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SteveYork

Teleconverters for M

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Do they make any good teleconverters for an M? I know they make some off-brand, but are they good. And I know Ms aren't really designed for long lenses, but I'm talking in a pinch, for the odd trip that might require something a bit longer. Anyway, it would sure beat having to invest in an SLR system.

 

And as an aside, it's amazing that you can still find for sale new R6's and good mechanical Nikons (e.g., FM3A) years after they've been discontinued.

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I have used a Kenko teleconerter on film Leicas with very unsatisfactory results. The image quality was poor and the finder difficult to use and inaccurate.

My suggestion would be to purchase a 135/3.4 Apo-Telyt or else a Visoflex III and the optical unit of the 135/4 Elmar or even better, the 135/4 Tele-Elmar (first version). The latter is a better lens than the former, but the differences are not substantial.

Look at some of the threads in the Leica Forum, particularly the contributions of jaapv, who has posted beautiful examples of his pictures.

Teddy

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Guest Luis D

I know only one available teleconverter for Leica-M, calls "Komura Telemore" that is 2X. It has LTM on the rear so can be used with LTM body or M body with addition of a bajonet adapter. It comes with a zooming viewfinder of 2x frames, and the converter couples the lens to the rangefinder. I found out the finder is dim, and the coupler is inaccurate. Also the optics is not great. The only way I was capable to be happy with the quality was to use a longer lens like 90 or 135, and close down to f/8 or f/11. Also because the coupler is inaccurate, I must either focus before fixing the converter, or shoot only at infinity mark. I see at times it for sale at several hundreds $$ and is my opinion not worth it at all. Maybe for $25 it worths to keep it in the bag for emergencies.

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Me too, more than 15 years ago, had a 2x based on Kenko glass, and assembled by a reputed italian lab, with RF coupling : nothing good for using, image quality dropped significantly both with TE 90 and TE 135: I had decent results with Summicron 50 at f8/11, but of course a not so good 100 isn't a great value...old and cheap Elmars 90 were anyway better...

As Luis said, finding one for < 50$ could be worth ... but only at this price.

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Guest Bastian A.

With some patience you get a Tele-Elmar 4/135 for about 200 Euros ... and you will get a much better performance than with any teleconverter.

 

B.

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For sake of completeness regarding Teleconverters

1. Komura teleconverter as discussed in other responses (common and easy to find)

2. Italian conversion discussed in other responses (rare)

3. Russian TK-2 (somewhat rare, but can be found)

4. Leica 1979 prototype (extremely rare) see Viewfinder Vol 28, No 3, pg 20

 

These really are for collectors. If you want to take pictures, buy older real Leica lenses as suggested.

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The main problem with teleconverters on an RF is that they have to have TWO accurate cams, front and back, to maintain proper focus "communication" between the lens and the camera. This is rarely achieved, even if the glass is OK (and most RF converters were built long ago when the glass was pretty mediocre.)

 

By the time APO converters became common with decent image quality (1990 or so), rangefinders were such a niche market that no one ever bothered.

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The main problem with teleconverters on an RF is that they have to have TWO accurate cams, front and back, to maintain proper focus "communication" between the lens and the camera. This is rarely achieved, even if the glass is OK (and most RF converters were built long ago when the glass was pretty mediocre.)

 

Surely they don't need ANY cams, just a sliding bar with a roller at the front to contact the rangefinder cam or coupling on the lens, and a flat surface at the back to contact the roller on the camera. But the length of this would have to be extremely precisely matched to the distance between the front and rear flanges of the converter - to higher precision than the Leica rangefinder cam and follower in order to achieve consistent focusing with different lenses and bodies.

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Surely they don't need ANY cams, just a sliding bar with a roller at the front to contact the rangefinder cam or coupling on the lens, and a flat surface at the back to contact the roller on the camera. But the length of this would have to be extremely precisely matched to the distance between the front and rear flanges of the converter - to higher precision than the Leica rangefinder cam and follower in order to achieve consistent focusing with different lenses and bodies.

 

That's the way in which my old converter was coupled - a flat surface at sliding bar's end towards the body, a tiny rounded vertex at the end towards the lens' cam: it was made, as I said, by a italian Leitz authorized lab, who surely had good experience on Leicas' RF mechanism (RFadjustement was one of their typical tasks... I had my IIIC and M2 RFs re-calibrated by them); but anyway it was clear that a certain degree of tolerancing was in charge... the sliding bar had to be very precise in length, and correctly positioned into the converter mount (which, I remember, was a 4 elements lens assembly) : add to those issue the problem evidenced by Adan - the optical quality of the converter was sufficient and no more - and the image quality + focusing precision of the device was nothing to admire.

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I have the Komura 2x but have never used it (I picked it up for a song a couple of years ago). I have read that the Russian one is the best of the bunch, but I've never seen one for sale.

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