Anyone used old bellows-type lenses on 4/3?
Mar 20, 2011
Weather is lousy today, so time to experiment with gear. Using an old, used bellows I got off eBay (this one has the Pentax M42 mount) and some fresh elastic bands (wouldn't want one to snap & send the lens crashing to the ground) I managed to "secure" the lens from an old Graflex Century Graphic 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 press camera to the front of my E-510. The shutter has a "T" setting, which holds it open as long as you want, allowing the Oly's Live View to give a good image for focusing. This "baby" Graflex has a 2.5 inch square lens board, which fits very neatly into the bellows.
Behold, Frankenstein's monster:
The lens is good but not spectacular, being the "kit" lens of its day (Graftar 103mm f/4.5, 3 elements). It lacks a bit of contrast and is prone to flare. Surprisingly little CA or PF - it is coated, but there are some cleaning marks on the front element. It's sharp enough but the bokeh could be better. Here is a sample wide open at f/4.5 and stopped down to f/8.
Wide open @ f/4.5:
Stopped down to f/8:
These both had some auto-curves adjustment in PP, which boosted the contrast a bit.
I originally dreamed up this idea as a way of testing the shutter speeds on the lens. I could hold it open and use the Oly to meter and take a sample shot, then try the same speed on the Graflex shutter. Turns out that the Graflex shutter is slow (overexposes) by about 1 stop. Probably needs a cleaning & adjustment.
More info about the camera this lens came from can usually be found at http://graflex.org/speed-graphic/century-graphic.html - it appears to be down at the moment but I was there yesterday.