I came across this unusual looking lens accessory while browsing eBay for early M39/M42 gear. It’s a scope designed to attach to any M42 mount lens and adds additional magnification to whatever it is attached to. It wasn’t hard to find one on eBay located in Russia and at only £30 including shipping, worth having a play with.

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I’ve spent days getting to know the MTO-1000, both its limits and its strengths and have enjoyed using it. The MTO-1000 is by a considerable margin the largest, heaviest, longest, slowest most intimidating and difficult lens I have ever used. This is how Superman would see the world. A lens with this reach provides a spotlight of distant detail that a human eye can’t see own its own. It’s a microscope on the world…

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On the continuing quest to fill in the gaps of my early Soviet M39 SLR lens collection, I’ve managed to finally pick up a copy of this rare lens. Not only do few of them come up for sale, the finish is particularly prone to oxidation so it’s almost impossible to find a decent copy. Only a small pre-series run of about 2000 were manufactured in 1960 which explains the scarcity…

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It occurred to me when comparing the Telemar-22 to the Tair-11 that I have not done a write up yet about this lens. I’ve owned it for about 6 months and it’s among my favourites within the M39 SLR family. I like it so much, I actually have two of them! The Tair-11 along with the Helios-44 and Mir-1 would be on my short list for someone wanting to start their own vintage collection…

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Having exhausted the faster, more desirable primes from the vintage Soviet M39 SLR family of lenses, I’ve set my sights on some of the more obscure offerings just to complete the collection. The Telemar-22 falls firmly in this category. At ƒ5.6, it’s the slowest of the early primes and for some reason, incredibly hard to find in decent condition. My expectations were quite low but this is a shy lens and slowly reveals an ability to capture images with a low contrast charm.

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This unusual little Industar-22 has certainly become an intriguing purchase. I believe this was actually a prototype for the first Zenit SLRs…primitive ergonomics, narrow focus range, soft edges, relatively slow aperture of ƒ3.5, heavy vignetting and low contrast – all adding up to an abundance of character and charm! Despite the deficiencies, it will often surprise you with a strikingly sharp image. Having spent some time shooting, it remains an intriguing lens and in my final assessment, an excellent find…

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Although the Helios-40 is sharper even shot wide open, it’s 3 times the size of the Jupiter-9. When it comes to flare, the Helios-44 has it beat hands down (as in producing a prominent flare) – the Helios-40 is rather tame with flare which is an optical anomaly I like to see. But this lens still compels me despite the burden of its weight…

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Ergonomics aside, this is a stunning lens. It feels like it’s built for battle – in outer space. Unsurprisingly, it exhibits the same weaknesses as the Sonnar design it’s copied from – green/magenta chromatic aberration, strong vignetting wide open and a soft glow across the frame. Still, the Sonnar design at this range has a natural propensity for closing in on a subject and making the rest of the world just fade away. It’s such a timeless look…

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Interestingly, a student at school mentioned that they heard old vintage lenses were radioactive especially the crazy Soviet ones. I’d never heard that one before. Working at a school means I have easy access to test equipment so I thought I’d put that myth to rest. You can imagine my astonishment to find it is not entirely unfounded!

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This Jupiter-11 was a curiosity purchase. They seem almost as common as the Helios-44 and can be had for almost as cheap even though Russian sellers insist on calling it “rare”. This is a decent lens. It’s almost too decent to keep my interest. I like these vintage lenses because of their humble character – this one has a slight superiority complex…

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