Industar-26M 2.8 5cm ИНДУСТАР 50mm
The Industar-26M is a prime lens manufactured in the former Soviet Union in the 1950ies and 1960ies. It was the standard lens of the FED cameras (Leica screwmount copies) among others. The lenses were both manufactured by FED and KMZ (Krasnogorsky Zavod). The industar-26M is one of the most affordable lenses available for the Leica screwmount and decent copies can be had for as little as $20. Although the lenses are branded 5cm they are in fact 52 to 53 mm, giving you a tiny zoom effect over a classic fifty prime lens.
- Price & availability
- Reasonably sharp in the centre
The Industar-26M is a real bargain and will not break your bank. For about $20 you get a decent lens that offers excellent value for money. If you don’t want to spend much and you want to have a first peak into the world of vintage lenses, the Industar-26M could be a good first choice. Such a high number of lenses were manufactured that even now, 40 years later, you can still find them in abundance.
The image quality is ok – not spectacular but it will do the job. The contrast is nice, which is a good sign for a vintage lens. The center of the image is sharp. Personally I do not like the constant softness in the corners but in that price range you cannot expect miracles.
I would highly recommend that you test the lens first hand prior to buying it (maybe avoid Ebay this time). The Industar-26M lenses I came across were all in shabby condition.
- Flare prone
- Built quality
- Soft in the corners
Let’s be frank: I did not particularly enjoy the Industar-26M. There are several reasons for this.
It starts of with the built quality. The lens barrel is made out of fragile aluminium that scratches very easily. Most lenses I have seen had clear scratches and oxidation on the metal. The different metal elements of the lens barrel are cemented, and not in a good way. On most lenses I tried, the old cement was so fragile that you could twist the different part of the lens.
The click-less aperture and focusing settings feel a bit sloppy. I do not like the fact that the focusing ring is at the very end of the lens, very close to the camera body (hence some earlier models have a small focusing knob). The ergonomics feel cumbersome.
The image quality is OK for the price. Although the centre is reasonably sharp there is a lot of falloff and vignetting in the corners, which are not sharp, even when stopped down. On top of that I personally do not appreciate the bokeh, which seems a bit bland. Although most lenses are coated, the Industar-26M is flare prone.
When you combine these factors it makes you wonder what this lens is good for. In this focal length you expect a lens to be a classic all-rounder. Don’t get me wrong, the Industar-26M ticks a lot of boxes but it does not excel anywhere. There are so many 50mm lenses around that the Industar-26M would not be a first choice for me. If you know that want this type of prime lens, do yourself a favour and spend a tiny bit more on the original Tessar 2.8 50 – it simply is the better and more balanced option.
Industar-26M (ИНДУСТАР 5cm) Versions
There is a myriad of types of Industar-26M that were created. These include lenses that have a focusing knob, some who do not, Russian made, Korean made and even specially made 26M for the use on an enlarger. For a thoroughly detailed overview of the different versions I would recommend having a look here.
- Minimum Focusing Distance: 100 cm
- Made in the Soviet Union
- Aperture: 2.8 – 22
- Aperture blades: 10
- Weight: 116 gr
- Filter size: 40.5mm