I had just bought my first rangefinder lens, an uncommon Japanese one from the fifties. The long wait until it would pass the German bureaucratic nightmare that is the Zollamt (customs office) had begun. Not 10 minutes had passed until I remembered reading about the Industar-61 L/D a few weeks previously. There was one for sale locally at a fraction of the price of what I had just spent.
It was an ‘In your bag’ article on JCH that introduced me to this lens, a single coated Tessar 55mm design of the USSR. Now, Tessars are as vanilla and unpretentious as it gets. No special rendering, no soap bubbles. And that’s what I liked about it, it just got out of the way and allowed me to focus on learning how to use a rangefinder camera. Had I waited until my more exotic lens showed up, I’d most likely be more fussed with the gear – trying to recreate the look that I’m after, rather than the taking of actual photos.
Coming from an SLR I can appreciate the scalloped metal focusing ring, the medium throw and the lack of a focusing tab. It feels like a miniaturised pre-AI Nikkor.
I have my Japanese lens now, and it’s good. But the Industar proved to be more than a placeholder. I can think of many situations where I will bring it in favour of the more expensive glass. I’m starting to learn that a lot of what gear preference comes down to is confidence. The confidence to use it in every situation, to schlep it around all day. The confidence to leave it sitting in your tent at a festival and not worry every other minute about some glitter smeared hippie stealing it.
My camera is a 50’s Barnack clone by Canon. The slow speeds aren’t so hot but I got a good deal for it. Bottom loading is… yeah. You get used to it. I carry a pair of children’s safety scissors in my bag next to my film. They have a wee ruler in centimeters which makes cutting the film leader to 11cm a bit easier on the fly.
On to the frames. These were shot with Fomapan 400 @ 320.
These were all taken at the Muggelsee in Berlin. I hope you enjoyed the images!