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Best M42 Lenses : Top Product Reviews of 2020

The M42 lenses are quite popular among photographers even today. If you want to experience the fun of photographing with vintage lenses, this is the one for you. The M42 camera lenses haven’t been manufactured since the 80s. But before the production stopped, some manufacturers had mass-produced M42 lenses in various types giving the photographers a variety of lenses to choose from. Despite being so old, these are still a rage among photographers for decades to get pictures with a retro touch to them. Before we move on to the best M42 lenses, let’s get to know more about these vintage lenses.

Why Are M42 Lenses Still Desirable?

Why Are M42 Lenses Still Desirable

  • It can be adapted to use with most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. 
  • They are cheaper compared to modern-day lenses and you get to experience numerous types of lenses in one.
  • These lenses have high durability as they have a metallic body, unlike the ones today with plastic body.
  • The old school touch given by them is incomparable and cannot be achieved with modern ones.

Best M42 Lenses

1. Helios 44M-4 58mm F2 Russian Vintage Lens

Helios 44M-4The Helios 44M-4 is one of the most popular lenses among the family of Soviet lenses. It doesn’t have autofocus functionality and you need to adjust the focus manually. However, they are still fancied by amateurs and professionals because of the unique character it provides to the pictures. The photographs you get from them have a swirly effect around the edges and a distinct bokeh. These images have soft skin but sharper surfaces. You can modify the pin when you use it to adjust your f stops. You might need some time to get used to the aperture ring.

Pros
  • These have a heavy-duty frame and can withstand rough usage.

  • It can be used for capturing photos that need bokeh effects like flowers, leaves, and insects in nature. Works best for portrait photography.

  • It is a good traveling lens because of its compact size.

Cons
  • Due to their wide lens angle, these don’t perform very well in direct sunlight. You might need to crank up the shutter speed to work during the afternoon.

  • Some images have crumpy and distorted edges.

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2. Jupiter-9 85mm F2 Russian Portrait Lens

Jupiter Portrait LensThe Jupiter-9 85mm is a lightweight lens made up of aluminum that can be carried easily. However, you might need to carry it in a lens case to protect it from damages. It weighs approximately 350 grams and has a dimension of 58mm (diameter) x 80mm (length). These lenses provide a clear image even when you crop your photos. The photos produced with it are super sharp and super flowy. Also, these photos have a touch of softness around the edges.

Pros
  • It has 15 aperture blades that give nice curved bokeh.

  • The focus ring is broad and provides a better grip.

  • Not only are these durable, but also much affordable with great quality.

Cons
  • The sharpness and contrast aren’t up to mark for landscape photography.

  • It is not flare resistant and you can get ghosts and other artifacts.

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3. Industar 50-2 50mm F3.5 Russian Lens

KMZ IndustarThe Industar 50-2 50mm F3.5 is a pancake lens that is very light and slim. It can be easily traveled thanks to its tiny size and can be helpful to make your camera system lighter if you choose to use your camera for longer hours or the whole day. It is also affordable and gives you many features of a vintage lens, unlike the others that are on the higher end. It has a simple Tessar design with an easy to adjust focus ring and a clickless aperture.

Pros
  • It is very easy to handle and travel because of its fun size.

  • The photographs you can through these have a sharp quality and smoother edges.

  • It is one of the cheapest lenses to experience vintage feels.

Cons
  • It is prone to flares and can sometimes disturb the image.

  • The adapter is much bigger than others on mirrorless cameras.

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4. PENTAX Super TAKUMAR 35mm F/3.5 MF Lens

PENTAX MF LensThe PENTAX Takumar 35mm is one of the best vintage lenses out there. You need to get your hands on this one if you fancy vintage lenses and the effects it provides to your pictures. It is a small lens that can be carried around easily. These are made up entirely of metal and are a bit heavy but that also adds to their durability. You can use these to shoot pictures outdoors as well as indoors

Pros
  • The pictures produced are sharp at the center and around the edges.

  • It is immune to flares and gives clear images.

  • The focus is super smooth to adjust to your requirements.

Cons
  • The bokeh is not as impressive and the background can distract your pictures.

  • The vignette on this lens is very natural but cant be used if you want clean images.

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5. 7artisans 35mm F2 Full Frame Fixed Lens

7artisans Fixed LensThe 7 artisans 35mm F2 is a cute little lens made up completely of metal. It has an aluminum outer body and copper bayonet with the cap also made of metal. The best part about these lenses is that they have an attached hood that can be adjusted when you want to use it so that flares don’t spoil your pictures. The focus ring is very smooth to adjust and can give your pictures minimum distortion. It is affordable and can be used to get all the benefits of a vintage lens.

Pros
  • The aperture ring can be adjusted easily and has a clicking sound at every stop.

  • It can handle flares very well and can also be used to shoot against the sun.

  • The images produced have a very nice bokeh effect.

Cons
  • From f/2 till f/4 the pictures have smeared corners. As you go upwards the corners tend to be smoother and clearer.

  • It has an extreme vignetting effect.

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Final Word

I hope this article has given you enough details about the vintage M42 lenses and why are they still a favorite among professionals as well as amateurs. Have a look at our list and get the best M42 lens for yourself. Experience the retro feels with them and enjoy shooting. Are there any other M42 lenses that you fancy? Let us know in the comments section. 

Hanija Gostonj

Hanija Gostonj has spent too much time on researching and finding the best stuff for my Canon DSLR, and this led me to make bestcanonflash.com. As she found that millions of cameras are sold every year, and photographers like me are looking for cool and useful stuff for them all the time. So she wanted to make a site dedicated mostly to camera owners to help them get better results.

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