Poor Man's Leica (Part 2): Variety of Lenses


On my last article about the poor man’s Leica, the FED 5B, I wrote about the physical aspects of the camera, including the shutter speed, weight of the camera, the lens and the precaution. One other things special about this old Russian camera is about its lens mount!

FED 5B takes M39 or Leica Thread Mount, which means all the lenses like Leica Elmar, Voigtlander, Jupiter and Industar can fit to it. I had tried few lenses such as Industar 61L/D f2.8 55mm, Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 Aspherical Super-Wide Heliar, 52mm f/2 (Silver) Jupiter-8 and 135mm f/4 Jupiter-11. Below is my review for each of the lenses that I had tried on this full metal camera body, FED 5B.

1. Industar 61L/D f2.8 55mm
Usually, all the FED 5B came with the Industar 61L/D . The L/D stands for rare earth element, Lanthanum, used for the glass. To me, this lens is a pretty good standard lens. At f/2.8 the images produce is very soft and it is perfect for portrait.

The bokeh produced from this lens is like a bean shape.

Since I use this lens a lot, I love Industar 61 L/D. Its performance and capability to achieve a great result is affordable with the price. Here are some of my collections from this lens:

2. 52mm f/2 (Silver) Jupiter-8
Jupiter 8 has two versions: black and silver. The black version is modern-looking while the silver looks very classic. The first time I used this lens (borrowed from my friend), I was attracted. The big aperture for standard lens and the creamy color produced made me list Jupiter-8 as must-have lens. I already own this lens. Besides, the f/2 is perfect for low light situation.

This photo is taken with f/2 at shutter speed 1/15

Maybe the weight of this camera is the big problem, but it also an advantage. For slow shutter speed, you can just handheld the camera without using the tripod. The weight of FED 5B can affect the stability of your camera. Just hold your breath and snap with slow shutter speed, for sure you will get the perfect shot!

Black & White collection:

Color photos collection:

3. 135mm f/4 Jupiter-11
I’d try this lens for few shots. Nothing much to write about this lens. Jupiter-11 requires an external viewfinder for framing. Personally, this lens is good for taking photos from a distance without anyone noticing that you are actually taking his/her picture. It’s good for street shooting. Moreover, it is ergonomic as the size of this lens is very small and light compared to SLR telephoto lens.Thus, it is practical to bring anywhere so you can attach the lens if needed.

4. Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 Aspherical Super-Wide Heliar

Last but not the least, it’s the best wide lens I ever tested on this body. The Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 Aspherical Super-Wide Heliar (borrowed from friend of mine)! When I attached this lens, I tried to look through the external view finder and I said “Oh God, it’s really super wide!” The price of this lens is correspond to its wideness and performance. None of the super wide angle lens has the cheap price. Just a word to describe this lens. SUPERB! Below is my collection from this lens.

In conclusion, the FED 5B is a good investment. You don’t need too spend to much of the body. The Leica thread mount or M39 is just enough. For sure you will satisfy with it; the old soviet precious camera, FED 5B

Soviet cameras such as FED 5B and Zorki have different quality control. You need to calibrate the lens with the body to ensure that the focus will be perfect.

And my experience! =D

written by bulletofmine on 2011-07-26 #gear #rangefinder #review #russian-camera #lomography #film-camera #jupiter-8 #user-review #requested #m39 #leica-thread-mount #jupiter-11 #voigtlander-heliar-15mm


  1. alex34
    alex34 ·

    A very useful review, I'm sure many people will appreciate it!

  2. fendyfazeli
    fendyfazeli ·

    nice photo you have

  3. blinghaha
    blinghaha ·

    Great article, great shots. Really helpful, it's my birthday soon and I am looking to expand my collection.

  4. bulletofmine
    bulletofmine ·

    "You don’t need too spend to much of the body" actually I want to say "you dont need to speend to much ON the body " typo !

  5. jean_louis_pujol
    jean_louis_pujol ·

    Thank you for this excellent review article.

  6. moonormoon
    moonormoon ·

    great article review!!

  7. eightmiles
    eightmiles ·

    nice...cant wait to hold my 5b soon...

  8. bulletofmine
    bulletofmine ·

    @abhoan - not yet, I never tried 35 mm lens

  9. yein
    yein ·

    stylo la @bulletofmine

  10. bulletofmine
    bulletofmine ·

    @molivche - thanks for the compliment :)

  11. myloft
    myloft ·

    hello thanks for your helpful review! got myself a fed5b over ebay awhile ago and turns out that some shots were slightly out of focus though i was very sure i focused well in the test roll. guessing it needs calibration. wondering if you calibrated yours by yourself - i manage to calibrate infinity for horizontal and vertical but i read that i should also calibrate the minimum distance (1m) - do you think you could advise a little more about that? appreciate all the help i can get!

  12. bulletofmine
    bulletofmine ·

    @myloft - hi there, you can refer to this article tomtiger.home.xs4all.nl/zenrep/calibration.html

  13. myloft
    myloft ·

    hey @bulletofmine thank you so much.. will go figure it out.. can't seem to turn the cam though even with pliers, will try it again tomorrow..

  14. maxpayne
    maxpayne ·

    how can you calibrate the focus?

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