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I found an old Soviet-era camera: Smena with T(Triplet)-22 4.5/40 mounted lens. I'm really curious about whether there is a way to mount this lens on a Nikon D3300.

Smena camera

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  • @PhilipKendall Are the mount specifications and registration of Smena lenses mentioned at all in either the question or any of the answers of your suggested duplicate? – Michael C Jul 2 '18 at 14:35
  • While you can't put this lens on your DSLR, 35mm film is still available so you can shoot this lens using this camera. Photographers managed to use film for decades and it still works :) – Jim MacKenzie Jul 4 '18 at 22:45
  • @JimMacKenzie Some did. But even those, as well as many others, didn't take pictures they might have otherwise taken due to the cost of film and processing. – Michael C Jul 5 '18 at 13:55
  • @MichaelClark That's how it was back in the day. It's a retro experience. :) A good excuse to be measured about pressing the shutter release. – Jim MacKenzie Jul 5 '18 at 14:14
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Smena, like most rangefinders, has a very short registration distance (often called the 'flange-focal distance'). I can't confirm the exact number, but I have found plenty of examples of people who have adapted them to Sony E mount by adding a spacer. Sony E mount has a registration distance of only 18mm, so the Smena uses a distance longer than 18mm. I've found a reference that an adapter used to mount a Smena lens to a Sony E-mount camera was 11mm thick (which means a registration distance of 29mm) and a reference that many Russian M39 threaded lenses had registration distances 0.2mm longer than the Leica M39/L-Mount/LSM of 28.8mm (which also gives a 29.0mm distance for the Smena).

Your Nikon D3300 has a registration distance of 46.5mm. To focus the Smena at infinity, the mounting threads that extend behind the base of the lens would need to be recessed into the camera body approximately 20mm! Unfortunately, even if the lens would fit through the Nikon's 44mm wide throat (it can't) there's a mirror occupying that space only 20mm or so in front of the sensor.

What this means is if the Smena was mounted on the Nikon's lens flange, it would be unable to focus more than a few inches away, if it could focus on anything in front of it at all.

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  • Thank You very much for Your answer. I will have to use "modern" lenses :D. I also tried putting the lens in reverse, which was followed by more successful focus, but that disabled function of focus ring... – TheOne Jul 2 '18 at 17:11
  • There are plenty of older lenses that have a registration distance of 46.5mm. Most of them say 'Nikkor' on them. – Michael C Jul 5 '18 at 13:53
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    I guess it's another case of "If you want to play with old lenses, get an E mount or MFT camera already" :) – rackandboneman Aug 3 '18 at 9:16
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You're likely to have problems with a Nikon - that's because Nikons have about the longest register distance (lens mount flange to sensor/film) across the different brands. If you're trying to adapt a lens with a longer register distance to a camera with a shorter one (like a Nikon lens to a Canon Camera) the difference can be enough to allow for a mechanical only adapter. That means the optical performance of the lens isn't affected.

On the other hand, going the other way, you can't get the lens close enought to the sensor - so you'd either have to give up infinity focus (it's like putting the lens on an extension tube; I'm not sure if anyone bothers to make adapters like this) or you need to add extra optics that work like a teleconverter (or barlow lens, for astronomers) in order to allow infinity focus at the larger distance from the sensor. That usually means some reduction in image quality.

If the lens wasn't from a DSLR, you may well find the lens register distance is even shorter - DSLRs need extra clearance to fit the mirror in :).

In any case, the adapters don't normally do anything about electrical or mechanical linkages - so the camera doesn't get any aperture or focus info from the adapted lens. (And also, depending on the combination, may not have facilities to shut the aperture down when exposing or open it when focusing).

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The Smena lens is not intended to be interchangeable and does not use an M39 mount. The M39 variants available online are the Smena lens attached to the helicoid from other Russian-made lenses. For this reason, no pre-existing adapter exists to mount this lens on other cameras.

Depending on the extent to which you disassemble the lens-shutter assembly before taking measurements, the registration distance is somewhere between 26mm and 35mm. When adapting this lens, you will get the most space to work with by entirely detaching the lens from the shutter assembly.

Don't bother trying to approach the lens from the rear unless your intent is to break the leaf shutter. Instead, the front ring can be removed after loosening a few screws. Then the rest of the lens can be unscrewed free.

Smena front

Smena lens detached

Your options for using the lens have already been described by @MichaelClark and @JerryTheC:

  • Use it as a macro lens. You will be able to focus up to about 30cm, depending on how close you can get the lens to the sensor without breaking the mirror. Drill a hole into a body cap to mount the lens. Start small, and gradually enlarge until you get a snug fit. The diameter of the Smena lens is about 20mm.

  • Add optics to fix infinity focus.

  • Use it with a mirrorless camera that has a shorter flange-focal distance. Insert the lens into a hole drilled into an M42 body cap. Use an M42 helicoid for focusing. Use a thin C/M42 adapter that fits the camera.

  • Lock the mirror up to allow the lens to be mounted deep in the camera body. Any mistakes will likely result in a broken mirror.

  • Use it for some other DIY project involving film or ground glass. Because the lens-shutter assembly is mounted on a metal plate, it can be easily attached to homemade bellows or box cameras. For instance, two lenses can be mounted side-by-side to capture stereoscopic photos on film.

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