Lens-Hack #2 – Converting a Trioplan 50 2.9 Altix lens to Canon EOS – DIY style
This time Ralph brings us this beautiful DIY experience and shows us insights on how to use Altix lenses on a Canon EOS camera. Alot of great classic lenses where made for the Altix cameras, including the superb Meyer-Optik Görlitz Telefogar 3.5 90, Primagon 35mm 4.5 and the Carl Zeiss Tessar 2.8 50. The beauty about the Altix lenses is that they are very cheap on eBay, mostly because Altix adapters are very rare and rather expensive. So put your DIY skills to work and get some of these old gems:
I stumbled on a Kickstarter campaign which was looking to restart a modern production of the Meyer-Optik Görlitz 50mm f2.9 Trioplan camera lens. On the Kickstarter page, there were some sample pictures taken with this new lens with an old optical design and the effects that the lens had on backlight highlights and the bokeh were simply stunning. This lens was known for creating a “soap bubble” effect and it caught my attention.
I love photography as a hobby and have a range of Canon L series lenses and therefore couldn’t really justify the cost of a new lens in a focal range that I already had covered. So I started searching the internet looking for more information about this vintage camera lens manufacturer. In the process, I came across a youtube video which explained how one of these old lenses could be converted to fit a modern DSLR (or micro 4/3 fit). Subsequently, I had a search on Ebay and found that there was a selection of these lenses available for a fraction of the cost of the kickstarter campaign so I purchased one online.
The lens to convert has an Altix N mount. This mount consists of three small flanges on the rear of the lens and the diameter of the mount (measured from the flanges) is 42.5mm.
There are standard M42 mounts and adaptors to fit most Camera mounts available. As a Canon user, I purchased a few M42-EF adaptors (as I assumed that multiple attempts were going to be necessary with my DIY skills).
I mounted the M42 adaptor onto my camera body and marked with a scribe where the vertical position needed to be as this should line up with the central marker on the Focus ring on the Trioplan lens. Having done that, the adaptor was removed from my camera.
I then placed some masking tape over the back of the M42 adaptor and lined up the lens with the adaptor making sure that the focus ring was against my mark on the adaptor. This allowed me to pencil where the either side of the flanges were on the adaptor ring. Once this was done, I took the adaptor and a small metal file and carefully removed a small notch out of the M42 adaptor where each of the flanges wouldn’t fit. I did this several times until I had removed the 0.5mm difference from the M42 threads and the trioplan lens would slide into the adaptor with a snug fit. In order to secure the lens in place on the adaptor, the video suggested using a hot glue gun. I tried several times to do this but, given the three flanges, by the time I had applied the glue to all three and then tried to attach the lens, the first blob of glue had cooled too much So, I resorted to using a tiny amount of epoxy on the back of the flange & adaptor just to hold in place. This whole process (excluding the adaptor) is reversible so the lens is not damaged in any way.
I haven’t as yet had too much time, or good weather in the UK, to try the lens out to it’s full potential but a quick glimpse of the sun allowed a foray in to the garden to make a few snaps.
I hope that this encourages a few others to have a go at breathing some life back into these beautiful vintage optics and the whole process took no more than 20 minutes (plus epoxy drying time) to complete at about a fifth of the cost of the Kickstarter price.