Friday, August 8, 2014

Real Macro With a Leica Rangefinder? Why Not?

I shot this image with a gadget that I picked up on ebay, called the "Accura III," a Japanese version of an early Leica Visoflex attachment, which essentially converts your rangefinder camera to an SLR.
Tiny Blossom, by Reed A. George
Leica IIIC Rangefinder Camera, Accura III attachment, Leica 5cm f2 Summar lens
Now, this is really bending the rules of what camera systems are good at. Rangefinders were designed for getting no closer than a few feet from your subject, and for generally short focal length lenses. In the history of photography, SLRs came in to dominate most applications, and certainly macro and telephoto.
Here's the Accura III:
Accura III Closeup Adapter for Leica Screwmount Cameras
I was inspired to pick this up when I saw it cheap on ebay because my friend, Charlie, loaned me a much more premium version, his being made by Novoflex. Charlie's Novoflex has the correct 13.5cm f4.5 Hektor lens attached to it, which is a much more suitable focal length for this type of rig. The Novoflex also allows a lot more range in focus, as it has a bellows between the lens and the adapter housing. I haven't tried that rig yet, but expect good results; it's always good to have a future project in the queue.
My Accura III is quite limited in what it can do. With the 5cm Summar attached, it becomes an extreme closeup affair, with little to no focus adjustment. You basically have to get very close to your subject, and move the camera until things appear to be in focus through the dim little eyepiece.
This was a pretty half-hearted try, handheld, while I was trying to finish up a roll of film. Sharp? Nope. Carefully executed? Nope. But, I find it rather pleasing. Both the Accura, and especially Charlie's Novoflex, deserve more exploration.