Old russian/soviet lens for beginner

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by jair, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. jair

    jair Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 14, 2012
    So, I am going to St. Petersburg for a week and I thought it is a nice excuse to get some cheap old russian lens from a market as occasionally I see them mentioned around. Absolutely 0 expirience with adapted glass, so I prefer something that is beginner friendly and most importantly - wallet friendly. I guess around 40 euro/50 USD is the most I am willing to spend.

    Something in the 50mm range is preferable, just because I don't have this covered by my native lenses and also these lenses are probably lighter then the heavy telephotos. I tried to read around, but I got headache from all the different Jupiters and Industars, their german originals and so on. Maybe someone can give me the shortcut to what is the best choice for my budget and needs.

    Does anyone actually have an expirince if locally I will be able to find it cheaper then on ebay?
  2. rtb001

    rtb001 Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 16, 2012
    Rochester NY
    I bought an Industar-50 (50mm f3.5 I think) collapsible lens as well as an Industar 69 28mm pancake.

    I found both of them to be cool and funky, and while they probably don't have the finest (or any?) coating, nice to play with on my camera. They are less than $50 each shipped from the former USSR, so you may be able to find some really nice copies for cheap. Also, since you're there in person, you can hold it in your hand, examine your lenses, and at least get a cosmetically nice copy.

    Ebay also have many Jupiter 8 (50mm) and Jupiter 11 (135mm) on sale, and for slightly more than the Industars, so they maybe interesting too, although I have no personal experience with them.

    Some notes and issues with my Industars:

    1. M39 adapters are super slim, and supercheap, $5 shipped each from China. So you can afford to buy one for each lens that you acquire.

    2. You're gonna need a dedicated adapter for each lens since some minor modifications need to be made.

    3. The Industar 50 collapsible is a very neat lens, but you need to file a little gap in your adapter ring (buy the 2 piece adapter, removed the threaded portion, take 10 minutes to file a little gap, put the threaded portion back on, and voila!), and maybe an o-ring (or 3) wrapped around the lens barrel, so that when you collapse the lens, you don't collapse the barrel right into the sensor baffle/autofocus pins on the inside of the camera.

    4. Even with the adapter, the M68 pancake is liable to be the slimmest lens you can put on a m43 camera. Of course, everyone knows this particular lens will not focus to infinity with the current adapters. People have modified the lens itself (removing the focus stop peg, grinding it down, grinding down the lens barrel itself etc.) to get it to focus to infinity. I ended up just removing the threaded part of the adapter, stuck a small rubber washer between the lens and the adapter body, and then using screws to hold the lens against the adapter body itself. This way the lens achieves infinity focus without modification and nothing needs to be grinded down (except maybe the rubber washer, so that you get the right focusing distance with the lens sitting on top of it).

    Well that's all I have to say about these ex-soviet lenses. I found them fun, although it was probably a waste of my $90 since they are not as sharp as my Oly 45mm (but then what is?). If you do end up getting a pancake (I would get one if you find a nice copy cheap, like $20-30), ask around here for various ways to achieve infinite focus.
  3. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I've had a few Industars (22 and 61), Jupiter-8 and a couple of Helios 44s and by far my favorite is the Helios 44M (m43 screw mount like my Super Takumars). They are cheap, built like tanks and are copies of Zeiss Biotars. There are a number of versions (I hear the 44-6 is the sharpest) but I like the 44M because it has lovely bokeh, excellent sharpness and I think my last one cost me all of $35.
  4. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    I have owned the I-26m and I-61L/D, and also a Jupiter 8.

    My favorite is the J-8 because of the Sonnar-like image characteristics.

  5. jair

    jair Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 14, 2012
    Checking out the Industar 50, it looks there are two versions - collapsible and non-collpasible, is that correct? Industar 69 also looks cool but I prefer something in the 50mm range.

    The helios is probably a bit more than I want to spend(current ebay prices seem to be around 50GBP), but it fits all other requirements. Currently loading the image threads of all lenses, takes a while with my internet.

    Jupiter 8 also looks good.

    In any case, thank for the suggestions. At least I know what to look for on the market.
  6. larsjuhljensen

    larsjuhljensen Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 26, 2011
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Another vote for the Jupiter-8 from me.

    I have an Industar-61 L/D, Jupiter-8, and Helios-44. The Industar-61 L/D can be very, very sharp when stopped down to f/5.6 or so, but has no distinct character that makes it worth to use over modern lenses. The Jupiter-8 and Helios-44 both have very pleasant and distinct rendering when used at larger apertures, and become almost (but not quite) as sharp as the Industar-61 L/D when stopped down. However, whereas the Helios-44 is a big lens especially including the M42 adapter, the Jupiter-8 is a tiny lens and makes for a nice compact package even when factoring in the L39 adapter.
  7. jpplenissart

    jpplenissart Mu-43 Regular



    I just read some reviews concerning old russian lenses:

    A Guide To Russian LTM Lenses - SLR Lens Review

    A Guide To Russian LTM Lenses (Part 2) - SLR Lens Review

    I own a jupiter-3 and an industar 69.

    The first one is really great, but since the release of the olympus 45mm (it shares with it the low size and the brightness), it is more a fun lens to me than a must-have (it is now expensive too).

    The industar 69 is a really tiny lens, a little bit soft and with a distractive bokeh, but it is a normal cheap lens for my EPM1. With the pany 14mm, it's a great combo.

    As stated in a previous thread, for adapting I-69, my best solution is to fill an l39 adapter:

  8. jair

    jair Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 14, 2012
    Slight change of plans. Suddenly I remembered there was an old russian Zenit camera at my parents place. I called my mom and asked her if she can find the camera and what is written on the lens - she replied it is helios 44-2 :) So I get what I was looking for for free.

    So for the trip to St. Petersburg my priorities are slightly changed - from looking for a lens in a 50mm range, now I look for a lens in anything but 50mm.

    I think I am leaning towards Industar 69 for the pancake factor and overall I like how it looks. Industar 61 L/Z is also on my list mainly for the macro capability.

    I am also starting to consider the tele primes. What is stopping me is their weight, are they heavy and will they be well balanced on my GF2?

    Thanks for all the links and suggestions, indeed the russian numbering of the lenses is kinda confusing at first, but I think I am slowly starting to understand it.