Altix to Nex, Conversion Adventure (or how to get "Soap Bubble Bokeh" lens)

in steemstem •  3 months ago

Yet another Kickstarter fail, this time, it's $683,801worth project of resurrecting Trioplan 50/2.9.

The design was good and proven, the brand name was great (Meyer Optik Görlitz
), the price was astonishing (1.300 $!!!) and the failure was expected to any reasonable person.

Spoiler alert, if the company has a good product - it can get a lot of money from real investors. Crowdfunding can be just a form of marketing campaign. Keep in mind that if the investors don't want to invest... There must be a good reason...

Anyway, like a real man, I decided to bodge my own design.
Many thanks to my friend who performed all the work with aluminium.
He's a great craftsman, and he can make you basically anything from metal, wood or leather.

70 years are separating them. The technology is different, but the essence is the same: to caprure the moment and don't let it fade.

The original Altix-n

Altix III, from Wiki

The name Altix probably doesn't sound familiar to you unless you are a serious camera enthusiast.

It was a company from Eastern Germany, that produced very cute, boxy cameras from 1938 - 1958. Later it was integrated into Pentacon.

There are several odd things about them.

First, there is a strange leaf shutter, with 5 circular lamellas.

And then, there is a strange bayonet mount, called Altix-n, with an incredibly odd flange distance of 42.5 mm.

It's very similar in dimensions to the most widely spread M42, but few millimetres here and there are creating very special horror.

Consequently, there is only a handful of lenses, all of them from - Eastern Germany: rare Meyer-Optik Görlitz Lydith 30 mm f/ 3.5 (preset), Meyer Optik Gorlitz Primagon 35 mm f/ 4.5 V and Meyer Optik Gorlitz Telefogar 90 mm f/ 3.5 and common Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Tessar 50 mm f/ 2.8 (booooring) and the object of my desire Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 50 mm f/ 2.9 V

Also, there are no adapters on the market, or the adapter costs more than 50 Eur!?
For a single lens, it's definitely too much. Still, it's way cheaper than the bold Kickstarter campaign :D

Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 50 mm f/ 2.9 V

It's a funny story how we are giving the value to the things. Sometimes we are aiming for perfection, but secretly we want something exciting.

And we always want to have something unique.

Trioplan is one of the oldest designs, with only 3 optical elements.
As the compromise in design, there is a strange artefact with the bokeh (background blur) that makes highlights to appear as soap bubbles or those rings above the heads of saints.

For decades, this was considered to be simply ugly and distractive. Camera manufacturers were seeking for the perfect bokeh, round and uniformly blurred.

And then, someone has attached a dusty, forgotten lens and found - magical beauty.


My friend Jaka is workig on the lathe

The first task was to determine the proper flange distance. The results from the internet were conflicting, so I took a knife and sandpaper. Ten minutes later, I made something very, very ugly from a bottle cap, toilet paper tube and ducktape. It worked... Sort of...

The bodge involved my M42-Nex adapter, with removed M-42 screw.
If you are wondering why the flange distance is important, the answer is simple - to be able to properly focus.
Focusing is done by moving the whole group of lenses from the closest position (focusing to infinity) to the furthest position, some 5mm ahead (focusing to 60 cm). Too thin adapter and you will lose close focusing. Too thick adapter and you will lose the infinity but you will get an excellent macro lens.

Now... I needed a craftsman to make me something decent.

I gave him the most detailed instructions and somtimes mannaged to make at least 5 mistakes. Yes, I'm a stupid, overconfident scientist :(

The whole operation was extremely funny for me and that included my very first purchase of aluminium rod and the first contact with

The results

Falling in love?

Yes, absolutely!

It's lightweight, small, silver and made with the attention to details that include very nice textures.

The number of blades (lamellas) for aperture is 12. For me, more = better. I don't enjoy hexagons and octagons.

It can be used as a "normal lens" because that weird bokeh is not always present. Most of the time, it will be visible on macro photographies, if there are some highlights.

My camera was Sony a6000 (APS-C). It would be much nicer if used in combination with some full-frame model.

Sorry for the images, in my part of the world, sunny days are scarce and flowers are even more scarce, but the lens is working just as I've expected.

Contact me if you want to buy the whole package, just plug and play :)

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This is a fascinating post @alexs1320 ! Good work on getting it adapted, from what I read is a breech-lock design so you would have had a bit of work to modify it to work with an M42 mount. Could you also remove the existing mount and attach an M42 thread to the lens (assuming you can adjust the spacing)?


That would be a great idea, but unfortunately, I don't see that it could be done :(

There is only one commercially available adapter that I found, with the price in 50-75 Eur range

The Coolest adaptation would be to take the whole breach with shutter, but that would be more difficult

As a bonus, my diy adapter can also tilt :D

Now I'm waiting to see some favourable weather conditions.
No matter how you blur grey skies - everything is grey and flat


I'm guessing it's not precision tilt :)

Well you've inspired me to go back into my own collection of old camera lenses to see what I have :)


It's a great pastime activity :)

Ал си га оправио, @alexs1320, боље него Ђенка! Свака част! :)

Kakav bokeh pravi, nerealan skroz, jedino mi deluje kao da ima max 6 listica blende. Jel ovde blenda bila skroz otvorena?


Na žalost, 2.9 x crop senzor... Cena male veličine. Prilikom slikanja ljudi ne ostavlja ništa za bokeh (ni kada se slika samo portret), a za cveće je super. Možda bi na full-frame bilo dovoljno da se napravi portret sa bokehom u beskonačnosti.

Most of the technical stuff is over my head, but the results?They are beautiful photos


Thank you :) This was only the very first attempt

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