About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Shooting With a FED Industar Vintage Lens on a Fuji X-Pro 2

Shooting With a FED Industar Vintage Lens on a Fuji X-Pro 2

I conducted a fun and somewhat interesting experiment the other day I went out shooting with my X-Pro 2. Instead of the usual Fuji glass, I instead used a 50 year old vintage soviet era lens. The lens is the FED Industar 50mm f/2.8 from my old FED 2 camera. The lens gave some interesting results, and it was quite a bit of fun to shoot with.

The Industar is a M39 mount, and you can get adaptors for a reasonable price off Amazon. I think I paid around £15 for the one I got. Obviously it’s fully manual, and so you need to use some of the focusing aids on the X-Pro 2 to properly focus. I started off using the digital split screen, but then switched to using focus peaking. The best method though is to use the punch in function and focus using a zoomed in portion of the image. It’s probably the only way to get it completely accurate.

The lens itself is interesting from a physical design. Unlike most modern lenses the aperture ring is at the front and the focus ring is at the back. The aperture ring is also clickless, so there are no stop-clicks on it. It has a nice heft to it too, being made from a solid chunk of metal. It’s quite sharp in the centre of the frame, but that falls off quickly at the edges. It also flares a bit and depending on the angle of light it gives a low contrast, but nicely glowing image. While this might be a problem if you were trying to shoot like you would with a modern lens, if you use it with the specific purpose of going for that look, you can get a really nice vintage feel to your images.

To try out the lens properly, and to get some interesting subjects, I shot in some different areas than I normally do. I took the local train in the city centre for a couple of stops to get some shots on the train and in the stations. I also took some street type shots around the place.

One of the good things about the design of the lens is that it makes it really easy to zone focus with it. The distance and aperture markings are really clear on the lens, and because of the wide throw of the focus mechanism, they’re quite far apart, and therefore easy to see an use. I used this method for some of the street shots. Unfortunately, you do loose the advantage of a fast aperture and the creaminess of shooting wide open when zone focusing, but it works, and it’s fast.

I shot RAW + JPEG and I had the X-Pro 2 set to use the Acros film simulation. I was going to use the Jpegs, but when I got them back to the computer, I decided to go with the RAW instead. There were a few reasons for this, but the main one is that I wanted to play around with some colours too. I used a few different techniques, and a few different presets in Lightroom to achieve the look. The one I used the most was the vintage chrome preset from my free F-variations set. I also used my Coffee Tones set for quite a few of them (the brownish looking images!), and the black and whites were from both F-Variations and Monolith. Incidentally, the shots of the lens itself were all processed using Coffee Tones.

Overall it was a fun shooting experience, and I got some nice shots for my street photography library from it. I’m not sure it’s something I would do a lot as there are definitely some down sides to shooting this way. But to create the vintage look, and to give a different perspective, it’s certainly worth the experience. I also have an old Yashica f/1.4 lens and an adaptor, so that will be one of my next experiments.

Below is a selection of shots that I took from this shoot. I have the full set up on flickr if you want to peruse them all. Enjoy!

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