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Budget price Noflexar 'T' 400mm 3 element lens for the 'T'


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Last week I spotted a Novoflex 400mm 'T' Noflexar (with the superior 3 element lens module) listed on Ebay Germany but described as:

 

Das Objektiv hat starke Gebrauchsspuren am Gehäuse, an den Feststellrädern der Schnellschußmechnik fehlt die Gummierung, am Balgengerät fehlt ein Rad (siehe 3.Foto) und leider ist in der Optik ein leichter Belag, die Vergütung der Frontlinse ist fleckig und hat feine Kratzer und die hintere Linse hat ein paar Fungusflecken.Es kann aber noch mit dem Objektiv fotografiert werden.Der Verkauf erfolgt als defekt für Bastler !Lieferung erfolgt wie abgebildet mit montiertem Novoflex PISTAR Stativadapter.Es ist KEIN Kameraadapter dabei ! 

 

Seemed to be worth a punt at just €59 'Buy it Now .. or Best Offer' … so long story short , bought it for £55 inclusive of £16 shipping … and it arrived today.

 

On arrival the lens elements showed no scratches at all but there were fungus spots visible and haze. The rear bellows is jammed closed (thus OK for infinity focus) but I have a spare bellows if required. Examination via a light box suggested the fungus spots were only on the rear element; however, unlike the 400mm '2 element' Noflexars, the lens module does not unscrew from the Novoflex mount - so the rear lens element is not easily accessible. 

 

Using a moist lens wipe on a wooden plant stick, followed by a microfiber cloth on the same stick (both secured with rubber bands), the fungus and haze miraculously wiped off … leaving the lens module beautifully clean and spotless … and again no scratches were visible … contrary to the description.

 

 

 

 

 

Using a Novoflex Canon FD adaptor plus an an FD to Leica M adaptor, the 400mm T Noflexar marries up nicely to my Leica T camera; the lens hood was not included in the sale.  

 

Today is a very dull and overcast thus not suitable for serious lens testing but after resting the lens on my wheelie bin and focusing on a house wall 70 yards distant, the image 'shows promise'. 

 

 

Further experiments but with tripod support and more 'box office' and colourful subject matter to follow.

 

So far very pleased with the purchase as have been looking for a budget price Noflexar T 400mm for some time … but did not anticipate finding one for so ££ little.

 

The lens is allegedly better than the Leitz 400mm Telyt thus will be interesting to compare results using both.

 

Best wishes

 

dunk

Edited by dkCambridgeshire
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Congratulations that your cleaning efforts revealed good lenselements. The first image looks good. Am i right that this lens works as a 600mm on the T? Maybe i am not aware what bellows are precisely, but i am surprised that 70yards falls within infity focus.

 

Have fun! 

Edited by Hunebed
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Yes , on the T the 400mm lens has same angle of view as a 600mm lens on a full frame camera. The brick wall was 70 yards (ish) distant. The lens will focus much closer and also focuses to infinity. Using the rear bellows extension the 400mm lens will focus on a subject at 0.25 magnification on a full frame camera at 3.85m distance … if I've interpreted Novoflex's data tables correctly. 

 

dunk

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What a rig!

 

 

The Novoflex 'follow focus' / 'squeeze focus' telescope lens might look a bit of a handful compared to a telephoto lens but they were commonly used by professionals and press photographers in the 60s and into the 70s - especially at sports events.  The late Victor Blackman of the Daily Express (also a Leica M3 user) was still hiring Novoflex 400mm/ 600mm lenses for use at cricket matches in the early 1980s. They produce images with sharp central definition but with lower contrast compared to modern lenses. Nowadays, because they are relatively inexpensive they offer a very cost effective means of photographing e.g. birds and timid mammals. Leica was still offering its 400mm and 560mm Telyt R lenses in a later type of Novoflex rapid follow focus mount in 1995. It's a very under-rated type of rapid focus mount - something of an acquired taste - but well worth trying and can be as cheap as chips compared to marque telephoto lenses. 

 

dunk

 

EDIT: Forgot to mention … also have the means to use this T Noflexar with another Novoflex mount and Leica 2x and 1.4x APO extenders . I have used the extenders with the regular 'non-T'  2 element 400mm and 600mm and 640mm Noflexars … but only on a very windy day when experienced noticeable lens shake … even with two tripods http://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/249994-t-harnessed-to-vintage-640mm-noflexar-follow-focus-mount/?p=2886721

Edited by dkCambridgeshire
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These lenses are surprisingly high quality optics - glass made by Leica, mechanicals by Novoflex, assembled by Agfa. I had one with a Pigriff3 and I sold it reluctantly. The price you paid is ridiculously low - congratulations.

 

Thanks Jaap … Both your and Doug Herr's previous posts ref the T Noflexar persuaded me to find one for use on the T camera. I'm looking forward to using it in good light.

 

Cheers

 

dunk

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  • 2 years later...

These lenses are surprisingly high quality optics - glass made by Leica, mechanicals by Novoflex, assembled by Agfa. I had one with a Pigriff3 and I sold it reluctantly. The price you paid is ridiculously low - congratulations.

 

 

 

To expand a little on jaapv's post:

 

Jonathan Eastland wrote in his c.1994 Leica M Compendium, page 96:

 

'While Novoflex supply the Rapid Follow Focus unit to Leica for the Telyt lens heads, they do not and never have manufactured the lens head. These are made at Leica GmbH Solms and employ special glass elements cut, ground polished and coated by Leica from blocks supplied by Schott Glaswerke of Mainz. The Novoflex lens heads comprise the 400mm T-Noflexar f5.6 which is of triplet construction to make a single long focus lens and the 600mm f8 which is an achromat of doublet construction. The lens heads, already fitted with polished and coated elements, are supplied to Novoflex by a specialist subsidiary of of Messrs Agfa at Altenstadt'.

 

Thus the 400mm Noflexar T triplet has more than sufficient Leica DNA in its actual three lens elements for it to be deemed a Leica lens … which potentially enables non-Leica ICL cameras to produce Noflexar T long focus images with a Leica glass footprint 

 

dunk  

Edited by dkCambridgeshire
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  • 7 months later...

I've misinterpreted Jonathan Eastland's Novoflex lens heads descriptions by assuming that the 400mm Noflexar T and 600mm Noflexar lens heads were made by Leitz. They were not. Jonathan Eastland clearly states the lens heads were 'supplied to Novoflex by a specialist subsidiary of Messrs Agfa at Altenstadt' … which must have been Staeble Optic Altenstadt near Schongau … Agfa having purchased Staeble Optic in 1969. And I am advised that production of tubes, bellows, grips and assembly thereof was by Novoflex at their Memmingen factory … and not by Agfa.  

 

dunk 

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The glass was by Leitz and the assembly of the optical cells by Agfa.

 

 

Today I received a communication from Martin Grahl (who is employed by Novoflex) via the Facebook Leica 601 User’s Group (administered by Jono Slack) advising that :   

 

 

‘ … with the exception of the Leitz Telyt 6.8/400 and 560 Heads, all other lens elements available for the Novoflex Follow Focus Lenses have been computed and produced by Staeble Optik in Schongau. Leitz was not involved.’ 
 
Best wishes

 

dunk

Edited by dkCambridgeshire
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The glass was by Leitz ...

Certainly not.

 

 

... have been computed and produced by Staeble Optik ...

This statement is consistent with the information I got directly from Novoflex approx. ten years ago. The former German lens maker Staeble is the mastermind behind the Noflexar lenses (this also includes the 35 mm Macro-Noflexar lens as well as the 60 mm and 105 mm Macro-Noflexar bellows lens heads).

Edited by 01af
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  • 2 weeks later...

Last week I spotted a Novoflex 400mm 'T' Noflexar (with the superior 3 element lens module) listed on Ebay Germany but described as:

 

Das Objektiv hat starke Gebrauchsspuren am Gehäuse, an den Feststellrädern der Schnellschußmechnik fehlt die Gummierung, am Balgengerät fehlt ein Rad (siehe 3.Foto) und leider ist in der Optik ein leichter Belag, die Vergütung der Frontlinse ist fleckig und hat feine Kratzer und die hintere Linse hat ein paar Fungusflecken.Es kann aber noch mit dem Objektiv fotografiert werden.Der Verkauf erfolgt als defekt für Bastler !Lieferung erfolgt wie abgebildet mit montiertem Novoflex PISTAR Stativadapter.Es ist KEIN Kameraadapter dabei ! 

 

Seemed to be worth a punt at just €59 'Buy it Now .. or Best Offer' … so long story short , bought it for £55 inclusive of £16 shipping … and it arrived today.

 

On arrival the lens elements showed no scratches at all but there were fungus spots visible and haze. The rear bellows is jammed closed (thus OK for infinity focus) but I have a spare bellows if required. Examination via a light box suggested the fungus spots were only on the rear element; however, unlike the 400mm '2 element' Noflexars, the lens module does not unscrew from the Novoflex mount - so the rear lens element is not easily accessible. 

 

Using a moist lens wipe on a wooden plant stick, followed by a microfiber cloth on the same stick (both secured with rubber bands), the fungus and haze miraculously wiped off … leaving the lens module beautifully clean and spotless … and again no scratches were visible … contrary to the description.

 

swab-on-stick-rslf.jpg

 

swab-in-lens-rslf.jpg

 

Microfiber-on-stick-rslf.jpg

 

whole-rslf.jpg

 

Using a Novoflex Canon FD adaptor plus an an FD to Leica M adaptor, the 400mm T Noflexar marries up nicely to my Leica T camera; the lens hood was not included in the sale.  

 

Today is a very dull and overcast thus not suitable for serious lens testing but after resting the lens on my wheelie bin and focusing on a house wall 70 yards distant, the image 'shows promise'. 

 

wall2-rslf.jpg

 

Further experiments but with tripod support and more 'box office' and colourful subject matter to follow.

 

So far very pleased with the purchase as have been looking for a budget price Noflexar T 400mm for some time … but did not anticipate finding one for so ££ little.

 

The lens is allegedly better than the Leitz 400mm Telyt thus will be interesting to compare results using both.

 

Best wishes

 

dunk

 

I hope you left a positive feedback for the seller!

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I used the 2-element a lot in the past when I was a quite active wildlife photographer, but at one point in time I swapped it for the Telyt-R 6.8/400. I recall the Telyt being a superior lens, but this may not be so for the 3-element 400mm. I would be very interested to know the results if you compare it to the Telyt. The Novoflex certainly is a good value option for the occational need for a 400mm.

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Ivar, I will endeavour to use both the 400/6.8 Telyt and Noflexar T 400/5.6 side by side and compare the results.  Incidentally, I need not have use the 'cleaning stick' to clean the Noflexar T lens head because it unscrews easily … but this was not apparent at the time of purchase. I have also acquired the Novoflex 600mm follow focus lens; both lenses are being used with Leitz APO R 1.4x and 2x extenders with good results e.g.  http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=37582

 

dunk 

Edited by dkCambridgeshire
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I used the 2-element a lot in the past when I was a quite active wildlife photographer, but at one point in time I swapped it for the Telyt-R 6.8/400. I recall the Telyt being a superior lens, but this may not be so for the 3-element 400mm. I would be very interested to know the results if you compare it to the Telyt. The Novoflex certainly is a good value option for the occational need for a 400mm.

I used the triplet 400 quite often, it was a very good lens. I sold it because of the size. The best extender was the Novoflex "TEX", quite hard to find.

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