Leicaflex SL conversion

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Some time ago, I bought a Leicaflex SL, with a Summicron-R 1:2.0/50mm thrown in by the seller to "compensate" its dead light meter. The tool is so wonderful that I'm about to put it to serious use, so:

1. Given that this camera doesn't need meter coupling any more, can Iuse lenses that have just the 3rd cam? I'm asking because Andrew Nemeth obviously met some problems due to bayonet lug shape differences between Leicaflex and Leica R (see here for the story and here for a picture) in the process of a conversion.

2. If I can mount 3rd-cam-only lenses: which components of my SL do I need to remove/have removed so that I can use ROM lenses as well?

I emailed Leica for information, but all I got was 'not possible, but we can convert your modern lenses for use with the Leicaflex, for € 350.00 per lens'. Did they actually read my wording, or just "Leicaflex conversion question"?

If I interpret Andrew Nemeth's report correctly, getting my SL to accept the latest R lenses requires that three grooves be machined--nothing more. Am I missing something? Has anyone of you gone the same route?

ˇThank you in advance!

-- Oliver Schrinner (piraya@hispavista.com), January 21, 2002


...and I apologise for contradicting myself, and for the lousy orthography. Of course, some lever needs to be removed lest it crashes into the ROM contacts.

-- Oliver Schrinner (piraya@hispavista.com), January 21, 2002.

Yikes, I'll probably wind up banned from this forum ;-) I know about the mirror clearance issue, and I've just been to this thread, where Douglas Herr pointed out that "[t]he ROM contacts would be fouled by the 1st cam follower, an issue for the Leicaflex Standard and SL2, but not the SL". So, is having the grooves ground into the lugs all I need to do?

-- Oliver Schrinner (piraya@hispavista.com), January 21, 2002.

Keep going, Oliver, you'll figure it out for yourself by dinner at this rate! ;-)

-- rob (rob@robertappleby.com), January 21, 2002.

Oliver, this may be an obvious question, but why not just use compatible lenses? It doesn't sound like you have bought the 3rd cam lenses yet. I guess you want to use a new APO or something like that, not available in the older cam style.

-- Bob Fleischman (RFXMAIL@prodigy.net), January 21, 2002.

The links of mine Oliver refers to deal with the Nikon F2A I had converted a few years ago so it could mount and use Leica R lenses.

As to using a 3rd-cam only lenses on a SL - it can be done, but like I had to do for the converted Nikon, you'll have to remove the lens mount flange ring and then have steps lathe'd into the mount tongues. Not hard to do (I took the ring to a local engineering place) and the result works fine. Looks pretty ugly though as the underlying brass will look a bit odd next to the chrome on the rest of the ring.

-- Andrew Nemeth (azn@nemeng.com), January 21, 2002.

In some cases the answer is simply "yes, no problem". My 50mm Summicorn-R was originally a 3rd -cam lens and would fit on my SL body perfectly, except for metering. For other lenses it's simply a matter of modifying the SL's bayonet mount to accept the R bayonet of the lens.

Unfortunately there are also those R-cam and ROM lenses which protrude too far into the SL's mirror chamber to provide for adequate mirror clearance, and these lenses have the same bayonet as the other 3rd-cam lenses. The lenses I know of are the discontinued 15mm f/3.5, 16mm fisheye, 2nd-version 19mm Elmarit-R, 24mm Elmarit-R, 35mm Summilux-R, the E60 version of the 50mm Summilux-R, and the 80-200 f/4.5 Vario-Elmar-R.

As much as I like the SL, I'm beginning to feel that those who need to use any of these lenses where mirror clearance is an issue will be better off using a newer camera body rather than trying to modify the SL to use these lenses.

-- Douglas Herr (telyt@earthlink.net), January 22, 2002.

ˇThank you very much!

Rob: I'd figured it out over a cup of coffee in the afternoon (approx. 9.00h am EST).

Bob: There's a number of lenses that cannot be fitted with Leicaflex cams, according to Leica information, e.g. the 80 'Lux and the 1:4.0/280mm Apo-Telyt. And, finding used 'R only' lenses is easy in Germany; finding used 'SL' and 'SL & R' lenses is getting difficult.

Andrew: I don't mind the look of my SL.

Douglas: the lenses you mention aren't on my shopping list anyway.

I'm off to get the only Leica that accepts all lenses Leica ever made for SLRs. Perhaps I should also have "Schrinner Custom" engraved :-)

-- Oliver Schrinner (piraya@hispavista.com), January 23, 2002.

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