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01-18-2010, 07:39 PM   #1
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Recommendation for a good M39 to M42 adapter

Hi all,

I just acquired a Leitz Elmar 90mm f/4 in pretty good condition. I understand it's a M39 screw mount Leica. I want to use it on my Pentax K10D so I either need an adapter for M39 to M42 or M39 to PK.

Can someone recommend which option is the best and and a specific adapter to go with?

I have three genuine Pentax M42 to PK adapters and I love them and would love to seek similar quality for the the above adapters.

Thanks,

01-18-2010, 08:04 PM   #2
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You know that no matter which adapter you purchase, you won't be able to focus anywhere close to infinity, right? In that same vein, you should just purchase the cheapest adapter, since the only reason to buy the original Pentax M42 adapter versus a cheaper one, by comparison, is because the cheaper M42 adapter won't focus to infinity. But with an M39 lens, you'll never be able to anyway.
01-18-2010, 10:34 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by wallyb Quote
You know that no matter which adapter you purchase, you won't be able to focus anywhere close to infinity, right? In that same vein, you should just purchase the cheapest adapter, since the only reason to buy the original Pentax M42 adapter versus a cheaper one, by comparison, is because the cheaper M42 adapter won't focus to infinity. But with an M39 lens, you'll never be able to anyway.
Thanks for the tip, Wally. No, I didn't know that with M39 we won't be able to focus to infinity.

However, by going with cheap adapter would I be taking a risk of damaging my Pentax camera mount since the adapter is cheaply built and probably with cheap material?

I just found one on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Fotodiox-M39-Adapter-Zeiss-Pentax/dp/B001G4QXQY/ref=sr...6&sr=1-1-fkmr2

Only 2.45 + S&H. There are tons of those adapters on Ebay but i guess i would better off go with Amazon even though it still goes to a 3rd party

Last edited by ducdao; 01-18-2010 at 10:48 PM. Reason: Adding link to Amazon
01-18-2010, 10:41 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ducdao Quote
However, by going with cheap adapter would I be taking a risk of damaging my Pentax camera mount since the adapter is cheaply built and probably with cheap material.
I would definitely disagree with that. The only thing you might possibly damage is the adapter, not your camera. The mount on the camera is stainless steel and won't budge or warp. There's no risk in buying the cheapest version of a generic adapter that isn't flush with the mount and doesn't require a retention tab, like the official Pentax M42 adapter does. M39 adapters don't have/need this, and again, you won't even be able to get close to infinity so you'll probably be quite disappointed if adapting an M39 lens to your K-mount camera.

01-18-2010, 10:53 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by wallyb Quote
I would definitely disagree with that. The only thing you might possibly damage is the adapter, not your camera. The mount on the camera is stainless steel and won't budge or warp. There's no risk in buying the cheapest version of a generic adapter that isn't flush with the mount and doesn't require a retention tab, like the official Pentax M42 adapter does. M39 adapters don't have/need this, and again, you won't even be able to get close to infinity so you'll probably be quite disappointed if adapting an M39 lens to your K-mount camera.
Thanks, Wally. Just ordered it from Amazon. Will hold you responsible if it damages my camera Just kidding!
01-18-2010, 10:54 PM   #6
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Wallyb is right about losing infinity focus, but results will vary for M39 mounts.

The Leitz lenses are made for Leica rangefinder cameras. The distance between the mount and the film (called the "registration distance") on such cameras is only 28.8mm.

The distance between the mount and the sensor on your Pentax is 45.46mm, so it will be like using an extension tube when you use this lens. Luckily it's a longer lens, so you still might be able to use it a bit for closeup and macro applications.

To add to the confusion Zenit, in Russia, also used the M39 mount on some of its SLR cameras. Their registration distance was a lot closer to pentax, 45.2 mm, so there are some M39 lenses that can be adapted to pentax and get pretty close to infinity (I had a Helios 40 85mm/1.5, which could focus to about 100 ft away, and it was a nice lens!). Some Helios and Jupiter lenses have M39 mounts and are interesting for portrait applications, and anything but infinity.
01-18-2010, 11:02 PM   #7
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Also, don't feel bad ducdao. I made the same misjudgement a year or two ago, when I got an awesome deal on a Canon 50mm f/1.2 lens that I thought I could adapt nicely to my camera from M39 mount. What I ended up with was a lens that couldn't even focus 3 inches in front of itself. Too bad too...
01-19-2010, 08:58 AM   #8
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One thing about the cheap M42-M39 adapters (They should work,) along with others, is that they often aren't terribly-*clean* when you get them. You've got to spend some time with some oil and stuff and really clean any filings out of those threads before you use them. Also rub with something like cardboard or hard wood or leather to knock down any burrs there might be,

Then clean them again. After that, they're OK for what they are.

You don't want little sharp pieces of metal flying around inside your camera.

01-19-2010, 12:29 PM   #9
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Hi ducdao,

I have the same lens as yours on my K10D. I just used a generic M39-to-M42 adapter: although the Leica thread is 26tpi instead of the 1mm of the "classic" M39 thread, the build tolerances of both the lens mount and the adapter voids the differences.

As already said, you will not be able to focus to infinity because of the shorter register distance of the Leica M lenses (28.8mm vs. 45.5mm for P/K), you will not even be able to focus to a few meters, but you will have a really nice 90mm macro lens, perfectly usable even wide open, focusing up to about 30cm ...
Just take care to get an hood for it (strongly recommended, i don't think that such a lenses has an MC protection) ...

Enjoy your "new" toy ...

Cheers
01-19-2010, 04:36 PM   #10
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Thanks all for your time in contributing to this thread.

Although, I can only focus to about 30cmm, I love this lens so much. It looks so nice and it has Leica brand . I just got a second one as a backup
01-20-2010, 05:55 PM   #11
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You can buy Leica-R lenses and replace their bayonet with pentax bayonet: Leica & Pentax & Nikon - Leitax
01-20-2010, 06:00 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vonpligher Quote
You can buy Leica-R lenses and replace their bayonet with pentax bayonet: Leica & Pentax & Nikon - Leitax
Almost $100 for 75 cents worth of metal....
01-20-2010, 06:07 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by wallyb Quote
Almost $100 for 75 cents worth of metal....
yes but you will be able to focus to infinity. I think that if you buy two Elmar 90mm to use just the firsts 30cm of focus you dont have problem to buy a hundred dollars metal to be able to focus to infinity
01-20-2010, 06:15 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vonpligher Quote
yes but you will be able to focus to infinity. I think that if you buy two Elmar 90mm to use just the firsts 30cm of focus you dont have problem to buy a hundred dollars metal to be able to focus to infinity
Sure, it serves a purpose, I just think it's criminal to charge such a ridiculous amount for a mass-produced piece of stamped metal.
01-20-2010, 06:22 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by wallyb Quote
Sure, it serves a purpose, I just think it's criminal to charge such a ridiculous amount for a mass-produced piece of stamped metal.
I agree, I will never buy one for that price. I'm just a poor young unemployed man with the passion for photography
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