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Author Topic: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions  (Read 3494 times)

alan_b

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Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« on: January 31, 2016, 02:05:07 pm »

Hi everyone,

I'm thinking about picking up a used FPS from a local seller.  Are there different versions out there, or incremental changes or have changes all been firmware?

Anyone using a production Contax shift adapter?  I see photos of two styles - geared and push-lock.  Are these both in production, or was one a prototype?  Are they really $4000?(!!!!)

Thanks!
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Graham Welland

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2016, 04:31:19 pm »

I have the FPS and the only difference I've seen has been with the firmware and a few of the tripod plate adapters have been added recently.

Is the Contax adapter $4000? Try $4400 ... but it is cheaper than the Rollei adapter :)  I only have the Canon & V mount adapters which are a lot less expensive.

Also, don't forget that you'll need the adapter plate for your MFDB which is also $1k+ plus the FPS sync cable for the MFDB too.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2016, 04:36:12 pm by Graham Welland »
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Graham

narikin

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2016, 10:12:11 am »

Never seen or heard of a 2nd hand FPS, that's rare!

Hopefully a good price, but as Graham says, there's a lot of fiddly extra bits you need that add $ to the purchase. If you are lucky the used body will come with the sync lead and maybe (...) a DB mount plate? If it's under $8000 with all that, it's a fair deal. Under $7000 a very good deal, anything below that, a great deal!

I'd try a Contax adapter before buying - any good dealer would offer you that service. Many Contax lenses are not up to DB quality (a few are though!) just don't think you can use e.g. an 80mm f2 at f2, and get a stunningly sharp image - you won't! You don't want to spend $4000+ and find the lenses aren't up to snuff.

That said, I love my FPS, and think it's just coming into it's time now, with FF CMOS here, meaning excellent HDMI out live view, and  a high shutter speed capable mirrorless body (remember the new backs have great 200-800 iso capability). You can freeze action at 1/1000, 1/1600 with no mirror slap, on the hoof (no tripod, no mirror lock-up procedure). I expect there will be a firmware update soon, which will access the electronic first curtain capability of the IQ3-100, so there'll just be trailing curtain closing - and obviously that doesn't matter, as exposure is over.  That I would guess is a certainty, I'd hope Alpa (or Phase) will figure out a decent EVF through HDMI out too, allowing eye level accurate focusing, but that's more likely to come as a crossover from the video world, which is seeing a lot of action in this HDMI-out area for DSLR cameras.
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alan_b

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2016, 12:58:20 pm »

Thanks guys, this definitely falls into the killer deal category.  I'm mostly interested because I could slip it between my existing Contax lenses & digiback as a shift body.  I'm going to give it some testing later in the week.  The price of the shift adapter is a bit of a wrench - costs more than all my Contax lenses combined.

If anyone else has experience w/ the shift adapter, I'd love to hear it.
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Graham Welland

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2016, 02:31:48 pm »

No experience with the Contax or other shift adapters as I use the Canon and also the V mount with a STC body. However, I think that you'll find the build quality to be outstanding. The camera itself is almost like it's built from a solid billet of aluminium/magnesium.
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narikin

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2016, 10:07:43 am »

Thanks guys, this definitely falls into the killer deal category.  I'm mostly interested because I could slip it between my existing Contax lenses & digiback as a shift body.  I'm going to give it some testing later in the week.  The price of the shift adapter is a bit of a wrench - costs more than all my Contax lenses combined.

If anyone else has experience w/ the shift adapter, I'd love to hear it.

If it's a killer deal, then you should do it. My only comment would be that you are putting the "cart before the horse" by choosing your body on an existing old (sorry!) lens system. Only a few of those lenses are up to DB quality, though it has to be admitted that absolute sharpness is not everyone's top priority. An 80mm f2 at f2-2.8 will give you a very shallow focus, a lot of chromatic aberrations, and hardly any real sharpness, but maybe that's precisely the 'look' you want. $4000+ to get that adapter is a lot, I agree, though this is Alpa we are talking about, and they wash their gear in Unicorn Tears before shipping.

Glad you are testing it all out. I doubt many of those lenses give you much movement to stitch/shift. The 35 may well, (which is supposed to be the really good one in there, along with maybe some medium-long lenses) - the others, less so.

I still find it shocking that Alpa sell FPS shifting adapters for other lens brands (Contax, Hassy, Rollei) but not their own brand lenses! Surely they want us to buy their lenses, not other brands?!

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chrismuc

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2016, 03:53:46 pm »

I picked up my Contax shift adapter for the FPS recently at Alpa CH and did a few test shots last weekend.

The FPS recognizes the mounted lens with min./max. aperture values, the aperture is adjusted via the cam, the focus can be controlled either manually at the lens or - really weird/cool - via the camera wheel.

Two mechanical details changed (positively) compared to the prototype:

1.
The fixed mounting columns for horizontal and vertical tripod mounting at the adapter are gone, this make the adapter much more compact and mounting the whole setup (back + FPS + shift mount + lens) at the camera makes a change from Contax mount + lens to Canon mount + lens much quicker and safer.

2.
The shift mechanisms (still +/-12mm vertically and simultaneously +/- 12mm horizontally) is moved with e quick-lock release, no longer via an long screw. This allows very quick and smooth movements, just one has to know and get used to, that by opening the vertical release the whole weight of the lens is in the users hand and must be hold well, otherwise gravity lets the lens "fall" down to the end position. For me no problem, but some may argue that this is a bit too loose w/o any friction in the shift mechanism to slow the movement.

Working with the whole system is flawless, even if my IQ180 does not provide proper life view like the recent CMOS backs, but I don't miss that feature too much. I normally guess the framing, focussing and exposure and simply do a few shots with little adjustments in between until the picture is basically like I want it. Of course such work requires a tripod.

I also use the new rather tiny and light but nicely made and very solid ArcaSwiss compatible mounts (one each mounted to the bottom side and to one side of the FPS for quick change between vertical and horizontal position).

The Contax 35f3.5 allows 5-7 mm shift along the long side of the sensor at f11 with excellent result and no color cast. Enclosed a sample shot.

Link to the slightly cropped 8742 x 6728 pixel file.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18437364/Alpa-FPS%2BContax-Shift-Adapter/CF004079-C35%40f11%2B12mm.jpg

The Contax 45f2.8 even allows 10-12mm shift with good corner sharpness. I will post a file later.

In that focal range I mostly use the (Zeiss) Hasselblad 50f4 FLE via a Hasselblad - Contax adapter.
Enclosed a sample shot at f11 with full 12mm shift.

And the link for the full resolution 10345 x 7762 pixel file.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18437364/Alpa-FPS%2BContax-Shift-Adapter/CF004089-CF50%40f11%2B12mm.jpg

(Both pictures geometrically adjusted by Alpa lens corrector plug-in in PS.)

The price of the Contax adapter is quite steep, but on the other hand all suitable lenses like

Contax 645 35f3.5
Contax 645 45f2.8
Contax 645 55f3.5
Contax 645 80f2
Contax 645 120f4 Apo-Makro
Contax 645 140f2.8

and via a Hasselblad - Contax adapter

Hasselblad CF 40f4 FLE
Hasselblad CF 50f4 FLE
Hasselblad CF 80f2.8
Hasselblad CF 100f3.5
Hasselblad FE 150f2.8
Hasselblad CF 180f4

- provide sufficient image circle with good corner sharpness and no color cast at f11 for shift movement 5-12mm (dep. on lens)
- set you back only about EUR/USD 500 ... 1500 per 2nd hand lens

For the price of the Alpa FPS Contax shift adapter you would get just one Rodenstock lens, so the total cost of a multi-lens set-up is IMO still reasonable. In my case case I had the Contax lenses and the back anyhow already for my Contax 645 camera, so this investment was a no-brainer.

Christoph
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 03:58:19 pm by chrismuc »
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narikin

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2016, 10:55:13 am »

Wow - great and useful post. Amazed how much detailed testing there is here. Are you working for Alpa?!

Yes, if you already own a good range of these, and can shift the lenses keeping sufficient quality, then it is definitely worth the $4400 for an H or CY adapter. Most of my Roddy/Alpa lenses are $4000-$7000 alone, some even more.

I have to point out though that (e.g.) a Rodenstock 50mm will out perform a Hasselblad-Zeiss 50mm CF. Maybe not by much at center, but definitely at edges, and even more so when shifted at edges. If you went into MF digital for its ultimate resolution qualities, then, you are compromising somewhat.  a 25-30 year old film lens design will not equal a modern 2010-2015 MF digital lens design. Just saying. I'm tempted myself by this potential!

Also worth pointing out a positive: shift-stitching a lens gives you 2 focal lengths - the lens unshifted, and then using the shift adapter L +R + Up + Down = a wider lens when stitched together in Photomerge. So you got a fixed + wider lens in one package!
« Last Edit: February 04, 2016, 10:59:57 am by narikin »
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narikin

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2016, 11:04:42 am »

I still find it shocking that Alpa sell FPS shifting adapters for other lens brands (Contax, Hassy, Rollei) but not their own brand lenses! Surely they want us to buy their lenses, not other brands?!

I guess I can answer myself on this one, that Alpa do sell a shifting adapter for their lenses on the FPS - it's the 'Alpa Max' body!

You can unite the FPS + Max and get shift-stitching on FPS with Alpa SB lenses. A large, heavy and unwieldy solution, but just pointing out it does work!  (I'd still much rather they released a proper FPS shift-adapter SB lens mount, though.)
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Theodoros

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2016, 11:28:46 am »

I picked up my Contax shift adapter for the FPS recently at Alpa CH and did a few test shots last weekend.

The FPS recognizes the mounted lens with min./max. aperture values, the aperture is adjusted via the cam, the focus can be controlled either manually at the lens or - really weird/cool - via the camera wheel.

Two mechanical details changed (positively) compared to the prototype:

1.
The fixed mounting columns for horizontal and vertical tripod mounting at the adapter are gone, this make the adapter much more compact and mounting the whole setup (back + FPS + shift mount + lens) at the camera makes a change from Contax mount + lens to Canon mount + lens much quicker and safer.

2.
The shift mechanisms (still +/-12mm vertically and simultaneously +/- 12mm horizontally) is moved with e quick-lock release, no longer via an long screw. This allows very quick and smooth movements, just one has to know and get used to, that by opening the vertical release the whole weight of the lens is in the users hand and must be hold well, otherwise gravity lets the lens "fall" down to the end position. For me no problem, but some may argue that this is a bit too loose w/o any friction in the shift mechanism to slow the movement.

Working with the whole system is flawless, even if my IQ180 does not provide proper life view like the recent CMOS backs, but I don't miss that feature too much. I normally guess the framing, focussing and exposure and simply do a few shots with little adjustments in between until the picture is basically like I want it. Of course such work requires a tripod.

I also use the new rather tiny and light but nicely made and very solid ArcaSwiss compatible mounts (one each mounted to the bottom side and to one side of the FPS for quick change between vertical and horizontal position).

The Contax 35f3.5 allows 5-7 mm shift along the long side of the sensor at f11 with excellent result and no color cast. Enclosed a sample shot.

Link to the slightly cropped 8742 x 6728 pixel file.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18437364/Alpa-FPS%2BContax-Shift-Adapter/CF004079-C35%40f11%2B12mm.jpg

The Contax 45f2.8 even allows 10-12mm shift with good corner sharpness. I will post a file later.

In that focal range I mostly use the (Zeiss) Hasselblad 50f4 FLE via a Hasselblad - Contax adapter.
Enclosed a sample shot at f11 with full 12mm shift.

And the link for the full resolution 10345 x 7762 pixel file.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18437364/Alpa-FPS%2BContax-Shift-Adapter/CF004089-CF50%40f11%2B12mm.jpg

(Both pictures geometrically adjusted by Alpa lens corrector plug-in in PS.)

The price of the Contax adapter is quite steep, but on the other hand all suitable lenses like

Contax 645 35f3.5
Contax 645 45f2.8
Contax 645 55f3.5
Contax 645 80f2
Contax 645 120f4 Apo-Makro
Contax 645 140f2.8

and via a Hasselblad - Contax adapter

Hasselblad CF 40f4 FLE
Hasselblad CF 50f4 FLE
Hasselblad CF 80f2.8
Hasselblad CF 100f3.5
Hasselblad FE 150f2.8
Hasselblad CF 180f4

- provide sufficient image circle with good corner sharpness and no color cast at f11 for shift movement 5-12mm (dep. on lens)
- set you back only about EUR/USD 500 ... 1500 per 2nd hand lens

For the price of the Alpa FPS Contax shift adapter you would get just one Rodenstock lens, so the total cost of a multi-lens set-up is IMO still reasonable. In my case case I had the Contax lenses and the back anyhow already for my Contax 645 camera, so this investment was a no-brainer.

Christoph

Hi Christoph & thanks for the post, I wonder if you can comment in detail on the image circle of more C-645 lenses than the 35 & 45 and if possibly have tested the 45-90 vario-sonnar at various focal lengths... I ask this because I suspect that the 45-90 vario & the 120m might have larger image circles than the rest of the lenses and I'm currently developing a view camera (by modifing a Rollei X-Act2) that will have C645 lens interface control as to share all my lenses on it with 37x49mm backs & with FF Sony mirrorless.... your self experience comments will be much appreciated.
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alan_b

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2016, 01:06:23 pm »

Thanks Chris, very helpful to see the shifted performance! 

It's a tricky balance of value for sure - I have the Contax lenses and (CCD) back, not worth selling for what they'd fetch.  Money spent on FPS + adapter is about double what a set of Copal Digitars would cost, but only 1 or 2 Rodenstocks.  Both the Contax & Digitar lenses seem to have limitations with newer/future backs, but are fine with what I have now.

The price of the Contax adapter is quite steep, but on the other hand all suitable lenses like

Contax 645 35f3.5
Contax 645 45f2.8
Contax 645 55f3.5
Contax 645 80f2
Contax 645 120f4 Apo-Makro
Contax 645 140f2.8

and via a Hasselblad - Contax adapter

Hasselblad CF 40f4 FLE
Hasselblad CF 50f4 FLE
Hasselblad CF 80f2.8
Hasselblad CF 100f3.5
Hasselblad FE 150f2.8
Hasselblad CF 180f4

- provide sufficient image circle with good corner sharpness and no color cast at f11 for shift movement 5-12mm (dep. on lens)
- set you back only about EUR/USD 500 ... 1500 per 2nd hand lens

For the price of the Alpa FPS Contax shift adapter you would get just one Rodenstock lens, so the total cost of a multi-lens set-up is IMO still reasonable. In my case case I had the Contax lenses and the back anyhow already for my Contax 645 camera, so this investment was a no-brainer.

Christoph
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chrismuc

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2016, 02:54:30 am »

Hi Theodorus

here is a link to a getdpi thread which gives information on the image circles of most Contax and Hasselblad lenses

(I hope the old dropbox links still work)

http://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-format-systems-and-digital-backs/53400-image-circle-contax-645-lens.html#post623882
http://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-format-systems-and-digital-backs/53400-image-circle-contax-645-lens.html#post625210

And here are links to test pics for two more lenses for your evaluation:

(attention: the house facade in the center is at another distance than the ones left and right and I did not perfectly adjust the focus to have both in focus so it's a bit difficult to determine the sharpness of the lens)

Contax 645 45-90f4.5 @ 45f11
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18437364/Alpa-FPS%2BContax-Shift-Adapter/Contax-645_45-90f4.5%4045f11_l12_o12%2Brulers.jpg

Contax 645 45-90f4.5 @ 60f11
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18437364/Alpa-FPS%2BContax-Shift-Adapter/Contax-645_45-90f4.5%4060f11_l12_o12%2Brulers.jpg

Contax 645 45-90f4.5 @ 90f11
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18437364/Alpa-FPS%2BContax-Shift-Adapter/Contax-645_45-90f4.5%4090f11_l12_o12%2Brulers.jpg

Hasselblad 40f4iF @ f11
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18437364/Alpa-FPS%2BContax-Shift-Adapter/Hasselblad_V_40f4iF%40f11_l12_o12-r12%2Brulers.jpg
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Theodoros

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2016, 04:22:15 am »

Hi Theodorus

here is a link to a getdpi thread which gives information on the image circles of most Contax and Hasselblad lenses

(I hope the old dropbox links still work)

http://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-format-systems-and-digital-backs/53400-image-circle-contax-645-lens.html#post623882
http://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-format-systems-and-digital-backs/53400-image-circle-contax-645-lens.html#post625210

And here are links to test pics for two more lenses for your evaluation:

(attention: the house facade in the center is at another distance than the ones left and right and I did not perfectly adjust the focus to have both in focus so it's a bit difficult to determine the sharpness of the lens)

Contax 645 45-90f4.5 @ 45f11
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18437364/Alpa-FPS%2BContax-Shift-Adapter/Contax-645_45-90f4.5%4045f11_l12_o12%2Brulers.jpg

Contax 645 45-90f4.5 @ 60f11
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18437364/Alpa-FPS%2BContax-Shift-Adapter/Contax-645_45-90f4.5%4060f11_l12_o12%2Brulers.jpg

Contax 645 45-90f4.5 @ 90f11
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18437364/Alpa-FPS%2BContax-Shift-Adapter/Contax-645_45-90f4.5%4090f11_l12_o12%2Brulers.jpg

Hasselblad 40f4iF @ f11
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18437364/Alpa-FPS%2BContax-Shift-Adapter/Hasselblad_V_40f4iF%40f11_l12_o12-r12%2Brulers.jpg

Thanks for this Chris... exactly what was needed... So, would you say that the 45-90 would allow 12mm shifts at 45mm using a 37x49mm sensor and then the image circle expands proportionally to the focal length in diameter as it is zoomed out? (which is what I suspected)... Also, can you claim on the image circle of the 120Apo? just comment will do, there are no examples needed. Thanks.
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chrismuc

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2016, 10:40:05 am »

I added a test with the Contax 645 45f2.8 @f11.
Two pics w/ -/-12mm hor. shift stitched.

link to full res pic
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18437364/Alpa-FPS%2BContax-Shift-Adapter/Contax-645_45f2.8%40f11_l12_r12%2Brulers.jpg

and I updated the summary list of all tested lenses
and I added especially for Theodoros the possible shifts movements within the sharp image circles for the P45+ sensor 49x37mm :-)

Summary in 35-55mm range sorted by diameter of sharp image circle:

HB CFE 40f4 iF: 83 mm
Contax 645 35f3.5: 78 mm
HB CF 50f4 FLE: 78 mm
Contax 645 55f3.5: 76 mm
Contax 645 45f2.8: 73 mm
Contax 645 45-90f4.5@45: 68 mm
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Theodoros

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2016, 05:06:47 pm »

Thanks so much Chris.... you are a life savior!  :D
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alan_b

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Re: Alpa FPS & Contax Adapter Questions
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2016, 01:53:26 am »

Just noticed Alpa has added some shifted samples from Contax 35 & 140mm on an IQ 180:
http://www.alpa.ch/en/site/tech-info-contax-645-lenses
Includes some image circle illustrations.
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