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Old Apr 2, 2011, 1:06 PM   #1
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Default Old CCCP Lenses

I don't know I keep looking at these. But those shiny silver lenses keep calling me back.
M39, M42
Zenit, Jupiter, Helios, Industar, MIR

So if I wanted to get one and actually use it on my K2000, given I have a M42 adapter (one that allows focus to infinity), what should I be looking for?
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Old Apr 4, 2011, 2:08 AM   #2
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Hi fofa,

I only use KA and later lenses, so I'm no authority on the M42 mount, but I believe that there is only one true camera mount designated as M42 -- there was, IIRC a proprietary 3rd party camera adapter mount that used a different 42mm thread pitch, but I doubt that the Russian lenses ever used this. I don't believe that M39 lenses can be easily adapted to Pentax DSLRs -- at least I haven't heard of a single instance where someone has done this.

The Zenitar 16mm f2.8 fisheye was very popular gor quite a while as it was one of the few FE lenses easily and inexpensively available or adaptable to Pentax DSLRs. I also remember that the Jupiter 9 (85mm f2) was also touted as a low cost portrait lens.

I think that your best bet is to do some google searches and see what you can dig up. I'd look for some authoritative confirmation of M42 screw mount compatibility and reviews of lenses on the web. There have been quite a few sites that specialize in manual focus lenses, and there's got to be a lot of info out there.

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Old Apr 4, 2011, 3:03 AM   #3
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I have an Industar - 61LZ – MC Prime 50mm F2.8 M42 screwfit, a leftover from my film days, that I used with a Praktica Super - TTL SLR, which was designed for M42 fit lenses, so on that camera you had auto stopdown, TTL metering, and focus was done manually ... generally it's a highly rated lens.
Use on a Pentax DSLR using the adaptor, is entirely manual ie. no auto stop down, manual focus as before exposure would need use of the AE-L or Green button ... this link will give you useful insight of use ...


The lens itself is often described as a macro lens, but in practice is only a good close up lens, see pics. With the crop factor of a DSLR it would make a good portrait lens.

I've no practical knowledge of the other marks you list. ... Jack
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Last edited by jachol; Apr 4, 2011 at 5:28 AM.
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Old Apr 4, 2011, 3:09 AM   #4
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Other M42 lenses of interest are the Carl Zeiss range capable of superb results,
One I have knowlege of is the Flektagon 35mm f2.4 it's a very popular, and quite pricey lens. Used as a closeup lens it produces razor sharp images with excellent bokeh. ... Jack.

Edit ... BTW ... forget the M39 models, As Scott says, I doubt you will find suitable adaptors.

Last edited by jachol; Apr 4, 2011 at 3:22 AM. Reason: Add info
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Old Apr 4, 2011, 3:56 AM   #5
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I don't know about the shiny versions, but Jupiter, Mir and Helios lenses have quite a few fans out there. Salient features tend to be:

1. Not very well made, and some of them (but not all) are rather big and heavy.

2. Inferior lubricants and poor manufacturing tolerances can make focus rings rather heavy in operation.

3. Optics are "different" and sometimes very good.

I own only one "Russian" lens, a Helios 44, which, confusingly, has a focal length of 58mm (and aperture f2). It's very sharp wide open, but only in the centre of the frame; stopped down, the edges improve, and the lens is comparable to a decent Japanese "50".

Bokeh has a reputation for being, er, "different". It's a bulky lens, with fairly heavy controls, but it should be available very cheaply. It comes in several different versions, many of which don't have a manual/auto switch, so you would need to take the back off and make a small modification to convert it to "preset" operation (this is straightforward and involves use of a small piece of drinking straw).

Some of the lenses - especially the less common ones - seem to be getting into "cult status" territory, so they're perhaps not as cheap as they used to be.

As mentioned, the (East German) Carl Zeiss Jena lenses can be very good indeed (but with shortcomings similar to the "Russian" lenses) - but do be aware that many of these were re-badged Japanese-source lenses, with not much to recommend. The Flektogons are very good, but getting very pricey. More affordable (and I can personally recommend it) is the 135mm f3.5 "MC Sonnar".
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