Home · Register · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist

FM Forums | Leica & Alternative Gear | Join Upload & Sell

1              3              6       7       end

Alt Lens FAQ

• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Alt Lens FAQ

Wayne, I added Contax N to the register distance list and Conurus to the lens conversion section. The only Contax N images thread I could find was just 2 pages long with only a handful of pictures; is there a longer one I am missing?

AhamB, thanks for the info on the focusing screens; it looks like they do indeed use microlenses instead of prism facets. I've changed the wording in that section to match. I agree that the terminology around CA is confusing and sub-optimal; however, these are the terms that I often see used. The point of the glossary is not to indicate what the "best" terminology is, but to explain commonly-used jargon that might be inscrutable to a new forum reader. A search for "LCA" in the Alt Lenses forums turns up 44 uses, and only the newest one outside this thread is by me (while the term is commonly used by other highly knowledgeable forum members such as Toothwalker). "LaCA" only turns up in 12 posts. Once you convince everyone else to switch to "LaCA," we can update the glossary

May 16, 2011 at 12:41 PM
wayne seltzer
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Alt Lens FAQ


Thanks for addding Contax N stuff.
Here is the link to the Contax N image thread which is up to page 38 so far:


Also, I was wondering if you want to add a link to Jim Colwell's alt lens price spreadsheet/database?
Alot, of newbies are asking lens price questions.

Also, might want to mention a link to FM'r John Black's Pebbleplace website for his contax lens database which lists all the lenses and whether they have mirror clearance problems or not. Also, he has some nice reviews of a lot of the lenses too.

May 16, 2011 at 01:15 PM
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Alt Lens FAQ

Wayne, I added in the Contax N thread and PebblePlace link. I also had already snuck in a reference to Jim Colwell's lens$db before you posted (under the new "How much money is this alt lens worth?" heading).

May 16, 2011 at 01:33 PM
wayne seltzer
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Alt Lens FAQ

Thanks Michael this is a great resource for the forum, nice job!

May 16, 2011 at 05:20 PM
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Alt Lens FAQ

An amazing resource. You could have shaved years off my learning curve. Thank you.

May 16, 2011 at 06:04 PM
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Alt Lens FAQ

Fantastic idea!

I would add more explanation of why alt lenses are used, including bokeh, color, microcontrast, and explain few more things/names:
-preset lenses
-replace "MD" mount with "MC/MD"
-add QBM mount
-biotar, pancolar, biometar, primoplan, trioplan and other old Zeiss and Meyer Optik lenses
-helios, jupiter and other Russian lenses
-mirror/reflex lenses

I would also add a "hall of fame" section and list 1) respected manufacturers and 2) top alt lenses in each focal length

May 16, 2011 at 10:21 PM
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Alt Lens FAQ

Here are some of the manufacturers more or less popular in the alt lens world:

Carl Zeiss Jena (Biotar, Pancolar, Biometar, Sonnar, Flektogon)
Contax Zeiss
Contax N Zeiss
Rollei QBM mount (Zeiss HFT and Rolleinar)
Fuji Fujinon
Leica M and R
Minolta MC/MD
Pentax M42 and K Mount
Olympus Zuiko
Russian brands (Helios, Jupiter, Volna, etc.)
Meyer Optik (Primopland, Trioplan)
Astro Berlin
Canon manual lenses (FD mount)
Nikon manual lenses
Vivitar (esp. Series 1)

It would also make sense to explain the difference between coverage circles of different lenses (cinematic, 35mm, medium format...) and what it means in terms of putting them on different cameras.

Edited on May 17, 2011 at 05:51 AM · View previous versions

May 16, 2011 at 10:42 PM
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Alt Lens FAQ

Ataboy, I see you have lots of ideas for helpful articles and information about less commonly discussed alt lenses. I think that there is too much there to put in one mega-post (and a lot of subjects and manufacturers that I know virtually nothing about, aside from having seen the name mentioned once in passing). Rather than making the one FAQ post itself grow to infinite length with fine details, I think it would work well to have a list of "further reading" links that point to "contributed articles" in other threads. If someone has a particular passion for and expertise in, e.g., Russian manual-focus lenses, then they could do a writeup and put it in a thread of its own. Tell me where the thread is, and I can add a link to it from the first page article; other people can add relevant information and cool example photos to the subject-specific thread.

Some examples of topics that people could work on for "further reading" articles:
- Understanding lens aberrations
- Using medium and large-format lenses with 35mm backs
- Good "beginner" film camera setups
- "Alt" camera types besides DSLRs (rangefinders, TLRs, EVIL, ...)
- Astrophotography lens manufacturers
- Early to mid 20th century German lenses
- "Hall of fame" best-in-class lenses for different focal lengths
- "Great value" inexpensive alts
etc. etc.; whatever subjects people have expertise and interest in. This way we could build a large "library" of special-interest topics, without trying to cram every detail into the introductory FAQ, but still maintaining prominent easy-to-follow links from the one sticky post (so the contributed information doesn't disappear into long forgotten threads).

May 16, 2011 at 11:08 PM
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Alt Lens FAQ

I’ve got an addition for the glossary, Michael.

3D: an optical illusion discussed in detail here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

May 16, 2011 at 11:56 PM
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Alt Lens FAQ

freaklikeme wrote:
I’ve got an addition for the glossary, Michael.

3D: an optical illusion discussed in detail here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.


May 17, 2011 at 12:14 AM

Search in Used Dept. 

Yakim Peled
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Alt Lens FAQ

mpmendenhall wrote:
Why is my important question unanswered?
My machine for reading your mind in the future is out for repairs, along with my Canon 5DM Leica-M compatible full frame digital rangefinder. Based on the initial estimate, I won't have it back until next February 30th.

That's a good one.

May I suggest adding some MIREX TS adapter links?


And of course, kudos for a great idea. :aplause:

Happy shooting,

May 17, 2011 at 02:13 AM
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Alt Lens FAQ

Maybe add these 2 to the flange focal distance list.
Sony NEX E mount 18 mm
Micro Four Thirds System 20 mm

May 17, 2011 at 03:56 AM
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Alt Lens FAQ

Ataboy wrote:
-biotar, pancolar, biometar, primoplan, trioplan and other old Zeiss and Meyer Optik lenses
-helios, jupiter and other Russian lenses
-mirror/reflex lenses

These lenses are discussed a LOT in the mflenses.com forum and hardly ever at FM. There is a thread here about CZJ lenses that I believe Samuli Vahonen opened, and perhaps one for Russian lenses (not entirely sure about that), but both will have been archived by now. I don't see a reason to put the names of all those old CZJ and Meyer lenses in the sticky. If anyone wants to know more about it, mflenses.com is a much better resource.

May 17, 2011 at 06:18 AM

Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Alt Lens FAQ

This thread is a great idea! I have only two little additions/corrections:

- The mount of Minolta MD lenses is called SR. MD/MC are only additions to this mount similar to Nikons Ai/Ai-S etc.
- Chipped adapters have an additional advantage for Sonyusers. It enables correct in-body IS with primes, because chips can provide the correct focallength. As far as I know there is no way to set this manually. Of cause this doesn't work with zooms.

May 17, 2011 at 04:31 PM
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Alt Lens FAQ

Thanks for the Alt lens Bible!

May 17, 2011 at 04:59 PM

Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Alt Lens FAQ

Very helpful stuff. This forum is going to cost me a small fortune.

May 17, 2011 at 05:03 PM
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Alt Lens FAQ

I think you need to mention the metering problems you will get with the stock focussing screens in Canon bodies. A lot of people seem to get into trouble with this, and it's not really a recoverable situation with the 7D.

Fit the Ee-S screen to a 5D, or an Ec-S to a 1DS Mark III, and stop-down metering will be correct for lenses f/1.8 and slower (within reason - there are other things such as fall-off going on). Try it with the original screen, and it won't.

And I think you should remove "3D effect" - a FAQ is not the place for things which are disputed.

May 18, 2011 at 04:47 AM
• • • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Alt Lens FAQ

Hi Michael,

I'll dump stuff on you periodically. Here's the Notation section from my Lens$db documentation, minus the stuff you already have in the Glossary, and minus the stuff that's only relevant for Lens$db. About half of the terms are 'Alt' in nature, and the remainder are more general terms on gear and photography in general (as your current list already reflects).

Before I dump the list, might I suggest that the Alt FAQ is heading in a direction where a web site might be worth considering. I can offer to host this resource on my site, using a registered and aliased url name of your choice; however, I'm not offering to provide webmaster services, at least in terms of maintaining the Alt resource. Also, suggestions for upgrades to the Alt FAQ might be better handled via email or web-based form, instead of by posting to this thread, like the ton of stuff I just dumped below.

Good luck!

1:n = macro magnification 1 to ‘n’; 1:1 is life-size image on film, 1:2 is half of life size, …
4/3 = four thirds mount and system
A2 = Adaptall 2 Tamron MF mount: A2 to EF adapters are scarce, but you can use the fairly common A2 to M42 adapter in a very common M42 to EF adapter (works fine).
aa = auto-aperture: typical aperture control for modern lenses (with and without a manual aperture control ring); the lens is “wide-open” for metering and finder viewing; when the shutter button is pushed, the camera automatically “stops down” to the appropriate “taking” aperture (either user-selected or set by the camera for AE modes); note that the (aa) pin on a M42 lens is not used by a Canon EOS body, and so it is desirable for a M42 lens to have a manual/auto aperture switch to enable (ma) with “stop-down” metering, some M42 adapters have a flange to depress the (aa) pin, but it should not be used on more recent “2 pin” M42 lenses as it contacts and grinds against the diaphragm coupling lever, see www.aohc.it/tak00e.htm for a description of Asahi Pentax M42 mounts.AE = auto-exposure mode: camera body selects Av and/or Tv for ‘automatic’ exposure
AF = autofocus
AI,AIS = types of Nikon manual focus F-mount lenses, Nikon-F to EF adapters are available
aka = also known as (or labeled as)
AL = aspherical lens elements (same as ASP)
AOC = angle of coverage
AOV = angle of view
APS-C = digital sensor format (size), Canon 22.3mm x 14.9mm (1.6x CF)
APO = apochromatic lens, special coatings and/or special glass to reduce colour aberration
ASP = aspherical lens elements (same as AL)
aux = auxiliary lens, usually screws on to filter threads of the ‘real’ or ‘primary’ lens
Av = aperture value; camera setting “Av” indicates Aperture-Priority AE mode math: Av = log(Nf)/log(2)
BBAR = broad band anti-reflection (Tamron coating)
bi = “built-in" filters, most common on wide angle lenses
C645 = Contax manual focus 645 medium format lens mount system
CA = colour aberration
Cat = Catadioptric lens (mirror)
c.o. = clip on (filter)
CF = crop factor for a digital camera, close focus or continuous focus for a lens
CP,CPL = circular polarizer (filter)
CV = Cosina Voigtlander (Voigtlander lenses made by Cosina)
CY,C/Y = Contax/Yashica mount (for Carl Zeiss lenses), CY to EF adapter is available
Da = apparent diameter of maximum aperture when viewed through the front of the lens
d.i. = “drop in” filters go in a slot near the rear of lens, allows use of small diameter filters on large diameter lenses (e.g. 400/2.8)
DC = Sigma lens series for APS-C DSLR, reduced image circle
DG = Sigma lens xxx
DO = Diffractive Optics, enables “long” telephoto lenses to be relatively short in length
DSLR = digital SLR
E = excellent lens condition
E+ = excellent + lens condition
EBC = Electron Beam Coating, Fujifilm lens multi-coating
ED = extra-low dispersion elements in lens (see APO)
EF = Electro Focus, Canon autofocus lenses for EOS (focus motor is in the lens)
EF-M = Canon manual focus EF mount lens (this abbreviation is not used by Canon)
EF-S = EF-Short back focus, Canon autofocus EF mount lens for relatively small APS-C sized image sensors, only for use on Canon EOS 20D, Digital Rebel and Digital Rebel XT
EOS = Electro-Optical System, Canon autofocus system, includes EF lenses, EOS cameras, etc.
EV = exposure value math: EV = Tv + Av
EX = Sigma pro lens designation
f = focal length
f/ = aperture f-number, math: “f/” = Nf = f / da
f/ min = minimum F-stop number (maximum aperture), lens wide open
f/ max = maximum F-stop number (minimum aperture), lens stopped down all the way
F = Nikon mount and many 35mm systems, includes pre-AI, AI, AIS, P, AF
FE = fish eye
FF = camera: full frame (DSLR sensor 36mm x 24mm), lens: flat field
FOV = field of view, similar to AOV, but less specific
FT,4/3 = four thirds mount and system
FTM = Full Time Manual, manual focus ring on an AF lens can be used at any time, see USM
FREE = fixed rear-element extension (focusing mechanism)
GND = graduated neutral density filter (with “soft” or “hard” edge/ transition btw light & dark)
IF = internal focus: barrel length does not change, front element does not rotate
IQ = image quality
IS = Image Stabilizer
ISO = sensor or film sensitivity (ISO = International Standards Organization)
K = Pentax K-mount, see http://www.bdimitrov.de/kmp/ Keos = my name for the Pentax K-mount lens to Canon EOS body adapter, the lens aa aperture control lever must be removed, making it a (ma) lens, which is also MF.
KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid
L = indicates Canon professional lens series (e.g. EF 85/1.2 L USM): apparently, L stands for “Luxury”, but I can’t find substantiation for this common belief, see the “Canon FAQ” at www.photozone.de/8Reviews/canonFAQ.htm for a good discussion of L series lenses.LN = in Lens$db, Like New condition
LNIB = Like New In Box
LD = low dispersion glass (see ED, APO)
LF = Large Format (4x5 and bigger)
LM = Leica bayonet mount for 35mm M series rangefinders, not compatible with EOS bodies
LR = Leica R mount, LR to EOS adapter is available
LS = Leica screw mount for 35mm rangefinder cameras - not compatible with EOS bodies
LTM = Leica thread mount for 35mm rangefinder cameras - not compatible with EOS bodies
M = mint lens condition
M- = mint - (minus) lens condition
M34,M3/4 = micro Four-Thirds mount and camera system
M39 = 39mm diameter screw mount, used by LTM
m4/3 = micro Four-Thirds mount and system, a.k.a. mFT
M42 = 42mm diameter screw mount for MF lenses, aka 'Pentax screw', 'universal screw', etc., used on Pentax Takumar series and many other brands (not all old), see Section 4.3.
M645 = Mamiya manual focus 645 medium format lens mount system
ma = manual aperture: “stop-down” metering, the aperture opens and closes as the aperture ring is rotated; in practice, you compose and focus with the lens wide open, and then manually “stop down” to the “taking” aperture just before taking the shot.
MF = manual focus or medium format
MFD = minimum focus distance
mFT = micro Four-Thirds mount and system, a.k.a. m4/3
MP-E = Canon EOS “Macro Photo” manual focus EF lens mount (so far, the only MP-E is 65/2.8)
N = Contax 35mm AF lens mount and camera system
N = new lens condition
ND = neutral density filter
Nf = f-stop number (aperture) math: Nf = “f/” = f / da = (sqrt(2))^Av …(square root 2 to power of Av)
OM = Olympus 35mm manual focus mount and system
OOF = out of focus
OS = Optical Stabilization (Sigma IS)
P645 = Pentax manual focus 645 medium format lens mount system
pp = push-pull zoom (one touch): push-pull to zoom, twist to focus
PP = post-processing (software image modification)
PPD = Pixels Per Duck, measure of “reach”, © PetKal
PPDI = Pixels Per Duck-Inch, measure of “reach”, © jcolwelll
ps = pre-set aperture: two aperture control rings; one ring is used to set a ‘stop’ at the desired taking aperture, and the other ring is used to open the aperture for viewing and then close it to the 'pre-set' aperture for exposure, this is a form of “stop-down” metering, see (ma)
QBM = Quick Bayonet Mount, Rollei 35mm mount and system (a.k.a. SL35)
R = Leica 35mm SLR lens mount and system
RF = rangefinder camera
rg = “rear gel” filter
rfe = rotating front element (filter ring rotates as lens is focused)
rl = rectilinear: straight lines appear straight (as opposed to FE circular distortion)
SL35 = Rollei 35mm quick bayonet lens mount (a.k.a. QBM)
SLR = Single Lens Reflex (reflex = mirror, not moving mirror)
SMC = Super Multi-Coated (c), Pentax
SSS = Sun/Sigma/Spiratone conglomeration of 3rd party lenses (Accura, Lentar, Upsilon…)
t = inverse of shutter speed: for example, t = 500 for shutter speed of 1/500 sec math: t = 2^Tv …(two to the power of Tv)
T-S, TS = tilt-shift
TS-E = Canon EOS “Tilt and Shift” manual focus EF mount lens, tilt controls plane of focus, shift controls perspective (vanishing point)
Tv = time value, camera setting “Tv” indicates Shutter-Priority AE mode math: Tv = log(t))/log(2)
T,T2,T4,TX = 3rd party MF lens mount: mostly Vivitar, some Tamron & others, M42 adapters available
TLR = twin lens reflex (reflex = mirror, not moving mirror)
tt = two-touch zoom (separate zoom & focus rings)
USM = Ultrasonic Motor, advanced Canon EF AF system, most are FTM, see the Canon Museum
UWA = ultra-wide angle, focal lengths of about 20mm and wider (i.e. shorter) on FF bodies
vf = varifocal: focus changes while zooming
VMC = Vivitar Multi Coating
VC = Vibration Compensation (Tamron IS)
VR = Vibration Reduction (Nikon IS)
YS = 3rd party MF lens mount: mostly Sun/Sigma/Spiratone, M42 adapters available

[edit: list updated 2011-08-25]

Edited on Aug 25, 2011 at 07:59 AM · View previous versions

May 18, 2011 at 06:09 AM
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Alt Lens FAQ

I've been traveling and haven't had much time the past few days to update the top post, but I will try to incorporate some of the suggestions into it by this evening.

So far as the direction that the Alt FAQ might eventually go as it accumulates additional information: one could imagine presenting alt-related stuff on a new website, or perhaps even an Alt Gear/Lenses Wiki. However, I think that there are some unique attributes to the discussion forum approach that could work very well for this type of material. Considering the possibilities for how to organize alt lens information:

- A website can certainly provide a very clear and well-organized approach to the subject matter; indeed, there are already many excellent alt-lens-oriented sites already out there (a great example of this type of approach is the mir.com.my Zuiko information site, a very comprehensive site on Olympus Zuiko lenses). However, an individually or small-group maintained website is a lot of work for the maintainers, and creates a barrier to quickly adding new contributions from outside people.

- A Wiki site somewhat reduces the work load on the core maintainer(s) and allows more people to contribute. However, there is still the large maintainers' problem of controlling/deciding how much access others have to editing pages, and various tendencies towards "edit wars" about what the "right" way to present information is.

- Keeping the FAQ on the FM alt forum allows the members here to most easily contribute their knowledge. The approach is not as "polished" or orderly as a maintained website or wiki, but is perhaps the best way to let a crowd of people all contribute their own insights without being filtered through the biases of what a small group of core maintainers decide is interesting and relevant.

This is why I proposed the "model" for how the FAQ could expand though "contributed articles" in other threads on the forum. When a forum member has a particular alt-related area of knowledge that they want to share, they can write up a short "article" explaining the subject and post it as a new thread (which will get linked to from the main FAQ). This then creates room on that thread for everyone else to contribute/discuss that particular subject area, perhaps adding diverse sample photos from other users of the same gear and filling in details not included in the original post. I think this model is what best takes advantage of the community already here at FM, rather than trying to create a new outside FAQ effort that would inevitably leave out some of the contributions that make these forums great.

May 18, 2011 at 08:29 AM
Lars Johnsson
• • • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Alt Lens FAQ

Great work Michael. Very helpful

May 18, 2011 at 08:36 AM
1              3              6       7       end

FM Forums | Leica & Alternative Gear | Join Upload & Sell

1              3              6       7       end

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username       Or Reset password

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.