That time I shot with a...

That time I shot a Noritar 80mm f/2 medium format lens on a Pentax 35mm film camera – By Aivaras

February 25, 2020

For a long time, I was looking into 6×6 medium format cameras with a really fast standard focal length lens (around 80mm). Such lenses are rare, as far as I know there are two of them: the extremely expensive Schneider 80mm f2 Xenotar HFT lens for the Rollei 6008 system, and second, the more affordable,but rare and hard to find Norita 66 SLR system with Norita Noritar 80mm f/2 lens. The high image quality Schneider was out of question for the price alone, but the Norita had another bonus – it has a very unique rendering that I was drawn to. Pictures made with it, in right conditions, possess some “dreamlike” character that I really really dig, so I finally went for a Norita 66.  Finding this camera with lens in acceptable condition for reasonable price is another story for another day – it took me almost half a year to build up a system…

For now, my story today is about a hardly-possible combination of gear that I never could have dreamed I would have had the opportunity to shoot: the Noritar 80mm f/2 medium format lens on a 35mm Pentax film camera body. I was very surprised to discover about existence of such rare breed of adapters. Really, what are the chances? Consider that we are talking about sort of underdog 35mm Pentax camera system and rare medium format camera brand. But, nonetheless, it exists. I was taken off guard when evil-bay tracked my recent search algorithms of the Norita 66 system bits and pieces and “standard” searches within Pentax PK system and shoved a PK-Noritar adapter under my nose. I suddenly had a small gas attack and in two weeks I was holding new piece of machined metal in my hands.

The adapter is quite well manufactured, its all metal and has a tripod socket on it – which is good as this is a behemoth combination; just look at that thing! It’s also worth noting that this camera, lens and adapter weights a ton…

There are some issues, or inconveniences that I had encountered. First of all, metering and focusing with such a combination are with set aperture. There is no way to meter and focus on open aperture and then automatically close it to the set f/stop as with native Pentax lenses. So, if for example if f/8 is set, the viewfinder gets really dark and focusing is a bit difficult. Then there is a specific issue with lens aperture control. There’s an aperture control ring on the adapter, but it doesn’t control exact f/stop, but has to be adjusted to trigger Norita lens aperture coupling pin. If it’s not set properly, the lens will shoot only wide open, doesn’t matter what f/stop is dialed on aperture ring of lens.

So far, I’ve had the a opportunity to shoot one roll of film with the Pentax and Norita combo, and this is what I can say about results: The lens is sharp from wide open, bokeh is soft and dreamy (at least for my taste), and the color rendering is unique. In short, lens definitely has its own signature. Talking about the overall look this lens gives on 35mm film, I’d like to add what I found a bit strange: it’s very different from what I get from the same lens when shooting it on proper medium format camera with 120 film.

Is it worth all the fuss? No. But it’s fun as hell 🙂

The camera.lens shot at the top was taken made with iPhone, all others – Pentax MZ-S camera with Kodak Portra 400 film.

Thanks for reading,

Aivaras
www.beautifulgrain.com

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