400/5,6, or comparable lens heads, would be too limiting, if combined, for example, with the 2x Apo-Extender-R, resulting in only an 800/11 lens.

On the contrary, it could be interesting as an 560/8 lens, if combined with 1,4x Apo-Extender-R).


The alternative would be a lens head with 800 mm focal length and a maximum aperture of f/8: quite big, and probably a bit heavy, and not so easy to transport, if not constructed in a smart modular way.


I am less interested in an 800/11 lens head, because it is too limiting (as described). The "800/11" options are all (much) "too dark", even in direct sunlight.

For the same reason, also the Noflexar 600/8 on the Pigriff system C combined with the 1,4x Apo-Extender-R, as I currently use it, is not a good solution (I am not convinced by this combination so far).

The same applies to the Novoflex extender TEX (2x) that was specifically designed for the (400 mm ?) achromats of the Pigriff system C (no. 5 in the sheet: Novoflex system C).

Therefore, these latter combinations have been tested so far only from my "arm chair" (not outdoors) with a heavy tripod and too long exposures / too high ISO sensitivities (at shortest 1/500 sec., mostly 1/250 sec., mostly ISO1250). Nothing really practicable.


All comments for the enthusiast welcome!

Best regards,



PS: I moved this reply to your post here: into the context of the Visoflex2/3 used together with Apo-Extenders-R.

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  • 1 year later...
BTW... superenthusiast Telyt2003 with his smart combinations seems no more here around...


Yup, maybe Telyt2003 will tune in occasionally. BTW, here is a system I put together that maybe of interest to you:



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