10 Best M42 Lenses Review [Ultimate Buyers' Guide]

Originally published October 20, 2021 , updated February 26, 2022

We're going ahead with something new in this modern era, but we also miss the old things! Like this, vintage lenses are the ones that were popular in the 70'/80's, but still, photographers have an attraction to buy these M42 lenses.

You'll be surprised to know that M43 lenses are already launched, but the popularity of these M42 lenses hasn't affected the new model. It's because these lenses feature to satisfy the photographer as before. Also, you'll get these best-quality vintage lenses at an affordable price.

If you want to buy the best M42 lenses at the lowest price, then, of course, you're in the right place. Hopefully, this review guide will help to choose the best lens that you want!

A Comparison Table of Best M42 Lenses

NoProduct NameBrandFeaturesBest for whatLink
1Pentax Asahi Super Takumar 2.8 105 mmPentax30mm (Max) - 1.2 mm (Min), 7.1 ouncesWell Support on APSC- cameraBuy Now
2Helios 44M-4 58mm F220mm to 58mm,
10.8 ounces
Swirly bokeh effectBuy Now
3Asahi Pentax Super Takumar 50mm F/1.4Pentax50mm, 10.4 ouncesExcellent build and mechanical qualityBuy Now
4Sony 55mm F1.8 Sonnar T FE ZA SEL55F18ZSony55mm, 2.1 poundDust and moisture-resistant construction!Buy Now
5135mm f 3.5 MAMIYA/SEKOr  Mamiya/Sekor135mmLarge Focal length and smooth experience.Buy Now
6Jupiter-37A 135mm F3.5 Russian Portrait lenseJupiter135mm, 14.1 poundRemovable shank on the lens.Buy Now
7Industar 50-2 50mm F3.5 Russian LensKMZ50mm, 75 gPerfect for macro photography.Buy Now
8Zeiss Carl JENA Sonnar 2.8 180mm 180 Pentacon Six TLZeiss180mmBest for artistic imagesBuy Now
9Tair 11A Russian M42 Lens 135 mm f/2.8KMZ-Zenit135mm, 1.32 poundSupreme focal length for portraits.Buy Now
10Industar 61 L/Z MC Macro Lens 50mm F2.8 Russian Lens M42Industar50mm, Best for macro photography.Buy Now
Best M42 Lenses

In Depth Review of Top 10 m42 Lenses

In Depth Review of Top 10 m42 Lenses

Choosing the best demanding M42 lenses is comparatively rigid! As there are different types of lenses with other rates displayed in the market. So, hopefully, these buying guides will help you out at once. Let's check out.

1. Pentax Asahi Super Takumar 2.8 105 mm 105mm - M42 M 42 Digital

The brand "Asahi Pentax" manufactures legendary lenses. This brand launched the super takumar lense, which became in great demand for photography lovers.

Nothing more, the features are the reason for these incredible lenses. Discussing the Super Takumar 2.8 105 mm, you'll find the top-class focal length and aperture to choose it instantly!

It's a medium telephoto with a single layer coating. This m42 lens has a good build quality—this super with metal and glass.

It features a super bokeh with out-of-focus zones blur. Simply collaborate to produce remarkable pictures.

The strong side of this model is, it's easily fixed with any digital SLR camera. Using the APS-C cameras, the focal length equated to over 200mm.

Super Takumar 2.8 105 mm is a manual focus lens that you can adjust apertures as yourself.


  • Lightweight lense
  • Affordable and cheap price.
  • Work excellent on APS-C cameras.
  • Well, for portrait shooting, landscape, and architectural photography.


  • Don't have an automated aperture.
  • The focal length is relatively large.

2. Helios 44M-4 58mm F2

Introducing this Russian beauty lense will make you fall in love with it! Despite being an old model lense, Helios 44M-4 58mm F2 is making its positions with the top lens for the "swirly bokeh effect."

This manual lens comes with both portrait and landscape moods. It perfectly captures quality portraits with a fixed lens that is made with a simple optical scheme.

If you discover the outer casing of Helios 44 M's, you can understand how it has survived till now. Without the rear, its other body parts are made of metal and glass.

It also consists of a manual diaphragm with 6 blades. It has a focal length of 58mm and, when mounted on an APS-C sensor, turns into 87mm.

Take an image shot with a wide-open aperture of F/2. Helios' minimum focus distance is 0.5 mm, and you can take shots there between infinity. The focus ring comes with almost double width.

As it's strong, especially the "super bokeh," try a bit tricky with manual focusing F/2-F/2.8. The combination of 58mm focus length and F/2 aperture soft dream-ish effect and background.

These Russian prime lenses weigh 250gm. The lighting efficiency is 0.80.


  • The fixed lens is excellent for capturing portrait and art photography.
  • Most visible swirly bokeh out of all the lenses in the 44 families.
  • Good lense with low light capabilities, adequate sharpness.
  • Remain in perfect condition for over the years.
  • Cheaper and affordable rate than other lenses.


  • Much heavier than other modern lenses.
  • Adding an extra-thin metal ring to reach the infinity focus is found problematic.

3. Asahi Pentax Super Takumar 50mm F/1.4

Want to discover a lens with super sharpness, bokeh, and propensity for flare? Then, let's attach the Asahi Pentax Super Takumar 50mm F/1.4 to your dream camera! Its excellent build and mechanical quality make it worthy of buying!

Incredibly, this model has three lense versions - Super, SMC, Super multi-coated.

You are searching how the yellow tint reflects on the glass. Using the radioactive thorium glass on the rear is the reason for it!! Which makes it more interesting to have. There is no use of any plastic or rubber in the body of the Super takumar lense.

 The fantastic features of this model are the aperture ring and smooth focus. The aperture ring has a good grip. This vintage lens performance is better at f1.4. The minimal focus is 50 millimeters, and the maximum focal length is 50.

If you are looking for original caps, then it's obvious they will make you satisfied. Including a metal front cap, this vintage lens has original caps.

Talking about the bokeh of super Pentax, you can be a little worried. But obviously, the bokeh is considered better but not best among other lenses.

Looking at this model's image quality, you will be more excited to have it

As it has the sharp capture for video making, wide range photographs with its beautiful bokeh.


  • The lens is so well constructed, well balanced
  • Depth of field is satisfying.
  • Image quality is phenomenal.
  • Vintage sense is so good that it's reliable in all conditions.
  • Produce smooth and remarkable images.


  • The amount of radiation from these lenses is relatively low, but obviously, it works.
  • Bokeh is less distinct than other manual lenses.

4. Sony 55mm F1.8 Sonnar T FE ZA SEL55F18Z

  • Sony E Mount Full-Frame
  • Aperture Range: f/1.8 to f/22
  • Carl Zeiss T* Anti-Reflective Coating
  • Nine-Blade Circular Diaphragm
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction

Explore the world in any inclement environmental conditions, and capturing moments is tough? Here, Sony 55mm F1.8 Sonnar T FE ZA SEL55F18Z lens will help you out with its dust and moisture-resistant construction!

Choose this prime lens for sony's mirrorless cameras. And also suitable for use in a full-body camera.

Considering the lens size at 64 x 71mm (2.5 x 2.8in.) is larger than other lenses. But, again, the weight ( 281g) is relatively lighter with a good grip.

The strong sight of this model is professional build quality. Using the semi-gloss metal makes it look so gorgeous! Besides the front-rear of the lens is non-rotating and has a 49mm filter thread.

Sony 55mm F1.8 Sonnar Photo Sample

It has a petal-shaped hood that is well-constructed and helps to protect the front element. Moreover, the standard manual focus ring of this prime lens features a focus-by-wire (1" wide size) manual focus implementation.

The Sony 55mm F1.8 Sonnar T FE ZA SEL55F18Z lens has an autofocus motor that focuses internally. In addition, the lens has three aspherical lenses, which produce contrast, vignetting, and bokeh for the buttery background.

It features a great result of handling flaring, as it has a simple optical design and anti-reflective coating.

Also, it features a 9-blade circular diaphragm which helps to produce an extraordinary focus quality.


  • Enables high resolution and sharpness with low light shooting capabilities.
  • Lightweight build quality.
  • Get clean, crisp images with one shot.
  • Aperture sharpness in-depth field of imagery is very satisfying.


  • Filters may not be top optics.

5. 135mm f 3.5 MAMIYA/SEKOR M42

Although having an old building structure, Mamiya/sekor brand's lenses come in standard size and design.

MAMIYA/SEKOR M42 at 135mm,f/3.5 features a high resolution with APS-C format. Having 4 elements in 4 groups which is a well-constructed lens.

This prime lens features a better bokeh without disturbing any longitudinal CA. Moreover, the building quality is impressive with its body design with the glass and metal.

The focus ring is large and smooth. The maximum focal length is 135mm. Also, it has a flange focal distance of 45.5mm.

Looking at this diaphragm will satisfy you. It has an entirely manual focus ring, and the closest focusing distance is 1.8m.

Image shots are comparatively sharp at f/3.5 with excellent contrast. 

As it has an M42 mount screw, it's a very adaptable lense. It works with SLR and mirrorless cameras.


  • It helps to capture unremarkable and sharp photos.
  • Building quality is appreciable.


  • This prime lens doesn't come with a special adapter for micro 4/3 RDS.

6. Jupiter-37A 135mm F3.5 Russian Portrait Lens

Introducing this soviet prime lens will take you to dream heaven! If you want to take a professional capture, then, of course, it's the top choice for you!! 

More than anything, the first discussion is about the weight of this soviet beauty lense. A totally thin and lightweight lens with 400 grams only!! Can you believe it?

After purchase, you can see the removable shank on the lens marked with the alphabet "A." It's usually attached to the back of the lense.

The thread for the filter is 52mm, which is less than the diameter of the camera mount.

It comes with a great case of olympian 80 emblem, which perfectly fits the hoods and lens itself.

This soviet lens has 12 aperture blades, which helps get the best portrait with a circle of blurred background. So, of course, you can be satisfied with this super bokeh.

If you are looking for a quick result of this soviet prime lens, close down the aperture ring at f6.

Despite the small size of the aperture, It comes with a super bokeh.

Features a convenient and manually focusing ring. The smooth focus ring at f/3.5 produced a good handling portrait.


  • It perfectly separates the subject from the background.
  • Provide artistic images with 12 blades apertures.
  • According to the best quality, this soviet lens is cheap and affordable to get.


  • Tightening of the lens hood is quite problematic, as it is tough to unscrew back.

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

Again, introducing this second Russian beauty will convince you in your inner mind! Yeah!

Industar 50-2 50mm F3.5 Russian Lens is unique among modern lenses.

If you're looking for a lense for traveling photography, then it'll fit in your pocket! In addition, it comes in a small size and lightweight build quality.

Having low contrast, large vignetting on full-frame, and sharpness in the center makes this soviet vintage lense more demanding.

With macro rings, it's perfect for macro photography as it allows for focusing on closer distance.

The excellent sharpness is for its simple optical design! Starting at f/3.5, the aperture makes a good focus and sharp capture. Unfortunately, aperture control rings are inconvenient.

Amazingly, it has the features of twisting bokeh!

Manual focusing is very smooth and enjoyable because Focusing rings rotate at a 320-degree angle.

Get a larger depth field with industry 50-2, at f/3.5.

The best lens to adjust with your SLR and mirrorless camera.


  • Easy to carry.
  • Smooth aperture.
  • The glass is perfect and clear.
  • Tiny and handy lens.


  • It doesn't make a good result while using against bright light.
  • Weaker vignette in the top and bottom.

8. Zeiss Carl JENA Sonnar 2.8 180mm 180 Pentacon Six TL

If you need a legendary lens, take the professional photographer's choice, "Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 2.8 180"!

The downright incredible and sharp focal length of 180mm. It's a medium format but great for taking portrait photographs.

Again, the aperture is huge such as f/2.8. Working as a great portrait lens allows you to blur the background. The lens hood is removable and also large at the same time.

The mounting of the lens is for a tripod or monopod. The mount rotates or is fixed in place.

Sonnar is a manual lens coming with all metals. The construction of optical design includes 5 elements in 3group.

Here, it features 8 aperture blades that allow you to get a sharp capture. So, bokeh is considered better and beautiful.

Talking about the diaphragm, you can easily switch the diaphragm rings as you want.


  • The contrast is excellent.
  • The sharpness of the aperture is enough for a good-quality picture.
  • Best for artistic images.
  • Pictures are smooth, flexible, and crisp with beautiful bokeh.


  • The grip of the lens is relatively weaker.
  • Weight is a little heavier than other lenses.

9. Tair 11A Russian M42 Lens 135mm f/2.8

Want to capture quality portraits with super bokeh? Then, of course, Tair 11A 135 f/2.8 is for you!!

Discussing this model, the aperture and focal length are vital sights that I find. The Tair 11A has a great depth of field with a 135mm focal length and f/2.8 aperture. That allows you to find the best bokeh shot with a blurred background.

These soviet vintage lenses have good build quality. The Tair 11A is made of glass and metal. The weight of this lens is about 600gm.

Tair 11A has a replacement shank that allows the lens to switch in different systems.

You can use this as a telephoto for its large focal length. The number of diaphragm blades is 20, which allows you to find the correct zone with the right circle. The aperture is smooth, and the bokeh is creamy.

If you're concerned about the shutter speed, then Tair 11A is an excellent choice for you. This is because the speed of the shutter is at least 1/135s.

The focus ring rotates at a 360degrees angle with smooth handling.


  • The aperture is very smooth.
  • Creates a soft background blur.
  • Supreme focal length for portraits.
  • Separates the subject from the background.


  • This lens is quite heavy.
  • The contrast of the Tair 11A is comparatively poor.

10. Industar 61 L/Z MC Macro Lens 50mm F2.8 Russian Lens M42

The famous name "Eagle Eye" is created for this super vintage lense. Hence, you can find how the famous "Industar 61 L/Z MC Macro Lens 50mm F2.8"

The lens has 4 lenses in 3groups.

The strong side of these soviet lenses is the micro rings. For the excellent sharpness and design, this is perfect for microphotography.

The focal length of this model is 50mm, which helps to get perfect portraits. You can get enough sharpness at f/2.8.

The bokeh is made of plastic, and the resolution is high. The 6 curved blades make the aperture more interesting to create fabulous bokeh. Also, it forms a rounded pentagon.


  • Excellent sharpness.
  • Multi alignment.
  • Affordable price.
  • Provides best quality microphotographs.
  • Work with full-frame cameras.


  • Small size aperture
  • Diameter of front thread and number of aperture blade is not appreciable

M42 Lenses Buying Guide: How to Pick The Best One?

There are different brands, features, and types of building quality; It's confusing to choose the right lens for your loveable cameras! We can understand these feelings.

So, we are here to guide you with helpful tips to analyze the product as a tricky one! Hopefully, it will help you find out which lens makes the money worth and fulfills your expectations.


The first thing you should keep in mind about adaptability when you select the m42 lenses. From the features of different models, can you analyze the lens adapters attached to your existing camera? Or, it doesn't suit your camera.

So, get a double-check and research which lenses will exactly fix with your camera! Hopefully, it makes your work easy in the first step to select the expected lense.


Secondly, the aperture is the thing that you need to notice very closely! So here are many facts you need to know!

The factors that you should consider -

  • Condition of light
  • Focal length
  • Aperture size
  • Aperture blade

Firstly, the aperture can come into two qualities. First, the aperture can control the amount of light. Some lenses are allowed to enter more light. Again, some lenses allow less light.

A bigger size aperture and high focal length stop ensure the low light photography to get a good capture. On the other hand, a small aperture and low focal length stop are suitable for a perfect capture in a daylight photoshoot. 

Design and Build Quality

Most of the m42 lenses were launched in 80/90. So, the building quality is a major factor to ensure the standardized lens looks with a great warranty.

As I said before, the manufacturer puts a great effort into building these m42 lenses. So, those m42 lenses will remain as before over a dozen years. But, at the same time, the old version lacks some features in this modern era.

So, you have to check if all features are satisfying your photography or not?

Again, most of the lens is a little bit heavier, which can be challenging to handle. But, very few have tiny sizes. So, male sure what size or what types of photoshoot suit the size of lenses!

Image quality

Getting a quality image with this vintage lens is the fact when you look at the affordable price.

The quality mainly depends on your budget. These m42 lenses are available at an affordable price. But there are also things you need to know. Besides the price tag, you need to consider the quality of bokeh, vignetting, focus length, and contrast. Again, you need to compare and research these features. Then, you can relax with your decision

User reviews

The source of trusted and accurate information is all in one at user reviews. As per research, we can imagine, but we can quickly determine the product's real quality through the reviews. So again, users' reviews can give you the right hints, is the lens worthy of buying or don't!!!

So, research user reviews and find out the advantages & disadvantages! Then, of course, it'll greatly help you to find the expected lens!

Frequently Asked Question Anout m42 lenses 

Question 1: Is M42 the same as T2?

The fundamental difference between M42 and T2 mount lenses is a thread pitch. Both M42 and T2 have a width of 42 mm. But, the thread pitch of the T2 lens is 0.75mm, whereas m42's thread pitch is 1mm.

Question 2: How do I know if my lenses are M42?

To ensure the lenses are m42, you have noticed some facts, such as-

  • Size of the thread.
  • Looking for a screw thread.
  • Aperture pin is located in the rear of the mount.

Question 3: Can these lenses damage my camera?

It's all about adjustment or fixing the components in your camera. Although there is a rare case of damage to the camera, it should be carefully noticed. So, check first if all fixing is going well or not?!

Sometimes, the lens size doesn't match the diameter of the camera. Hence, there you might face trouble, and your camera can be damaged!

Question 4: Why is there no autofocus?

As we know, the m42 lenses are an old model version, so the manufacturer can't input autofocus features. Many lenses launch with autofocus in this digitalization, but most of the m42 lenses have manual focus.

Final words

Although a listing of the best m42 lens and the reviews is precisely in front of your eyes, you need to choose the right one for yourself!

Comparing the lenses features with your affordable budget, expected features, and photography style can only be possible!

If you're looking for super bokeh at an affordable price, then Helios 44M-4 58mm will be worth your money.

Again, the average building quality, macro lens features, and portraits are all in one at Industar 50-2 50mm F3.5 Russian Lens.

Jupiter-37A 135mm, F3.5 Russian Portrait lense, is best for professional portraits capturing with best photographers choice.

Now, which lens are you taking? Take a decision and get it first!

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