The Digital Journalist

Bill Pierce - Nuts & Bolts

Nothing to Say

I'm about to travel, and Dirck emails me, wanting a column. When I travel, much of my brain shuts down. The total brain activity consists of "Did I pack extra batteries? Is the equipment that goes in the hold of the plane going to arrive at the same airport as I do? How many times will I get lost between the rental car station and my final destination?" That's pretty much the total of my brain activity.

In order to honor Dirck's request, you get a column totally devoid of original thought or ideas - just a recent addition to my growing list of photographically useful websites. Of course, this website may be more useful to you than my original thoughts and ideas.

Stephen Gandy is a camera dealer; primarily he deals in used cameras, often collectable, and some very unusual new equipment. His website, CameraQuest ( lists these items. But there are also several hundred equipment profiles and short articles. The following are a few.
- Buying Your First 35mm Rangefinder
- What Focal Lengths for Your 35 RF Outfit?
- Accessory Viewfinders: Which to USE?
- Leica M User's Buyer's Guide: Not So Objective Picks and Pans
- M Compact Street Shooter
- Which 35 SLRs to USE?
- Building Your 1st SLR Outfit
- Nikon SLR Used Buying Guide My Not so Objective Picks and Pans
- Nikon's Secret Prototype Canon Lens Cleaner
- Drastically Improve your AF SLR images!
- Do Smarter Cameras make Dumber Photographers?

Some of the items he sells are both unique and useful. One day, cleaning the closet, I realized I had accumulated parts and pieces from four different SLR systems in addition to my Leicas. That was the day I was exceptionally glad I knew about CameraQuest. It is the U.S. importer of Adapter King lens adapters.

With adapters I can mount wide-angle Leica R, Nikon F, Canon FD, Pentax 42 and Contax/Yashica lenses on a Leica. No rangefinder coupling, but scale focusing is adequate with extreme wides.

How about adapters that put Leitz Visoflex lenses on Nikon, Canon EOS, Contax/Yashica, and Canon FD. The Viso was great in its day, but that day has long passed for the news photographer. Now, the really ancient among us can use the long Viso lenses at the back of our closet for next football season.

How about Leica R or Nikon F Lenses to Canon EOS. In truth, the EOS screen is not as good a manual focus screen as some designed for that purpose alone. But, I have lightweight 180 and 400 lenses ported over to my EOS system that perform more than adequately and are very useful.

While CameraQuest is not the only outlet to offer the Cosina/Voigtlander lenses, they certainly were one of the first, and stay on top of things as Voigtlander adds to its line of Leica-compatable lenses. Here is a list of available and soon-to-be available lenses:
12/5.6 Aspherical
25/ 4
28/1.9 Aspherical
35/1.7 Aspherical
35/2.5 Pancake.
50/1.5 Aspherical
90/3.5 APO

Extensive information (just short of "more than you wanted to know") on each lens is available at the CameraQuest website. One thing that will peak your interest is the exceptionally reasonable price for something of quality that fits on a Leica. Quoting price is something that is out of place here, but not out of mind; so, check the website.

Here's some other news. In February 2001, Cosina introduced the first new wide-angle lenses for Nikon and Contax rangefinders in over 30 years: the multicoated Voigtlander 21/4, 25/4, and 35/2.5 SC-Skopars. They should be available later in the year.

In the 1970's, I started using auxiliary finders, not as intended, on my rangefinder cameras, but on my SLR's. Because you weren't buried behind your camera, and because you could see outside of the frame lines, you were a lot less likely to get clipped when you were covering violence. I remember covering riots in Belfast with such a rig. It looked pretty weird, and I was considered soft in the head. But soon a lot of people were doing it and looking weird. Voigtlander makes 12, 15, 25, 28, 35, 50, and 75mm auxiliary viewfinders. Enough said.

Here's my favorite CameraQuest item--eyeglass protectors. Does the metal M3/ M2/ M4/ M5 eyepiece scratch your glasses? I used to manage to scratch case-hardened glass spectacle lenses using an M3. Today's lightweight plastic eyeglasses don't stand a chance. I use these little adhesive-backed vinyl donuts on my early Leicas, my Canon F's and a number of accessory metal viewfinders. These protectors are certainly more elegant and durable than the ones I used to cut from bunion pads. Besides, who wants a thick, furry, flesh-colored eyeglass protector.

Bill Pierce

Send us your Comments
Join our Mailing List