Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/07/27

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Contax Lens Adapter
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 15:56:00 +0000

Following Tom's comprehensive posting isn't easy, but you should check   
out Stephen Gandy's web site 'Cameraquest' for further deatils reagrding   
these adapters.
The English versions were made by Cook (without an 'e' at the end) and   
Perkins at a time when German imports (of Leitz and other lenses) were   
strictly limited after the war. Therefore people took what they could get   
and adapted things to make them work with what they had. Cook and Perkins   
also made close -up focusing devices (for Leicas), as did the Scottish   
firm of Stewartry, and Photax.
Because the (original) Contax and Nikon design had a built in focusing   
mount on the camera, this was the element which was replaced by the   
adapter, effectively filling the gap between the camera and the lens.
There is one of these adapters currently for auction in the PCCGB   
(Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain), the reserve is 95(GBP).
There were also non focusing versions made, these are much cheaper and   
can often be picked up for a few pounds, though they are still quite   


Subject:  Re: [Leica] Contax Lens Adapter

Gerd, The adapter that Cambridge is offering is most likely a Contax RF
(Germany) to Leica screwmount. There are several of these around. The   
famous is the Orion adapter (1949-1952), this one is quite rare and is a   
end collectible ( $1000+). There were also several versions of these   
made in UK in the 50's.( Perkins?). They allow Leica Screwmount bodies to
accept Contax RF ( and sometimes Nikon RF lenses) while retaining full
rangefinder focussing capability. I have had several of these over the   
and I still have one left that I use with Contax/Nikon lenses. The   
offered by Cambridge is probably the japanese made adapter. It uses the   
helicoil from a Nikon rangefinder (as well as the distance scale). It   
very well on most lenses from the 28 to 85 mm. I found that mounting my   
21/4,5 ( Contax mount) I had problem with jamming the focussing roller of   
M camera. I have used this adapter with 28 Nikon/35 Biogon and a 85/2   
and Nikon. Works very well. The high price is justified as it has its own
helicoil,scale and is actually very well made. The Orion was the best   
jewel like finish, polished stainless steel. The later Japanese version   
cruder, but it works.
 I have seen Contax G1/G2 adapters to Leica Screwmount in Tokyo, they   
have their own adapter with helicoil but are not rangefinder coupled.
 There are some benefits of getting an adapter like this, you expand your   
selection considerably, plenty of great Sonnars,Tessars,Biogons as well   
some great Nikon RF optics (25/28 and 35/1,8 as well as 85/105). The   
are often available as screwmounts to start with, but the selection is   
with the alternative of the adapter.
Tom A