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02-14-2012, 06:02 PM   #1
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M39 for Pentax DSLR

I just got a M42 to M39 adapter with some stuff and as I already got a genuine Pentax K to M42 I wonder which lenses I should look for. I know that the flange distance usually is way off for the K-mount but I'm still interested in perfectly working, modifiable and lenses that can work for macro stuff instead. Any suggestions?

02-14-2012, 06:44 PM   #2
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Here is a link to some information on m39 lenses. As far as I know M39 was Leica mount and also used in enlarger lens for a long time. The thread pitch may be different in some cases though. Pentax also made M37 lenses before they adopted the M42 standard.
02-14-2012, 06:59 PM   #3

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If it is just to try out the possibilities, with purchasing an Industar-50 you would not loose a lot of money if you don't like it. This is a very small 3.5/50mm, quite sharp, and quite cheap. Make sure the aperture is not stuck. The focus you will probably have to fix - if it's not stuck from the beginning, it may get so after a short while; the grease they used gets solid after a while. But disassembling, cleaning and lubricating the thread is quite easy, you need just a watch-maker's and an ordinary small screwdriver.

You will find lots of offers on ebay, often also coming with broken Zorki and Fed cameras. Industar, Jupiter, and Helios lenses were produced in m39. Be careful specially with Helios, these were produced also with m42 and Contax mount.

And, as jatrax said, most enlarger lenses are m39, too. Be aware these are flatfield lenses, which may or may not be of concern to you. I have not tried it, but I know many people use these reversed to get best results. But then, of course, it would not matter anymore whether it's a m39 or else.
02-14-2012, 07:16 PM   #4
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Yeah, it's more of an experiment than actually expecting a great result.

So far I found that the once that are close or same as Pentax are:
- Lenses for Zenit 3M
- Braun Paxette (dunno if they actually work)
- Some russian lenses (how to distinguish them from Leica flange?)

Which short flange distant lenses would work okay for macro? I don't know how to convert the "tube" that is the longer flange distance to how it affects macro as most lenses lack any in-detail specs listed.

02-14-2012, 08:36 PM   #5
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As you have probably figured out, your adapter is intended to adapt M39 Zenit lenses to M42 bodies. M39 LTM will mount, but not work due to the depth of the rear element on most LTM lenses (may hit mirror). There is also the severe lack of infinity focus.

How to distinguish LTM from Zenit? It is not hard. The LTM lenses have a fully manual aperture (no pre-set) and a rotating surface at the back of the lens to engage the body's rangefinder cam. They are also smaller, on average than SLR lenses of the same focal length.

02-14-2012, 09:19 PM   #6
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I know of four types of lenses with 39mm threads:

1) LTM - Leica threadmount -- these have a register of around 28mm, much shorter than the Pentax-M42 register of 45.46mm, so they can never focus to infinity on a Pentax camera without either radical surgery or an optical adapter. These are usually announced as being for rangefinders.

2) M39 - These have a register close to the Pentax-M42 register of 45.46mm. With an M39-M42 ring and a thin-flange M42-PK adapter, these work fine on Pentax cameras. They may be promoted as being for SLRs like the Zenit. M39 lenses include many labeled as Industar, Jupiter, Helios.

3) L39 - These are mainly enlarger lenses, often German or Russian, less commonly from Japan or USA. They have no register as such. L39 lenses longer than 60mm may be used on our SLRs with some sort of extension: tubes, bellows, focusing helicoid, etc. Shorter L39s are only good for macros.

4) Unknown name and application - I've read of some items with 39mm x 0.75mm pitch, whereas all the LTM-M39-L39 lenses have 1mm pitch. I have not encountered any of these. If a 39mm-thread item doesn't screw easily onto an M39 lens or adapter, DO NOT TIGHTEN IT lest you strip the threads.

All the M39s I've encountered are Russian. Industar-50/3.5, Jupiter-9 85/2, Jupiter-11 135/4. Like I said, these are usually promoted as being for Zenit or Praktica SLRs. I've found many Russian and German LTMs, usually advertised for Leica or FED or other rangefinders. Don't worry about L39 enlarger lenses unless you want to go into macro work.

Last edited by RioRico; 02-15-2012 at 01:46 AM.
02-14-2012, 10:33 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
3) L39 - These are mainly enlarger lenses
Forgot about the "Leica" thread enlarger lenses


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