Mix And Match
Adapters For Using Lenses On Different Camera Bodies

Two different Hasselblad medium format lenses are adaptable to different 35mm SLR camera bodies (Contax and Leica R) by using the proper Novoflex adapters.

Those of us who use a variety of formats of cameras typically have an extensive array of different brands or makes of lenses in our collection. Often, we might want to use one brand or format lens on another brand or size of camera body, but for years we have been told this is not possible. Since 35mm SLR cameras all have a similar flange to film distance, it normally is not feasible to adapt one 35mm lens to another brand of body, since the lens would not be able to focus to infinity. But, some makes of 35mm lenses can be used with another brand of SLR camera with an adapter. Additionally, medium format lenses have a longer flange to film distance, so these larger format lenses often can be adapted to cover the smaller 35mm format and still retain the full infinity to close focusing range. But, internal coupling for program automatic exposure and flash automation is lost when adapting lenses to another brand or format camera.

Easy Adapt For 4x5
If you work with large format cameras using a lensboard on the front of the bellows-type of camera body, you know that if you acquire a spare lensboard you can have a circular opening cut into it so you can adapt a wide variety of lenses. Getting the correct lensboard is the only problem. Normally, these lenses must have a shutter for conventional use, such as outdoors. But, you can actually use lenses without shutters indoors. I have even used a 50mm lens from a 35mm camera on a 4x5 camera--but for extreme close-up applications only. Simply cap (cover) the lens with something light-tight, load the cut film holder and/or roll back, then pull the dark slide. Now, in a pitch black darkened room situation uncap the lens and fire a flash or turn on a hot light to expose the subject, timing the exposure only with the flash or light duration. Unfortunately, today, few people work with large format equipment, so this relatively easy method of adapting one brand or size of lens to another format camera is not suitable for everybody.

It requires two specific Novoflex adapters to mount a Hasselblad lens onto a 35mm SLR camera body.

Mix & Match 35mm
So, how do you use one brand of lens on any other make of SLR camera? If you have one make of 35mm SLR and another brand of interchangeable lens (for either 35mm format or medium format) there are a few adapters available that will allow you to use the "odd," or normally non-compatible mount lens on your 35mm SLR. Some of these lens adapters only allow the different lens be used for moderate close-up subjects, but some can be used for subjects at all camera to subject distances. Of course, any autofocusing, autoexposure, or automatic flash operation will be sacrificed. But that's a minor inconvenience if you don't have to purchase another expensive lens. All you need is the proper lens adapter for the make of SLR camera body you have that's compatible with the lens you intend to use.

With a medium format lens/35mm SLR body combination you don't sacrifice quality. Typically, good rollfilm SLR lenses are similarly well corrected as the 35mm format lenses and, since they will only be used for a smaller 24x36mm format image field, any minor margin or edge aberrations will be cropped out.

For instance, if you use an 80mm medium format "normal" lens with an adapter for a 35mm SLR camera you will have a medium telephoto lens that's an excellent focal length for portraits. Or a 200mm medium format telephoto would become a 4x telephoto when adapted to 35mm format. Each of your medium format lenses would now have a dual function depending upon which format camera it is attached to. Since these adapters do not transmit normal functions between the lens and camera you do lose the 35mm camera's automatic stop-down aperture feature at the instant of making an exposure. Instead, you will have to manually stop down the medium format lens prior to taking a picture. This makes using a medium format lens adapted to a 35mm SLR slower operating and the viewfinder image would be dimmer because the lens is stopped down. This should be a minor sacrifice for the convenience of using one lens on two entirely different camera systems.

Current Adapter Sources
One firm offering this type of adapter is Novoflex, imported to the U.S.A. by HP Marketing. The Novoflex adapters permit the use of lenses from other manufacturers on the body of various SLR cameras. These adapters will retain the lens' ability to focus out to infinity as well as on nearby subjects. But, since none of the functions between the body and lens are transmitted, you have to determine the exposure with the camera's TTL metering with the lens diaphragm stopped down. Normally you can keep some automation by working in aperture priority, automatic exposure mode. Of course, you can always use a handheld exposure meter and use the camera on manual mode. The Novoflex web site and literature lists the following adapter combinations. For connecting Mamiya 645, Hasselblad, or Pentax 6x7 lenses to 35mm still cameras, you will need two adapters: the adapter for the lens, for instance the Mamiya 645, and the appropriate adapter for the 35mm still camera. The 35mm SLR models include: Canon FD, Canon-EOS, M 42, Contax, Leica R, Minolta MF, Minolta AF, Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax. Other adapters listed in the Novoflex brochure are for using Canon FD and EOS lenses on the Leica M and Leica R and Nikon lenses on the Canon-EOS. In addition, there is an adapter that allows using Hasselblad lenses on the Contax 645. All of these combinations will permit focusing out to infinity.

If you access their web site at www.novoflex.com, check out the Adapter section under "Product" where you can obtain more detailed data. A particularly nice feature at this site is the ability to determine all of the available camera body/lens combination possibilities by first entering the brand/make of SLR camera you have, then, via a pull down menu, determine which lenses can be used on that body.

Another make of adapters have been offered in Europe for many years from the firm Zrkendorfer. They now offer adapters under the more manageable Zrk brand name in the U.S.A. If you have both a 35mm and a rollfilm SLR camera, Zrk Mount Adapters permit using the larger size rollfilm camera lenses on the 35mm SLR. Not only does this save you money, but you only have to carry one lens for both cameras.

Zrk Mount Adapters have a front mechanism to accept the larger diameter rollfilm camera lens and a rear mount to fit the 35mm camera body. The spacing will match the optical register difference (that is the flange/film plane distance) between the two cameras.

Zrk front fittings are available to accept the lenses of the Hasselblad 2000 FC, Hasselblad 500 CM, Mamiya 645, Pentacon Six, and some of the Pentax 6x7 lenses.

Zrk rear fittings are available for practically all current 35mm SLR cameras including: Canon, Contax, Leica R, M 42, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Rollei, Yashica, etc. They also can be used with movie cameras with C-mount fitting and video camcorders having the Sony M 3 bayonet.

The focal length and apertures on a medium format lens adapted down to 35mm format remain the same as when used on a medium format camera. There is no light loss since the actual film to lens diaphragm distance remains the same. A tele-extender (or extension tubes) will alter the film to lens diaphragm distance, thus there is a light loss resulting in a change in f/stop. This is not the situation with a medium format to 35mm lens adapter. An 80mm medium format lens remains 80mm when used on a 35mm format. A 200mm medium format lens adapted to 35mm is still a 200mm.

Since a 200mm is a 4x telephoto for 35mm format, the lens' actual focal length just seems a bit longer when used on the smaller 35mm format. (For example, an 80mm on medium format is a "normal" focal length, but the same 80mm medium format lens when used on 35mm is now a slightly longer 80mm telephoto lens, a focal length often used for portraits.)

Another Zrk adapter is intended for architectural subjects with medium format cameras. For instance, a Mamiya Shift lens f/4-50mm can be modified for use on Hasselblad cameras with focal plane shutter. This adapter allows +/- 16mm shift and a 360 lens rotation of the Mamiya Shift lens. With the broad range of adapters these firms offer, you must be specific about the exact medium format lens and 35mm SLR body you need to adapt to obtain the exact combination you require. Further information about these interesting lens/camera adapters can be obtained from these firms' web sites. Log onto Novoflex.com or Zoerk.com for the latest data about the adapters. Or, contact the U.S.A. importer of Novoflex products, HP Marketing Corp. at (973) 808-9010 or www.hpmarketingcorp.com.