Sunday, July 2, 2017

For The Love of the Industar 61 Lens

Flag & Flare - Barstow, California
Captured with a FED 5c 35mm rangefinder & an Industar 61 lens, cross-processed Fuji Velvia.
There are certain lenses that have the "it" factor. On paper they may not be the best glass, but in real life use they just produce magical results. There is just something about these lenses that you can't quite explain, so you let the images speak for themselves.

The Industar 61 f/2.8 55mm is one such lens.
FED 5c & Fujifilm - South Weber, Utah
My introduction to this lens came when I purchased an old Soviet Union FED 5c 35mm rangefinder from Russia. The camera is a tank. It's big. It's heavy. It clunks loudly when you take a picture. It seems indestructible. Attached to the front of it was an Industar 61 lens.

As soon as I got the first roll of film back from the lab, I knew there was something great about the lens. I knew that I had found something special. But this lens was attached to a film camera, and film had just about completely died. It would seem that I discovered the Industar 61 a decade too late.
Sunset Over North Lake - Goodyear, Arizona
Captured with a FED 5c 35mm rangefinder & an Industar 61 lens.
This was on the first roll of film that I captured with the lens.
The Soviet Union produced the Industar 61 between 1977 and 1992. My particular lens was manufactured in 1983. It has a 55mm focal length with a maximum aperture of f/2.8. There are four elements in three groups and a six-blade aperture. It's closely modeled after the Leica Elmar f/2.8 50mm. The Soviet Union copied many of the best German-made cameras and lenses.

Oh, and it has a radioactive coating on the glass. Specifically, the Soviet Union used Lanthanum, which is very slightly radioactive. Not enough to harm you even with continuous exposure, but just enough to make it sound precarious.
Whiskey Pete's - Primm, Nevada
Captured with a FED 5c 35mm rangefinder & an Industar 61 lens, Kodak Plus-X 125 film. 
The lens has sat mostly idle for the six or so years that I have owned it. I've dusted it off occasionally when I've had the urge to shoot 35mm film. For a lens as interesting as it is, it should be used much more often. It's too bad there's not a digital FED camera.

A year ago I purchased a Fujifilm X-E1. A few months after that I bought an adapter that allows the Industar 61's M39 screw-mount to attach to my camera. Suddenly I could use the old lens on a digital camera body!
Industar 61 Lens & Adapter - South Weber, Utah
Fujifilm designed the X-E1 (and many of their other X series cameras) heavily inspired by old 35mm film SLRs and rangefinders. Many of the dials and controls are laid out exactly how one would expect them to be on a manual film camera. They also included some great manual focus assist features.

If there ever was a digital camera meant to be paired with manual lenses, this is it! Attaching the Industar 61 lens to the X-E1 seemed very natural, like fate wanted this to happen all along.
Yashica Minister-D & Fujifilm X-E1 With Industar 61 Lens - South Weber, Utah
I don't always attach my Industar 61 lens to my digital camera, but when I do I'm often pleased with the results. There is a certain quality to the images that just doesn't exist with modern lenses. And I appreciate the experience of shooting with manual lenses. It reminds me of the days before digital, when I shot rolls of film and used a fully manual camera. The lens has been used more over the last nine months than the six years prior.

Below are some photographs that I've captured using the Industar 61 lens attached to my Fujifilm X-E1 camera. It's enjoyable to use this combination, and I expect to create even more images with it in the coming years.
Sunset Kayak - Willard Bay State Park, Utah
Red Weed - Uintah, Utah
Locks On A Fence - Uintah, Utah
UP 8013 - Unitah, Utah
The Donut Trailer - Logan, Utah
Waiting Face - Logan, Utah
Rainbow Lockers - Preston, Idaho
Cold Pop - Franklin, Idaho
Every Day I Love You - Logan, Utah
Power Line - Logan, Utah
Cupboard Doors - South Weber, Utah
Overpass - Uintah, Utah
Rays Over The Wasatch - South Weber, Utah
Ogden Valley Summer - Huntsville, Utah

No comments:

Post a Comment