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Best digital camera for use of m39 lenses.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:43 pm    Post subject: Best digital camera for use of m39 lenses. Reply with quote

Hello, I am newly registered here although I have been a frequent visitor long before. I am a manual lens user with my Canon t3i and I have a few collection of m42 glasses. I am curious about m39 lenses and I would like to try some of them, but I can't because of some issues putting them on the eos mount. My question is what modern digital cameras would you recommend that are best for use of m39 lenses? And still be able to use also other mounts like m42, om, c/Y, etc if possible. Otherwise, just for m39 lenses.


PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Best digital camera for use of m39 lenses. Reply with quote

Delzky wrote:
Hello, I am newly registered here although I have been a frequent visitor long before. I am a manual lens user with my Canon t3i and I have a few collection of m42 glasses. I am curious about m39 lenses and I would like to try some of them, but I can't because of some issues putting them on the eos mount. My question is what modern digital cameras would you recommend that are best for use of m39 lenses? And still be able to use also other mounts like m42, om, c/Y, etc if possible. Otherwise, just for m39 lenses.


The M39 (enlarger) lenses I use have all worked fine with a Pentax DSLR, so there shouldn't be significant issues with them on an EOS. You can get EOS-PK adapters which should work with any lens I can use on my DSLR. Rangefinder M39 lenses would have problems as these need to be much closer to the sensor.
IMO mirrorless type cameras are best for adapted lenses, many of these offer focus peaking in the EVF to help with focusing, and the short registration they have greatly increases the number of lenses you can get infinity focus with.
The best mirrorless is highly dependant on what crop factor you want, as well as ergonomic factors etc.
Micro four thirds (Olympus & Panasonic) give a 2x crop and a very compact body.
Sony do a full frame mirrorless range
Most of the other options are APSC.
There are a few such as the Pentax Q range that offer significantly smaller sensors & higher crops than MFT. I feel that these have taken miniaturization too far.

I use a couple of older MFT bodies for most of my adapted lens photography, and often go via a special EOS adapter even though I don't have any EOS lenses (I have adapters that have a built in helicoid or a focal reducer). Any of the other lens mounts you mention can be used with those Smile


PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Best digital camera for use of m39 lenses. Reply with quote

Delzky wrote:
Hello, I am newly registered here although I have been a frequent visitor long before. I am a manual lens user with my Canon t3i and I have a few collection of m42 glasses. I am curious about m39 lenses and I would like to try some of them, but I can't because of some issues putting them on the eos mount. My question is what modern digital cameras would you recommend that are best for use of m39 lenses? And still be able to use also other mounts like m42, om, c/Y, etc if possible. Otherwise, just for m39 lenses.


What type of M39 lenses do you want to use? Rangefinder (RF) lenses such as those from Leitz and Voigtlander (LTM/M39) cannot be used on a DSLR camera due to short register distance of 28.8mm. DSLR start at 42mm (Canon).
Technically RF M39 lenses can be used on any mirrorless digital camera with an shorter register distance: MFT (Panasonic/Olympus), Sony E-mount (NEX), Fuji FX, Canon Eos, Leica-M and Ricoh GXR-M.
What is your budget? When you are asking for "the best" there is no alternative to Leica if you are talking about RF lenses. Wink


PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Best digital camera for use of m39 lenses. Reply with quote

tb_a wrote:
Technically RF M39 lenses can be used on any mirrorless digital camera with an shorter register distance: MFT (Panasonic/Olympus), Sony E-mount (NEX), Fuji FX, Canon Eos, Leica-M and Ricoh GXR-M.


I think you mean EOS-M here.


PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Best digital camera for use of m39 lenses. Reply with quote

DConvert wrote:
tb_a wrote:
Technically RF M39 lenses can be used on any mirrorless digital camera with an shorter register distance: MFT (Panasonic/Olympus), Sony E-mount (NEX), Fuji FX, Canon Eos, Leica-M and Ricoh GXR-M.


I think you mean EOS-M here.


You're right. Though there is no mirrorless EOS. Wink


PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2020 11:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Best digital camera for use of m39 lenses. Reply with quote

Delzky wrote:
Hello, I am newly registered here although I have been a frequent visitor long before. I am a manual lens user with my Canon t3i and I have a few collection of m42 glasses. I am curious about m39 lenses and I would like to try some of them, but I can't because of some issues putting them on the eos mount. My question is what modern digital cameras would you recommend that are best for use of m39 lenses? And still be able to use also other mounts like m42, om, c/Y, etc if possible. Otherwise, just for m39 lenses.


M39 lenses have different flange distances depending on the camera they were intended for. The most known M39 lenses are those for rangefinder cameras first used by Leica (so-called LTM or LSM - Leica Thread Mount or Leica Screw Mount). These have a flange distance of 28.8mm. The longest digital mirrorless flange distance (at least until FF), I believe, is Canon R, which is 20mm. So any digital camera is suitable to mount LTM lenses with the appropriate adapter. Since most M39 lenses are designed for 35mm, you might be best off to consider a full frame mirrorless, though of course they will also work fine on smaller formats, using less of the image circle.

My personal preference is Sony, only because there are many more mounting possibilities. For instance, for Sony there is made an adapter for Leica M to Sony with a helicoid for close focus. A helicoid is nice because generally rangefinder lenses have a limited minimum focus distance. So using a helicoid extends focusing from infinity to quite close. Of course Leica M is not a screw mount, so I add a LTM m39 to Leica M adapter, to use my LTM lenses. As far as I know this helicoid does not exist for any other digital mount. Of course you can use all other 35mm mounts on a digital mirrorless with the appropriate adapter. Again, the greatest range of adapters is made for Sony, although there are adapters for all popular mounts to Nikon Z, Canon R, Fuji X, MFT and other digital standards.


PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 11:57 am    Post subject: Re: Best digital camera for use of m39 lenses. Reply with quote

kymarto wrote:


M39 lenses have different flange distances depending on the camera they were intended for. The most known M39 lenses are those for rangefinder cameras first used by Leica (so-called LTM or LSM - Leica Thread Mount or Leica Screw Mount). These have a flange distance of 28.8mm. The longest digital mirrorless flange distance (at least until FF), I believe, is Canon R, which is 20mm. So any digital camera is suitable to mount LTM lenses with the appropriate adapter. Since most M39 lenses are designed for 35mm, you might be best off to consider a full frame mirrorless, though of course they will also work fine on smaller formats, using less of the image circle.

My personal preference is Sony, only because there are many more mounting possibilities. For instance, for Sony there is made an adapter for Leica M to Sony with a helicoid for close focus. A helicoid is nice because generally rangefinder lenses have a limited minimum focus distance. So using a helicoid extends focusing from infinity to quite close. Of course Leica M is not a screw mount, so I add a LTM m39 to Leica M adapter, to use my LTM lenses. As far as I know this helicoid does not exist for any other digital mount. Of course you can use all other 35mm mounts on a digital mirrorless with the appropriate adapter. Again, the greatest range of adapters is made for Sony, although there are adapters for all popular mounts to Nikon Z, Canon R, Fuji X, MFT and other digital standards.


There are M42 helicoids for other mounts (or via special short M42 adapters) some of which might just be short enough to use LTM lenses via a stepping ring. Though I too generally use e-mount for them now. A few of the LTM lenses are designed to slide inside the body when not in use and some of these can be mounted via zenit m39 adapters & get infinity focus when fully recessed sliding out when you want macro focusing Smile


PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 10:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Best digital camera for use of m39 lenses. Reply with quote

DConvert wrote:
kymarto wrote:


M39 lenses have different flange distances depending on the camera they were intended for. The most known M39 lenses are those for rangefinder cameras first used by Leica (so-called LTM or LSM - Leica Thread Mount or Leica Screw Mount). These have a flange distance of 28.8mm. The longest digital mirrorless flange distance (at least until FF), I believe, is Canon R, which is 20mm. So any digital camera is suitable to mount LTM lenses with the appropriate adapter. Since most M39 lenses are designed for 35mm, you might be best off to consider a full frame mirrorless, though of course they will also work fine on smaller formats, using less of the image circle.

My personal preference is Sony, only because there are many more mounting possibilities. For instance, for Sony there is made an adapter for Leica M to Sony with a helicoid for close focus. A helicoid is nice because generally rangefinder lenses have a limited minimum focus distance. So using a helicoid extends focusing from infinity to quite close. Of course Leica M is not a screw mount, so I add a LTM m39 to Leica M adapter, to use my LTM lenses. As far as I know this helicoid does not exist for any other digital mount. Of course you can use all other 35mm mounts on a digital mirrorless with the appropriate adapter. Again, the greatest range of adapters is made for Sony, although there are adapters for all popular mounts to Nikon Z, Canon R, Fuji X, MFT and other digital standards.


There are M42 helicoids for other mounts (or via special short M42 adapters) some of which might just be short enough to use LTM lenses via a stepping ring. Though I too generally use e-mount for them now. A few of the LTM lenses are designed to slide inside the body when not in use and some of these can be mounted via zenit m39 adapters & get infinity focus when fully recessed sliding out when you want macro focusing Smile


You can use an M42 helicoid plus a M39-M42 adapter ring. The only helicoid that will achieve infinity focus is the 10mm one. The are two available, 10-13mm and 10=15mm. The Leica M adapter plus LTM to Leica M adapter ring has the advantage of having a slightly longer extension plus the fact that the M39 thread is on the adapter instead of the lens. Those M39 to M42 adapting rings are a pain. Of course you could glue one I to the helicoid female thread.

The helicoid is a good idea though if you are trying to adapt to a mirrorless mount other than Sony, if you can find an ultraslim adapter ring from M42 to that mount. It needs to be less than 1mm thick, at least for Sony. Sony flange is 18mm, LTM lenses are28.8. The shortest helicoid I have ever seen is 10mm, meaning that you have less than 1mm to adapt.

Of course you can always get a fixed LTM to whatever mirrorless adapter, but then you are stuck with a rather poor minimum focal distance.

Zenit M39 rings have a minimum thickness of 5mm, so you lose a critical mid-close focus range ideal for flowers, etc.


PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 10:58 am    Post subject: Re: Best digital camera for use of m39 lenses. Reply with quote

[quote="kymarto"][quote="DConvert"]
kymarto wrote:


Zenit M39 rings have a minimum thickness of 5mm, so you lose a critical mid-close focus range ideal for flowers, etc.


Not with the retracting lenses, you can use these partially or completely retracted as required. The longest of my set of tubes on LTM is just right for infinity focus with the lens fully retracted so I usually leave it on the lens now.