A couple of years ago I purchased a Hanimex Topcon RE Auto camera and a couple of lenses from eBay UK. The camera was sold as ‘For Repair’ and at the time I purchased it I could see by the pictures that it was going to take some work to get it back to working order.
These pictures can be viewed full sized here.
Well, after I took delivery I found that it was in an even worse state than I thought. The Mirror had become separated from the plate which flipped it up during exposure and the plate itself was bent and had been pulled off the rod it was supposed to pivot on. It was also partially dismantled, with the lens mount in pieces, and not all the bits were still there as far as I could see. I decided the best thing to do with it was to make it a donor camera to fix another RE Auto, or possibly another Topcon camera and had a look at the lenses instead.
There was a Topcor 53mm f/2.0 and a Topcor 135mm F/4.0 as well as a UV mount 2x convertor. I thought at the time these would all be useful additions to my growing Topcon collection, joining my Topcon Unirex and Topcon IC-1 along with the 28mm f/4.0 topcor and 50mm standard lenses I already have.
Recently, I began thinking about these lenses and looked on-line to see if I could find an adapter to use them on my digital cameras, but unfortunately adapters are not made for these lenses. I suspect this is because of the design of the lens, the aperture adjustment being a part of the camera lens mount rather than fitted to the lens itself. This makes any adapter more tricky to make and since the lenses are not that popular, I guess no commercial company has bothered making one.
And then I thought, ‘Since I have some Topcon parts laying about, what’s to stop me making one?’
And of course the answer is, ‘Nothing’!
So I found the actual lens mount part of the old RE Auto which has the aperture adjustment on and sure enough it will attach to the bayonet mount of the lens, click into place and adjust the aperture. The bayonet release on the lens will allow it to be removed so all I needed to do was find a way of attaching this lens mount on to an existing camera adapter at the correct distance and it should be ok.
Ideally I would like to make an adapter to fit on my Fuji X-T1, but since this process would probably ruin an existing adapter I decided to try to make one for my Nex 6 instead because I’m less likely to need those adapters again.
First I looked up the registration distance of various cameras to find which adapter I had which would work.
- Pentax K-Mount = 45.46mm
- Pentax M42 = 45.46mm
- Exakta = 44.7mm
- Canon EF = 44.0mm
- Minolta MD = 43.72mm
- Topcor UV = 54mm
Of all the adapters I have the Exakta is the only one I don’t actually use (I bought it because I bought an Exakta camera and then the guy I bought it from just didn’t send it) and also gives me a bit of room to work with when making the Topcon mount fit.
To see if it looked likely that I could make this work I took the Exakta adapter and the UV mount and tried holding them together with the Topcor 135mm set to f/4 (its widest aperture) fitted to the mount. This showed me that the combination would work, but the lens focused well beyond infinity so I needed to add a bit of distance if I could. I found the part of the camera that the lens mount would fit on and tried adding that into the trial. With these three pieces in place the trial was better and although the lens still focused slightly past infinity it seems good enough for what I needed.
The lens mount and the piece it would normally have fitted on were simple to fit together because they already had threaded holes which aligned, so the only problem was how to fit the lens mount plate to the Exakta mount. I did that by simply drilling holes in the top plate of the exacta mount adapter in the same places as the mounting holes in the lens mount plate and used tiny bolts and nuts to joint them together. To allow room behind the Exakta top plate for the bolt heads, I drilled bigger holes in the body of the mount to give clearance.
When I bolted the lens mount plate to the Exakta top plate I sealed the nuts onto the bolts with some superglue so that they wouldn’t come free easily and then screwed the UV mount onto it’s mount plate with the three screws originally used for the job in the camera.
With the pieces all bolted together I’m pleased to say the lens fits nicely on to the mount adapter and both the aperture and the focus can be easily adjusted. The focus is still a little bit beyond infinity at the furthest, but it’s better to be that way than can’t reach infinity.
Since I can remove the original Exakta top plate and attach it to another Exakta mount adapter, I could also buy one for my fuji x-t1 and try the Topcor lenses on that camera as well!
I’ll probably post a few example pictures which I’ve taken using this combination in a future post.