1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links to get to your favorite stores for holiday shopping!

Hawk's Helicoid Leica M to NEX adapter

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Phoenix, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    I have recently stumbled on by accident a Leica M to NEX adapter when I was browsing around eBay. I already own a Voigtlander made M to NEX adapter (I decided to purchase a more expensive brand, but since I will be using it all the time I decided to invest on one that will last me a very long time) but what caught my eye was the helicoid design of the adapter that lets you focus closer than the len's minimum focusing distance (MFD). I did some research on this and I found out that this seller actually hand makes each and everyone of these adapters in total precision in limited batches with all of his buyers giving him 100% positive feedback.

    To be able to focus closer to me is a big deal, I generally prefer using RF lenses to DSLR lenses (with the Minolta M-Rokkor CLE 40mm f2, Voigtlander 50mm f1.5, and my current 35mm f1.2 as my favourites) they're more compact and (imho) built just a little bit better than it's DSLR counterparts, however one of my minor gripes is the MFD of RF lenses.There's not much point in manufacturers producing an RF lens that can focus closer as RF cameras wont be able to focus properly on anything at closer distances due to parallax errors. I'm used to the RF lenses' long MFD, as primarily a prime shooter I'm used to moving farther or closer to the subject to get the shot I want. However there are times you want to focus just a little bit closer to get the shot you want, or if your taking photos in close quarters and cannot move a lot.

    So I've decided to purchase one.

    Comparison

    Comparison.

    The left one is the Voigtlander Adapter, and the one on the right is the Hawk's Helicoid adapter, take note of the focusing tab on the Helicoid Adapter. It acts as a secondary focusing system once you have reached the lens' MFD.

    Build Quality
    The build quality on the Hawk's adapter is on par (if not better) than the Voigtlander adapter. The fit is quite snug, there is no play or looseness between the camera, adapter and lens even if it is shaken.

    This is what the adapter looks like attached to the camera with a lens.
    Camera.
     
  2. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    Samples

    Normal Lens MFD
    Wall 1.

    Extended Lens MFD with the adapter used
    Wall 2.

    Another example using a lens cap

    Normal Lens MFD
    Cap 1.

    Extended Lens MFD with the adapter used
    Cap 2.

    This lens has a MFD of .5 but when extended with the adapter the MFD becomes about 2 inches (give or take)

    Conclusion
    I think that this probably is the best accessory I have bought for my camera by far, I can just shoot away not worrying about not being able to focus if the subject is too near or if I'm shooting in close quarters. I would'nt go as far as to say that this can replace a macro lens set up (there are lenses specific to this task) but it certainly gives more vesatility to my camera and lens combo, this will probably entice me to invest on other M lenses as I wont get turned off by their 1 to 1.5 meter long MFD (GAS.....nooo........)
     
  3. TerminusBreak

    TerminusBreak TalkEmount Rookie

    22
    Feb 29, 2012
    Florida
    Tim
    Now I think I want one. :p
     
  4. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    Its definitely a good investment if your planning to shoot with M lenses a lot.
     
  5. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    I want one and don't even have any RF lenses. :p
     
  6. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    Hahaha :p
     
  7. Yohan

    Yohan TalkEmount Veteran

    325
    May 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Yohan
    Thanks for sharing. I ordered one to address my only annoyance with Voigtlander 35mm f1.4: 0.7m MFD.
     
  8. Ray Vardy

    Ray Vardy TalkEmount Regular

  9. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    Old rangefinder cameras had to be aimed via a separate stand-alone viewfinder that mimics what the lens would see (a glass window on the left hand side of the body). SLR cameras and modern cameras on the otherhand, display a viewfinder image that is derived "thru-the-lens" so that you can see exactly what the camera sees even if the subject is just inches in front of the lens - therefore SLR lenses could be designed with much shorter MFDs (minimum focusing distances).

    Prior to the invention of the SLRs, rangefinder lenses weren't designed to focus really close because of what's called "parallax error" - which is a fancy way of saying that the photo you're gonna end up with - is different from what you saw through the glass window. Think of it as the glass window and the lens getting cross-eyed (you see one thing, but the camera sees another) when taking photos really up close. Because of this, rangefinder lenses were designed with fairly long MFDs (usually about a meter), because it would be pointless to go any closer.

    Fast forward to present day, these classic rangefinder lenses are renowned for superb optical quality and are highly sought after - because they can also now be adapted to digital cameras (like the NEX). However, you can't take photos of close subjects with them, which can be a limiting factor. This special adapter allows these rangefinder lenses to be focused closer... via a helicoid gear that extends the length of the adapter. The principle is like adding a "macro tube" but this is a really cool retractable one (that eliminates the need for dismounting the lens in order to attach a separate extension tube).
     
  10. Bolampau

    Bolampau TalkEmount Veteran

    276
    Apr 22, 2012
    Lincolnshire, England
    Paul
    Hi Phoenix,
    I'm really interested to read your thread and had no idea this adaptor existed. I've just checked eBay and the price is very reasonable!
    Thanks,
    Paul
     
  11. Ray Vardy

    Ray Vardy TalkEmount Regular

    Got it! Thank you.
     
  12. Bolampau

    Bolampau TalkEmount Veteran

    276
    Apr 22, 2012
    Lincolnshire, England
    Paul
    Hi Phoenix,
    just about to place an order but wondered whether there's a risk that you could accidentally knock the helicoid tab and find that all your normal distance shots are out of focus?
    N.B. assuming that you haven't checked focus peaking for a while.
    Obviously, I'd hate to take loads of shots using the hyperfocal distance only to find that the adaptor was set at MFD!
    Many thanks,
    Paul
     
  13. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    In my experience, it's quite rare for me to accidentally move the tab as it is stiff. Then again everyone is different and some people may find it easy to knock, but there are a lot of "fail safes" to prevent this.
    -The helicoid design rotates the entire lens body so it is easy to tell that the tab is not in it's proper place if the lens is attached "upside down". This is quite a useful if you are going to shoot from the hip with the screen flipped up (or not) and shoot "rollei style
    -The tab rotation is is independent of the focus and aperture e.g the aperture and focusing ring; it's quite hard to accidentally turn the aperture ring no matter how many times you rotate the focusing ring and vice versa.
    -The focusing tab only works for focusing nearer than the MFD, Moving the focusing tab with the intention shooting anything farther than the MFD throws the entire image out of focus by a WHOLE LOT, it is easy to to tell if the focusing tab is in place or not, as you cannot be "a little bit out of focus".

    Sorry, I'm not sure if I was able to help or if I confused you even more, please let me know and I'll try to elaborate :)
     
  14. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    777
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    Increased registration distance = shorter focus point no matter where the lens is set

    I disagree. The helicoid allows the lens to focus closer than it would at the current setting, which might be further than the MFD if the lens is set nearer to infinity.

    I have used the helicoid for a "fine tune" focus adjustment instead of changing the focus ring on the lens. My larger Canon LTM lenses have to rotate quite a bit to change focus, and the shorter movement of the helicoid can (But doesn't always) make it easier to focus.

    On my smaller lenses, I have accidentally turned the helicoid instead of the lens when I went to grab the ring, but it's pretty obvious once I start turning it.
     
  15. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    I stand corrected
     
  16. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    777
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    I will admit, it's a pretty odd thing to do, and the main reason to buy the Hawk's is the shorter MFD. It just dawned on me one day that I could also use it that way. :)
     
  17. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    This will give something to try and experiment with when I get home tonight :p
     
  18. Bolampau

    Bolampau TalkEmount Veteran

    276
    Apr 22, 2012
    Lincolnshire, England
    Paul
    Thanks to Phoenix & dbmiller for their help.
    It's a shame I can't test one out in a camera shop to settle my concern. Anyway, I intend use this on a manual focus Zeiss ZM lens so would normally focus carefully for each shot, so I'd notice if the helicoid tab tab moved.
    The Hawk is attractively priced so I'll get one ordered asap!
    Thanks for your help,
    Paul
     
  19. colinet

    colinet New to TalkEmount

    1
    Jul 6, 2012
    NSW, Australia
    Excellent. I've got the Voightlander adapter too - I have a Leica M9 with a 28mm f2, a 50mm f1.4 and a 90mm f2 and also an NEX-7 with the great Zeiss lens. Just ordered one of these adapters - I reckon they should paying you commission!! I've got the Sony 30mm macro lens, be interesting to compare it to the Leica lenses with this new adapter.
     
  20. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    LMAO!!! :D That'd be nice