Early Novoflex 280/5.6 follow-focus: how does it all fit together?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Seele, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. Seele

    Seele Member

    Feb 2, 2004
    Sydney Austr
    Hi all,

    It seems like the several complex systems made by Novoflex never seem to have been well documented, not even on the net. So I hope to be able to tap the collective brain of fellow members:

    First of all I have a Novoflex kit which, when I acquired it, seemed to have been assembled out of odd parts. The focussing unit is not the more familiar telescopic tubes, but the earlier one with bellows, and not the "upside-down" one either: a reference I can find is in a dealers catalogue, which referred to it as the "Follow Focus Extension Bellows", which is pretty much like a standard Novoflex bellows but with the squeeze-focus handle below it. At the camera end it has the three-claw breechlock ring for taking camera mounts, but with a bayonet mount camera such as a Minolta (adapter ring MINA), it becomes clear that the 90-degree swivel ends up with the camera upside down when set up for horizontal format. The front end of the bellows has a fixed Leica 39mm screw thread.

    The lens itself is a common Noflexar 280/5.6 unit, the back of which is a large three-claw bayonet mount, which fits into the breechlock front of an adapter unit such as MINBA or NIKBA; the former has M42 mount, oddly enough, perhaps it had been doctored or it would have been called "COBA" or "CONBA".

    Since the dealers catalogue from 1959 listed lenses from 105mm to 240mm, it seems to me that the factory actually allowed this focussing unit and lens unit to be worked together, in other words, they were not considered completely incompatible; the question is: what is supposed to go in between the lens and the focussing unit? I have been using a set of M42 extension tubes attached to the rear end of the lens, and the mated the male M42 to the female L39 with a Novoflex LEICO ring, but then I feel sure that there's supposed to be an "official" way to do it.

    The second issue is why the camera end is upside-down: as the MINA is carved out of a single block of metal, it might have been designed for either the telescopic tube focussing unit, or one with the rails on top.

    I would appreciate it greatly if someone can point me in the right direction; thank you!