2013 09 20 JMZ Swim Pentax Spotmatic Kodak Portra 400-8628-0020
Pentax Spotmatic, KMZ Industar-50-2 50/3.5 (wide open), Kodak Portra 400

The first soviet lens I have been trying out is an Industar-50-2 made by KMZ.

KMZ was one of the most prolific of the soviet camera and lens manufacturers, and the Industar-50-2 was one of their more common lenses.  I think this was "The People's 50mm" for many back in the day.

It is incredibly compact and so some call it a pancake lens, but I find its sloped edges more reminiscent of a squat nuclear cooling tower.

As with many of the older M42 mount lenses, the Industar-50-2 features a smooth (if not loose) aperture ring with no stops, meaning that it rotates smoothly from f/16 up through f/3.5.

You focus the Industar wide open and then stop down to the desired aperture in order to meter.  This can be tough to do by touch given the lack of clicks, but on the other hand there is nothing preventing you from dialing in any intermediate aperture to nail exposure just where you want it.

The relatively slow maximum aperture means that this is not a good lens for low-light situations or minimizing the depth of field.  However, I have found that I can shoot wide open even in daylight and still get nice, rounded out of focus elements in the photo.

Written by Bubble Level

Jamie Zucek lives in California and enjoys film and digital photography, collecting and shooting vintage and modern cameras whenever he can.

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