Interchangeable Lens Mounts - Third Party Lens Advantage?
by Robert Monaghan

Local Postings:
Kalimar's Forgotten Mounts
Mounts List
Reverse T-Mounts
Soligor T4 Lens Review
T Mount Lenses
T4 Mounts List
TX Lens List
Vivitar = Soligor T4 Lenses?
YS Mount Lens List

Lens Mounts Listing:

Third party lenses come in two flavors, fixed and removable mounts. A fixed mount third party lens has the same sort of lens mount as the OEM lens, which cannot be changed except by the factory or a lens repairman. A removable lens mount is one which is designed to make it easy to swap out the lens' mount, and use the same lens on different cameras.

This advantage isn't overwhelming if you only use one camera system. You may prefer a fixed and solid lens mount over a removable one. But if you have multiple camera brands, or if you switch cameras and lens mounts, then this difference can save you huge amounts of money!

Removable lens mounts come in two flavors too. The earlier mounts were purely physical ones, such as the T and T-2 mounts. The T-mount adapter screws onto the back of a T-mount lens (42mm x.75mm thread). The other end of the T-mount adapter looks like your Nikon bayonet mount (if a nikon mount), or your pentax M42 universal thread mount (if an M42 thread mount), or your pentax K mount, and so on.

The good news is that you can now mount your T-mount lenses onto many camera bodies.

The bad news is that you can't use automatic diaphragm or other features such as auto-focus on most camera systems. You have to use stop-down metering, which is not available on some of the latest camera bodies (e.g., lacking a stopdown or depth of field control).

Tamron's president, Takeyuki Arai, invented the T-mount in 1959 (see Tamron's cult classic interchangeable mounts). You can find several versions of T-mounts, a solid fixed version and a later T2 version with three screws. The later T2 version is handy if you need to loosen the screws to let you rotate the inner ring of the T-mount adapter so the lens' aperture scales and controls face upwards. The later T-2 mount was also a 42mm x 0.75mm pitch purely mechanical mount (no auto-diaphragm action coupling). So far as I know, the T-3 mount was never marketed directly under that name, and may have remained an internal Tamron project leading to the T-4 and T-5 auto-diaphragm coupled lens mounts.

T-mount lenses are available in a wide variety of focal lengths from a 7.5mm fisheye (Accura) to 640mm super-telephotos. Many mirror telephoto lenses have a T-mount adapter, since their apertures are fixed. Likewise, microscopes and telescopes are also commonly used with a T-mount style adapter system. You will also find accessories such as slide duplicators, extension tubes, and bellows which use the T-mount system.

See Reverse T-mount section below (added 2/99)

Lens Mount Adapters

What if you already have a whole lot of great lenses from your old or current camera body?

You may be able to use them on another brand or model of camera by using the appropriate camera mount adapter.

These adapters come in two flavors too. There are purely mechanical mount to mount adapters, where the lens registration distances permit such construction. These adapters are relatively cheap (e.g., circa $30 US new).

You can see a listing of these preset and T-mount or T-2 mount lenses in Listing of Third Party Lenses by Focal Length and Speed (from 1960s-80s).

If the lens registration differences are against you, you may be able to buy an optical element lens mount adapter for many popular brands. With the optical element in there, these adapters cost more (e.g., circa $80 US).

In a few cases, you can get adapters to use older lenses on new camera bodies by the same manufacturer (e.g., Pentax M42 to Pentax K mount adapter).

See Lens Mount FAQ for more information on what lens mount adapters are available for your camera brand.

Again, knowing such adapters exist can allow you to use your prime lenses from one system on a newer model, or on a completely different brand of camera too.

Interchangeable Automatic Mount Adapters

Automatic mounts are much more interesting, if only because they retain features such as auto-diaphragm operation (but not autofocus, yet).

A number of automatic removable mounting systems have been developed:

Tamron's current adaptall-2 mount lenses continue to represent a popular choice for interchangeable lens mount users.

Tamron's adaptamatic and adaptall lenses were the logical outgrowth of Tamron's long development of interchangeable lens mounts. But Tamron's long experience of making interchangeable lenses for importers prepared it for its own entry into the U.S. market. Their automatic mount lenses were often re-engineered preset mount lenses, making their development task much easier. One competitive advantage Tamron used was the relatively close focusing distances of its original adaptamatic lenses. None of their competitors had interchangeable mount lenses featuring such close focusing capabilities.

Their earlier adaptamatic lens mount developed in 1967 offered automatic diaphragm operation. But you had to carefully align a longish coupling pin to mate with an internal lens auto-diaphragm rod to make it work. The lens mount adapter itself had two pieces which had to be mated properly too. This setup was sometimes flaky, and damaged interchangeable lens mount reputations.

But by 1974, only Komura had their own interchangeable mount system, which failed to beat the Tamron adaptamatic system. Thanks to their innovative interchangeable lens mount system, Tamron emerged in the U.S. market as a major contender. Previously, Tamron had provided a wide variety of T-mount and other lenses under other names, including Rokunar. The Bushnell automatic diaphragm lenses were also Tamron (Taisei) lenses.

The later Tamron adaptall and latest adaptall-2 mounts are very different and relatively easy to use interchangeable lens mount adapters. These lens mounts are a single piece of chrome steel which fit directly into the lens barrel. Just twist the ribbed outer lens ring, and your lens is mounted and secure. At the introduction of these new mounts in 1974, only the Canon, Nikon, Konica, Minolta, Miranda, Olympus OM-1, Pentax, and Rollei SL lens mounts were available. More lens mounts were quickly added, so many orphan cameras today can only use Tamron adaptall mounts for newer design lenses.

TX Adaptable Mount Lenses
24mm f2.8 prime
28mm f2.8 prime
35mm f2.8 prime
135mm f2.8 prime
200mm f3.5 prime
300mm f5.6 prime
400mm f5.6 prime
35-105mm f3.5 zoom
90-230mm f4.5 zoom
70-150mm f3.8 zoom
100-300mm f5.0 zoom
80-200mm f4.0 zoom
600mm f8 prime
(preset T-mount)
800mm f8 prime
(preset T-mount)
Source: The Vivitar Guide, John C. Wolf, Ziff-Davis Publishers, New York, NY, 1980

We have put a listing of the T-4 and TX (Vivitar) lenses from 1980 (their peak period) above. You can also see a listing of Y-S and T-4 and TX mount lenses in our listing of 1,600+ Third Party Lenses from the 1960s through mid-1980s. See our followup listing of the Tamron adaptall and adaptall-2 mount lenses through the early 1990s.

The Y-S interchangeable mount system was a response to Tamron's first interchangeable mount systems of 1964 (T-4). The Y in Y-S mounts is after Mr. Yamaki, who was president of Sigma (hence, Y-S). Besides Sigma, Sun Optical Corp. also used these Y-S lens mounts on some of their lenses.

The Y-S mounts are still found on used lens, particularly wide angle lenses sold under the Spiratone and Cambron brand names, among others. These YS mounts use a screw-on camera mount adapter which converts the camera's auto-diaphragm operation into a downward push on a small pin in the lens. Pushing this pin closes the lens diaphragm, and releasing pressure lets it spring back open. The mounts are clearly engraved with YS markings, making identification easy.

The T-4 mounts were popular with camera store dealers who only had to stock a few lenses and some T-4 mounts to cover a huge number of potential camera models with automatic diaphragm operation lenses. The TX system overcame some problems with T-4 mounts on Konica Autoreflex using auto exposure and Canon, Pentax F and ES cameras with full aperture metering. Minolta users were also annoyed that aperture scales weren't in the right place to be seen in the viewfinder. TX adapters were also made for newer cameras such as Olympus OM-1/2, Mamiya DSX and MSX, Fujica ST801/901, and Rollei SL35.

Vivitar T4 Mounts
Canon TLTopcon Super D
Exakta VX500Petri FT
Leicaflex SLMamiya Sekar 1000 DTL
Minolta SRT101Miranda Sensorex
Nikon FPentax Spotmatic
NikkormatRicoh TLS401
and 13 lenses from 21mm to 400mm + 3 zooms...
Source: Modern Photography, December 1972 Vivitar Ad

The TX adapters are not recommended for use and generally not usable on the older T-4 series lenses. The T-4 series adapters usually are usable on the newer TX lenses. In some cases, a T-4 adapter will be quirky on a TX lens. For example, the TX lenses provide a maximum aperture at the center setting, stopping down if turned to the left or to the right. For Canon and Leica owners, the right side scale is used. For Nikon and most others, the left hand settings and scale are used.

The older T-4 adapters won't prevent you from using the Canon side with a Nikon or other lens. So what? Older Nikons such as my Nikon F2 and Nikkormats require you to set the maximum aperture by rotating the lens to the maximum aperture point. With a T-4 adapter on a TX lens, you can easily fool the aperture setting mechanism by going to far over onto the Canon aperture setting side. Your Nikon thinks you have a lens that is a lot faster than it really is, and problems develop from there.

The Minolta TX adapter has a lens aperture scale you have to setup to get proper viewfinder aperture readings. Usually, you have to set a U-shaped prong on the lens to match and take a pin on the adapter when you couple the adapter and lens together. There are various arrows and colored dots on the mounts to help make this easier. The T-4 lens end is simpler than the TX lenses, which have extra couplings and longer grooves for aperture couplings.

The early TX mounts had various color codes on them for Nikon users (orange at f/5.6) and other mount alignments. The later TX mounts just put an arrow on the lens mount and adapter. You lined up the respective pins and U-shaped slots to these arrows or dots, and just press them together. If you are using a shutter priority camera, check out the adapter instructions for correct lens setting for proper mounting.

Soligor came up with their own marketing version of automatic diaphragm mount (T-5). Soligor also sold many lenses using the TX mount popular on some Vivitar lenses from that period too. The Vivitar T-4 and TX mounts are very similar. The later Soligor T/S, U/S, and overseas C/S versions from the 1980s were less popular. Even rarer, the varifit interchangeable mounts and Komura's interchangeable mounts (adapters) were eclipsed by the Tamron adaptall system.

Soligor I/S multi-mount system had adapters for Canon, Fujica ST, Konica EE, Minolta, M42 Pentax screw-thread, Nikon, Olympus OM, Pentax K, and Yashica/Contax.

Chinon's interchangeable lens mount response was their varifit adapter series for Canon, Minolta, Nikon (AI), Olympus, Pentax K and M42 Pentax/Praktica screw thread mounts.

Finally, Sigma deserves a great deal of praise for providing an option to switch out mounts on their lenses if the buyer switched camera brands. The charge was roughly $25 US plus s/h. Unfortunately, this service is no longer available from any current lens maker, as far as I know.

Sigma was also instrumental in challenging the patents of Topcon in Japan, opening up that lens mount for compatible third party lens mount buyers. Similarly, Sigma courageously risked threatened legal action by reverse engineering a compatible auto mount version to Canon's then new lens mounts and making low cost Canon mount Sigma lenses available. They even challenged Leica's patents in Germany with the first R-mount interchangeable lenses. The current depth and vigor of the third party lens lines of today owe a lot to Sigma's efforts to challenge legal and technical patent restrictions to make third party lenses available in a wider variety of mounts.

You can check the manufacturer's links for their latest lenses. We also have a listing of third party lens reviews from Popular Photography magazine for more detailed information.

These removable mounts make it possible to take a given lens, remove its current mount in a few seconds, and replace it with another mount for a different camera brand or model.

Camera Mount Liberation

What we are basically dealing with here is camera mount liberation, in which you can change camera brands and lens mounts without having to sell your old lenses at a huge loss and buy new, more expensive lenses to boot!

Think about that for a moment!

I have some T-mount fisheye lenses, slide duplicators, and long telephoto lenses what I use with a Nikon T-mount adapter. When I acquired a Pentax K mount camera, I spent $9 on a used T-mount adapter. Suddenly, I could use my fisheyes and long telephotos (400mm, 500mm), slide duplicator, and even my Coulter telescope and field microscope on the new Pentax K camera just by using my T-mount adapter. Wow!

Over time, I have replaced some stolen Nikkor lenses on a limited student budget. But I have also been alert to buying a full backup lens set so I could keep shooting if my primary body or lenses get stolen.

Most of these backup lenses have been third party interchangeable mount lenses. Besides being economical, these replaceable mount third party lenses open up the possibility of using these same lenses on my other camera bodies, as well as buying new cameras of a different brand of mount too.

In the case of my Minolta SRT camera, I also spent under $15 for a T4 adapter, opening up the possibility of using my T-4 and Vivitar TX mount lenses on this camera body. In this case, I have some vivitar wide angles (including 21mm), portrait lens (105mm), and mid-telephotos (200mm and 300mm) prime lenses I can now use on the Minolta body.

This case illustrates one obvious benefit of using third party lenses with removable interchangeable mounts. For $25, I have two adapters that let me use a dozen optics from my Nikon system backups with my Minolta SR-series cameras.

Since I used to teach underwater photography, I also have pentax M42 universal thread cameras, Exakta/topcon cameras, and minolta cameras along with underwater housings for them. I can't afford a full lens lineup for each of them. But now, for $25-30 worth of adapters, I can provide each camera with a surprisingly full range of lenses, from fisheyes to long telephotos, and specialty items like microscope/telescope options and slide duplication setups.

One possibly subtle point about the above strategy is that the lens and items I am sharing most are precisely those that are most expensive and often used the least.

The camera's normal lens is used a lot (up to 80% by some photography contest results). It is also the sharpest and cheapest lens in most camera systems, and often comes with the camera whether bought new or used.

On the other hand, if you have 105mm, 200mm, and 300mm TX mount lenses and 400mm, and 500mm T-mount telephotos (plus 2x teleconverters), you may not feel the need to buy any telephotos in that new mount.

If you also have T-mount 8 or 12mm fisheye lenses and interchangeable TX mount 18, 21, 24, 28mm and 35mm wide angle lenses, you again have most of the wide angle bases covered.

While I have focused on primes above, you can also get a variety of auto-zoom lenses in both TX and Tamron adaptall and adaptall-2 mounts, as well as less handy T-mount preset zooms.

How Good Are Soligor T4 Lenses?
The 21mm f/3.8 rated as excellent for center sharpness at all apertures through f/16, and from acceptable (f/3.8) to good to excellent by f/11 and f/16. Using a 67mm filter thread, with close focus to a low 13 inches, cost was $199.95 (1971).

The 35mm f/2.8 had generally very good sharpness (5 out of 6) in the center, but improved from acceptable (f/2.8) to good (f/4) to excellent in the edge sharpness. It was smaller, used 52mm filters, and close focused to 18 inches, while costing only $89.95 (1971).

The 105mm f/2.8 Soligor T-4 lens used a 49mm filter size, close focused to 5 feet, and had a built-in lens-shade. Cost was $104.95 (1971). Edge sharpness was excellent from f/2.8 to f/22, while center sharpness was very good through f/5.6 and excellent to f/16 (and very good at f/22).

The 135mm f/2.8 was excellent in both center and edge sharpness from f/8 to f/22, and generally excellent in edge sharpness beyond f/2.8 (good). It used a 55mm filter thread, close focused to 6 feet, and cost $104.95 (1971).

The 135mm f/3.5 lens was only $89.95 (1971), used smaller 49mm filters, and also close focused to 6 feet. It actually outperformed its faster and more costly cousin at f/5.6, but the f/2.8 beat it at f/22 (very good vs. excellent).

The 250mm f/4.5 lens cost $124.95 (1971), focused as close as 15 feet, had a built-in shade and tripod socket (revolving), and used 62mm filters. The 250mm lens had excellent edge sharpness throughout, with excellent ratings from f/5.6 through f/16 and very good wide open at f/4.5 and at f/22.

The Soligor T-4 lenses provided full aperture metering and automatic diaphragm operation with the appropriate auto-diaphragm camera models (Miranda, Pentax, Nikon, Minolta, Canon, Icarex, and Exakta. The Konica Auto-Reflex did not provide auto-exposure operation until the TX mounts.

Source: Modern Photography, p. 102, January 1971

Switching Mounts Made Easy

One of the hidden benefits of this approach is the ability to add or switch cameras with minimal provocation or opportunity. For example, many Nikon owners envy the Zuiko 24mm shift lens or the Canon tilt/shift lenses. It is relatively easy to buy a camera body to use just that lens on it. But is even better if you can use many other lenses on the same body for just the cost of a few adapters.

It is probably fairly obvious that you want to minimize the number of adapters you have to buy, if only to keep those costs down too. If you have any of the mirror or long telephoto lenses that use T-mounts, you will generally find such a mount a logically required buy. On longer telephoto lenses, the lack of automatic operation of the T-mount is either mandatory (mirrors having fixed aperture) or not a problem, since the lens is usually mounted on a tripod anyway.

Conversely, I find the automatic diaphragm removable mount lenses to be highly attractive for the normal range of wide angle and short to mid telephoto and zoom lenses. Here, hand-held operation is preferred as an option. So the automatic diaphragm mounts make these lenses as usable as their OEM cousins.

Select your lenses so you have to buy only one or two mount adapters, rather than four or five different versions (e.g., T4, TX, Adaptall, Adaptall-2..). Make sense?

Autofocus Mounts

Unfortunately, OEM lens manufacturers have come up with a plan to get us to buy their new lenses. The new autofocus mounts obsolete the older AF and MF lens mounts. This fact is convenient if you want to make continuous profits from selling new cameras with new features that just happen to obsolete your old lenses. The poor consumer simply has to buy the new lenses if they want these features. Adding to this process is the confusion and on-going search for the ideal autofocus mount and lens designs. But some manufacturers have provided a conservative path, minimizing their degree of lens obsolescence, while others have not.

Fortunately, many of the older lenses can be physically mounted to some of the current auto-focus bodies and used in their native manual and auto-diaphragm mode. A few camera bodies (and teleconverters) even permit autofocus operation with older manual focus lenses. Here again, considering these options can really lower your cost of ownership of a full line of prime optics.

But I am not suggesting that you can't buy a new autofocus lens if that is your desire. If you do, check the discount sources for new and used photo equipment . You might as well save some major money doing so!

You may well decide that you want a convenient autofocus zoom lens in the popular and cheap 80-210mm range to take full advantage of your camera's autofocus abilities. Great! The good news is that you won't have to buy new AF versions of the various third party fixed and removable mount lenses that you already have, just some simple adapters to mount and use them. Again, you have to plan ahead to preserve this option, as not all AF camera models will work with these older manual focus lenses equally well.

Trading Lenses

Part of the fun of photography is trying out new lenses, including lenses that are used but new for you and your camera.

In general, the better third party lenses tend to depreciate less than the lesser regarded third party lenses.

So lenses by Tamron, Tokina, and Sigma may be expected to depreciate less rapidly than lenses by Phoenix, Osawa, Acurra, and others.

Some OEM lenses (including autofocus ones) will depreciate precipitiously if a new variant of that lens is released.

I have also seen price cuts when the manufacturer (Nikon) switched to direct marketing arm from a U.S. importer/distributor. This move reduced the selling price of their lenses considerably (by up to 30-40%), which in turn meant huge losses for some of us with large investments in those earlier lenses.

Today, rapid obsolescence of mounts and new features and models is having a similar effect in rapidly obsoleting and depreciating our camera investment.

By contrast, when you buy a used 70-210mm Vivitar Series I lens for $100 US, you can only lose a modest amount to depreciation.

Price Compression Effects

There is a price compression effect that you should be aware of too. That Series I 70-210mm zoom may have sold for $300 US when other third party zooms were $120 US or so. Those lower cost (and quality) zooms are now selling for $75 US and up.

In this example, spending $25 more for the Series I zoom buys you a much higher quality professional zoom.

That's what I call the price compression effect. For lots of older lenses, you will find that the age and list price of the lens helps you evaluate and locate some real buys.

Do You Need the Speed?

Another key indicator is lens speed.

There are some odd-ball faster lenses that were aimed at professional users who needed every available bit of faster lens speed.

The Vivitar line is one of the best examples. Vivitar had a series of amateur lenses, but developed both the Series I line and some professional quality lenses aimed at the serious amateur and professional photographer.

While most 200mm telephotos from OEMs were f/4 lenses, vivitar had a faster generic 200mm f/3.5 lens for their amateur users. But they also had a rarer superfast 200mm f/3 lens that was very nearly as fast as the much more expensive f/2.8 OEM lenses.

Such odd-ball aperture speeds seem to turn many amateur photographers off, for whatever reasons. But you will find such lenses to be very often good buys today, if you have the need for speed!

A few of these Vivitar pro lenses such as the 600mm and 800mm mirror solid cat lenses have become legendary cult status lenses.

Is Buying New a Better Buy?

On the other hand, you have to take our initial paragraphs above to heart. You can buy current lenses from grey market sources, often directly, saving 40-60% over retail, and sometimes another 20% over most discount sources.

At these new prices, it may not make sense to buy an older third party lens when you can buy a new late model lens in warranty.

Wide angle lenses have seen great improvements in designs, so later lenses are better and worthwhile. This view is probably especially true for older single coated lenses, whether third party or not.

Likewise, some of the later long telephotos feature low dispersion (ED or APO) glasses which really do improve performance. So I am suggesting that you factor in these technical details in your search for the best buy in lenses.

Lens Testing

Recently, Chris Perez posted an analysis based on his lens testing efforts and the cost of lenses, stated as cost in dollars per lpmm of sharpness. The standout winner was a $20 Kodak 620 camera that hit 60 lpmm+, at a cost circa 25 to 30 times less than more expensive lenses on other cameras.

To beat an enlargement from that obsolete 620 camera, a 35mm lens would have to deliver over 150 lpmm on the 35mm film. That's virtually impossible even with today's best 35mm lenses and films.

In other words, the prints from that cheapy $20 camera would be much sharper than the best available Leitz, Canon, Nikkor or any other 35mm lens could deliver.

Similarly, my own tests of those $15 third party lenses showed you could find some surprising bargains relative to the OEM lenses. The OEM lenses were slightly better, but only if you were making larger 11x14 prints frequently.

If you rarely make enlargements beyond 11x14 inches, you may also be a candidate to benefit from the low cost and flexibility (as in interchangeable mounts) of third party lenses.

T-mount Lenses

(See Tamron T-mount History)

T-mounts get their name from Tamron (Taisei in Japan), who pioneered this interchangeable lens mount.

The T-mount is a simple threaded metal tube roughly 42mm in diameter, with its base designed to be circa 55mm from the film. A T-mount lens adapter threads onto the end of the lens. The other end of the T-mount adapter matches the mechanical camera body mount.

The width of the mount is chosen to bring the T-mount lenses into proper infinity focus on your brand of camera. On my Nikons, the mount needs to be circa 55mm - 46.5mm (Nikon) or 8.5mm thick. On my Minolta SRT, the mount is 55mm - 43.5mm (Minolta) or 11.5mm thick. See table for your mount details.

A warning to newbies about threaded lens mounts. Many lenses are out there in the Pentax M42 Universal thread mount, which is 42mm x 1mm pitch. The T-mounts are different thread pitches (e.g., T-2 mount is 42mm x 0.75mm pitch).

If you find one threaded end starts to work, but then gets hard to turn or seizing up - watch out! You may be mixing M42 and T or T-2 mount threads, which can damage the lens, mount adapter, or camera body depending on who is doing what to whom.

Kalimar's Forgotten Auto-T Interchangeable Mounts
Kalimar Auto-T Interchangeable Lenses:
25mm f/2.8 ($180), 35mm f/2.8 ($100), 135mm f/2.8 ($90), 200mm f/3.5 ($130), 300mm f/5.5 ($140), 400mm f/6.3 ($200), and 70-215mm f/3.8 zoom ($290)
Kalimar came out with its own Auto-T interchangeable lens mount for Pentax, Canon, Exakta, Miranda, Minolta, and Nikon.

Unfortunately, this Kalimar Auto-T system is often confused with the Y-S interchangeable mount system, which was also called auto-T (as in automatic diaphragm action - thread mount). As you can see from the YS lens table below, Accura often labeled its YS mount lenses as Auto T, but they are not compatible with Kalimar Auto-T mounts. I am elaborating here on these Kalimar Auto-T mount lenses because of that common confusion.

The Kalimar Auto-T mount is not compatible with the Y-S mounts, nor vice versa. Moreover, the Auto-T Kalimar mount doesn't use the T-mount threads at all.

It gets more confusing. The standard auto-T mount for stop down metering Canon (FTL) and Pentax M42 used just a mechanical mount. On the Nikon, Minolta, and Miranda cameras, there was a ring you removed from the standard adapter and replaced with an aperture indexing ring for your camera. The instructions with the lenses were wrong (orange scale for Minolta, not Miranda, green for Miranda and Nikon and not orange as on directions). Canon, Exakta and Pentax can use either set of aperture scales. Got that? ;-)

None of these lenses were especially outstanding, as you can see from these lens reviews. The 135mm f/2.8 Kalimar Auto-T mount lens close focused to 6 feet, length was 3 1/2 inches, it used 58mm filters, and cost only $90 (1971). Edge sharpness was acceptable, and center sharpness improved from acceptable (f/2.8) to good (f/4) to very good to excellent from f/11 to f/22.

The more interesting Kalimar Auto-T mount lens was the 300mm f/5.5 Kalimar, since it was an unusually long lens for an early interchangeable mount offering. Cost was only $140 (1971), length 7 3/4 inches, but close focus was a distant 20 feet and 62mm filters were needed. There was a built-in lens shade and rotating tripod socket. Unfortunately, performance was only acceptable in edge sharpness (4 out of 5, with one good rating). Center sharpness ranged from acceptable from f/5.5 to f/11 to good from f/16 to f/22.

Chances are good you will never encounter a Kalimar Auto-T lens, or a Komura Super Auto System lens, Ercona Astro lens mounts, an Enna Socket lens, or a Caspeco Insta-switch lens either. They might make an interesting collector's item if you did.

Your chances of finding other lenses and adapters in any of these series is quite small. As you can see from the above lens reviews, most of these lens systems were of modest quality optics in a competing interchangeable mount which never caught on.

So my advice would be to stick with the major mounts, such as T-mounts (T-2), T4 and TX mounts, perhaps T-5 Soligor mounts, and maybe Y-S mounts, plus all the Tamron adaptall and adaptall-2 mounts (maybe on the adaptamatics).

Source: Modern Photography, p.103, January 1971


Interchangeable lens mounts and mount adapters provide a low cost means to share lenses between different camera mounts.

By picking rarely used long telephoto lenses in an interchangeable mount (typically T-mount), you can share these lenses and save money. You can share wide angle lenses and even fisheyes. You can even share zoom lenses with automatic operation between different camera brands (e.g., T-4 or TX mounts and adaptall and adaptall-2 mounts).

Interchangeable mount lenses also make ideal backup lenses for your camera bag. They are lower cost, but more flexible than OEM lenses.

YS Mount Lenses
16mm f/2.8 Sigma18mm f/3.5 Sigma18mm f/3.5 Spiratone*
24mm f/2.8 accura24mm f/2.8 sigma28mm f/2.8 Accura YS Auto-T
28mm f/2.8 Sigma35mm f/2.8 Accura YS Auto T55mm f/2.8 Sigma macro
100mm f/2.8 sigma105mm f/2.5 Accura YS Auto T135mm f/2.8 Accura YS Auto T
135mm f/2.8 Sigma135mm f/1.8 Sigma200mm f/4 Proxitel (Spiratone)
200mm f/3.9 Accura YS Auto T200mm f/2.8 Sigma300mm f/5.5 Accura YS Auto T
300mm f/4 Sigma70-230mm f/4 Sun YS Zoom80-200mm f/3.5 Sigma
85-210mm f/4.5 Sun YS Zoom*18mm f/3.5 Spiratone I ($115)*18mm f/3.5 Spiratone II ($125)
Source: Modern Photography, p.103-4, September 1974

Let's have some fun comparing lenses, okay?

People often ask me if Soligor T-4 and Vivitar T-4 lenses are the same or really different. Look through the following chart and see what you think? Can you find a Vivitar T-4 lens without a matching Soligor T-4 lens? Any prices which vary by more than a few dollars?

focal length f/stop   mfg list price
21 3.8   soligor $209.00
21 3.8   vivitar $209.50
24 2.8   soligor $169.00
24 2.8   vivitar $169.50
28 2.8   soligor $147.50
28 2.8   vivitar $149.50
35 2.8   soligor $108.50
35 2.8   vivitar $109.50
105 2.8   soligor $108.50
105 2.8   vivitar $109.50
135 3.5   soligor $94.00
135 3.5   vivitar $94.50
135 2.8   soligor $113.50
135 2.8   vivitar $114.50
200 3.5   soligor $152.50
200 3.5   vivitar $154.50
250 4.5  * soligor $149.50
300 5.5  * soligor $167.50
400 6.3   soligor $208.50
400 6.3   vivitar $209.50
55-135 3.5  * soligor $219.50
75-260 4.5   soligor $307.50
75-260 4.5   vivitar $309.50
90-230 4.5   soligor $257.50
90-230 4.5   vivitar $259.50
Source: Modern Photography, p.103, September 1974

Reverse T-mount Adapters

There is also a reverse T-mount coupling available for a number of lenses and camera mounts. A reverse T-mount adapter goes from a standard lens mount (e.g., Nikon) to a standard T-mount thread (42mm x 0.75mm pitch). Why would you want such an adapter? You could use it to put your standard lenses onto a T-mount bellows, as one example of a common reverse T-mount use.

Recall that each camera mount has its own lens registration distance, however. The T-mount lens registration distance (55mm) is longer than nearly all 35mm camera lens registration distances (e.g., Nikon is 46.5mm). So while you could use a reverse T-mount to convert a nikon lens mount lens to a T-mount lens thread, and a T-mount adapter to put this combo on another camera (say, a Canon F-1) - you couldn't use the resulting setup at infinity focus.

The extra thicknesses of adapters and the lens registration mis-match (T-mount 55mm > Nikon 46.5mm) means the Nikon lens acts as if it were on a short extension tube (say, 15-20mm depending on adapter thicknesses). So you can't use a reverse T-mount adapter with a T-mount adapter except when you don't mind losing infinity focusing (e.g., for closeup work only). That's why you so often see reverse T-mount adapters used on bellows setups for closeup work.

However, you may be able to use a reverse T-mount adapter to mount those Nikon SLR lenses on a variety of older 35mm rangefinders. You will recall that most rangefinders have a much shorter lens registration distance, since there isn't any SLR mirror in most rangefinder designs. So you might be able to cobble a reverse T-mount adapter to a T-mount adapter for a 35mm rangefinder while preserving infinity focusing with your standard 35mm SLR lenses on the rangefinder.

You will probably have to use one of the external viewfinders for showing lens coverage. Some multi-format (28-35-50-85-105..) viewfinders, some with coupled rangefinder distance estimating optics, were made for mounting (in flash shoe..) on economy rangefinder models from the 1950s and 1960s. Why bother? You will understand why once you price the cost of some rangefinder lenses, or the lack of many focal lengths in some models.

Related Postings

[Ed. note: David is a very helpful expert on optics, particularly nikon lenses, and maintains a very handy website for us nikon users... ;-) ]
From: (Neuman-Ruether)
[1] Re: Tamron 135mm f/2.8: Opinions
Date: Thu Oct 29 1998 (Kevin Morris) wrote:

>I just bought a used Tamron 135mm f/2.8 for a very good price. I haven't had
>the time to try it out yet and I've never seen a lens test in the press. Has
>anyone used this lens and if so, what are your opinions.

As Michael Covington said, there may be several versions. I recently tried out a T-mount pre-set Tamron 135mm f2.8 that was really good! It is an easy FL to make sharp, so this is not surprising (the lens is old, but it sure beats most newer zoom lenses that cover that FL...! ;-).

David Ruether

From an EBAY AD 11/10/98:


Made by the renowned Tokina lens company (verified by the 37 as the first two digits of the serial number). SN 37510939. Currently with a Minolta/SR mount, but this lens can be used on ANY camera that accepts a TX type interchangeable mount.

From: "Mark H. Davis"
Subject: Re: T-mount help for Maxxum cameras
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 1998

>I just bought an HTsi and would really like to use the high power lenses I
>have.  The problem is that the camera will not accept that there is a lens
>attached to the body when used with a T-mount.  The manual lists this as a
>problem in the trouble shooting guide, and says the solution is to contact
>Minolta directly for assistance.  I've just about given up on hearing from
>them.  ANyone know how to make the shutter work???

This question was recently posed in the minolta user group forum ( Unfortunately, the HTsi is not specifically mentioned. However, maybe one of the following solutions will work on this body.

>     Dear Minolta Maxxum photographer,
>     Minolta added a protection feature on the Maxxum Series-xi and     
>     Series-si cameras which does not allow shutter release without an
>     electronically attached lens. An electronically attached lens is a
>     Maxxum or Minolta AF or other manufacturer lens with electronic
>     contacts.
>     If you planning to use your Maxxum camera with a lens which does not
>     have electronic connection to the camera, microscope or telescope
>     adapter, you must switch off this function. Follow the steps below to
>     switch off the safety feature.
>     Note: There is no way to switch off the safety feature with Maxxum
>     2xi, 3xi and SPxi cameras. Therefore, they cannot be use with other
>     than a Maxxum AF or similar lens.
>     Camera                     Procedure
>     5000, 7000                 No preparation needed to use  
>     9000, 3000i,               T-mount lenses.
>     5000i, 7000i,
>     8000i
>     2xi, 3xi                    Use of T-mount lenses, microscopes,
>     Spxi                       and telescopes is not possible.
>     5xi                        Press and hold SPOT and FUNC.
>                                buttons and switch from LOCK to ON.
>     7xi/9xi                    Press and hold AEL and FUNC.
>                                buttons and move power switch from
>                                LOCK to ON.
>     300si                      Press and hold FLASH and DRIVE/SELFTIMER
>                                buttons and move power switch from
>                                LOCK to ON. (Off appears in LCD panel)
>     400si                      Press and hold Drive Mode and AV buttons and
>                                move power switch from LOCK to ON.
>     500si
>                                Press and hold Drive Mode and SPOT
>                                buttons and move power switch from LOCK
>                                to ON.
>     600si                      Press and hold the LENS RELEASE button and
>                                FILM SPEED button and move the power
>                                switch from LOCK to ON. (OFF appears in
>                                LCD panel)    
>     700si                      Press and hold SPOT and CARD buttons and
>                                move power switch from LOCK to ON.
>     800si                      Press and hold SUBJECT PROGRAM and AEL
>                                buttons and move power switch from LOCK to
>                                ON.(OFF appears in LCD panel)
>     Vectis S-1                 Press ON/OFF to turn camera ON. Open door
>                                that covers hidden buttons. Press the Drive
>                                Mode button (fathest on the left) and the
>                                MODE button together. "ON" will appear in
>                                the LCD panel. Press the "SEL" button
>                                (second from right in hidden buttons).
>                                "OFF" Will appear in the LCD panel.
>     RD-175                     Press and hold DRIVE/SELFTIMER and AV
>                                buttons and move power switch from LOCK to
>                                ON. (ON" appears in LCD pane)

From: Alan Bourassa
Subject: Re: T-mount help for Maxxum cameras
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 1998


  I don't have any experience with the camera that you own
 but...I have a Minolta 800 & 450, the 800 will work with
 no problems and the 450 required a sequence of button
  Hopefully your camera will operate like the 450. With the
 power off, push the timer button, the aperture button and
 hold, now turn on the power. If your camera has a LCD
 screen, like the 450, it will display "off". You have now
 tricked the camera to think it has a lens attached.
  I had to do this to attach the 450 to my Meade telescope.

 Hope this helps,

 Alan Bourassa
Date: Thu Nov 05 1998
[1] Re: T Mount Adapter

L. J. Powell's reply was fairly accurate but I believe there are two basic types of t-mounts. One has three set set screws that hold the mount on a flange that is located on the lens. The other type does screw on with threads that are 42mm in diameter. These threads have a different pitch than the Pentax/Praktica M42 screwmount. T-maount lenses have no automation.


Date: Sun, 3 Jan 1999
From: Bob Shell
Subject: Re: [Rollei] Rollei Users list digest V2 #68

>I have a 28mm Sigma lens in Rollei QBM mount.  I bought it new in the
>early 80's.  I never got a decent picture with this lens.  Sharpness
>and flare were both issues.  It did vignette if not stopped down alot,
>but I guess this is common in cheap wide-angle lenses.  The most anoying
>thing about this lens is that it made a grating sound when being mounted
>on a camera.  It wasn't severe, but it was not as smooth as my Rollei
>50mm lens.
>I also had a Sigma 80-250 zoom lens.  Its QBM mount was fine.  I traded
>it, however, for a Tamron 135mm lens.  The Sigma zoom was large, heavy
>and the viewfinder image was too dark.
>The Sigma QBM mounts were not user changeable.  I have no doubt that a
>technician with the right parts could change the mount for a different
>brand camera.
>>Yes Sigma listed and offered Rollei mount lenses in the US. A few were
>>imported but most were available only on special order here.

I'm still trying to work out the chronology of all this. In the 70s and through to the early 80s I worked in, managed, and eventually owned camera shops. I was an EPOI dealer and sold Nikon, Bronica, Rollei medium format, Jobo, Capro, Background in a Bag, and a few other things from them. I also sold Sigma, but I just don't recall it ever coming through EPOI. I used to have all those old dealer catalogs and price lists, but most were lost in a series of moves. I recall buying Sigma through Berkey Marketing.

I am wondering which years EPOI sold Sigma. I don't recall EPOI ever having the Rollei 35 mm cameras, just the medium format stuff, and at one point they were selling the Voigtlander branded Rollei 35 mm stuff.

The Sigma lenses were sold as fixed mount, but were, in fact, YS mount. Whether you consider a Sigma YS mount "user changable" is a matter of opinion. You had to loosen some set screws, and in some mounts disconnect an external aperture ring coupling, but then the mount just screwed off. I used to keep a selection of YS mounts since it reduced the lens inventory I needed to carry. However, the arrival of autofocus killed the YS system, just as it killed the T-4 mounts and the Komura interchangeable mounts. Just too complicated to make interchangeable mounts and keep AF coupling.


Date: Sun, 03 Jan 1999
From: Jan Bvttcher
Subject: Re: [Rollei] SL35 mount Makinon 300mm

Tony Zoccolillo wrote:

> ...Does anyone have any knowledge of the quality of Makinon lenses.  I  picked
> up a 300/5.6 on eBay ($46) in mint condition.  It has decent construction
> and is multicoated.  I'm wondering who is Makinon?  Were they a  manufacturer
> or just another marketing co?  Also, were Sigma, Tokina, Tamron and Vivitar
> selling all their lenses in Rollei QBM?  I usually only see Zeiss or
> Rolleinars for sale.  How common are the other makers lenses?   

Sigma: they marketed some of their lenses in Rollei QBM mount with the Sigma-label at least the 2.8/28 mini-wide, a "short" zoom (like 35-70mm) and a longer zoom of rather odd focal length (85-205 or something like that).

Makinon also marketed at least a 2.8/28, a 2.8/135 "Macro" and the 2x converter already mentioned by Bob.

Tokina sold QBM-Lenses under the label Rolleinar only (as far as I know...) for example: the 2.8/28 HFT, 5.6/400, 8/500 and some zooms like the 4/80-200 HFT and the 2.8/80-200 HFT.

Tamron has an adapter (as mentioned before by others).

At $46 you didn't do anything wrong, but if you have to take a choice on the others:
Prefer the Rolleinar 2.8/28 HFT (Tokina made) over the Rolleinar 2.8/28 MC (Mamiya made, though claimed to be the other way around by some sources), and prefer both against anything else from Makina or Sigma (If money doesn't matter go for th 2.0/28mm Carl Zeis Distagon!) As to the 2.8/135: the Makinon I have sucks. The Rolleinar MC performs better than the Leica R 2.8/135, but still it will be outperfomred by the 2.8/135 Carl Zeiss Sonnar (the 4/135 Tele-Tesar is ok, as si the 3.5/135 Schneider Tele-Xenar). Jan Bvttcher (

Date: Sun, 3 Jan 1999
From: Bob Shell
Subject: Re: [Rollei] Rollei Users list digest V2 #68

I found some time to look through my storage closet and found some old dealer price lists. My memory was correct. I was buying Sigma from Berkey Marketing Company in 1983 - 84, the last years I owned a camera shop. At that time, BMC also had Rollei, both medium format and 35 mm. So EPOI's distribution of Sigma must have been earlier than this.

The Sigma price list has these mounts listed:

Canon, Contax/Yashica, Fujica FX, Konica AE, Minolta MD/MC, Nikon, Olympus M, Pentax screw mount, Pentax K, Rollei

Prices on some of the Sigma lenses were pretty high, such as a 21 -35 mm for $ 599 and a 28 - 85 for $ 360. There is also a 50 - 200 Apochromat listed, priced at $ 650.


Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2000
Subject: Help on T-mounts, pre-set lenses

From time to time, I see postings asking about older pre-set and "T" mount lenses. I put an 8 minute streaming audio report on these lenses at It's all free. This should help those of you who find these lenses (cheap, I hope!) and are not sure how to use them. Go to the site and search on John Stewart or photography.


From Rollei Mailing List:
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000
From: Marc James Small
Subject: [Rollei] Russian MTO's in QBM

carter wrote:

>But Bob, does the Rubinar available in a Rollei Mount?

Almost all of the MTO's have adaptable mounts. The early ones -- marketed in the US in those nifty wooden cases by Spiratone -- generally had true t-mount, though some came only in Zenit M39. Production since 1970, give or take, has been with a specific camera mount -- BUT this is the outer part of a t-mount adapter. Loosen three screws, pull it off, then do the same for the t-mount adapter for the camera on which you want to use the lens. Put your camera's outer ring onto the MTO and tighten those ever-lovin' three screws, and Bob's your uncle. You might have to loosen and turn a bit to align the lens to the camera, but machts nichts.

All of the MTO's are cheap, and all are excellent lenses, especially the 8/500 and 10.5/1050. The "Rubinar" name which adorns the current production is simply a reflection that the factory which makes them (the old Optical Glass Works in Lytkarino) is now 'PO Rubin'. (Original production was from KMZ up to the conversion from wooden cases to leatherette in 1970 or so.)


From ROllei Mailing List:
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000
From: Bob Shell
Subject: Re: [Rollei] Zeiss Vs Rolleinars

The Rubinar accepts a standard T-mount, so you can put it on just about any SLR camera. I have the 500 and 1000 versions and both are remarkably good. They can be found now and then at ridiculously low prices. If I recall correctly I bought the pair for less than $ 500 brand new at a photo fair in London around 1994. They also focus VERY close. There is a photo taken with the 500 in the gallery on my web site.


>From: "carter"
>Subject: Re: [Rollei] Zeiss Vs Rolleinars
>Date: Mon, May 29, 2000, 2:14 PM

>>I've used this one and had very good results from it.  My Russian MC
>>Rubinar is better, though, and cost a lot less.
>But Bob, does the Rubinar available in a Rollei Mount?
>Don't get me wrong about the Tamron. I have been getting some excellent
>results from it. It just took a little getting used to.

FRom Rollei Mailing List:
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000
From: Bob Shell
Subject: Re: [Rollei] Russian MTO's in QBM

The Rubinar lenses I have seen are different barrel design than MTO. I have one of each in the 1000 mm version, and like the Rubinar design better. The ones I have seen are all true T-mount with threaded back ends that the T-mount just screws onto.



From Rollei Mailing List:
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000
From: Marc James Small
Subject: Re: [Rollei] Russian MTO's in QBM

Bob Shell wrote:

>The Rubinar lenses I have seen are different barrel design than MTO.
>have one of each in the 1000 mm version, and like the Rubinar design
>better.  The ones I have seen are all true T-mount with threaded back
>ends that the T-mount just screws onto.

According to the factory, and to the one person I know who has dissambled them!, all MTO's are identical in optical design, though fiddlin' minor mechanical changes have taken place since 1957. The one exception is the macro line, where the optical design was tweaked to allow close focusing but at the expense of distant performance. I noted the reversion to the older use of outer-ring t-mounts on modern production at a camera show several years ago at the "Kiev USA" booth. I asked the attendant about this, and he advised me that PO Rubin had returned to the older system. He was a nice guy, an older fellow. Beyond this, I know not. I see very few recent production MTO's in straight t-mount, though it would make sense.


From Nikon MF Mailing List:
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001
Subject: Re: Soligor lenses

--- In NikonMF@y..., Thomas Anderson (ww5l@g...) wrote:


> In the late 1960s and mid 1970s I had several Soligor lenses, 21mm,
> 135, 200, and 300 in the auto T-4 system, where you bought the
> basic lens and the adapter for whatever camera system you had.

I still have a couple of sets of these things and their Vivitar counterparts (T4 and TX mounts), and still actively look for them at the swaps. They can be had for a song on eBay because most people just don't seem to understand what they are. I really like them, especially for black&white work.


> Soligors just fit in my college student/just married couple budget.

They are even cheaper now. :-)

> They were ok, but were always a little soft in my estimation.  The
> colors always came out a bit pastel, on Kodachrome 25, 64, and
> Ektachrome 64, rather than nice and sharp and contrasty.

That was my experience with them, at least until I discovered lens hoods... the wides in particular (21mm 3.8, 24mm 2.8, 28mm 2.8, 35mm 2.8) flare horribly with only a little sidelight, and hoods help a lot. The teles suffer a little because of primitive optical formulas, and the lack of low dispersion glass/aspherics and the multicoating that we take for granted today.

That being said, the short teles like the 105mm 2.8 and the 135mm 2.8 are VERY sharp and contrasty, on top of being very cheap. The 200mm 3.5 and 300mm 5.6 are great deals now. I would not recommend the 400mm 6.3, but the 400mm 5.6 (in Vivitar TX) is a good lens for the money. All T4 zooms are best avoided, as they are old designs, though the Vivitar 35-105mm 3.5 and Series 1 70-210 f3.5 in TX mount are really underrated.

> Mechanically I never had a problem with any of these lenses, but
> when Nikon came out with the FM in 1977 I jumped at the chance to
> change systems. and soon bought an FE after that.

You could have kept them with some Nikon T4 mounts, but you would have had to use stop-down metering, which is admittedly a step backwards.

Nowadays they seem to suffer from sticking/stuck diaphragms and broken autodiaphragm return springs. Those are the only flaws I've seen in the used ones, aside for impact damage from being dropped and internal fungus from improper storage. The T4 mounts themselves seem to have fared a little better, the Nikon non-AI one are particularly rugged, while the Exakta and Miranda suffer from little glitches.

> Soligor may have changed it optical and glass forulas by now I
> haven't used one since the early 1970s.

Soligor was only a marketing name used by the Allied Impex Corporation (who were responsible for importing Miranda cameras into the US) just as Vivitar puts its own name on all kinds of things manufactured by other companies. In fact, many of the Vivitar and Soligor lenses of the T4/TX era are optically and mechanically identical, the only differences are in the name rings and the knurling of the focusing collars! I suspect many of them were actually made by Kiron and Cosina and rebranded when they reached the US shores.

AiC and Soligor carried on after Miranda folded in '76, but not for too much longer. Sombody in the EC seems to have resurrected the name.

There is considerable info on Soligor lenses on Robert Monaghan's Third Party Lens page:

In particular, look at the contemporary Modern Photography lens tests for the T4 lenses, keeping in mind that the standards were lower in those days, and that MP took ad money from Soligor and Vivitar. :-)


From Minolta Mailing List:
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 
From: "Kent Gittings" <>
Subject: RE: Re: T-mount and 800 or 400 si

If you are talking about the old Sigma/Sun YS mount system the answer is no.
The only mounts in that system that will work on AF bodies straight are the
Pentax K and Nikon F mounts. The only Minolta mount that were available was
the MC/MD type. I have a somewhat large collection of lenses with those
mounts (lens names include Sigma, Sun, Spiratone, Polaris, Upsilon, Accura,
Lentar, Rokunar, and Mitake to name a few) mainly for the fact that they had
an open-aperture metering (Pentax M42 SMC) version of the M42 mount that I
use on my 6 Pentax M42 bodies that have that (ES, ES II, and Spotmatic F).
I'm somewhat of an Internet expert on the YS system itself. While a lot of
the lenses are nothing to rave about some are pretty good, mainly the late
Polaris and any of the Sigma-XQ series.

Kent Gittings 

From Minolta Mailing List:
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 
From: "Kent Gittings" <>
Subject: RE: Re: Re: T-mount and 800 or 400 si

Correct. The YS mount is basically a modified T-mount. It uses the same 42mm
thread and 3/4 pitch (Pentax M42 is 42mm with a 1" pitch) as the regular
non-coupled T-mount. However it includes a lever to actuate the aperture pin
and in some mounts it also has an external hookup to the lens's aperture
scale to allow open-aperture metering on those cameras that supported it.
Some mounts were factory installed only (Pentax K for one) while others can
be installed by anyone with some mechanical skill and some small screw

Your list also doesn't include the mounts for Petri and Leicaflex SL which
were available.

Kent Gittings 

-----Original Message-----
From: ryujin []
Sent: Friday, August 24, 2001 
Subject: [minolta] Re: Re: T-mount and 800 or 400 si

> >By the way, does
> anyone know about these adaptable mounts Sigma used to make?
>I wrote:
> I don't know.
> If it's T mount, its available from third party such as Kenko.

I just found a note about Sigma lens in 1979 camera lens book.
"Mounts available: PentaxK and ES, Olympus OM, CanonFD, Konica, NikonAI,
Minolta MD, Contax/Yashica. (Fujica, Reitz R, RolleiSL and Foktlendel, 
Practica) () are available only as interchangeable mounts."

Seems some Sigma lenses were avaialble without a mount(user's selection).

And, a picture of Sigma Mini wide28mmF2.8 in the same book shows the lens
looks like lacking a mount. Rear element comes out from a barrel a bit too
much to avoid a bump to a mirror if it had a mount on. With a mount attached
to it, a rear element will hide in it.

So, in those days, Sigma sold some lenses with mounts installed, others


From Minolta Mailing List:
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 
From: "Kent Gittings" <>
Subject: RE: T-mount and 800 or 400 si

Your needs may vary depending on what you need to do. You need the T-mount
adapter for the M/AF first. then you need something on the telescope to
screw the camera + adapter onto. Some scopes (all Sinta scopes made in PROC
under brand names of Celestron, Orion, Sky Watcher, Konus, etc.) have a
fitting for the T-mount right on the adapter of the telescope that allows
you to use 1.25" eyepieces in the 2" focuser. Others may require you to buy
an adapter that slides into either a 1.25" or 2" focuser.

Spotting scopes, with the possible exception of the top rated Pentax 80ED
which uses standard 1.25" eyepieces, generally use their own proprietary
eyepieces and will sell you an adapter just for their scopes.

Kent Gittings 

From: "Bill Salati">
Subject: RE: [SLRMan] T4 / TX lenses
Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2001 


     Thanks, I started this thread a few days ago. Discovered your site long 
ago and have absorbed all of the T4/TX info. Now I guess I have to start 
looking around for the folks in the manufacture and distribution chain. 
Ponder & Best, Allied Impex etc. I have a few magazines from the 74-75 era 
and have a list of what was sold then. Surprised to see a 250 in the lineup!

     I'm curious who distributed them in foreign markets and under what 
names. I'm fairly certain that Tokina was the manufacturer. Who brought them 
tho the U.S. first, AIC or P&B? Strange to see two high profile importers 
bring in products nearly identical in appearance and identical in 

     Anyway, thanks for the help. Your website is very informative.


>From: Robert Monaghan>
>Subject: RE: [SLRMan] T4 / TX lenses
>Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2001 

From Nikon Mailing List: Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001 From: Nikon Cameras Subject: Re: Re: Auto T2 Nikon mount Sigma made a series of lenses with a YS-Auto T-System. I purchased a 200mm f/2.8 and a 135mm f/1.8 Sigma lens. I also purchased a Sigma 16mm f/2.8 lens. I still have the 135mm lens, but sold the other two. Sigma called the mount the YS-Auto T System. The lens has Nikon's aperture lever on one end coupled to a pin moving inside the mount to adjust the aperture. The reason I sold the 200mm and 16mm lenses was that the coupling was very unreliable. For some reason, the 135mm is still working fine. But remember, these are not AI lenses. I bought them because Nikon did not make a 135mm f/1.8 or a 200mm f/2.8 lens at the time and I needed the extra speed. Optically, the lenses were not bad, but mechanically, very unreliable. At the time, I could not afford a 16mm f/2.8 Nikkor. >T2 lenses are *by definition* pre-set diaphragms. > >"Tamron's president, Takeyuki Arai, invented the T-mount in 1959 (see >Tamron's cult classic interchangeable mounts). You can find several >versions of T-mounts, a solid fixed version and a later T2 version >with three screws. The later T2 version is handy if you need to >loosen the screws to let you rotate the inner ring of the T-mount >adapter so the lens' aperture scales and controls face upwards. The >later T-2 mount was also a 42mm x 0.75mm pitch purely mechanical >mount (no auto-diaphragm action coupling)." > >> but I have a 18mm T2 lens with a pin on the >> back for auto diaphram operation. > >What brand is the lens? > >Are you certain it's not an M42 Pentax-mount screw-thread lens? Other >possibilities are the Sigma (Komura) YUS interchangeable mount, or >one of the original (unreliable) Tamron Adaptamatic lenses... but I >don't recall Tamron ever making an 18mm. > >> Has anyone got an auto T2 Nikon mount for >> sell? I have only seen the picture of one.
From manual slr mailing list: Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001 From: Gerry Young Subject: Lenses to fit all The post from Bill Salati about T mount lenses was interesting, I have a T mount for Leica screw thread I picked up in a junk box once, no lenses for it though.... It has no R/F coupling of course. Another option is the reange of lenses sold as Tamron here in the UK, they are available in the US as well. The manual focus ones come with adaptors for almost anything (including Leica R)and are still being made with some up to date designs, I have a 28 and a 70-210 zoom which get used on Nikon and Pentax which are very good lenses. At the University where I work we have a whole range of them for the students, 17, 24, 90 Macro, 300 etc. and regularly change mounts over with no problems for UK and I think there is for US but it won't load at the moment Gerry Young

From: "Heritage Cameras" Newsgroups: Subject: Re: Best modern body for M42 screw lenses? Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2002 > Andy Evans wrote: > > I have some nice Pentax SMC screw fit lenses, but my old > > spotmatic has a dim viewfinder and primitive needle metering > > with an esoteric old battery. What's the best body I can use > > for screw fit lenses - I need a bright viewfinder and preferably > > some more modern metering, e.g. aperture priority. The Pentax ES and ES II will give you auto exposure with your existing lenses (with metering at full aperture), but the viewfinder is little better than the Spotmatics. Automatic exposure (with stopped down metering) will be available on other M42 AE cameras such as the Fujica ST901 and AZ-1, Yashica AX, Chinon CE/CEII, CE-3 and others, but these are hardly any newer (or brighter) than the Pentaxes... ... > Another poster suggested using a screw mount ot bayonet > adapter and mounting the lenses that way. M42 lenses are usable with infinity focus, manual diaphragm and stopped down metering on many bayonet cameras with adapters, such as Praktica B and Jenaflex, Pentax K, Minolta MC/MD, Minolta Maxxum/Dynax, Canon FD, Canon EOS, Contax/Yashica, Konica, Miranda and others. Some adapters require lenses with a manual switch - others will stop the lens down when you screw the lens into it. Manual adapters with optical elements to retain infinity focus are available for cameras such as Nikon and Olympus. Automatic diaphragm adapters are available for Fujica AX, Rollei SL35 and Mamiya XTL/NC1000S. For the Fujicas, there's even an adapter that allows shutter priority and program operation! Most of these adapters are quite convenient to use - you can either leave them on the camera, and screw lenses in and out, or attach one to each lens and change them just like bayonet ones. This doesn't apply to the Pentax K adapter, though - this is a nightmare. A Fujica AX-5 might be worth looking out for, then - decent viewfinder with LED display, and manual, aperture priority, shutter priority and program modes available with the auto-diaphragm X-S and X-D M42 adapters. Hope this helps! Dave Pearman Heritage Cameras Limited

Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 From: Gordon Moat Newsgroups: Subject: Re: lens adapters You mean something like this ? Also, see Ciao! Gordon Moat Alliance Graphique Studio "William E. Graham" wrote: > Does anyone know if adapters are made that enable a lens > made for one camera to be used on another? In particular, I > would like to fit a summicron 1.2/50mm lens made for an R3 > Leica to a Nikon F5. - Thank you......

from russian camera mailing list: Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 From: Bob Shell Subject: Re: What about Exaktas? Javier Perez at wrote: > > I guess the Russians just weren't impressed > by the Exakta bayonet. Nope. No one else was either except for Topcon. It's narrow throat placed serious design limitations on lens designers. Bob

From: (Paul Farrar) Newsgroups: Subject: Re: what is a"T" mount but with male thread? Date: 14 Jun 2002 Moat wrote: >hi, >anyone knows what kind of mount is this? >on one side its a nikon ais mount >on the other side >its like a "T" mount but slightly bigger and male thread instead of a female >thread >any ideas? website? spent 2 days looking at bnh,keh,adorama,etc. site >without >success >TIA Is the Nikon mount the body part, or the lens part? There are T flanges, which are the opposite of a T mount. They mount a lens on one side and have the male T thread on the other. They are used for things like T mount bellows. You mount a lens on one end using the appropriate T flange, and the camera on the other with the appropriate T mount. For example: Nikon lens--Nikon T flange--T bellows--Olympus T mount--Olympus body Paul

[Ed. note: thanks to Kenneth Prott for sharing these notes and experiences with us!] Date: Sun, 21 Jul 2002 From: Kenneth Prott To: Subject: T mount lenses Hi, GREAT website. Wow, someone actually wrote all that down. There is a wealth of information there. I like all the info on lens mounts and adapters. I always thought that the T stood for telescope. I wonder what it really stands for, Tamron or Takeyuki Arai. I knew that T2 lenses came first; but they had no linkage to the camera. Then came T4 lenses; they were sold by Soligar & Vivitar and probably made by Tamron. They had one pin for auto aperture. Then came TX lenses, they were also sold by Soligar & Vivitar. These lenses had two pins. One pin for auto aperture and one pin for open aperture metering. I wanted to use my T4 lenses on my open aperture Fujica ST801 camera, so I had to machine the rear plate of the lens to accept the TX mount. This is the area that you mention that accesses the other U shaped lever in the lens. This worked just fine on four different lenses. I did all this in the 70s. But TX lenses should use TX mounts. I also thought that that Practica in Germany invented the M42 mount. And that after World War II Pentax used the mount without any repercussions from patent infringements. I also thought that the C in C-mount lenses stood for cine or movies since these were used on movie cameras before my time. See, Im not that old. These C-mounts were adopted by TV camera use. I hesitate to use the term video because most people think camcorder now a days. I actually sold TV cameras that used vacuum tubes & C-mount lenses at Olson Electronics in the early sixties. Maybe I am that old. Write me back if you want to. Buy the way Im looking for TX & YS mounts for a Pentax K mount camera. Sorry to run on so much. You know, a few weeks I was outbid on a 18mm, T mount Nikon lens. I think it was a Soligar lens. Thanks again, Ken Prott

From nikon manual mailing list: Date: Sat, 03 Aug 2002 From: Rick Housh Subject: Re: T mount you wrote: >generally, you use stop down metering techniques with T mount lenses due >to the lack of mechanical linkages (see metering prism manual etc.). some >lenses have a preset feature that makes it easy to set the desired stop etc >(see etc.) hth bobm Bob is right, but you also asked where to set the pin on the camera. Any time you intend to use stop down metering on a pre-AI body, you need to set the pin on the body all the way to the right (fully clockwise, as far as it will go), looking at the camera from the front. This sets the body to know the lens has no meter coupling, and that you will be using stop-down metering. You can't move the pin to correspond to the f-stop setting on the lens to emulate meter coupling, as it isn't designed for that. The aperture ring won't have the same degree of movement as a Nikon lens does, proportional to change in f-stop, and may even operate in "reverse". Uncoupled T-mount lenses are designed to be used in stop-down metering mode, with the body's coupling pin locked fully clockwise. In fact this technique even has some use with meter-coupled lenses. In particular, I often mount a 55mm f/3.5 pre-AI "compensating" micro lens without engaging the pin, and move the pin all the way to the right so I can use stop-down metering with the lens. That technique eliminates the effect of the built-in "compensation" without me having to do all kinds of nasty calculations. Also, I have always felt stop-down metering was more accurate - I've never run any tests, but it seems to me to eliminate a lot of variables like sluggish diaphragm action, and the effect of using a variable aperture zoom with a pre-AF body which doesn't know the aperture is changing as you zoom. If you do your metering with the lens stopped down to taking aperture, unexpected changes in aperture will be automatically compensated. - Rick Housh -

End of Page