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Lenses for a FED-5B
Old 11-16-2011   #1
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Lenses for a FED-5B

Hi everyone,

I just purchased a FED-5B after using my old reliable Kodak Retina IIc my grandfather gave me for about 3 years more or less because I wanted to actually have a lens system to use. I'm sure I'm also not the first person to say they want to upgrade from an FSU body eventually, but I do. Could you all give me a (very biased, if need be) run down on how you feel about the different Jupiter/Industar lenses, and also if you know about their compatibility with the Voigtlander Bessa R? I'll definitely be keeping the 5B for awhile, but knowing doesn't hurt. Thanks in advance!
Kodak Retina IIc, FED-5B, Zorki-6, Zorki-4K, Canon P, Mamiya Press Super 23, and lots of toy cameras, too.
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Old 11-16-2011   #2
Brian Sweeney
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The Retina IIc has a very good 50mm F2.8 lens on it.

The 50/2 Jupiter-8 would give you 1 F-stop advantage, and similar performance. The price is very reasonable for a fast lens. The Industar-61L/D is sharp, but the mechanical build quality is not as good as the J-8.

Typically, Russian lenses need to have the "shim" changed slightly to work best on a Leica or Bessa. The shim is a thin piece of metal that sets the distance of the optics to the focus mount. This is not hard to do "IF" required.
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Old 11-16-2011   #3
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I am using several FSU lenses on my Bessa cameras, in fact, the Jupiter-8 I have is my main lens. I am either lucky or not critical enough( or, possibly, both) but the specific J-8 I have works very well with both my R and my R2a.

This is not always the case with FSU lenses.
I did have a J-3 that was well adjusted for the Bessa (thanks, Brian!) but I just didn't like it as well as I like the J-8.
I have also used most of the other FSU 50's on my Bessas with pretty good success. Again, I may not be critical enough to see the potential problems.

Of those I used, I liked the Industar 61 the least; it had--for several example I owned--pretty decent optics but the lens just felt a bit shoddy to me.
The Industar 26 and 26m lenses I've used seemed much better to use for me. And are, again for me indistinguishable from the later I-61.

And my second favorite FSU 50 is the rigid Industar 50 that I own. A bit slower that the others with its f3.5 max aperture and it uses a pain in the butt 33mm filter thread. Still, I like the results from it quite a lot.

The collaspible I-50 is also pretty good but I was always a bit nervous using it on the Bessas; I was concerned about collapsing it too far and damaging the camera.
I also liked the Indusatr 22 but, again, wasn't comfortable using it on my Bessas.
Though, I did recently get a rigid version of the I-22 that I'm still learning.
You might notice I like the FSU 50mm lenses!

There are some other reasonably common FSU lenses available that I also use on my Bessas: the Jupiter-9 (85mm/f2) and the Jupiter-11 (135mm/f4.5).

The J-9 is notorious for not focusing well on Leica standard cameras but if you get one that can be and is adjusted correctly, they are very good , too, I think. Mine is anyway.

The J--11 is, in my opinion, as good as any 135mm lens around--newer lenses will have better coatings but for my eyes the results with my J--11 are just fine, thanks.

And then there is the Jupiter-12 (35mm/f2.8) lens. A lens that I like but that doesn't play well with the Bessas; it has a very large rear element that (in most cases) will hit the interior of the Bessa and they will also block the meter sensor. But the J-12 will work just fine on your FED, although you will need an external viewfinder for it. In fact, you'll need on for anything other than a 50.

There are certainly lots of better lenses for the Bessa R cameras--all the CV offerings come to mind--but for a fairly low investment, you can have a decent lens kit that will serve you well.
Good luck!

You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
--Mark Twain
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Old 11-17-2011   #4
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rbeimer has summed it up fairly well. There is sample variation to consider on all FSU equipment, they were not noted for tight quality control. This means you can get anything complete lemon to a real gem. I'd disagree slightly on the Industar 61, the examples I have are across a few years and I'd say the earlier ones are just as good as any other FSU gear and I think the optical quality slightly exceeds the Industar 26M. The last versions of the Industar 61, however, have printed scales and are poorly made, mechanically. Avoiding these should give a very sharp and contrasty lens.
Zorki: 1e (x2), 2C, 3M, 4, 4K, 5, 6
FED: NKVD, 1g, 2e
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