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Industar-50 50mm F3.5 Review RSS Feed

Industar-50 50mm F3.5

Reviews Views Date of last review
24 122,666 Sat November 5, 2022
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $18.88 8.67
Industar-50 50mm F3.5

Industar-50 50mm F3.5
Industar-50 50mm F3.5

There are several versions of this lens: a silver and a black version, and both are available in M39 and M42 mount. It is a Russian copy of the famous Zeiss Tessar lens. It has 4 elements in 3 groups.
Mount Type: M42 Screwmount
Price History:

Add Review of Industar-50 50mm F3.5
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 24
New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 15

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: November 5, 2022 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Weight size and image quality balance
Cons: Sometimes too expensive
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: Film and Sony A7ii   

I'm reviewing the black (with white or green numbering) 50-2 M42 lens. These can come in gloss black or satin black finishes with minor external measurement variations due to factory manufacturing differences.

Firstly, this is certainly not a "pancake" lens as pancakes are flat and pancake lenses are flat. This lens is more like a mini muffin lens being about 1 inch deep by about 2 inches wide. It's some half the size of a Pentax M 50mm and a third smaller than a Pentax A 50mm. It is very light, yet all metal and glass.

A cracking little lens that performs way beyond what I first expected; infinity is 90-95% sharp at f8 and f11 and about 70-80% sharp at f4. Depth of field is not dazzling for a Tessar clone design (it does not accurately correspond to the painted scale on the lens barrel) but it's not too badly off. Some online reviews go on about vignette at the corners at f3.5 and f4 and even f5.6 but it does not affect all lenses (must be a factory quality variable) and when it does, it's hardly noticeable.

There is also a lot of confusing plagiarised blurb online that goes on about the filter/hood diameter being 35.5mm, but most - not all - with 69******to 75****** serial numbers are smaller, and the same as the earlier M39 lens. You will need a hood to help reduce flare so you may have to make one for yourself as those that fit tend to make the smallness of this mini muffin lens rather bulky (you may as well buy a Pentax M or Pentax A 50mm). Colour rendition is good and accurate and contrast is fine. Some reviews state the front glass has no coating, but it does; however, it is very weak and much like early post WW2 lens coatings so you need a hood to help reduce flare (if you shoot into light) and assist contrast. Bokeh is not what this lens is about and it's not really an "artsy" lens that you can blur and create stuff with. Instead, it's a pretty sharp and clear slip-it-in-your pocket "realism" lens.

Easy to clean, lubricate and take apart to remove any dust if you need to. Superbly manufactured glass that can take minor knocks well, and the lens design minimises dirt and fungal growth. Overall, this lens is beautifully made.

The tiny front protruding rim alters the clickless aperture so a hood fixed to that tiny rim helps the turn. Focus is easy to use; even if you have big fingers. There is a huge turn from 2 yards down to minimum distance that can be slow as the lens turn is beautifully dampened.

The only thing that lets this lens down is the silly expensive prices they go for at times. If they are expensive for you then you'll get more from a Pentax M or A 50mm, or from any Takumar 55mm and these - especially the Pentax A - are not that much bigger while being far more capable and dynamic.
New Member

Registered: August, 2020
Posts: 1

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: August 14, 2020 Recommended | Price: $19.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Tiny, Cheap, Sharp
Cons: Prone to flares, inconsistent manufacturing
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Canon 6D   

I've gone through a few M42 Industar 50-2's until finding a really good one. Unfortunately, they are very hit or miss when it comes to the condition that they are in. The first one I bought takes super sharp pictures, but has a haze around any light reflecting back to the camera. The second one does not focus to infinity. The last one I bought is awesome. It focuses smooth, doesn't do a horrible job dealing with the light coming in, and takes great photos.

Forum Member

Registered: November, 2016
Posts: 65
Review Date: October 7, 2019 Recommended | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp when stopped down from its already slow aperture, ABSOLUTELY TINY, good handling, cheap, colour rendition, clickless aperture.
Cons: Slow (F3.5). Adapter is much bigger (and wider) than lens on mirrorless cameras.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Canon EOS 350D   

Slow former soviet pancake lens which is surprisingly sharp when stopped down, I think it really shines in Autumn with its colour rendition.
For me it sits in the same bag for its characteristics and idiosyncrasies as the Industar 69 (not reviewed here so far, I might step in).
Nothing to lose for having one in your collection. I wouldn't pay more than 20 ($25) dollars for one though.
Also available in M39 mount but is thicker (adapter will be thinner for mirrorless cameras). My versions are black but it can also be found with silver finish.
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2018
Location: Lyon / Rennes
Posts: 39
Review Date: December 7, 2018 Recommended | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small, surprisingly sharp, very cheap, solid, well built.
Cons: diaphragm ring placement makes that sometimes you change your focus when stopping down.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K30   

There's not much to say about this small lens.

It's russian, built in KMZ, Full metal, 4-elements.... M42 mount.... 50mm f/3.5...

It's quite sharp, 38/26 (nothing incredible but very surprising for a lens this small), easy to maintain (you litteraly can grease the focusing helicoid without disassembling the lens), cheap (got mine for 20$).... That's all ! Just buy it ! Really, nothing can't go wrong.
New Member

Registered: March, 2013
Location: NE England
Posts: 13

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: September 13, 2018 Recommended | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, cheap, very small profile.
Cons: f stop ring a little fiddly to master.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: KP   

A hidden gem in my opinion. Still available super cheap on the likes of eBay. I have a black M42 mount version which I use with the Pentax M42 adapter. As with a lot of Russian glass the quality can vary a lot, but I seem to have got a good copy. It renders black and white beautifully with my KP and is astonishingly sharp once you nail manual focus. A great addition for rendering a different 'feel' to your images. Well worth a chance buy if you see one.
New Member

Registered: April, 2018
Posts: 2
Review Date: May 19, 2018 Recommended | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Size, sharpness, value
Cons: Appeture ring without stops
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax k5   

I have Industar-50-2 (black), first use was not so good, because of bad adapter ring, some light goes thru it. I have redone to big ring and now i'm happy. I have remove helicoid and find to aluminum rings, one thicker i put in outside helicoid, now i have infinity, but little bit stuck aperture ring on 16.
What seams really problem is aperture ring, it's impossible to stop on exact aperture..
This image was made on wide open
New Member

Registered: April, 2015
Location: Sioux Falls, SD, USA
Posts: 20

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 22, 2017 Recommended | Price: $19.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness, pancake, bokeh
Cons: tricky focus, flare-prone
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony NEX 5N   

I hate to admit it, but I purchased this lens on Etsy after being drawn in by it's pancake aspect. It was only after it arrived and I started playing with it that I realized I had a touchy treasure.

I enjoy using it now. I found that a lens hood is a must. Otherwise it is prone to flares. It can be tricky to focus. It takes a little playing around with it to get used to it. Unlike many lenses, you have to turn the focus ring in the opposite direction of what you are used to.

I found that it is not the easiest lens to use in low light. This is a lens that should be used in normal or bright conditions. I can use it under dim lighting now as I've been using it extensively. This is a lens that can deliver great photos when you learn to work within it's limitations.

The bokeh is nothing special but it can create the sought-after bubble bokeh in the right situations. It is always tack-sharp in the center but I have to stop it down to get nearly edge to edge sharpness. The photos I shoot usually need a little post production to really bring out the clarity, sharpness and colors.

I'm not a street shooter but this would make a great lens for people that are looking for a pancake for that reason. I can't recommend it for action shots but it is great for still-lifes, landscapes and other similar subjects.
New Member

Registered: November, 2016
Posts: 12

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 9, 2017 Recommended | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Size , sharpnes
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K30   

I bought this litle fellow at Ebay 10 USD, I had to have it. First of all, the size. It fit in a jeans pocket, and if you have a large pocket it disapeare. It is amazingly sharp, even at f/3,5. The aperature adjustment is a bit unusual , but after 10min it is there in your fingers. I had a walk today , and it suprized me with exellent images. Colors are great, and so is the sharpnes.

All images are shoot at f/3,5, straigt from the camera, just converted to JPEG.

If you find one, buy it.
New Member

Registered: October, 2013
Posts: 23
Review Date: July 7, 2017 Recommended | Price: $15.49 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Tiny, good colour rendition and sharp lens
Cons: Slow and no infinity focus on M43 cameras (M39 version using M42 converter)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Olympus O-MD E-M5 Mark II   

Very sharp. Very small. Very reasonably priced. The colour that it gives is realistic. What not to like. I would have given it 10 if it focuses to infinity.

I bought it from a Ukranian seller from ebay. Love the lens so far. I wish it was faster but for this size and prize, I should be ashamed complaining....

Actually mine is a L39 version but I am using a converter M39 to M42 to use it on M42 adapter to Olympus O-MD E-M5 digital camera. I will try to use it on my Zenit 11 film camera too later on...

These are few of the sample photos, just resized in PS6 from 16MP to 5MP

New Member

Registered: June, 2017
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: June 11, 2017 Recommended | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Cheap, sharp, compact
Cons: Bokeh is not too hot
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Nikon D5300   

This lens so cheap It wouldn't be fair to say anything bad about it. It gives nice sharp pictures. Color saturation is really nice, It's so small you can it to your pocket. It's easy to hack for your Nikon cameras, so it can be used on every camera.The positives outweight the negatives. The only (kinda) bad thing is the handling, It's a bit weird to handle the aperture ring. I can 100% recommend this lens.

New Member

Registered: December, 2016
Posts: 13
Review Date: February 4, 2017 Recommended | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Low cost, small, sharp at F8
Cons: Only F3.5
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 7    Value: 8    Camera Used: Fuji X-M1, Olympus E-PL5   

I used the M42 version Industar 50-2 with the Russian letters on it.

I have made some impressions for macro photo & video with extension tubes:

Very interesting little lens, probably a Tessar design? Images are sharp at F8 and good at F3.5 on a crop sensor. Bokeh is limited with this lens and can be somewhat untidy looking with background light. When it comes to value one may add a little bit more money an buy an overall better performing lens like the Helios 44 58mm F2.


Registered: November, 2015
Location: Connacht, Ireland
Posts: 458
Review Date: August 13, 2016 Recommended | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: center sharpness from f3.5, size, cost, weight
Cons: aperture ring is easily moved, lens cap doesn't stay put
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 6    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-30, K-x, K-5, Z-70   

I purchased my Industar 50-2 from a re-seller in Poland. My copy was manufactured in 1974 and came to me in what I would call unused condition. It was physically perfect and looked like it had never seen a day of use.

Over the past three years, I have used this diminutive lens on all of my Pentax bodies (digital and film) with pretty good results. It's a bit fiddly with its very small aperture ring and very compact design, but these are parts of the charm of using this little beast. I frequently put it on my K-30 and slip the combo into a very small bag for carrying. It's frequently a conversation starter, too.

From a performance standpoint, I'm generally impressed with this lens. It's quite sharp in the center even from wide open and I would call it razor sharp across 3/4 of the frame at f8. However, my copy never achieves great corner sharpness on APS-C even above f5.6 and on film corners show obvious blur. On the other hand, this lens is consistent enough from f5.6 to f/8 to work around it if one is aware of these limitations.

Metering between f3.5 and f/8 on my K-30 is also excellent and very consistent. Not so much with K-x.

Flare and loss of contrast is a big issue, even with the tiny front element. However, one can easily shield it with one hand since the lens is so small.

I can definitely recommend this lens. It's very fun to use and the results will surprise most skeptics.

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 18,076
Review Date: January 5, 2014 Recommended | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, featherweight, performance/price ratio ...
Cons: Almost "too" small for my big fat fingers ...
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 10   


Just recently acquired this Soviet (in Cyrillic "Industar-50-2") and have not had to time to put it through its paces in more extensive use, ie outdoors & low light, etc. Mostly indoor tests and a few snaps here and there, but I like what I see ... well worth the acquisition.

No decent samples to add at the moment, thus a "p0rn shot" of it on my K-5 to give all an idea of how diminutive this Industar is ... mounted with an OEM Pentax M42 adapter ring.

Salut, John le Green Frog


Registered: September, 2013
Location: Toronto
Posts: 2,074

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 9, 2013 Recommended | Price: $18.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Light, cheap, good quality, difficult to make flare
Cons: Handling (particularly aperture ring), slow, CA in birght light at wider apertures
Handling: 4    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-30, K20D, Spotmatic   

A decent lens. Nice and tiny, both in size and weight. (If you've got this on a KA mount or later, then expect all the contacts to be completely uncovered.) Available cheaply due to the sheer number of them produced.

That size is also a downside though, as the aperture ring is tiny and a bit of a pain to turn. On the other hand, it does so continuously instead of stepwise. (On the other other hand, you will sometimes find that you're turning the focus ring at the same time.)

At smaller apertures expect to have issues with automatic metering, at least with my copy and the K-30, so dial in some exposure compensation. (I also found that, at smaller apertures, it tended to give photos an extremely cool tone.)

This may sound like it's all negatives, but it's not: I like the lens; the image quality is good; and it's nearly impossible to make flare in my experience. It's just also got some big caveats.

One final one: as with all Eastern Bloc lens, quality can vary a bit between individual lenses.

Some sample images on digital:
Evening Commute by Andrew, on Flickr

Watching the Pedestrians by Andrew, on Flickr

Untitled by Andrew, on Flickr

On extension tubes:
Helios-103 by Andrew, on Flickr

And one on film:
Lovezilla by Andrew, on Flickr
New Member

Registered: June, 2011
Location: Kaliningrad region
Posts: 7
Review Date: June 1, 2013 Recommended | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, weight, price
Cons: Handling
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 6    Value: 7   

Pentax K30 + Industar-50-2 (black)

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