Berlin and Moscow – Optics and Cameras

I like working with film, but probably the thing that attracts me the most in analog photography,
is working with beautiful made, late war ( WW II ) and cold war cameras and lenses.
Don’t get me wrong, pre-war cameras and lenses are also beautiful to look at,
but for someone that really wants to use those things, equipment from the late 40’s, to 70’s,
is more likely to work.

The attraction of that period are elements found in Bond movies,
Russian espionage movies in which KGB and secret agents appear.
It has a flair of romance, but at the same time it remains mysterious and intriguing.
Those where the golden years of technological advancement in photography,
of which many blueprints are still used today in modern equipment.
Therefore, the challenge is to combine these vintage cameras and lenses
with those we use today.
The result of this combination vintage/new is a personalised way of creating pictures with an added value.

Although I think they are not for novices, there is much to find and learn on the internet.
This has proven to be a necessity, the way to operate these old slrs and rangefinders, is not for
someone that has no background information or experience in this selected field of photography.

Operating these old cameras the wrong way can result in serious damage, and leaving your special camera in a worthless state.
The only thing I sometimes worry about, is that this information goes lost in time.
Therefore I’m trying to make a compilation of the essential information, and find a way to make it available for
anyone to view or download.

The cameras and lenses we are interested in are from an interchangeable sort.
To put camera and lens together you need some kind of coupling we commonly name “mount”
Some Googling will learn that there are more than 100 kind of mounts.
Today there are a about a dozen commonly used mounts divided between the most known brands like Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji, Pentax …
Sometimes digital mirrorless cameras have other mounts than there bigger brothers, the DSLR.
So, is it possible to mount any lens to any camera ?
With the right adapter, in most cases it can.
However, there are also some more exotic types that will be difficult to impossible.
Also, some presumed widely used mounts, like the old Leica standard M39, can be a pain if you are not up to date with the following information.

First thing you really need to know is : Flange-to-Film distance or Register.
FTF or Register is the distance between/from flange to film, or mount to film, and thus also flange/mount to sensor.
This distance ensures that the focus of the lens falls on the right place.
Otherwise told, you can assume that a lens is made compatible to a certain mount.
However, remember the earlier mentioned Leica M39, where this is not always the case, but that will be explained later.

An example :
If you want to mount an M42 lens to an analog or digital camera with a different mount, than you need an adapter with following characteristics :
– Lens mount M42
– Camera mount ( your camera )
– LTM or register of your camera minus the register of the lens,
an M42 lens has a register of 45,6mm
Lets say you have a Fuji X Pro 1, this camera has a register of 17,7mm
So, you need an adapter with a length of (45,6 minus 17,7) 27,9mm length
If you buy a cheap adapter, and its length is not exactly 27,9mm, you will have trouble focusing the lens.

For now I only want to show you what FTF or Register is.
In the next video I hope it will all be clear.

to be continued

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