A subjective look at Industar-61 L/Z 2.8/50 M42 @ Fujifilm X-Pro1

The Industar-61 is a fast manual full-frame standard prime lens which exists in several incarnations:

  • Industar-61M — was designed for SLR cameras and manufactured in a small production batch since 1971 at KMZ (Krasnogorskiy Mechanicheskiy Zavod). Has M42x1 thread mount and automatic aperture control which could be disabled. The actual focal length of the lens is 52.42 mm but the inscription on the housing of the lens says 50. Optically consists of 4 elements in 3 groups. Light transmission: 0.85. Aperture blades: 5. Minimum focusing distance: 0.42 m. Filter thread: special M42x0.75. Length (with caps): 55 mm. Maximum diameter: 59.5 mm. Weight: 260 g;
  • Industar-61 L/Z — the most popular model, was designed for SLR cameras and manufactured at LZOS (Lytkarino Optical Glass Factory). Has M42x1 thread mount. Light transmission: 0.92. Aperture blades: 6. Minimum focusing distance: 0.30 m. Filter thread: M49x0.75. Length: 59 mm. Maximum diameter: 57 mm. Weight: 225 g. There was also MC (Multi Coated) variation;
  • Industar-61L — was designed for the rangefinder cameras and manufactured at LZOS (Lytkarino Optical Glass Factory). Has M39x1 thread mount. Aperture blades: 12. Minimum focusing distance: 1 m. Length: 53 mm. Maximum diameter: 53 mm. Weight: 130 g;
  • Industar-61 L/Z — was designed for the rangefinder cameras, has M39x1. Some copies were marked as 2.8/53 and some as 2.8/55. Aperture blades: 6. Minimum focusing distance: 1 m. Length: 48 mm. Maximum diameter: 55 mm. Weight: 140 g.

There were another variations but no information is available on them.

The reviewed copy of Industar-61 L/Z is an export model, is marked as 2.8/50 meaning that the maximum relative aperture is F/2 and the focal length of the lens is 58 mm. However like I said before the real focal length of the lens according to the manufacturer’s manual is 52.42 mm. On full-frame cameras it acts like a standard lens. For this review the lens was used with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera with a crop factor of 1.53 and the effective focal length of the lens «became» 80 mm (full-frame equivalent). The lens was used via M42 — Fuji X adapter without chip. There was no focus confirmation, but the metering was performed by the camera automatically in the stop-down mode. All you have to do is just to select the desired aperture and rotate the manual focus ring until you have your subject sharp in the EVF or LCD in Live View mode.

Build Quality and Characteristics

The build quality is excellent (in fact this is pretty typical for the export lenses made in USSR). The black housing does not really looks like archaic, is completely made ​​of metal, including thread mount, has a light weight of 225 g and a length of 59 mm (when focused on the infinity; not including the caps).

Industar-61 L/Z 50mm F/2.8

The manual focus ring has width of 22 mm, is well damped, has no play, rotates smoothly but with excessive resistance. The condition of various control elements of the lens depends on the year of manufacture and the level of preservation of a particular lens. The angle of rotation of the ring is very impressive (about 380 degrees) and is sufficient to provide very accurate focusing. The front element is pushed forward only by 13-14 mm when focusing on the minimum distance of 0.30 m but visually it looks like that the length of the lens increases more (it’s not true though). It is interesting that the manual focusing ring could be rotated past the infinity mark / behind minimum focusing distance. Anyway it’s just a design flaw and nothing more.

Industar-61 L/Z 50mm F/2.8

The aperture ring is narrow (3 mm only), located directly in the front of the lens (the part of the housing where modern budget AF lenses often have manual focusing ring) and has the following markings​​: 2.8 — 4 — 5.6 — 8 — 11 — 16. The preset aperture control is supported by the aperture ring itself. The ring rotates smoothly and in stepless mode which theoretically makes this lens a good choice for video recording.

The aperture has 6 blades, its opening is not circular, but this is not so surprising, because the production of the lenses with a circular aperture started only in 1987. With closing of the aperture to F/4 the opening loses the circular form and from F/5.6 — suddenly — takes the form of the 6-pointed star :-O

The diameter of the filter thread is 49 mm — a common size even for modern autofocus lenses. The filter thread does not rotate when focusing, making it easy to use polarizing and gradient filters. No filters were used during shooting for this review.

Optically the lens is based on Tessar scheme and consists of 4 elements in 3 groups which is less than have the majority of models with similar focal lengths. However such scheme provides sharp and contrast images and good correction of optical aberrations. The front element is deeply recessed in the housing of the lens so the resistance to flares should be very good. The lens actually does not need the hood because the housing itself provides a natural protection from bright sunlight.

Industar-61 L/Z 50mm F/2.8

Optical Results

Wide open the lens is more or less sharp at the center of the frame. With the closing of the aperture to F/4 the sharpness increases and from F/5.6 the lens is very sharp. The edges of the APS-C frame visually don’t lag behind the center of the frame. The depth of field at F/2.8 is narrow but not thin enough to miss the focus.

Vignetting is not noticeable with APS-C sensor, the same goes to distortion and lateral chromatic aberration.

The lens does not exhibit any outstanding bokeh. Wide open the out-of-focus highlights are round of course but at F/4 become polygons and at F/5.6 — interestingly — 6-pointed stars. As for me I didn’t like such kind of «special effects».

If you shoot from a distance of several meters from the subject, the out-of-focus highlights at the edges of the APS-C frame are «transformed» into ellipses and the center of the frame they have a big color outline and form a «mess» instead of a beautiful background blur. The background blur with this lens in most cases will be nervous. The degree of blurring, however, also depends on the distance between the front element of the lens and the subject, the distance between the subject and the background.

The longitudinal chromatic aberrations (colored halos in front of the focus point and in the background) are irrelevant already at F/2.8.

What is interesting because of its optical design and the minimum focusing distance of only 0.30 m the lens allows to shoot close-ups and obtain the magnification ratio of 1:2.5 which is very close to the ratio provided by the macro photo lenses (1:1 — 1:2).

Summary

On APS-C camera the purpose of the Industar-61 L/Z is very similar to that of Fujinon XF 60mm F/2.4 R Macro. The Fujifilm Corporation positioned it as a compromise lens for portrait shooting and macro shooting. However this compromise is not particularly good as the F/2.4 aperture is not fast enough for impressive separation of the subject from the background and the magnification ratio is only 1:2. These comments are almost fully apply to the Industar-61 L/Z despite the radical difference of the optical designs of the lenses. For serious shooting, in my opinion, this lens is suitable only at F/2.8-4 and the distance scale set near MFD or vice versa — near infinity which will lead to soft and pleasant background blur and will not cause the appearance of «6-pointed stars». Anyway you shouldn’t hope to get the impressive bokeh from this lens.

Thanks God this lens is cheap like dirt so in case you don’t need AF, very narrow depth of field and you are okay to shoot close-ups with the 1:2.5 magnification ratio Industar-61 L/Z should be a good choice and will allow you TO EXPERIMENT in both genres of photography — portrait and macro shooting. But if you really want to get impressive images you’d better invest your money in specialized macro or portrait lens.

Author of the review and photos: Evgeny Artemov, eugene.artemov@mail.ru

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