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09-07-2011, 11:18 PM   #1
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Looking at 2 old cheap lenses (50mm M f1.7 and Industar61 - 50mm f2.8). Any opinions?

Hi all,

Since you guys were so helpful in my last decision (about fast lenses), I thought I'd ask for some opinions on another question.

I'm looking at getting an old lens that's sub $100 because I'm itching for a new toy while I save for a new lens, and two have caught my eye

The SMC Pentax M-50mm f1.7, and the Industar 61 - L/Z 50mm f2.8

The SMC caught my eye because before I upgraded to my K-5, I shot mainly with an old Takumar 50mm f1.4. I love the DOF control that the fast lens offers - probably one of my highest priorities. However, I've grown tired of switching between the M42 threads and K-mount (I didn't mind for years, but it's getting old trying to quickly change lenses on the fly with not enough hands!), and the f1.7 is not much slower than the f1.4

The Industar caught my eye because I've never used a "macro" lens before (as this one claims to be; I dunno what even makes a macro lens to be honest and I would really like to get one. I have a Fish-eye, which is cool, but the massive distortion isn't always welcome haha) While it's a M42 thread, it means I could carry around this lens and my f1.4 and not have to swap out an adapter if I wanna change lenses. The different bokeh it produces is neat too. Plus, it's kind of cool having a commie lens!!!

Any opinions or any other lenses I should look at?

Thanks!

09-07-2011, 11:39 PM   #2
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I have 3 M50 1.7's. I was so pleased with the first one, that I bought another as a backup. Then, I bought a backup lens for the backup lens.
09-08-2011, 12:18 AM   #3
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Without knowing anything about Russian lenses, Another vote for the M50 f1:1.7. You really cannot go wrong with it. They don't call it the Nifty Fifty for nothing.

09-08-2011, 05:12 AM   #4
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Since they're so cheap, why not get both (if your budget can handle it)? The Pentax is stellar at what it does, but it won't do macro (without attachments). As you said, it would be cool to have a commie lens, and you could experiment with macro for a minimal investment.

09-08-2011, 06:00 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Codazzle Quote
The SMC caught my eye because before I upgraded to my K-5, I shot mainly with an old Takumar 50mm f1.4. I love the DOF control that the fast lens offers - probably one of my highest priorities. However, I've grown tired of switching between the M42 threads and K-mount (I didn't mind for years, but it's getting old trying to quickly change lenses on the fly with not enough hands!), and the f1.7 is not much slower than the f1.4
You should be able to sell your M42 for the same or more than an M50 f1.4 on Ebay. There are a lot of non-Pentax people that like using the Pentax M42 50 f1.4 on other cameras.

I've sent you a PM regarding the M50 f1.4.

Tim
09-08-2011, 07:43 AM   #6
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The M50/1.7 is a superb lens. The Industar-61 (which comes in various flavours) is also superb, BUT... it's LTM (Leica threadmount) with a register of 28.8mm vs the Pentax / M42 45.46mm register. It's a 'macro' lens only because it won't come close to infinity focus on your dSLR. I bought three by mistake and sold them all as being useless to me. Oh no, not ANOTHER closeup lens!

Mine were I-61 52/2.8 and I-61 L/D 55/2.8. I can't comment directly on the I-61 L/Z 50/2.8. I can say that they all have a good reputation. IIRC they're Tessars with fairly flattened subject fields, like the legendary (HA!) I-50/3.5 (which at least is M42). Being LTM, infinity (far-focus) might be around 1.2m without tubes, closer with tubes. Hay, it could be worse!

My recommendation: If you can get an I-61 for around US$20, and you want to play with closeups, then why not? Otherwise look for an I-50 (might cost as much as US$30 shipped) and have a lens that great both on and off tubes.
09-08-2011, 07:44 AM   #7
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If you really don't like swapping out adapters, then buy some cheap adapters off ebay, remove the clip and you can turn your M42 into a K mount lens. Total cost will be around $8 each.
09-08-2011, 08:10 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
The M50/1.7 is a superb lens. The Industar-61 (which comes in various flavours) is also superb, BUT... it's LTM (Leica threadmount) with a register of 28.8mm vs the Pentax / M42 45.46mm register. It's a 'macro' lens only because it won't come close to infinity focus on your dSLR. I bought three by mistake and sold them all as being useless to me. Oh no, not ANOTHER closeup lens!

Mine were I-61 52/2.8 and I-61 L/D 55/2.8. I can't comment directly on the I-61 L/Z 50/2.8
Actually the L/Z means it is an M42 mount lens, so it should focus to infinity fine with a proper adapter. It's only the L/D lenses that were M39 Leica mount (as opposed to M39 Zenit mount). The L/Z versions were for Zenit SLRs that were M42 mount (the first Zenit SLRs were M39 threaded (but with 45.2mm registration), then they switched to regular M42 mount, and finally to K mount). I don't believe there are any of these lenses for the Zenit M39 mount, which is good since it would only add to the confusion.

Edit: Incidentally, it's possible (though I don't know this for sure) that the "D" in L/D stands for "Dzerzhinsky," the name of the founder (Correction: It was just named in honor of him.) of the FED rangefinder camera brand (Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky) to indicate the lens is for FED cameras and the "Z" in L/Z stands for "Zenit" to indicate those lenses are for Zenit SLRs.


Last edited by CFWhitman; 09-08-2011 at 11:17 AM.
09-08-2011, 08:49 AM   #9
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smc color rendition worth considering

Color rendition may differ - likely the smc is better.

I found Lenstip's article on color rendition to be extremely helpful in understanding the importance of good coatings.
Colour rendering in binoculars and lenses - Colours and transmission - Lenstip.com

It looks like pentax's smc series may be about the best for older lenses.

Once upon a time I thought that custom white balance could take care of poor color rendition in lenses but after reading Lenstip's article it is clear that for most lenses it is not true (even lenses with excellent sharpness etc.) If blue/violet is gone due to not-so-good coatings that's it; gone is gone as in "not recoverable".

Unfortunately there's little data out there on particular lenses other than qualitative comments by users (which I'd tend to trust regarding color & contrast rendition).

Last edited by newarts; 09-08-2011 at 09:01 AM.
09-08-2011, 08:51 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by CFWhitman Quote
Actually the L/Z means it is an M42 mount lens, so it should focus to infinity fine with a proper adapter.
Ah, thanks for the correction! [/me stores factoid into overloaded brain]

QuoteQuote:
Edit: Incidentally, it's possible (though I don't know this for sure) that the "D" in L/D stands for "Dzerzhinsky," the name of the founder of the FED rangefinder camera brand (Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky)...
This Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky? The Cheka monster?
09-08-2011, 11:12 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
This Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky? The Cheka monster?
Yes, although I guess he didn't found the company; it was just named in honor of him - my mistake.
09-08-2011, 11:54 AM   #12
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i've not used the industar in an m42 (I have 2 for RF as they are the kit lens different vintages). I did use the industar on a Zenit back in 1973 but really that's to far back to offer an opinion beyond the one derived from the RF uses lately. It's a decent enough functional lens but doesn't wow me. My m 1.7 on the other hand I find excellent (i actually have 2 of them) Probably it is my most used 50. On my RF I prefer the Jupiter 12 35 f2.8 Biogon knockoff which is a fantastic lens)
09-08-2011, 11:55 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by CFWhitman Quote
Yes, although I guess he didn't found the company; it was just named in honor of him - my mistake.
though the secret police would have been a driving force in camera development
09-08-2011, 01:10 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
I did use the industar on a Zenit back in 1973 but really that's to far back to offer an opinion beyond the one derived from the RF uses lately.
That's what I love about this place, most of you are so old it makes me feel young
09-08-2011, 01:40 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
That's what I love about this place, most of you are so old it makes me feel young
There was a brief article in the paper this morning about an attempted convenience store robbery in San Diego. The robber was wearing a costume and got his gun stuck in it or something, The store clerk described the robber as a "green SpongeBob Squarepants". Apparently not old enough to have seen Gumby.
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