Industar 22 M39



Would you believe — I know you would — that I bought a Zorki-C just to get this little lovely? Seemed to make sense, considering the shipping from Ukraine. I was just dying to know about the performance of a collapsible Elmar copy…

…and what did I find out? That it’s a very fine lens, with excellent sharpness and color, comparing favorably to the later rigid I-50 and I-26M.


Mounting is a little different than with a rigid Industar; I find it easiest to lock the focus tab to infinity and use it to turn the lens onto the camera. In this respect it is faster to mount than the rigid lenses, for me anyway. To use, just pull the lens barrel out and then turn it a little to make sure it’s seated all the way out. To unlock infinity focus, press the button on the focus tab. I find that the tab makes this lens very quick to focus. Still, the infinity lock implies that you’re better off setting your aperture at hyperfocal distance and using the camera like a point and shoot.

While it’s fast to focus, it’s slow to change aperture, you’re better off setting an environmentally aware f-stop and leaving it, and changing shutter speed instead. The aperture ring is on the front of the lens, you can’t really change it from behind the camera and risk getting fingerprints on the front element even if you’re careful.

So let me get this straight… Good lens best left alone? Well, little Leica-like rangefinders like the Zorki-C were designed for street photography and reportage anyway, and for that style, the less fiddling the better. Works well to set an aperture and shoot from the hip, focusing and firing and letting film latitude make up the difference.

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