Industar 50 m42 mount 50mm f/3.5 lens on Sony Nex

I recently bought a Miranda Sensomat 35mm film camera and bundled with it came an Industar 50 M42 mount lens. This is a classic Russian made lens from the 1960’s and I was interested to see how it performed, since I’ve used other Industar & Jupiter lenses to good effect on my Sony Nex 6. So while I was out taking some autumn pictures I also took a few pictures with the Industar 50.

Those pictures are shown below in the gallery.

Industar 50 sample pictures

Industar 50 Description

Of all the Industar and other Russian lenses I’ve tried, this one is definitely the bottom of the bunch for picture quality. However, lets just cover the good points.

It’s a small lens which makes the camera easy to (almost) fit in a pocket. In fact it would be simple to fit the camera in your pocket with this lens, but the adapter adds about an inch to the depth which makes it just slightly too big.

The aperture is step-less and covers f/3.5 to f/16 and the focus ring is easy enough to adjust.

Now the bad points – all the above pictures were taken at f/5.6 or f/8.0 which you would expect to be the best aperture to get the most out of the lens. However all the pictures lack definition, contrast and colour. If you look in detail at the images they are all soft even at the center of the frame and fall off even that poor standard by the corners. It’s not a particularly fast lens and so has almost nothing to recommend it over almost any other M42 manual lens like the Pentacon 50mm, the Takumar 55mm or Minolta 50mm which are all available for very small sums of money.

I would recommend that, on the evidence of my copy, if offered an Industar 50 it’s probably not worth whatever is being asked for it however I would also add one caveat. There were large differences in the build quality of these lenses, even within the same batch, so it’s possible I’ve just got a very bad example.

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