I run across a blog on the net, which was a tutorial or advice on how to build up a cheap DSLR system, with some old lenses.
Well I had, some M42 mount lenses already, and buyed some more with time, so now I have these.
-Industar 50-2 | 50mm, f: 3.5;
– Pentacon Auto 50 | 50mm, f: 1.8;
-Helios 44M-6 |58mm, f:2, a newer version of the same old Helios 44M, with improved coating;
– Helios 44M | 58mm, f:2;
– Jupiter 9 |85mm, f:2;
-Jupiter 37A |135mm, f:3.5;
The purpose was not to build up a cheap DSLR system, but to start buying old lenses for my Zenit TTL. The good thing is that one can mount all these lenses on a DSLR.
I have a Canon 50D, with EOS mount. This is just right because the film distance from the lens for the M42 mount is identical with the sensor distance on the EOS mount for DSLR-s or SLR. Meaning that with an adequate adapter you can mount all m42 lenses on the EOS mount, and they work perfectly.
This is another thing why you should by Canon over Nikon or Sony if you have not decided yet. Well I don’t want to start a Canon vs Nikon here, just the thing is that on Nikon cameras the m42 mount needs an adapter with an extra lens included, otherwise it will not focus to infinite.
For a Canon DSLR, like the 50D I have, what you need, is a M42 to EOS adapter. You can find it on ebay for about 6 $. Search ebay for M42 to EOS. But better buy one with a focus confirm chip in it. Because, obviusly, all m42 lenses are manually focused.
After you got the adapter you can start your journey back in time, and get/buy some old m42 lenses. You will be surprised about they optical and build quality.
I have a thing for russian lenses, so I mainly have soviet arsenal.
58mm f2 manual focus lens, built on the Carl Zeiss Biotar design by the soviet union. Sharp, well built lens, it has good bokeh, and a swirl effect sometimes for the unfocused background. It has many variants noted with a number after the name: Helios 44M-2. Helios 44M-6.
Average price is around 40$
A fast prime lens, 85mm/ f2. The closest thing you can put on your Canon DSRL is the canon EF 85mm/1.8. But he price is like 100$ vs 350$. So for around a third of the money you get the same focus distance, almost the same aperture. What you don’t get is the autofocus system. But the 85mm is for portraits, so I think you can get the time to focus it manually. And you will get 19 aperture blades !!! Not a common thing to find in a lens below the 1000$ price tag. I don’t even know if you can find a modern lens with so many blades.
It’s a sharp lens, but you will need a lens hood for it. The front element is, well… , in the front, so it will produce a flare almost in any situation without the hood. The filter mount is 49mm. You can find plastic hood for it for about 5$. Once a hood is mounted this lens performs like a legend.
Jupiter 37 and Industar 50 coming up soon.