Industar 50-2 – 3.5 / 50
The Industar-50-2 is a curious little 50mm prime lens. It was manufactured in the soviet union for decades until the 1990ies, mostly for the Zenit SLR cameras. The Industar-50-2 is based on the Carl Zeiss Tessar design and is available in M42 mount. (Its’ predecessor was the Industar-50, which was only available in M39 screwmount for rangefinder cameras.)
It is easy to underestimate the Industar-50-2. It is so small and affordable that really it shouldn’t be able to deliver much quality. Or can it? Actually it does offer a lot of remarkable features and it will be a good lens addition for many photographers.
- value for money
- sharp in the center
- tiny and lightweight
First of all it is absolutely tiny. It feels a lot like a pancake lens as it is incredibly light and compact. No need for a bag for this lens, just put it in your pocket. It actually is one of the smallest lenses I have ever seen for a SLR. You can really feel the “range-finder heritage” of the lens as it operates rather like a Leica or Zorki M39 lens than as a SLR lens. The click-less aperture settings are situated right at the end of the lens barrel (a bit like on a classic Leica Elmar lens) and the lens only has a height of 1 inch (approx. 2,5 cm). You could actually argue that the Undustar-50-2 is a 50mm prime pancake lens. It will fit in nicely on any SLR or mirrorless camera. In my opinion, this is a great feature, especially for street photographers who wish to operate in “stealth mode”. People will not notice you as much with this lens as if you would use a much larger and bulkier 50mm prime lens. In some situation, this is priceless!
So it is small and convenient but is the image quality actually any good? Well, yes. In most situations you will be able to obtain good pictures which will be rich in contrast, with good colours and a good amount of sharpness. Obviously, being a rather slow 50mm lens, the Industar-50-2 feels most at ease outside in well lit situations.
If you are tired of bulky lenses and want something small to add to your setup give the Industar-5o-2 a go. It’s an ideal travel companion (68gr!!) and general purpose backup lens. When I go for a trip I had to always consider which lenses I would take with me – not any more, the Industar-50-2 just sneaks into any camera bag now.
- slow prime lens
- falloff in the corners
- aperture settings
- flare prone
My main criticism of the Industar-50-2 is the ergonomics, especially the aperture settings. As they are click-less and situated at the end of the lens barrel it is very easy to change the settings by mistake. That means that if you want to be thorough you need to check and adjust the aperture settings every time you take a shot in a new situation. That can be a bit tedious at times. Unfortunately for videographers, the advantage of having click-less aperture settings does not apply here as the aperture ring is situated so close to the front element of the lens that you can not really adjust it while you are shooting as your fingers will most likely be seen on the footage.
The image quality is really not bad especially for a lens in this price range. Nonetheless, there is some falloff in the corners and the bokeh is rather harsh. If you can live with that the Industar-50-2 is definitely worth a purchase.
Industar 50-2 – 3,5 / 50 Versions
The Industar 50-2 is a black lens with white and red engravings. Some lenses that were not manufactured to be exported have engravings in Cyrillic.
The predecessor was the Industar 50, which was manufactured in M39 mount (and was also available as a collapsible version).
- 68 gr
- Minimum Focusing Distance: 65 cm
- Filter Mount: 35mm
- Made in USSR
- Aperture: 3,5 – 16 (click-less)
- 4 elements in 3 groups
- Aperture blades: 6