Soviet Lenses

Turist-FL Spotting Scope

I came across this unusual looking lens accessory while researching early M39/M42 gear. It’s a scope designed to attach to any M42 mount lens and adds additional magnification to whatever it is attached to. It wasn’t hard to find one on eBay (located in Russia) and at only £30 including shipping, worth having a play with.

It’s an odd looking device that sort of doubles as a handle. With a lens attached, it looks like an old German hand grenade. The scope came in a screw-top bakerlite type case common with many of the M39 SLR lenses I’ve purchased. It’s surprisingly fun to use and yields a decent amount of resolution depending on the attached lens. The eyepiece provides a +/- adjustment like that on binoculars so it can be used without wearing glasses. That’s it for controls and focus/aperture is all dependent on the lens.

You really need to use an instrument like this to get an impression of it and I probably wouldn’t have bothered doing a write-up if I hadn’t discovered that an iPhone camera seems to perfectly capture what is being seen. Below are a series of comparisons with various M39 lenses and how they look through the scope. The Turist-FL is not much more than a novelty item but it makes a great conversation piece. It may have even had a place in a KGB agent’s bag but it probably won’t have a place in mine. LOL