Industar-69 hack - easier than you think!

the.growler

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If you are into Russian M39 lenses, I’m sure you’ve looked at the Industar-69 and thought “Wow – that would be the perfect street lens! 56mm equivalent, f2.8, super-compact pancake format, FSU street cred – I’ve got to get me one of those!” Then you’ve done a little research and found that, although the lens uses the M39 mount, it wasn’t designed for FED/Zorki rangefinder cameras, so the register distance is off and you can’t get infinity focus. Then you’ve done a little more research and found that brave folks like Hamish Gill and Brian Sweeney have come up with ways to substantially modify the lens internals to get infinity focus, but you’ve been afraid to tackle the filing, grinding and irreversible destruction required.

Well, I have good news for you. Sometimes, the FSU’s notoriously loose quality control standards can work in your favor – and you may be able to hack this lens without much trouble at all.

• First, check to see if your lens already reaches infinity focus (you never know – you may have a copy that has already been modified). If it does, congratulations! You are a very lucky person – stop reading this post and go buy a lottery ticket. :smile:

• If the lens doesn’t reach infinity focus, remove it from your camera. Set the focus to infinity. Unscrew the three retaining screws around the focus ring and remove it by lifting it straight off. Be careful not to disturb the position of the lens block at the infinity focus setting. Take a close look at the rear of the lens block. If there are exposed threads, there may be enough travel for you to get infinity focus without any major modifications. In my limited experience, the assembly of these lenses is pretty haphazard, and the design seems to anticipate that by building a lot of travel into the focus helix.
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• Screw the lens block into the base as far as it will go and remount the lens on your camera without the focus ring. Are you at or beyond infinity focus? Turn the lens block with your fingers to see. If you can reach infinity focus, continue to the next step. If not, you’ll need to try this alternate approach or Hamish Gill’s or Brian Sweeney’s modifications.

• With the lens at infinity focus and still on your camera, carefully slip the focus ring back on and line up the infinity focus mark. Try to tighten the three retaining screws far enough to secure the focus ring flush with the front of the lens block. If you can, you’re essentially done! You may need to adjust the aperture mark and you may also want to remove the near focus stop screw to give you closer near focus (both described below), but neither of those steps are required.

• If you find that you can’t secure the focus ring flush with the front of the lens block, here’s what has happened: with the lens block screwed in far enough for infinity focus, there isn’t enough room inside the lens to accommodate the length of the three internal focus stop screws. Fortunately, the stop screws can be easily shortened.

• Remove the lens from your camera and remove the focus ring from the lens. Unscrew the lens block from the base.
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• Locate the three focus stop screws: the near and infinity focus stop screws in the base and the common stop screw in the focus ring.
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• Check to see if any or all of the stop screws are protruding beyond the edge of the base or focus ring.
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• If so, you want to shorten the stop screws so that they do not protrude, but are just within the edge of the base or focus ring. You can do this by unscrewing the stop screws and then removing some material from the tops of the screws with a hand file or a Dremel cut-off wheel. I suggest simply removing the near focus stop screw and not shortening it for the moment, for a couple of reasons: (i) without the near focus stop screw, you can achieve closer near focus and (ii) if you really mess up one of the other two stop screws, you have a spare.
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• If you are good at file work or Dremel-ing, you can cut new screw slots in the tops of the stop screws after shortening them. If not, don’t worry – you can screw them back into place with needle-nose pliers.

• Re-install the stop screws (leaving out the near focus stop screw if you like). Check to see that the shortened screws are no longer protruding beyond the edge of the base or focus ring.
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• Screw the lens block back into the base but leave the focus ring off for the moment. Mount the lens on your camera and find infinity focus. With the lens at infinity focus and still on your camera, carefully slip the focus ring back on and line up the infinity focus mark. Tighten the three retaining screws far enough to secure the focus ring flush with the front of the lens block. Check your focus throughout the full range. If you left out the near focus stop screw, the focus ring will rotate almost one entire turn and you should get a minimum focus distance of only a couple of feet.

• The last step is to check the aperture mark. Moving the lens block relative to the focus ring means the original aperture mark has been shifted and probably no longer matches the iris opening. Open the iris to f2.8 and put a corresponding drop of red paint on the aperture ring. Put a drop of silver paint over the old aperture mark.
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• Let the paint dry and enjoy your 56mm equivalent, f2.8, super-compact pancake format, FSU street cred, perfect street lens!
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Brian S

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Apr 11, 2009
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714
Well- it was a lot less filing than the Leica Mount Helios-103!

It is a good lens, and enough coverage for a Leica M8. Next one I pick up is going to get the optics cell from a Nikon Lite Touch in it: full frame coverage.
 

billy_pilgrim

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Jul 6, 2011
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Thanks! I've got one of these on the way from Russia already and this is the best guide I've found so far.
 

LVL8hacker

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@LVL8hacker: Just curious, did you need to shorten the stop screws on your lens to re-fit the focus ring?
I didnt have to but did. That way I still get the focus stops on the lens. I really like this little thing..hehe. I bought it a few years back and it just sat on the shelf due to the focus issue but now I have been using it a bit more
 

the.growler

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Is this the same problem/process with the industar 50mm f3.5 m39 to put it on GH2 ?
Thanks
If you are referring to the Industar 50mm pancake, the answer is unfortunately "no". The Industar 50mm pancake was designed for the Zenit SLR and requires an adapter that adds over an inch to the register distance - you can't compensate for that by adjusting or modifying the lens.

If you are referring to the collapsible Industar 50mm, it will work just fine with a M39 - Micro 4/3 adapter.
 

the.growler

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There are tons on ebay. What's the IQ like from them?
Soft wide open, with some definite "swirl" to the bokeh.
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Stopped down - decent center sharpness, but still soft at the edges. But these lenses aren't about technical IQ - they're about fun and achieving a vintage look.
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Brian S

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Apr 11, 2009
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There is also a Rigid Industar-50 in Leica M39 mount, that should be fine with a standard adapter. The Rigid lens is "not a pretty lens", but cheap and sharp.

Rigid I-50, wide-open at F3.5, on the Leica M9:

 

sebfarges

Mu-43 Rookie
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Oct 14, 2010
Messages
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If you are referring to the Industar 50mm pancake, the answer is unfortunately "no". The Industar 50mm pancake was designed for the Zenit SLR and requires an adapter that adds over an inch to the register distance - you can't compensate for that by adjusting or modifying the lens.

If you are referring to the collapsible Industar 50mm, it will work just fine with a M39 - Micro 4/3 adapter.
Thank you very much, I was about to buy it :) I'm looking for the thinnest system with a 40,45 or 50mm on micro 4/3, with the shortest focal flange. That's why I was looking on M39 lens and adapter.
 

Frank1946

New to Mu-43
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Nov 20, 2011
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Your accurate and detailed indications allowed to turn an almost useless lens itno a fully functional one.
Thanks a lot
 

Caferacer

New to Mu-43
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Apr 22, 2013
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Industar 69 mod tip.

Excellent instructions for the Industar 69 modification. Especially removing the near focus stop screw. I had to grind the interior flange off mine to get it to seat for infinity focus (thank goodness for 7x live viewing). I would add another tip: After grinding and sanding the flange, insert the lens block backwards with some toothpaste (I used rubbing compound) into the flange, working it back and forth, essentially using it as a rethreading tool. This will help straighten the disrupted threads. Should make it easier to reassemble. I'm also going to scan the f-stop guide, print it, then glue onto the lens face in the new, correct spot.

Hope to post some photos with this lens soon.
 

slothead

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Growler, I'm somewhat confused. I looked at the M39 mounts in eBay and see that M39 is a screw mount. So an adapter is going to be required to mount to the Mu43 cameras. Does this modification (to acquire infinity), ignore the mount dimensions (is the mod still needed with a mount)?

Thanks,
 

Blastop

Mu-43 Regular
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Jun 20, 2011
Messages
92
Growler, I'm somewhat confused. I looked at the M39 mounts in eBay and see that M39 is a screw mount. So an adapter is going to be required to mount to the Mu43 cameras. Does this modification (to acquire infinity), ignore the mount dimensions (is the mod still needed with a mount)?

Thanks,
The problem with the I-69 is that the Chaika camera has a slightly non-standard lens-film distance. In all other respects it is the same M39 mount as always, but the lens was mounted something like .8mm closer to the film. As a result, an unmodified I-69 will typically not focus to infinity on a normal M39 mount adapter. People with access to metal machining tools sometimes shorten the mount adapter, but for most people these modifications to the lens are easier. Another alternative is to buy a previously modified lens :)
 
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