Industar Collapsible 50mm Comparison

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by the.growler, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. the.growler

    the.growler Mu-43 Regular

    If you’ve ever wanted to give your Pen some Leica style or are just interested in keeping your gear as compact as possible, you might want to take a look at the Industar collapsible lens family: Industar-10 (aka FED-10), Industar-22 and Industar-50. These Elmar look-alikes can be had for a tenth of the price of the Leitz originals and make great walking-around lenses. But which one to buy?

    A Little History (thanks to Princelle, Maizenberg and the magic of the Internet)

    The Industar-10 first appeared in 1934. The external design copied the Elmar but the optical design followed the Tessar. Jay Javier has a nice write-up of comparing the designs here: Elmar vs Industar. Industar-10 lenses were uncoated until about 1947; uncoated lenses can be identified by their non-standard aperture markings (3.5, 4.5, 6.3, 9, 12.5, 18), while coated lenses use standard aperture markings (3.5, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16). Production continued through the mid-1950s.

    The Industar-22 first appeared in 1948 as an uncoated lens. Coated lenses appeared within a year and are distinguished by the famous red "P" marked on the front ring (the Cyrillic character is “П”). Production continued into the 1960s, primarily by KMZ.

    The Industar-50 was produced from 1953 to 1971. Apparently, all versions of this lens were coated, whether they display the red "P" on the front ring or not. Production was farmed out to a number of factories and the markings on the front ring were simplified over time.


    As you can see, these lenses are very small, even when fully extended. This picture shows the Industar lenses compared to a Series II 14-42mm kit lens. The Industar lenses are shown with adapters to give you an “on the camera” comparison to the kit lens.
    Left to right: Industar-10, Industar-22, Industar-50, kit lens

    Collapsed, the lenses are tiny.
    Left to right: Industar-10, Industar-22, Industar-50, kit lens

    Here’s a front view, showing the difference in the aperture control between the Industar-10 and the Industar-22/50 “twins” – the Industar-10 uses a single “tab” while the Industar-22/50 have knurled rings. By the way, the diameter of the front ring on all three lenses is the same.

    I think they all look very cool mounted on a PEN body.

    Modification for use with a M39 – Micro 4/3 adapter

    Each of these lenses requires a simple but permanent modification to be used with a M39 – Micro 4/3 adapter.* The lens design incorporates an infinity lock in which a spring-loaded locking pin at the end of the focus lever is held between two tabs that project from the rim of the mounting plate. On the native mount, there was enough room between the back of the mounting plate and the face of the camera body to allow the bottom edge of the locking pin to be pushed clear of the locking tab, freeing the focus lever to be moved from the infinity position. However, because the M39 – Micro 4/3 adapter fits flush to the mounting plate and extends beyond its rim, there isn’t enough room for the locking pin to be pushed down far enough to clear of the locking tab.

    I’ve seen some users “solve” this problem by bending the focus lever up at a 30 – 45 degree angle so that locking pin doesn’t touch the locking tab. This approach makes me very nervous – you are stressing a 50 to 60 year old piece of brass that is only about one millimeter thick and was not aerospace quality to begin with. My preferred solution is to file off the locking tab, leaving the stop tab in place. Yes, the lens is no longer “original” and has lost some value as a collector’s item, but at least I’m not worried about anything breaking due to metal fatigue a couple of years down the road.

    *UPDATE: A couple of months after writing this article, I stumbled across a variant of the Industar-10 which has a different style of infinity lock that does not require any modification. Instead of the spring-loaded locking pin and tabs, this variant has a spring clip that rides over a boss set into the face of the mounting plate. Nothing projects below the back of the mounting plate. You can identify this variant by the low, beehive-shaped fixed knob at the end of the focus lever and the absence of locking tabs on the rim of the mounting plate. Comparison below:


    If you’ve never used a lens with a focus lever, they can take a little getting used to. The focus lever moves through an arc which is slightly more than 180 degrees, so you will have to juggle the locking pin from fingertip to fingertip to focus. I find that the “clock” orientation of the lens makes a big difference in handling. I personally prefer to have the infinity stop pin at the 10 o’clock position and the near focus stop pin at the 2 o’clock position. I recommend getting an adapter which allows you to rotate the lens within the adapter body so that you can find the orientation that works best for you (I happen to use Rainbow Imaging adapters and have been very happy with them).

    Before I bought the Industar-10, I was worried that the single aperture control tab was going to be a challenge to use. I had read forum posts complaining about the “terrible” ergonomics and noticed that a number of sales listings for this lens made a point of saying that the aperture control was “stiff”, “hard to turn” or “small”. In use, I actually prefer the Industar-10’s tab to the Industar-22/50’s ring. With all three lenses, you have to tip the lens up to see the aperture markings on the face and I find that the Industar-10’s tab is easier to see than the small mark cut into the Industar-22/50’s ring. When making adjustments, I find the tab easier to push than the nearly-flush ring. But that’s just me; this is going to come down to your personal preference.

    As an aside, all of these lenses really need a well-lubricated aperture mechanism, due to the small size of the aperture controls. These are fingertip controls and they need to move easily.


    Maizenberg states that the Industar-10’s resolution is 35 lines/mm at center and 19 lines/mm at the edges, that the Industar-22’s resolution is 32 lines/mm at center and 20 lines/mm at the edges and that the Industar-50’s resolution is 38 lines/mm at center and 22 lines/mm at the edges. I couldn’t tell you if the small differences in these resolution numbers are meaningful - I certainly don’t see any difference between the images I get from these lenses (each of which is in excellent condition), even at 100%. Sample images are below, taken under as controlled conditions as I can manage. The first image for each lens was taken at f3.5, the second at f5.6. The focus point in each image is the right side of the ceramic piece sitting on the plate. Each image was taken with an E-PL2 using the “Natural” setting, Contrast 0, Sharpness +1, Saturation 0 and Gradation Normal. No post-processing was done other than downsizing to the maximum image size allowed for uploading to this forum.
    Industar-10 f3.5
    Industar-10 f5.6
    Industar-22 f3.5
    Industar-22 f5.6
    Industar-50 f3.5
    Industar-50 f5.6

    Black and white images have nice, strong contrasts, and flare is better controlled than you might expect with the front lens element being so exposed. Both contrast and flare control are much better, in my experience, than the successor Industar-26m, Industar-61 and Industar-61 L/D lenses, all of which I found disappointing. YMMV.

    Minimum focus distance is, as advertised, about 1 meter. My Industar-10 and Industar-50 focus slightly past infinity when mounted on a Rainbow Imaging M39 to Micro 4/3 adapter; my Industar-22 focused short of infinity and needed some modification of the adapter to reach infinity focus. I put this down to sample variation.


    The aperture mechanism of the Industar-10 is slightly more complicated to service than the Industar-50 (I haven’t taken the Industar-22 apart yet, so I don’t know which of its siblings it takes after). You can read my walkthroughs of servicing the Industar-10 here and the Industar-50 here. As mentioned above, I think keeping the aperture mechanisms well-lubricated is essential to enjoying any of these lenses, so you might want to factor that into your decision.

    Servicing the simple, exposed focus helix is the same for all three lenses.


    So, which is the right lens for you?

    I can tell you which I prefer (at least for the moment). Since the performance of all three lenses is identical, I like the Industar-10 for its looks (that old FED script is wonderfully exotic), the undoubted “cool” factor of it being the oldest of the three lenses, the ease of use of the aperture tab and the size advantage when collapsed. Combined with an Industar-69 that has been hacked for infinity focus, this is my preferred walking-around combo. Each lens is only about an inch and a half thick, including adapter (that’s roughly 40mm for our metric-speaking friends) which makes them truly pocketable.

    But you’ll notice that my preference for the Industar-10 hasn’t stopped me from buying and enjoying all three – and I suspect that some of you will come to the same conclusion. :biggrin: Whichever lens you buy, have fun!
    • Like Like x 22
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Should have never opened this thread... *holding wallet tightly*
  3. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    It looks like they can be mostly collapsed while on the body. Is that right?
  4. the.growler

    the.growler Mu-43 Regular

    @lenshoarder: They can be but it's something I try to avoid out of concern for introducing dust or grease into the sensor cavity.
  5. jumbotron

    jumbotron Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 9, 2011
    Vancouver, Canada
    timing is everything...

    What perfect timing - I just bought a perfect minty 1959 Industar 50 3.5 less than a week ago and just started searching for info on it and how to deal with the focus tab issue - I love that it brought me back to this forum.

    I love this gorgeous lens, but not sure I want to be filing things off of it. One thing that does freak me out is the lens unlatching and hitting the sensor. From the looks of it - the length of the barrel on the 50 would hit.
  6. the.growler

    the.growler Mu-43 Regular

    @jumbotron: You shouldn't have a problem with the lens tube unlatching and collapsing accidentally as long as you focus using only the focus lever. If you focus by turning the front ring (which many people naturally do on account of its position and the knurling), it's easy to unlatch the lens.

    I've read that some people slip an O-ring or rubber band over the lens tube and snug it against the lens base to keep the lens tube from collapsing if it accidentally comes unlatched. That's an easy and reversible fix.
  7. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Real Name:
    I use a wide rubber band just behind the front flange of my 50mm Elmar. It can still collapse, but not far enough to touch anything inside the camera.

  8. jumbotron

    jumbotron Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 9, 2011
    Vancouver, Canada
    Thanks Growler. The o-ring is a smart idea. I'll give that a try. On filing off that nub - is there really no way around that? I've found a few links online where it looks the lens looks intact and being used on PENs.
  9. lstzephyr

    lstzephyr Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2011
    That picture is very interesting! Thanks for the writeup.
  10. the.growler

    the.growler Mu-43 Regular

    @jumbotron: Perhaps they are using an adapter that doesn't extend past the rim of the mounting plate? I've only used the Rainbow Imaging adapters; maybe someone makes one that has a smaller diameter.
  11. lstzephyr

    lstzephyr Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2011
    Well you convinced me. I just ordered an industar 22 from latvia. I'm excited even though it probably won't be here until next month.
  12. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    I'll look for one while I'm digging through the crates of Industar lenses at the Frankfurt flea market. Hopefully 3 euro if I can find a decent one.
  13. azngigolo64

    azngigolo64 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 16, 2012
    This forum is making me buy all kinds of lens, including an I-22 last week. I ended up wrapping a $2 bracelet tightly around the lens barrel to keep it from collapsing into the camera. Looks cooler and has more character than a rubber band. Still haven't fixed the locking mechanism but I think I will probably file it down a little bit so the tab fits through the gap.
  14. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    I agree, the last thing I wanted was to see such thread... I cannot buy more lens, I cannot buy more lens, I cannot buy more lens...

    Please post a picture of the lens mounted on a pen body :biggrin:
  15. azngigolo64

    azngigolo64 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 16, 2012
    Does anyone have the gold elmar 50mm 3.5? I am thinking about getting that version also. Black on Gold just looks crazy sexy.
  16. the.growler

    the.growler Mu-43 Regular

    How about all three? [What's the emoticon for "evil grin"?]

    • Like Like x 2
  17. zorki1

    zorki1 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 26, 2010
    Here's a trick I do with mine. Take the Ruskie push on filter for the collapsibles and knock the glass out, then take a 40.5mm filter and remove the glass, then glue the 40.5 to the push on as it will slip snug into the back of the 40.5. Now you have a 40.5 filter ring for the collapsible, I use a polarizer quite a bit with this set up.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    :2thumbs: Looks great, it should even look greater on a silver body!
  19. Lav*A

    Lav*A Mu-43 Rookie

    I am waiting for my FED (Industar 10) in a few days!!!