Industar-69 Easy Infinity Focus Fix

This is my fix for the Industar-69 28mm 1:2.8 pancake lens famous infinity focus problem. I read several tutorials and pieced them together and came up with this non-destructive hack that still allows an infinity stop and close focus stop with only one minor setback of the aperture scale mark.

I used a digital camera for this fix which I suppose 90% of the uses for this lens is but, if you have an old 35mm film camera with the M39, Leica screw mount (with a hinged or removable back plate) you can use this lens too, just use a frosted glass plate of some kind, a removable SLR focus screen works good, or I’ve even used scotch tape pulled tight over the film guides to focus test lenses.

simply loosen (not remove) the three set screws on the side of the focus ring and lift off ring.

remove the stud near the bottom of the lens, (red arrow) it is the close-focus stop. leave the stud in the focus ring and the top stud next to the red focus mark (red circle) it is the infinity stop.

As mentioned above, leave the top stop-post and the post in the focus ring but remove the lower post.

screw in the lens group clockwise all the way until it stops. do not force.

turn the lens over and clean any grime and grease that gets pushed out while the lens group is screwed in. we don’t want any of this falling on the sensor.

mount the lens on the camera. with the aperture wide open, now back the lens group out (counter-clockwise) slowly until you see it is focused at infinity.
When you get the lens group where you want it, gently put the focus ring back on with the studs touching for the infinity stop and the infinity mark and red arrow are lined up. carefully tighten each set screw until the focus ring is secure.

all set! now the lens stops at infinity and it will stop the other way around now too but a much closer focus is now possible.
But wait! the aperture scale doesn’t line up with the red dot any more (red arrow). I simply made a new mark with a 1/16″ drill bit and painted it red and covered up the old mark with my silver sharpie.

The lens top won’t be pointing up, even before this fix because the depth of the mounting thread group is shallower than a standard M39 lens. This lens was originally on a Soviet CHAIKA half frame camera. The lens could also be mounted on an enlarger.

Here are a few images taken with this lens.

Redmen’s Hall, Jacksonville Oregon  @f/11. pretty good clarity.

some milkiness to the original, fixed here (above)

Redmen’s Hall back. wide-open @f/2.8 note the edge focus and there is some flare on the reflections

(above) This led me to believe the elements themselves needed to be cleaned. Indeed, I removed the rear element and with my loupe, found tiny spider-web fungus on the rear element of the front group just in front of the aperture blades, (a usual spot) I cleaned it with a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and household ammonia (put some on a Q-tip, wet area, let set 5 min. wipe dry, clean with fresh water, repeat if nec.)

in some cases the fungus had no effect, this is a nice clear shot.

This is a fun little lens. It is said that it’s glass is modeled after a Tessar. Great quality and uber cheap. I got mine on eBay from the Ukraine for $28 with free shipping. I could have got it cheaper but you want sellers with good feedback from Ukraine and Russia.




1937 Zeiss Ikon ~ Contax II CLA

my 1937 Contax II came to me in pretty good condition. it just needed the shutter mechanism cleaned and lubed. and the optics in the RF/VF cleaned.
my 1937 Contax II came to me in pretty good condition. it just needed the shutter mechanism cleaned and lubed. and the optics in the RF/VF cleaned.

Giving my 1937 Zeiss Ikon Contax II as best of a CLA (clean, lube, adjust) as I could without dismantling the mechanism itself, I doused with lighter fluid twice, avoiding the shutter slats, tapes and glue, which is fairly easy as, everything is on one side. then I oiled a few choice spots, avoiding escapements.

With the help from forum friends, I fixed a problem with the Infinity on the RF, the previous hacker put the longer screws on the RF side of the front plate and they were preventing the plano-convex lens from traveling all the way to the side.

I also removed foam light seals from the film back surround. originally there were no light seals (so I’ve read} around the camera back. The Kiev clones used Yak hair as a seal. I’m opting to use my smaller size black yarn just to be safe on this 80 year old camera.

I re-glued a loose flap of leatherette and cleaned with Meguiar’s leather foam. I touched up some rubbed off chrome on the top plate with my faux chrome plating kit.

Here are the steps to open it up, remove the shutter cage from the frame and clean. I did not disassemble the shutter mechanism itself, it is for experts and usually is not necessary to clean it.

remove rewind knob

remove the single center screw
rewind knob removed

here are the rewind knob parts. the wavy washer goes back on bumps-up
remove body screws

remove the 2 body screws that were under the rewind knob (circled). note the excess grease put on by a previous owner (blue arrow), The knob had it too. There is no need to grease this knob here.
remove winding lever center

there are 3 screws around the knob. remove all three, not just loosen. carefully lift off the center disc, there is a spring for the shutter button underneath.
shutter buton

here is how the shutter button goes back in the knob for reassembly. note the grooves and blade spring
remove advance knob

remove the 3 screws (circled) for the film advance/shutter speed select knob.
remove speed scale

remove these 2 screws (circled) and remove the shutter speed scale disc. There is a washer under (2? mine had 1 but the Kiev had 2)
remove single screw

this screw (circled) is under the frame advance/shutter speed select knob.
lift off chrome top plate

gently lift off the chrome top plate, watch out for the frame counter disc, it may fall out.
frame counter disc

here is how it goes back on for reassembly if it fell off. remove it now if it didn’t fall off
remove cast top plate

remove the 2 black screws (circled)
remove cast top plate

remove these 2 black screws, the one on the upper left is different than the other so make note.
cast top removed

carefully remove the cast top plate. there is a gear that might fall out.
loose gear

this probably won’t fall out but here’s where it goes on reassembly if it did. if it didn’t fall out, remove it now.
remove shutter cover

remove the 4 screws (circled) and make note of any size differences. there is a persnickety screw inside the hole (blue arrow) that holds the sprocket roller bracket. It must be carefully removed so the bracket is loose so you can slide the cover downward as you lift. like I said, lift the bottom of the cover slightly as you slide downward on the shutter cover box, then lift off.
sprocket bracket

you may want to put it’s screw back in temporarily so you can play with the shutter later while cleaning and testing.
 remove screw here

notice I put the winding knob back on. this makes a nice handle to hold onto as you lift out the shutter cradle. you can take the screw out (circled) first if you like, it was kind of tricky with the knob in the way.
 remove screws

remove these 2 screws and make note of the size differences
remove this rod-screw

from the film chamber side, remove this support rod-screw
bottom screw

remove this final screw on the bottom
lift out cradle

gently lift out the shutter cradle, there are no springs or anything that will fly across the room so don’t worry. You will however hear a slight click, this is the arm of the self timer coming free.
self timer

here is the self timer. feel free to test it and clean it if necessary. mine worked fine so I left it alone
shutter gears

I doused everything you see here with Zippo fluid, avoiding the shutter tapes and glued areas of course. later I oiled a few choice spots with singer SM oil. (red arrows) use just a tiny bit, like half of a drop and work the gears after each drop. Avoid the slow speed gears (yellow arrows) you don’t want them to gum up.
shutter gears

other side, here too I doused everything you see here with Zippo fluid, avoiding the shutter tapes and glued areas of course. later I oiled a few choice spots with singer SM oil. (red arrows) use just a tiny bit, like half of a drop and work the gears after each drop. avoid the slow speed gears (yellow arrows) you don’t want them to gum up. while testing the shutter, you may want to hold the shutter cover box on over the back as if it were screwed on, otherwise you have to keep manually putting the lower and upper shutter back together to wind it (you’ll see what I mean, don’t let it scare you, you can’t break it really)
self timer lever

when putting the shutter cradle back in, make sure you slide the lever all the way against the wall so it clears the cradle’s release lever
release lever

here is the shutter release lever associated with the self timer, just make sure the screw (previous photo) clears this notch as you put the cradle back in. It’s not as difficult as it sounds, just start on the far side with the cradle, then peek in and slide the lever over with your screwdriver as you lower this side
mystery solved

made in 1937. the serial number chart states this as “1936 to 1937”. here is the date stamped on the front plate I removed, it was also under the top chrome plate

I use Zippo lighter fluid (any brand will do) for flushing and cleaning the gears and other parts. just be careful to keep the fluid off of the shutter curtain ribbons, they are glued on and could become unglued by the lighter fluid.

For the oil, I use sewing machine oil. You can use watch oil or any light oil of that type. use very sparingly and never use it on the gears of the slow speed escapement.