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04-29-2016, 12:47 AM   #1
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Tips & Advice for old film lens


I have been starting to get interested in using old legacy lens from the last century. As a novice, the obvious thing to do is find a lens, determine what type of mount it uses and acquire an adapter to enable using it.

But, what about lens that might be part of a point and shoot style camera, like a Zeiss Ikon Contina 35mm camera, for example? Most of my local antique shops seem to be overflowing with examples like this one: - #29372229 - Vintage Argus Camera W/ 50 mm Argus Lens - 4/29/2016 5:45:00 PM or this one: - #29387900 - Kodak 35 Camera W/ Field Case - 4/29/2016 6:30:00 PM or finally this one: - #29400195 - VTG Kodak 35 Film Camera Leather Strap - 4/30/2016 6:38:00 PM.

Would it be more sensible to steer clear of cameras with built in glass in favor of SLRs? Or can those lenses be "harvested" from their camera bodies and put to use with our newer digital cameras?

I spent most of the evening poking around with the help of Google, but I didn't really find anything out there. Are there any sites or publications I should be aware of?

I don't know off-hand how well any of these would perform, but the prices of these both online and locally are very little, so it wouldn't cost much to buy them and play. What stops me right now is that I'm not well-versed in how cameras like these were assembled and I'm uncertain how I'd mount the lenses after getting them off the bodies?


04-29-2016, 01:16 AM   #2
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Point and shoot lenses cannot be harvested in this fashion. Two things are missing even if you could get them off without wrecking them: a suitable mount, and a guarantee of keeping the correct distance of lens optical centre to film or sensor plane. Most PS cameras have the latter too short for use on Pentax mount.
04-29-2016, 05:09 AM   #3
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I don't know if those Kodak lenses are removeable, but I believe the one on the Argus is. Finding an adapter may prove impossible, though.
05-02-2016, 12:30 AM   #4

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You can remove some fixed lenses and adapt them to some other mounts, but it's difficult, expensive and doesn't necessarily work very well.

Hamish Gill wrote some really interesting articles about a 35mm Sonnar from a Nikon film P&S that he had converted to M-mount by Miyazaki in Japan:

Part 1 - A 35mm compact camera lens conversion - Part 1 - Choosing the lens - 35mmc
Part 1.5 - A 35mm compact camera lens conversion - Part 1.5 - (Still) Choosing the lens - 35mmc
Part 2 - The MS-optical converted Nikon L35 35mm f/2.8 Sonnar - 35mm Lens conversion - Part 2 - 35mmc
Results on film - First colour photos from the MS-optical converted Nikon L35 35mm f/2.8 Sonnar - 35mmc
Results on digital - First (digital) colour photos from the MS-optical converted Nikon L35 35mm f/2.8 Sonnar - 35mmc

Long story short, it can be done. But considering how many interesting interchangeable lenses there are out there, many of which are easy and fun to adapt (assuming you have a mirrorless body), it's probably more trouble than it's worth

05-19-2016, 08:05 AM   #5
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At the risk of being viewed as being too pedantic, I should comment on your use of the term "point and shoot". The normal definition of that term is that the user has no control over the camera other than where to aim the camera and when to take the picture. I looked only at the first camera, the Argus one, and it clearly shows controls for film speed, shutter speed, and aperture, so that camera, at least, is classified as a "fixed lens" camera. I'm guessing that the user also had to focus it, in which case it would normally be classified as a "range finder" camera.
05-19-2016, 10:55 AM   #6
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In the 1940's and 50's Argus C-3 rangefinder cameras flourished. The Argus "brick" was the first 35mm camera many folks were exposed to that was priced to be reasonably affordable. The Argus system utilized interchangeable screw mount lenses and a wide range of prime lenses and auxiliary lenses were available. With that little bit of history, it would be very difficult to adapt an Argus lense to a Pentax film or DLSR body. Since Argus was selling cameras all through the early Pentax years, if there was a practical application for this conversion, I'm sure it would have already been commercially available. As pointed out by previous posts, nothing is impossible, but I surmise the results would not be satisfactory and one would not be happy with the quality of the images captured.

My first 35mm camera was an Argus C-1 "Brick" acquired from my Dad in the late 1960's. I still run a roll of film through an Argus every year or two for the memories and to remind myself that you can take photos with no automation of any sort and produce quality results. The Argus cameras are still readily available in flea markets, antique malls and on the auction sites at low cost. I would suggest the OP buy one and utilize it "as is". I think he will be surprised at the results he can obtain utilizing the camera within its capabilities. I think this would also convey a better understanding of the problems with converting the Argus (and other manufacturer's) lenses to a Pentax compatible mount.
05-19-2016, 01:56 PM   #7
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Bellows type lenses from 1800s early 1900s are doable like my conversion usimg macro bellows and camera lens mount cap with hole cut in it


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