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Russian lens

Luis Pinar , Sep 29, 1999; 08:25 a.m.

I would like to know your oppinion about a Russian lens. It4s a 50 mm 2.8, 42 mm screw mount. It4s marked in cyrillic - I think it translates as <Industar-61/3-MC>. Focus ring is marked to 0.3M. Manual diaphragm, F 2.8 to 16 . The front lens is deeply recessed, like in a macro lens. Is it suitable for macro(bellows) work? Thanks.


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Zbigniew Rybka , Sep 29, 1999; 09:27 a.m.

Generally the Industar lenses are of Tessar construction, not so bright but quite good resolution and contrast. I don't know this particular one but it seems suitable for macro work (manual aperture and recessed multicoated lens). However F=16 might be not enough to get reasonable DOF in some cases. IMO every lens supplied with bellows or tubes can work as a macro, especially when reversing ring is used (slightly improves resolution over 1:1). Zbig.

Brian Southward , Sep 29, 1999; 09:28 a.m.

I remember the 50mm f3.5 Industar being supplied as the standard lens with the Russian Zenith E SLR about 30 years ago. It was 42mm screw mount and fully manual. This is possibly a cousin of that one. The old Industar was very cheap and was regarded as inferior to the German and Japanese 50mm lenses of the time. Zenith made a manual bellows unit for their SLR, so no doubt they envisaged the Industar being used on it.

Robin Smith , Sep 29, 1999; 09:35 a.m.


I think these lenses were made for the Zenith series of cameras in the 70s and 80s. It was slower and cheaper alternative than their other f2 standard (58mm) preset aperture lens.

I don't think much of the quality of most Russian (35mm)lenses as a rule (as a user of Zenits when I started off in photography) but it will work OK. I do not think it is a macro lens - it just always did have an odd appearance. They are not worth much and are not really very good. One assumes the MC implies multicoating suggesting to me that it was made in the 80s. Whether it really is multicoated or not seems to me to be open to question,

Zbigniew Rybka , Sep 29, 1999; 11:07 a.m.

The quality of Russian lenses depends mostly on manufacturer - those made in Kiev are considered the best (military factory). The Helios 2/58 lens (not made in Kiev, suppose) was newer in construction than Industar, but resolution and sharpness were worse, it was quite soft, suitable for slower, high contrast films - I used Zenit B with Helios 2/58 and German ORWO NP15 (15 DIN) films with reasonable results. Old Russian Leica copies (FEDs) used Industars, they were really good at apertures about and over 5.6 although not as good as original Leica Elmars (some says the oldest FEDs have original German Zeiss lenses - that's true for first "Kiev" cameras, do not know how about FEDs). Price of Industar was lower (as compare to Helios) because of simple construction - rotable front element, manual aperture and smaller diameter of lenses (less laborous but better optical quality than large Helios lenses, often with air bubbles inside glass). Luis, try your lens and tell us your opinion! Zbig.

Andres Suurkuusk , Sep 29, 1999; 12:45 p.m.

Don't waste *film* and your *time* with any of that lens, just throw they away, like I did. I used Zenit,FED,Kiev88 cameras, Industar,Mir,Tair lenses and Orwochrom films for 10 years. Now I use Nikon's primes and I'm very happy.

Jeff R , Sep 29, 1999; 07:15 p.m.

Actually, I don't think it's really fair to compare your russian made lenses to nikon primes. it's like comparing a paper airplane to a stealth. Well maybe not that bad but oh well. Anyways, test the lens out yourself, maybe use a 2x converter with the lens @ f16 to give you an f22 for more DOF. Then you will also get more room to work with. Not as much magnification though. Maybe extension tubes?


Eugene Shifrin , Sep 30, 1999; 02:47 a.m.

Luis, Industar-61 was (and is) produced for "Zenit" cameras. This lens has reasonable sharpness and contrast (better than Helios-44), but no more than that. The optical scheme is rather simple (4 components) hence relatively low f-number. This is not a macro lens, but sure you can use it with bellows/extension tubes. My opinion is it is so inferrior compared with the brand name 50mm lenses, that are relatively cheap, that it does not make much sence to play with it, unless you already have some special equipment for it (like bellows). If it is the case - just try it. I use some Russian lenses for macro work and have satisfactory results.

Eugene Shifrin.

Mikhail Batygov , Jun 22, 2000; 03:18 a.m.

It's a SLR version of the lens previously designed for a Soviet Leica clone called "FED". As any "Industar" it uses the Tessar scheme (4 elements in 3 groups). Was positioned as a macro lens, although it's not a true macro since even 1:2 magnification is not achieved w/o rings. For serious macro work better look for something else. Overall optical quality?.. Well, my first I-61LZ was a dog. The second one was quite acceptable, especially wide open, but nothing special. At the same apertures my Helios-44M-4 easily beats it -- I suppose for the same reason why a Planar (and "Helios" is Russian for "Planar") beats a Tessar. As to postings about comparison of Nikon lenses to "Russian" ones (above 50% were actually made in Ukraine) in general, I'm yet to test a Nikkor in any focal length range which will rival the optical quality of the Soviet mid-telephoto "Kaleinar-5N". So far I've seen only Contax lenses that proved comparable (not superior) to it.

Robert Reis , Aug 06, 2001; 12:00 a.m.

I have acquired a Zenitar 16mm, a Mir 20mm, a Jupiter 85mm F2.0, and Helios 85mm F1.5 that I use with m42 adapters on my Contax RTS II's in stop down mode. I regularly have prints made at 11 by 14 inches on a Kodak Pegasus printer. I shoot Reala 100. I am pleased with all of them. Cheers, Bob

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