The use of rangefinder optics on SLR cameras

The use of rangefinder optics on SLR cameras

The use of rangefinder optics on SLR cameras on the example of Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

Nowadays, you can find a huge amount of old rangefinder optics. Rangefinder optics are mainly lenses from mirrorless rangefinder cameras. SLR and rangefinder cameras differ in the principle of sighting, and this changes the very design of cameras and lenses. Rangefinder lenses have a very short flange distance, about 28mm, because of which, when used on SLR cameras with a longer working length, of the order 45mm, the ability to focus on infinity is lost.

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P


Using corrective lens adapters can improve the situation, but to achieve infinity will not work. Some lenses can be converted to SLR cameras, but this requires effort and knowledge.

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

Typically, rangefinder lenses have a M39 mounting thread. For installation on modern cameras, there are many adapters. For example, I used the Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P lens with two adapters M39-M42 and M42-Nikon, or one - M39-nikon. How to use Soviet and other old lenses can be found in the section Soviet optics... How to use old optics on Canon - find in the section old lenses at canon.

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P


When used on SLR cameras the focus ring functionality is lost the lens itself. This is due to the fact that the lens is very far 'extended' from the sensor or film. Focusing with the focusing ring has a very small effect, for example, when I used Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P on a Nikon camera, there was practically no effect from rotating the focusing ring. It is much easier to use another primitive focusing method - to move the camera along with the lens towards the subject of the photograph, thus changing the focusing distance.

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

The longer the focal length of the lens, the further the lens can focus. You can even shoot medium-sized objects with telephoto lenses from rangefinder cameras. The shorter the focal length of the lens, the shorter the minimum distance at which the lens will focus on SLR cameras.

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

Why can the use of rangefinder lenses on modern digital SLR cameras be useful?

The main application of rangefinder cameras is macro photography. Almost all rangefinder lenses on DSLR and DSLR cameras can function as macro lenses. The macro effect is usually enhanced and obtained super macro by using macro ring. This application is quite popular, as the old rangefinder optics are very cheap. For example, I purchased a Zorkiy-4 camera with an Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P lens for just 3.e.

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

Also, rangefinder optics can be used on modern mirrorless cameras, such as Samsung NX series, Sony NEX series, and others who also have a very short working length. On such cameras it will be possible to focus on infinity with the corresponding adapters.

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

Examples of photos on a rangefinder lens Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

All photos taken on Nikon D700 and fifty dollars Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P without treatment. Reduced size and imprinted data from EXIF. When creating test shots, the focus ring on the lens was in different positions, but the focus distance was practically unchanged.

You can see more examples of photos on rangefinder optics in the usual (not macro mode):

  1. JUPITER-3 1,5 / 50 with mount Contax-Kiev RF, ZOMZ
  2. JUPITER-8 1: 2 F = 5cm P with mount Contax-Kiev RF
  3. JUPITER-8M 1: 2 F = 5cm P with mount Contax-Kiev RF
  4. JUPITER-8M 2/50 with mount Contax-Kiev RF
  5. JUPITER-8M 2/53 with mount Contax-Kiev RF
  6. JUPITER-11 1: 4 F = 13,5cm P with mount Contax-Kiev RF
  7. JUPITER-12 2,8 / 35 with mount Contax-Kiev RF, LZOS
  8. JUPITER-12 1: 2.8 F = 3.5cm П with mount Contax-Kiev RF, Arsenal

Personal experience

Many people find old rangefinder cameras with rangefinder optics at home, in the secondary market there are a lot of rangefinder offers for almost nothing. This can be used if you have a SLR camera, and get a cheap opportunity to shoot macro. Every day they ask me on the Radozhiv website what to do with lenses like Jupiter-8, Jupiter-9, Industar-50, etc. from mirrorless cameras, this article can be the answer.

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P

Photos on the rangefinder Industar-50 1: 3,5 f = 5cm P


Rangefinder optics on SLR cameras can only work in macro mode without the ability to focus at infinity. Old rangefinder optics, especially Soviet, attracts with its low price.

Help to the project. Thanks for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 89, on the topic: The use of rangefinder optics on SLR cameras

  • Angel

    Tell me, please, a bunch—nikon-opinion.html and Industar-61 f / 2.8 52mm, M39 thread can be used as a good manual macro lens?

  • vcherkun

    Tell me, beginner.
    Which rangefinder lens has an M42 connecting thread.
    There is a Canon 650d + dandelion on the M42.
    I do not want to spend money on an additional adapter, but often I have to take a macro.
    Thanks in advance.
    Sincerely, Vitaly.

  • Denis

    Hello everyone! Guys, this question: I recently found a lens from a Kiev Helios-103 1,8 / 53 camera. Can I install it on a Nikon 5100, do such adapter rings exist in nature ??
    Regards, Denis.

  • James beat

    Please tell me if focusing will work when installing Industar-50 on a Panasonic Gh2?
    Thank you.

  • Nikolay Pavlovich

    Help a novice amateur solve a problem.
    There is a NIKON D 3100 with a whale lens and a 70X300 telephoto.
    After reading several articles about the adaptation of Soviet lenses for “macro” I purchased the INDUSTAR 61 lens and the adapter for NIKON M39 and the HELIOS 44M lens with the M42 adapter.
    I received the adapters only today, screwed them on the lenses and inserted them into the carcass one by one.
    And then we arrived ...
    - the camera does not accept both lenses. Outputs the information “LENS NOT INSERTED”.
    - I started to look closely at my native lenses ... both have contact groups for autofocusing and, according to my assumptions, these same contacts close the circuit on which the LENS INSERTED function hangs. I did not find a mechanical mikrika in contact with the lens screwed into the mount.
    - I found a description of the focus setting in the instructions, turned on the manual mode - it did not help. The camera says “LENS NOT INSERTED”….

    What and how to do to make friends adapters M 39, M 42 with a carcass.

    Thank you in advance for your reply and all successful shots!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Set the camera to M mode and shoot for your pleasure.

  • Nikolay Pavlovich


    Thank you so much!

  • Alexander

    Good day everyone ...! Arkady, I have read more than one of your articles about old Soviet lenses ... I have several cameras with different optics in my collection, and one of them is “Zenith S” with an “Industar-50” lens 1: 3,5 F = 5 P # 5898003, white colors. I adapted it to my Canon 20d, through 2 adapters .. М39-М42 and with М42-Сenon. But strange as it may seem, the lens works for me like an ordinary fifty dollars ..! Putting I-61 turned out to be macro .. Putting "Industar-26" Also macro .. (great with it!) What is the reason ??? Maybe someone else has come across this ...?

  • Lana

    Tell me, I want to purchase some kind of manual lens for the Canon 350D to shoot portraits. Advise which Soviet lens is best suited for this.

    • anonym

      Jupiter-9 (expensive). Helios-44 (cheaper).

  • anonym

    In the slang of photographers of the 60s-70s, who lived in Ukraine, this miracle of Soviet lens-building was called “gudzyk”, which means “button” in public translation.
    So, first of all, the "rangefinder" I-50 is the same Zenitksiy, but with a factory adapter of 16,4 mm. Remove the adapter, unscrew the rangefinder pusher (left-hand thread) and you have the usual "mirror" I-50 M39. And the adapter can be used with the greatest success for Zenit optics M39, installing it on rangefinder cameras, of course, working with it in scale mode. I successfully perform this action with Mir-1, adapting it to Zorkiy. But this is not the topic. To the topic.
    I decided to see how this "gudzyk" would behave on Sonya. I only have M39, which means we quickly take out the block, there are two adjusting rings - 0,6 and, 1,0 mm. 0,6 we take out and collect everything again. It took three minutes to find the tool. So, overrun to M42 for infinity due to -0,3 mm, but what is the difference for us on the mirror apparatus? We screw on the M39-to-M42 ring, screw it into the M42-alpha adapter and ...
    After the test, a reasonable question: "Why did I fence in the garden?" Surprisingly, no miracle happened. Well, yes, it is somewhat more uniform (by eye) in the field compared to the 18-55 family at the same focal point. Yes, it is slightly better than the whale at diaphragms 8-11, but at diaphragm 3,5-4 it is no better at 5,6. 5,6 -8 is his working area.
    Conclusion: if there is a desire to play with this object, then the fuss justifies itself. If you plan to shoot something for them, then this is more for pampering. Here Helios-44-2 this I-50 will plug up in the belt and will not choke, especially in terms of drawing the edge. Even at 11-16, the I-50 did not give superiority over the whale, and even at 16 the edges were smeared. Using it as a portrait photographer is unlikely to work. The I-50 is designed, unlike Helios-44 or Jupiter-9, for plane transmission. Therefore, his volume does not come out plastic, but Helios-44 is 5,6 - that's it, yes. If you want softer - Helios-44 by 2,8. Or look for a good copy of the Ju-9. And I-50 - on the shelf or for macro. Examples respected blog author provided with interest. But this is only if nothing more sensible is at hand. Specially to buy this lens, although it costs three or five bucks, I see no reason. Then, with respect and bowing, see you!
    Maybe give a link to the tests, but it's somehow unfounded ... oh well, I think the idea is clear.

  • Ivan

    and it's easier to buy a nex, any glass can be screwed onto it while maintaining infinity, including rangefinder and Canon FD - but any ..

  • Jura ^ _ ^

    and if you screw one of these screws onto the macro, then there will be more approximation of "macro";)

  • anonym

    Hello! I am very worried about the use of rangefinder optics at full frame. Does my friend have an old Voighlander Nokton 50mm 1.5 lens with a rangefinder Bessa T. Is there any hope of installing this lens on the Canon 5D while preserving infinity? And how to focus if there is no focusing ring on the lens (I'm a teapot;))? I apologize if the questions are incorrect, but I will be very grateful for the constructive advice :)

    • Rodin

      Look at the focal length. If it is more than 38 mm, then there are chances.

  • Arkady Shapoval

    Rangefinder optics on SLR cameras will not give infinity. There is no hope.

  • TSerg

    But the respected Sergey Mironov famously removes Helios-103. Examples here
    As I understand it, Nikolay Kurchavov transplanted the lens. But the pictures are great. Therefore, several people appeared who fled Kiev rangefinders, and then they sell trash without mount on Aukro.

  • Eugene

    Tell me, I have Zorky with Industar M39 and Zenit-3M the same With Industar M39 ... Can you shoot the same lens from a DSLR only macro, or will it be able to focus normally?

    • Rodion

      The zenith lens will work fine. The only thing that will not finish off a little to infinity is a section of zerk. М39 is 0,3 mm less than the segment М42.

  • Paul

    Good evening gentlemen!
    There is a sample - "Helios 103" and "Sony Alpha" with a Sony A / Minolta mount.
    Is it realistic to put? Which adapter is the best fit?

  • Alexander

    Lens "Industar-50" 1: 3,5 F = 5 P No. 5917982 white. I installed it on my Nikon D3300 through 2 adapters - М39-М42 + М42-NikonF according to the method described on this site. I removed the adjusting rings and immediately appeared focusing to infinity! No additional settings were required. Judging by the lens number, its year of manufacture is 1959. The lenses have no visible defects, but they were washed in a soap solution of plant origin (not chemistry) anyway. The rear and front glass is lilac. When focusing on the sight, a slightly yellowish tint is visible. Perhaps it should be so. When using "Industar-50-2" 1: 3,5 F = 5 (black), this shade is not observed. The lens is sharp. Contrast transfer is insufficient - corrected in the editor. The attached photo shows the brickwork clearly. The horizon is visible. Inscriptions on banners are readable.

    • Alexander

      The lens "Industar-50" 1: 3,5 F = 5 P. Photo taken in May of this year. Flowering time.

  • Nikita

    Probably because of the small working distance, these lenses are good to use with mirrorless?

    • B. R. P.

      Quote from the article above:

      > Also, rangefinder optics can be used on modern mirrorless cameras such as Samsung NX series, Sony NEX series, and others, which also have a very short flange distance. Such cameras will be able to focus to infinity with appropriate adapters.

  • user

    The typo in the article is the rangefinder lenses of Jupiter-8 and Jupiter-3 (and not Jupiter-9)

    • anonym

      Yu-9 was also a rangefinder.

  • anonym

    Hello, I purchased an adapter for industrial 61 l \ d to Sony 6000 digital camera but the picture is only close, which I don’t have.

    • anonym

      And what it looks and is called

    • Rodion

      Well, then you need to take the L39-NEX, not the M39-M42 + M42-NEX.

  • Dima

    What kind of adapter is needed for the Canon 77D, please tell me, give a link to aliexpress, otherwise it's already confused))

    • B. R. P.

      It depends on which lens. Usually mount / thread - Canon Eos. But rangefinder on Canon only in macro mode.

  • spitzer

    I have a 135 Telisar rangefinder, and focusing very much decides there - on an MDF SLR it turns out about 30-35 cm, and endlessly by a whole 1 meter, as a result, a macro is quite a macro.

    True, the design of the lens is tricky .. the aperture ring at the front end rotates together with the focusing unit, if you change the aperture, the focus ring must be held so that it doesn’t go away, in short it’s never a reporting system.

  • Artem

    Comrades, help
    Broke my whole head
    I can not find the information I need anywhere
    Is there a dependence of the focal length on the focal length of the lens
    I mean
    Camera with m4 / 3 crop 2
    Rangefinder lens i61 ld
    Focal Length 55
    The EGF of such a set will be 70? Due to the fact that the lens is a rangefinder and its FR was calculated based on the size of this segment
    Or 100 and the size of the flange does not affect in any way, since FR is precisely the characteristic of the lens itself for a full frame

    • Andrei

      55 * 2 = 70. Nuacho, in Russia it has always been that way.

    • Victor

      The size of the segment does not affect in any way.

      Full frame or not full frame - the focal length of the lens is always the same, it is a physical quantity.

      EGF (in full-frame equivalent) will of course be 55 * 2.

    • B. R. P.

      Where did you get 70 at all?) I-61 fr 55mm, ether on m4 \ 3 = 110, pp is completely irrelevant.

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    How to put together Industar 50, teleconverter MC K-1 and a couple of macro lenses from the Zenit (the mustache was lying around during the “smelting” hour), we can also take a strong macro lens with enough large (tens of centimeters) focusing lens. I will first put the macro lens, and then the converter, the field of the lens will be 20 mm, and then the focus range will be small. XNUMX minus - the structure is dark.

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