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Auto-T - the most obscure interchangeable mount ?
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:54 am    Post subject: Auto-T - the most obscure interchangeable mount ? Reply with quote

I just received this -



This is a Kalimar Auto-T 300/5.5

In most ways this is a very ordinary lens, and I don't expect great things from it. It does have one unique feature though - it has an Auto-T interchangeable mount, which must be the most limited and obscure of them all.

The weird world of interchangable mounts has many very strange systems that hardly anyone has heard of, like Komuras Unidapter or Tamrons Adapt-a-matic, that served just one vendor for a limited time. Auto-T is in a world of its own, as it seems to have been available from very obscure makers, or perhaps just one obscure maker, for maybe a couple of years in the early 1970's. In the US I think these were only sold under the Kalimar brand, and possibly in just four mounts (that I know of) - Nikon, Minolta, Exakta and M42. There may be others but I have never seen or heard of them.

I don't know who made this. Kalimar was a US photo-equipment importer, so that does not identify the maker, as Kalimar sold all sorts of things, at one time even Zenits from the USSR. The Kalimar that gave this lens its trademark may or may not have anything to do with the Kalimar medium format SLR or its lenses. Some of these Auto-T lenses may have been sold with the "Kaligar" trade-name, which was also used for lenses of the Kalimar SLR system. These medium format Kaligars were by Fujita, so the Auto-T's might be late products of Fujita. I have seen similar lenses under other brand names, on European ebay I have even seen similar lenses sold as Soligors.



The Auto-T is not, in spite of the name, a modified T-mount like the YS-mount. The lens thread is M44, not M42, and the mount depth and thus the lens focal distance is greater than the T-mount. Mine is a Pentax screwmount adapter, which was possibly the simplest mount. The Nikon version had a separate piece to be mounted on the lens for the "ears", and I think so did the Minolta version. The Exakta may have had an "arm", but I have never seen one. An interesting point - the Kalimar Medium Format SLR lens mount was an M44, perhaps thats further evidence for a relationship. These things might screw right in to a Kalimar SLR.



Additional problems - the mount had to be adjusted so that the diaphragm connections of the lens and mount coincided - hence the arrows on lens and mount. This was not a positive connection to say the least.


PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey you made to me a great deal! Thanks! I suppose this auto T will works with my YS lenses.


PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I have one of those mounts! It's a Nikon mount with auto coupling, looks like a YS but the thread is too big.


PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Rick !

Do you still have a Kalimar SLR ?


PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I do: I have one of the 6x6 SLRs (also known as the Fujita 66 and Soligor 66, made by Fujita), and one of the 35mm "SR200" that's a Zenit E with the Kalimar name on it.


PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm guessing this lens, without the adapter, may screw right onto your Kalimar/Fujita 6x6. Its an M44 thread and the flange focal distance is probably almost 60mm.

Let me know if you want to give it a try.


PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It might, at that. The K66 lens mount is a .75mm pitch, about the same as a 10-32 screw. If it does fit, it will probably not work especially well: it is very unlikely to cover the 6x6 format, and infinity focus would require about a 75mm register. Does the lens have an auto/manual switch? None of the Kalimar 6x6 line had automatic diaphragm sysems.

I'll be happy to give it a try if you like and let you know what happens.

:)=


PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:08 am    Post subject: a bit more info Reply with quote

Bump! This is an old topic, but I'd like to add on to what luisalegria started here.

Several years ago, I bought a Kalimar Auto T 35mm lens. The quirkiness and obscurity of the Auto T lenses appealed to me so I set out to get a copy of each one. I'm not sure if I've found every lens, but I'll share about the ones I have.

My 35 f/2.8 came with a user guide booklet. Here it is:



#1


#2


#3


#4


#5




I have no information about who made theses lenses for Kalimar, but I've taken some portrait shots of my lenses in case there may be clues.
The first group includes the 25mm f/2.8, the 35mm f/2.8 and the 135mm f/2.8:

[EDIT: In case it's not clear, I should note that all my lenses shown here are fitted with an Auto T adapter for M42 mount.]



#6


#7


#8




In addition to the lenses listed in the booklet, I also have a 70-215mm f/3.8 zoom. It's included in this next group along with the 135mm f/2.8, 300mm f/5.5 and 400mm f/6.3:




#9


#10


#11




As you can see on the focus rings, the 25, 35, 135 and 200 have infinity to the left, and for the 300, 400 and 70-215 it's to the right. And the front element rotates with focus on the 300, 400 and 70-215.

The aperture rings have two different scales for different camera models (see booklet), and full stops only.

Considering the age of these lenses (early to mid 1970's ?), they've held up pretty well. Build quality and smoothness of controls is okay. Unfortunately, the minimum focus distances are long-ish and optical performance is average at best.

The 135, 200 and 300 each have decent contrast and sharpness across the frame when stopped down a bit. But the 25, 35, 400 and 70-215 are either uninspiring or just not very good.

The 25 and 35 are useful for close focus wide angle effect, but as landscape lenses they're hopeless: Soft corners at all apertures and generally uneven sharpness. I've tried three copies of the 25 and they were all poor.

The 70-215, apart from being de-centered, isn't terrible. But I find it boring and don't enjoy using it.

Last and least is the 400. It's disappointingly soft. I know other long lenses from this era are sharp, but my Kalimar isn't.


So even though my Auto Ts aren't the best lenses, I've had fun collecting and using them. Here are a few sample shots taken with my Pentax and Canon DSLRs. All have been edited to add contrast, clean up fringing, etc.



#12 (35mm @ f/5.6 with extension tube)



#13 (135mm @ f/2.8)



#14 (400mm @ f/11 - on tripod with mirror lock-up and 2 second delay)



#15 (25mm @ f/5.6)



#16 (300mm @ f/8 - heavy crop)



#17 (200mm @ f/5.6)



#18 (70-215mm @ f/5.6)



Tim


Last edited by 55 on Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:59 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant post Tim!

A true window into obscurity. And quite a collecting coup.
It took several years I bet.
These things aren't common.


PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are some great shots, I especially like #18.

Thanks for this information! I don't recall ever coming across any of these. I have a couple of the Sigma/Upsilon "YS" mount lenses, but as the discussion above indicates, that is the same in concept but a different mount.

rick


PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

luisalegria wrote:
Brilliant post Tim!

A true window into obscurity. And quite a collecting coup.
It took several years I bet.
These things aren't common.


Thank you, Luis. Yes, that post was several years in the making. And as you certainly understand, it was a labor of love.
It took me a long time to complete my collection in part because I'm so cheap! Laughing

The 200mm ended up being my last missing lens. Much earlier in my Auto T journey I saw a 200 on ebay, but decided it was a few $ too many. It then took me at least two more years to find another one for sale.
Lesson learned!

Tim


PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rick_oleson wrote:
Those are some great shots, I especially like #18.

Thanks for this information! I don't recall ever coming across any of these. I have a couple of the Sigma/Upsilon "YS" mount lenses, but as the discussion above indicates, that is the same in concept but a different mount.

rick


You're welcome, Rick. Thank you for your comments.

Yes, I was really happy with the geese shot. It was a good reminder for me that top notch lens quality is usually less important than interesting subject matter.
I'm still not fond of the 70-215 zoom, but I'm glad I had it with me that day!

And it's interesting to hear you mention Sigma YS. I've just recently begun to buy and learn more about those lenses.
But I'm not familiar with Upsilon...
I think it's time to do some research.

Tim


PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There were at least three manufacturers in the YS mount consortium-

Sigma, Sun, and Sankor/Nissin. The Sun zooms are actually the easiest to find.

Of course all three were also often rebranded by importers, notably in the US Aetna (Rokunar) and Spiratone/Accura. And there may have been others too, who knows.

I have just a few YS lenses, but from all three makers. The collecting of YS types may be very challenging as there are quite a lot of them. And no doubt there will be many surprises.

Upsilon may have been an alternate house brand of Sigma's. I have the remains of an Upsilon 300/4 in YS that is unfortunately a hopeless case.


PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Extremely interesting thread. I must have missed it the first time around. This Auto-T system is indeed a rare bird! Kudos on the great sample pics and on amassing that thorough collection! I don't have any in my stash, but I do have a couple of the Kalimar, Kaligar, Soligor lenses in M44 for the Kalimar Reflex that were mentioned in the thread. These lenses are quite a lot fun to use on digital owing to their larger than 35mm image circle. They can make nice tilt/shift options. They also look awesome on digital cameras! Optically, they aren't bad at all.

I have Canon and Nikon adapters for these lenses and I have used them on a variety of digital bodies.

For the sake of staying somewhat on-topic here, I can attest to the fact that the lenses I have are indeed 44mm in diameter with a screw pitch of approximately 1mm (I measured 5 threads in 4.5 mm). The Auto-T could have been derived from the Kalimar/Soligor medium format lens mount design, but, the flange focal distance of the Kalimar MF lenses at 74mm is most likely longer than the auto T . I think standard T mount is around 55 mm? I have attached picks of my small collection below with the Nikon and Canon adapters. In the photos you have a Kalimar Reflex body with the F.C. Kaligar 80mm f/3.5 normal, the H.C. Soligor150mm f/4, 2 copies of the P.C. Kaligar 150mm f/4 and the 52 mm f/3.5 H.C. Soligor wide angle. There's a set of extension tubes in there as well.

Perhaps we may want to start an M44 thread. That's the size of the old Miranda screw mount as well, isn't it?

Best,

Paul









PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

luisalegria wrote:
Brilliant post Tim!

A true window into obscurity. And quite a collecting coup.
It took several years I bet.
These things aren't common.

Totally agree, putting together a collection is usually hard work for a relatively common lens series, but when it becomes slightly obscure good luck, grab what you can when you can, it may be the last time you see them in a long long time.
I learnt this a few times, my Topcor LTM set was a good number of years to collect just 3 lenses.


PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant geese shot indeed Tim!! What amazing colors and structures!!

Guys, you have amassed some amazing collections of rare lenses here! Congrats


PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

luisalegria wrote:
. . .
Upsilon may have been an alternate house brand of Sigma's. I have the remains of an Upsilon 300/4 in YS that is unfortunately a hopeless case.

Thanks, Luis. My close focusing Sigma YS 300 f/4 is real disappointment. On digital it gives low contrast / washed out images.


Lightshow wrote:
. . .
my Topcor LTM set was a good number of years to collect just 3 lenses.

Patience and persistence...

I'm not familiar with your lenses, Lightshow, but they look great!


kds315* wrote:
Brilliant geese shot indeed Tim!! What amazing colors and structures!!
. . .

Thank you, Klaus!


pdccameras wrote:
Extremely interesting thread. I must have missed it the first time around. This Auto-T system is indeed a rare bird! Kudos on the great sample pics and on amassing that thorough collection! I don't have any in my stash, but I do have a couple of the Kalimar, Kaligar, Soligor lenses in M44 for the Kalimar Reflex that were mentioned in the thread. These lenses are quite a lot fun to use on digital owing to their larger than 35mm image circle. They can make nice tilt/shift options. They also look awesome on digital cameras! Optically, they aren't bad at all.

I have Canon and Nikon adapters for these lenses and I have used them on a variety of digital bodies.
. . .

Thanks, Paul. That's a nice Kalimar collection you have. And beautifully presented, too!

I recently bought a Kaligar 150mm f/4 just to see if I could use it on my DSLRs via an Auto T adapter. And it does work - sort of.

Both the Kaligar 150 and Auto T lenses have a 44mm mount. But my rudimentary thread pitch gauge indicates the Kaligar has approx. a .75mm pitch while the Auto T is 1mm. So the Auto T mount won't screw on very far. But it's enough to use the lens as long as I'm careful. And to achieve a useful focus range on my Canon 5D, I also use a 10mm extension tube.



#1


PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:15 pm    Post subject: Re: a bit more info Reply with quote

55 wrote:
Bump! This is an old topic, but I'd like to add on to what luisalegria started here.

Several years ago, I bought a Kalimar Auto T 35mm lens. The quirkiness and obscurity of the Auto T lenses appealed to me so I set out to get a copy of each one. I'm not sure if I've found every lens, but I'll share about the ones I have.

Tim


Thanks Tim. That's wealth of information. I got a Colt 35mm f/2.8 and figured out it is actually a Kalimar. They look identical and Kalimar once had a camera called Colt-44 (4x4 exposure from the internet). One of my very knowledgeable friends told me it is Auto-T mount with 44mm thread. I never know they have such a complete line of lenses before you posted here. I found, however, the 35mm is really at average so I didn't trying to pursue Kalimar's.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're welcome, vivaldibow.

And thanks for the info - I hadn't heard of those Colts.
I learn something new almost every time I visit mflenses!


Tim


PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

55 wrote:
You're welcome, vivaldibow.

And thanks for the info - I hadn't heard of those Colts.
I learn something new almost every time I visit mflenses!


Tim


You are welcome. The brochure of Kalimar you showed is indeed precious as part of the history.