Leitz Visoflex III on Leica M digital cameras – Tamarkin Camera

Dan Tamarkin here from Tamarkin Camera in downtown Chicago to talk a little bit about the Leica M camera and the Visoflex close-focus macro system. Here, we have a 90 Elmarit, a Visoflex three-system with 90-degree finder, and a Leica M Monochrom. Let me disassemble this very quickly, so that you can see how this system works. We’re going to put it together, and then I’ll give you an example of how the whole thing works. First of all, it has a regular M mount. We have a 90 Elmarit here. To take the camera off of the assembly, there’s this little lever adjacent to the lens mount button, which you can’t reach on the Visoflex 3. So you pull this baby down, make sure you secure the camera, and it comes right apart. Here’s the Visoflex and a little button to remove the 90-degree finder. You want a flat finder like this- the ones with the little step right here for earlier Visoflex will mar the camera, so I’m going to leave the Visoflex here on the tripod just for ease of operation. So this little knob here, we have a little mirror lock-up. Alright, so let’s get this baby put together. Carefully, very carefully, fit the Vistoflex onto the camera and push up the lever until it clicks. Nice and secure. Carefully again, you don’t want to mar the camera, fit the Visoflex finder on. Once you practiced this, you can fit the whole thing on with the camera. You just want to be careful. I wanted to show you about this finder… Here, we have the Visoflex assembled our 90 Elmarit goes red dot to red dot. Clicks in like any other Leica lens. Let’s take a look at how close we can get. I’m going to focus on the on the numeral 50 here. Bear with me while I get setup. I’ve already tuned this, so when i press the shutter button, the mirror locks up before the shutter clicks. so the mirror won’t obscure what we’re doing here. Alright, let me get myself set up. I’m going to cite the 50 (the numerals 50) with close focus. Here we go! I’m focused on the 50. That’s as close as we can get with the 90 millimeter Elmarit. Here, I make an image. You’ll be able to hear the mirror lock-up, and then the shutter fire. Mirror, shutter, and all you have to do to set that correctly is move this little baby back and forth, up and down, so that these threads extend to the exact right length. Let’s see if the video will capture the image that I just took a moment ago from… about 10 inches away from the focal plane. Not too bad. It’s a really easy and inexpensive way to do macro on the Leica. So, let’s take another quick look, and let’s see what the 50 can do. I’m going to turn my camera off. Disengage the lens. Swap it out for 50. Now, there’s no end to the amount to the amount of adapters that can go up in front between the Visoflex and the lens, and some lens heads will come out, and you can have all kinds of different plumbing up in there, but let’s try 50 and see what that does. Now, this is kind of experiment because I haven’t tried this yet, so let’s give it a shot and see what happens. Let’s see how close I can get. I’m going to defocus the lens all the way. There we go! Alright, I have to turn the camera on. Ok, here we go. So that’s my 50. That’s not too bad. Let me try that one more time, that image. Sometimes, the mirror doesn’t go where it needs to go in time. Well, I think I moved a little bit, and so it’s not quite as sharp as it would otherwise would be, but that gives you an idea of how close you can get with the with the Visoflex system on the Leica M camera. The film cameras work the same way, but with film cameras, you don’t have to be so careful about getting this kind of finder. Once again, very quickly, I’ll disassemble this bad boy. There’s our finder, 90 degrees. You can also get a chimney-type finder, if you like. This is the most difficult and tenuous part to do. Hold the camera pull, pull this baby down, Viola! That is the Visoflex system for the Leica M camera.

3 Replies to “Leitz Visoflex III on Leica M digital cameras – Tamarkin Camera”

  1. nice demo of the visoflex, but can you do a video on the table-top tripod, and the head please, as it is rare to see the tripod setup on YouTube let alone to have any details on it, especially now (2018) with the advent of the 75 mm f 1.25 lens released not so long ago;
    as well as the f 0.95 50 mm Noctolux this tripod and visoflex system is the ONLY way to achieve reliable focusing at these lenses' maximum apertures and it is a crying shame not to have any details on it.

  2. Or you can use an extension tube and the view screen on the back of the camera, but you need a Visoflex with a film camera…

  3. Hi
    Could you tell me whether this would work with the M8
    As i have been told that i would need to use the chimney finder
    Hope you can help

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