6. desember 2015

Jupiter-8 vs Jupiter-8 (vs Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm F2 ZM ) on a Leica M6

Three weeks ago, I decided to enter the Leica-field.
Since I have no interest in, or money for, the digital Leica's, I opted for the Leica M6 classic. The M6 has a battery-operated light-meter, but will continue to shoot without batteries.

I wanted the more vintage looking one in silver and black and coupled it with the impressive, and affordable Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm F2.0 ZM silver edition. This lens, compared to the (much) more expensive Leica lenses, is a real gem indeed.

My Leica is from 1996 and the planar lens is from 2006 (or newer, no idea how to interpret the serial, anyone??). Both were bought from eBay, from sellers in Japan. Both looks brand new (came in original boxes) and works wonderfully.

Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss planar F2.0 ZM

I got two Jupiter-8 50mm f2.0 lenses earlier this year as well, initially bought to play around with on my Zorki's.

However, they never really focused well on any of my Zorki-cameras, the reason for this is that they actually need to be adjusted for the camera they are supposed to be used on, Russian or otherwise.

Since I recently bought a Bessa R3M and right after that, a Leica M6, I decided that I would use my Jupiter-lenses on them, trough a M39 (screw mount) to M mount adapter.

M39 to M-mount adapter-ring.

Jupiter-8 lenses compared with Carl Zeiss planar f2.0 ZM

The difference between the Jupiter-8's and the modern planar is striking. The Jupiters are almost cute, since they are so small and compact, compared to the rather big planar lens. 

From left to right: Jupiter-8 silver, Jupiter-8 black, Carl Zeiss Planar F2 ZM

From left to right: Jupiter-8 silver, Jupiter-8 black, Carl Zeiss Planar F2 ZM
(Yes, I've polished the silver Jupiter, amazing what a little silver and metal polish can do to a rather scrappy looking lens body)

As one can observe, the Jupiter-8's are smaller in most aspects, compared to the Zeiss; They are a little shorter, and the barrel circumference are also smaller than the modern lens.

Anyway, after getting said adapter (not a Chinese one), bought fairly cheaply from eBay, I mounted the Jupiter-8 lenses on my Leica M6, to see how they fared there.

Leica M6 with Jupiter-8 silver

Leica M6 with Jupiter-8 black
 Sorry for the rather crappy shots in color, my iPhone is really starting to show it's age ^^

I used the silver lens as focus point for my black lens and vice versa, easier to distinguish what lens I shot with, after development of the film ^_^

- Click the photos to see larger versions

Silver Jupiter-8:

At f2.0, this lens showed significant "dreamy bokeh" at f2.0, as well as major back-focus, back-focus not really improved at F2.8, but the dreaminess is gone.

Black Jupiter-8:

At f2.0, this lens also showed significant "dreamy bokeh" (more than the older, silver lens), as well as back-focus to the same degree as the silver-version.

Carl Zeiss planar 50mm F2.0 ZM reference:

Superb lens IMO, usable at all apertures, sharp and nice controlled bokeh.

- Both Jupiter-8 lenses showed significant haze/dreamy Bokeh at f2.0.

- At f2.8, both Jupiter-8's are sharp, no more dreamy Bokeh, though both lenses were off (back-focusing) by around 10 cm on close-up minimum focusing distance (approximately 1 meter).

The Carl Zeiss is way better, but it is off course of a different design (Planar vs the Sonnar-design the Jupiters-8's have) and the Zeiss is also made 40 years after the black Jupiter-8. :)

Research and adjustment

There is a lot of information about various adjustments that can be done to the Jupiter-8 lenses (and other USSR-era lenses).

First you need to establish what kind of problem you have.
Both my lenses had back-focus at close up distances, infinity was ok.

Some lenses may be off in both ends, or fine up-close and bad at infinity, others may be adjusted to focus closer than 1 meter, others may simply be duds that cannot be corrected etc etc, all this affects what you need to read up on.

There is one name that keeps popping up when it comes to adjusting the Jupiter-lenses, and that is Brian Sweeney. This guy really knows his stuff, he has a lot of archived posts at Rangefinderforum and on Photo.net. Not sure if he is active on these forums these days, but I was able to find all the information I was after, by reading his helpful replies to people 10 years ago. ^^

Like this:

Trough google, one should be able to find a whole heap of information from this guy, he knows his stuff. He has explained what the problem with Jupiter and other lenses are, compared to Leica here:


There has been made a compilation of great 'Sweeney-information' here: http://aperturepriority.co.nz/2013/02/06/jupiter-3-f1-5-information-update/

Most of this concerns the Jupiter-3, however, much of it can be applied to Jupiter-8 as well.

Anyhow, my lenses needed "re-shimming", this means that one has to screw the lens apart and add more shims, so that the lens-elements are moved further away from the focus helical unit.

From Sweeny's notes, he mention that his experience was that most lenses needed one added shim, around 0.1mm to 0.15mm thick.
I don't have any shims, but I've also read that they often used paper-shims in the USSR.

So I made one shim out of paper, 0.1mm thick, measured after an already existing shim, located inside my lenses. This is fiddly, to be honest, so use an exacta-knife to trace out the new shims. (and be patient).

Some make shims from aluminum-foil, not sure how less fiddly that will be. :)

For actual disassembling of my lenses, I used this:

Basically, to open the lens, grab the aperture ring and the focus ring and twist until the units come loose from each other.

After screwing the lens apart, one should be able to see any shims already in place.
Use existing shims as blueprints for new ones (paper or aluminum-foil)
Snipped from http://www.pentax-manuals.com/repairs/j8service.pdf

After trying out my shim, take test-photos, develop and scan and inspect, I found that my silver-lens was still back-focusing. Actually, I had "halved" the focus error, more or less.

So I made another paper-shim, adding a total of 0.2mm to the distance between the lens unit and focus unit of the lens.

I then retried my setup, and wow....perfectly accurate focus! \o/

I made another two shims to my black Jupiter-8 as well, since the back-focus error on both lenses were exactly the same.

Post-correction note:

After performing a re-shim procedure, your aperture ring will no longer line up (naturally, as you no longer screw the lens as far in as before). 

To correct a misaligned focus-ring, you will need to loosen 3 microscopic screws on the aperture ring, done under a magnifier and using the smallest possible screwdriver you can get your hands on.

Most likely, if you forget to make new holes for the screws before screwing them in again, you will break the small screws when tightening, because they really cannot handle much of anything. I broke 3 of the 6 screws on my two lenses, but I did manage to get the aperture ring to stay.
Again, according to Sweeney:. "The best way to make tap holes is to use a hand drill with a triple-zero drill bit. The metal is fairly soft, it is aluminum. The idea is to make a hole for the end of the set screws to fit into"

Just be careful.

Regarding infinity focus or focusing at intermediate distance after re-shimming, Sweeney say that you can take advantage of the Sonnar-design's inherit focus-shift, as well as depth of field masking when you stop down your lens.

So basically, use f2-2.8 close up, 4f and smaller for longer distances and you should be fine across the range.

After adjustment:

Silver Jupiter-8:

Black Jupiter-8:


Practical results:

Leica M6 with Jupiter-8 silver, 1/30s @ f2.8
Fuji Acros 100 in HC-110B, 5 minutes
This particular shot has some flare from the flash behind the subject, made the shot really vintage looking :)

Leica M6 with Jupiter-8 black, 1/30s @ f2.8
Fuji Acros 100 in HC-110B, 5 minutes

Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss planar F2 ZM, 1/30s @ f2.8
Fuji Acros 100 in HC-110B, 5 minutes


I know the Leica purists may dislike the idea of using Jupiter lenses on a Leica M6. (some even have chronically OCD about using a quality lens as the Carl Zeiss on a Leica).

I say, who the hell cares?

The Jupiter lenses have their own character and yields shots that are completely different from the summi* lenses and whatnot. The Carl Zeiss planar yields sharpness and quality that rivals most Leica 50's, except for the $7 000 Leica APO-Summicron ASPH and the $3500 f1.5 Summilux ASPH.

2016-17-08 - Post-correction note 2: Collimation needed

Since my initial re-shimming, I used my lenses in various, practical settings and I discovered that although the lenses were prefect at 1 meter, they were increasingly front-focusing from 3-4 meters and up. So much in-fact that it bogged the hell out of me.

A permanent solution to this issue was necessary.

Again, Brian to the rescue;

In short; When you shim your Jupiter-lens, you make the focal-length longer. Some Jupiters are in the short range of the spectrum and a simple shimming may actually put the focal-length right at the Leica-standard. Most become too long and thus, you get an increasing amount of front-focusing, as well as loss of infinity-focus.

How to fix?

As Brian's page explains, you reduce the actual focal-length of the lens, by sanding down the optical fixture and re-adjusting the shims.

My procedure was like this:
* Put a small piece of masking-tape on the side of the bottom end of the optical fixture, so that it also covers the rear triplet.
* Use a sharp knife and cut the tape where the rear triplet meet the optical fixture.
* Screw out the rear triplet.

Why did I do this? Well, this is to gauge how much I have sanded down the rear part of the optical  fixture, I sand, clean and screw in the rear triplet, and check how much the tape on the rear triplet has moved, in relation to the part still stuck on the optical fixture, then I simply rinse and repeat.

* I started out by sanding down the optical-fixture, so that the rear triplet would screw in 1/2 round further than before.
* Then I did some checking (this is best done with a ground glass and a magnifier mounted in a camera) at a target at 1 meter.
* Then I adjusted (sanded) the original shim so focus was correct at 1 meter.
* Then I actually went to a fence outside and tested the focus on a sign on the fence, at various distances, with actual (bulk) film in the camera, developed and scanned, to see if the focus would slip over distance.

This is very tedious work though, but it's "safe" in the sense that you are unlikely to sand your way past the correct focal length.

Important experiences regarding collimation:
- Some Jupiters are simply too long; When you have sanded so far down that the rear triplet cannot come further in, you are basically stuck. If you have not been able to obtain good focus across the range by then, you have a "too-long" Jupiter.
Solution: If the lens is "not too far off" at 10 meters (30-40cm). Calibrate (the shim) to be perfect at 3-5 meters and stop down at further distances. (depending on your usage, one of my Jupiters was slightly too long and i calibrated it for 3 meters, since I use it for portraits, it's "ok" on most distances). If your lens is way off, you probably have a dud. Keep the lens, glass and parts in a box and use that lens as a parts-lens for other Jupiters.

- The sanding procedure will create dust, grit and metal filings that will pollute the glass in the optical fixture and the aperture blades.
Solution: I decided to sand down my lenses using wet sanding-paper. This prevents dust and the gunk can (for the most part) be cleaned out from the rear of the lens with a simple tissue, but make sure to check the rear class and the aperture-blades in the optical fixture as well, to see if there is any gunk there anyhow (it can also splatter).

If you have just purchased a Jupiter-lens, you will most likely need to clean and lubricate it, I made an entry, with pretty detailed descriptions, showing how to completely disassemble the helical for two different Jupiter-8 lenses, one simple-type and one complex-type (the latter is almost impossible to find instructions on, so it might be a good read).

DIY disassemble, clean and lubrication for two Jupiter-8 lenses:


25. mai 2015

FSU cameras, Zorki

Zorki-1d in it's leather case
A legendary Soviet camera, the Zorki.

This 35mm camera was a further development from the Fed, which, again, was a copy of the Leica II during the 30's. Read more on wikipedia :)

Another good source on Zorki and other cameras is sovietcams.com and be sure to check out the Fed and Zorki survival site AND also the very informative ZORKIKAT (how not to destroy your Fed and Zorki )

I bought mine quite cheaply from eBay, from ua-artprojectcom. The camera came with the collapsible Industar-22 50mm f3.5, in the original leather case and had been CLA'd and tested by the seller.

The camera cost $75

The cosmetic condition was very nice indeed, a little wear here and there, but over-all a very nice looking gadget of a camera.
Very solid too, all metal (even the "leatherette" is metal ^^), quite heavy and sturdy.

I have a Zorki 1d, I think it was made in 1950-56, but you can never be sure with the Zorkis, due to variances in production lines, serial-no policies (first numbers not necessarily indicating production year), and serial-number deliveries etc, basically it's a real mess and a crap-shoot, so it's made "some time during the 50's".....probably....!

There are subtle variances in design that can help classify the models, but even here, you may find yourself with a Zorki with various parts, belonging to no specific class...so..yeah! :)

I wanted the latest first revision, with the original copied Leica speeds (the final version of the 1, the "1E" has the familiar modern shutter-speeds on it). This one has the original, weird shutter-speed steps. ^^

Shutter-speed selector, shutter release, film-winding mechanism and the release knob, to prepare for film rewind.
The speeds are close enough to the speeds I am familiar with anyway (1/15s, 1/30s, 1/60s, 1/125s, 1/250s etc) and film is lenient, so it's definitely not a big deal.

No, it definitely does NOT have a light-meter (are you mental? =D )

Here's a few more shots of my particular camera which shows the lens and camera from various angles.

Original cover for the lens, it has a little bump on it, but looks very nice and finish off the camera

The knob closest to the camera is pulled up and then you screw it to wind the film back.
Do NOT forget to set the rewind release knob to "B" before you do, or you may snap off your film!

Back-view with serial-number showing. Rangefinder focusing window to the left, composition-window to the right.

Sweet looking Zorki

Bottom loading camera. You unscrew the knob on the right and lift off the bottom lid to load and unload film.

And the original?

The original Leica II....the resemblance is just.....just...oh you cheeky Russkies! =)
Photo shamefully borrowed from http://collectiblend.com/Cameras/Leitz/Leica-II-%28Mod-D%29-%28chrome%29.html

In the hand and in use

The camera is quite small, it fits very easily in my hand, although my hands are of the larger kind. :)
There are no luxury-items like a strap or mounts for straps, carry in your hand or in the leather-casing.

Not a very large camera, thin too.

My camera doesn't like the cold very much. I've experienced shutter-lag/sticky shutter when out and about in a very comfortable -4 degrees during winter, so I suppose it is best used as a summer-camera. :)

Very important: You need to set the shutter speed _after_ you've wound up the shutter _only_, or else you can and will mess up the camera and possibly break the whole thing, rendering it useless.
When you've fired off a shot, the shutter-speed selector winds back and ends on some gibberish value, the true shutter-speed value can only be observed when the shutter is cocked.

It is by no means a quiet camera, it snaps pretty bossy and surprisingly loud each time you take a photo, adding to the cheap feel. :)

The rangefinder is surprisingly easy to use for such an old camera. You use the left most window (rangefinder-window) to focus and then the right window to compose your shot. (usually I just use the rangefinder-window for everything, as it is quicker, especially for people).

The Industar-22 lens I have is also very quick to focus with, smooth and well built and looks really cool with it's collapsible design. To use, you pull out the lens and twist 1/4 of a round, so it doesn't fall back on itself when you press the front towards the camera.

The aperture-adjustment ring on mine is a little flimsy (feels that it isn't quite engaged), but it does work very well, so I suppose it's by design or whatever :)

Loading the camera is done in the old Leica way, from the bottom. You also need to cut the film-leader, so that the thinnest part of the leader, is extended to about the same length as the camera.

Be careful so you don't leave any jaggies when cutting the leader, as this may jam and be stuck inside your camera, and make sure you round off your cut _between_ the holes in the film edge..

What about the results?

A lot of talk, but how are the results from this camera?

I haven't shot miles of film with the camera yet, but I am very impressed with the Industar-22

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm, Kodak Tri-X, HC-110 B 6 minutes
Quite close-up, shot with Tri-X, wide open.

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm Fuji Acros 100, HC-monobath, 15 minutes
Shoot data: 1/200s @ F4

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm Fuji Acros 100, HC-monobath, 15 minutes
Shoot data: 1/200s @ F4

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm Fuji Acros 100, HC-monobath, 15 minutes
Shoot data: 1/200s @ F4

The portrait shots are incidentally developed using the monobath I was talking about in my last blog-entry, Acros still looks quite lovely in that developer I must say.

The sharpness of this lens at F4 is pretty impressive, especially close up, the proof is in the pudding in the portrait shots, they were all shot a measly 1/2 stop below wide open!
Heck, it's even sharper than my silver Jupiter-8, which is a Sonnar copied design, but I may have a dud there (bought from a seller in Moscow).

I have a black Jupiter-8 too, for my Zorki-4K (looks just like the lens and camera in the picture on that link, more on that in a later blog) which was also bought from ua-artprojectcom, which is better. :)

The camera is FUN and it does indeed produce lovely results, the standard Industar-22 is really a good performer on my camera.

ua-artprojectcom really did a great job with their CLA, I can really recommend him, everything I've bought from him is top notch.

Not bad at all for $75 ^_^

11. mai 2015

Monobath-processing with Kodak HC-110 :)


First a disclaimer: This is in no way, shape or form an attempt to be a scientific report, I am simply going to tell you what I did and how I interpreted the results. For accurate, scientific results, one should use the proper material and processes. (which I don't do at all ;) )

I recently saw a video by Ted Forbes, where he did a review on R3 monobath.

What is a monobath?

Well, for those old enough, it's the same process that makes polaroid-photos develop, stop and fix themselves after shooting. For those that are too young for this...it's magic! :)

For black and white processing it means: A single bath that covers the three stages of black and white development (dev - stop - fix). It really doesn't stop anything, it fixes as it developes....... ^^

This has been researched for decades in the past, with interesting results.
Truth be told though, a magic bullet has never been found, because they experienced speed-loss, development artifacts, grain issues and many other things along the way.

Also, the liquid gets REALLY muddy after just 2-3 runs, as the fixer rinse out the silver and whatnot, I suppose it may or may not affect the shots after a while.

Also, as one know, if you are using black and white film, and you use several different films in the same developer, they have different times at which they are developed. Thus a developer react differently with various films.

The same is true for a monobath, thus, you must tailor the monobath to the particular film you are using and from that follows, that monobaths, although successful with one film, may not be usable with another film.
- Modern T-grain films may also have issues with monobaths.

......So it was never a commercial success.

Anyway, the R3 process is tailored to suit several films, and it seem to do various films pretty well take a look if you live in the US.

In Ted's vlog on youtube, he mentioned that you can make it yourself, and one Mr. Donald Qualls posted an interesting find over at photo.net in 2004, where he had made a monobath with ammonia, which developed Tri-X pretty well.

He also posted the recipe ^^

Orginal at 75F to make 256ml, by Donald Qualls Oct. 2004
50ml household clear ammonia
15 ml of HC-110 syrup Dilution A (1:15)
10 ml Ilford Rapid Fixer concentrate
ca 180ml Water to make up 256 ml  

I wanted to make 1500ml, to fit in a large bottle of Coke that I have, so I multiplied up the amounts and used:

300 ml household clear ammonia 
90 ml of HC-110 syrup straight from the bottle.
60 ml Ilford Rapid fixer concentrate
Water to 1500ml

My bottle of ammonia is a no-name brand called "First price" and says 5-10% on it.
I read somewhere it means "5% of solution", "10% of weight". 

Anyway, the original recipe state to use 5% household ammonia and you can usually find it in the cleaning section in your general grocery-store.
I mixed the developer and ammonia first, then I put the fixer in and then water, just to make everything more easy for myself, as I didn't want to stir around with too many bottles and cups.

Use a well-ventilated room OR as I did, mix the stuff on the stove below the fan that normally suck cooking-fumes out, the fumes from the ammonia will make you gag for sure and it can hurt your skin, eyes and lungs, so avoid breathing this stuff :)

In the analog geeks group at Facebook, people have already tried out Tri-X and it works as advertised.
But I am a Acros-shooter for the most part and for 400 ISO I use Neopan 400 (and more often these days, Tri-X), so I wanted to see how this monobath would work with Acros and Neopan.

After all, both Neopan and Acros have roughly the same develop-times in HC-110 (you can put both films in the tank and develop them together).

Both also have a very short development time when you look at dilution B.
For the monobath, you effectively use dilution A, which means half the time of B, which again means a development time of around 2 minutes 30 seconds for those films, very similar to the Tri-X times.

I will not get into the details surrounding Neopan 400 here, except to say that with a development time of 15 minutes, the negatives were thin (looked underdeveloped, edge-markings barely visible) and the base-fog on the film was present, but didn't play a great part in scanning. But I would not use this particular recipe for Neopan 400.

- Scanning did work well, but it was clear that the monobath would have have to be adjusted to suit Neopan 400, which isn't viable, considering the film is no longer produced by Fuji.

For Acros however, it was "wow time".
- And that is kind of funny, since I read somewhere that it is a t-grain/cubic hybrid sort of film.

I did a few test-shots around my apartment windows (because it was getting late in the evening), used my Hasselblad 503CW, mirror lockup and remote release (shutter was around 1/30's at F4) and snapped away.

Some shots were +1 over measured exposure, to see how overexposure would look like, didn't have much effect on the final outcome, maybe a little.

The development data was 15 minutes at 25 degrees Celsius. 30 seconds initial agitation (I used the stick in the tank, not inversions of the whole tank, to avoid spillage), then 4-5 rounds with the stick every 5 minutes.

I have not tested the minimum time for development and fix/clear, others can do that, I did 15 minutes to be sure it was clear


Negatives were CLEAR....really clear indeed. Where the Neopan 400 showed a good amount of base-fog, the Acros came out clear as it normally does in conventional developers.

The negatives themselves looked GREAT (although the negative area looked more brown than the typical black).

Here the strip is hanging in the shower to dry:

Here is how the initial scan looks, I have scanned the sheets to preserve shadows and highlights, so anyone can download them and adjust the levels, to see how the edge-markings and base are, compared to the rest of the negative's shadows and highlights. (I always seem to get leaks in the edges of the negatives, no matter what camera and no matter how damn careful I am :/ )

- You can initially click the photos, then right-click and select "view image" in Firefox to see the full resolution example and then right-click again and select "save image" to get it to your computer, if you like. You can also do the same with the single-photos below, they are large exports from Lightroom and should provide a good way to check out details.

The scanner I use is a Epson v750, all negatives are scanned trough clear plastic sleeves, placed directly on the glass in the scanner, at 1200 DPI.

In all honesty, the negatives themselves are very usable and I would guess that they are a breeze to print too (I've worked with some narly negs in my short time in the darkroom, and these look pretty darn good to my eyes).

Grain is nicely controlled too, nothing to worry about, compared to a normal HC-110 development.
Shadow detail IS pretty good, got good control over that when scanning. If anything, the negatives seem to have gotten increased contrast (S-shaped tone-curve) with a slightly rougher look. I think they look quite similar to Acros souped in Rodinal 1:50.

Here are some of the shots, large scans, adjusted with the curves tool. Mostly just set the black and white point to where the base is just visible, no need to bend the curves here.

Worked like a charm this! :)

I would be happy to try it again sometime.

Acros, being a fine-grained, "best-reciprocity-master", all-round goodie 100 ISO film, is a film I use A LOT, probably others too, so good to know that Acros is a happy camper in this recipe.

Neat to know you can finish the film in 10-15 minutes, wash and hang to dry. ^^

My 1500ml bottle is now pretty muddy (after three trial-runs), but it don't seem to affect the quality of the negatives just yet, activity also seems to be good, so I'll keep shooting it and see when it starts to "die" on me. :)

Have fun and feel free to try it out and share your own results ^^

1. februar 2015

FSU cameras, the Moskva-5

During the fall-months of 2014, I bought a very nice camera while I was in Prague.

The store I bought it in, is called Foto optika video Jan Pazdera (http://www.fotopazdera.cz/)
If ever in Prague, go visit, it is just 1 block further from Fotoskoda and they have all kinds of old cameras, binoculars, microscopes etc, a real gem of a store.

The camera in question, was a Moskva-5, made in the former Soviet Union (FSU) in the 50's.
This is a medium format 6*9 rangefinder camera, originally made as a copy of the Super Ikonta C, later it was....."refined"....and "Sovietified" (cruder, heavier, more solid, easier to produce in large quantities).

The camera is dual format, which means that you can slip a mask inside the camera, switch a knob and shoot 6*6 if you so prefer.

Selector between 6*6 and 6*9 and the button to open the front-end of the camera

Film type reminder (if you can understand Cyrillic) and the shutter-release button

Mine did not come with the mask (many don't).
In fact, the camera-store in Prague, had secured the back of the camera and glued/locked it to 6*9 (the camera is known for light-leaks trough the red windows).
Red windows and sliders to alter between 6*6 and 6*9

I was ok with that, I have other 6*6 cameras and was planning to use this for 6*9 exclusively.
- I may go onto eBay and see if I can get hold of another one, with mask and proper CLA's/working bellows and back, they aren't really expensive cameras. :)

Front view, using the little kick-stand on the cover, so it stands on it's own

After some initial shooting, - where you operate most things backwards, I found the focus to be off. (back-focus)
Back-focus close up (close focusing distance anyway) example, focus was on the larger piece of the fence, sharpest point was about 10-15cm behind it.
Moskva-5, Acros 100 @ 400 HC-110B

Focus was set on the statue, it's apparent that the focus is really behind the statue
Moskva-5, Acros 100 @ 400 HC-110B

Bottom of the camera, showing the tripod mount. This mount is different from modern mounts, but you can get converters for them

After some Googling I found this very helpful resource over at Rick Oleson, illustration and explanation, showing how to properly adjust the focus on a rangerfinder.

How to measure up your rangefinder

I measured the distance as shown in the illustration, then put the "+" and the "x" on a piece of paper with the same distance between them. Then I set my camera to infinity and checked.
- Sure, mine was off, as suspected.
The beauty of this method, is that you can check your infinity on a target which is at any distance starting from the close focusing distance, so this can be done in-house, the marks should form a star when you have your camera at infinity -at any distance from the initial close focusing distance.

I adjusted my Moskva-5 by loosening the screw, holding the rangefinder-coupling. When you do this, you can remove the black part around it, and you expose two small screws below.

Illustrations are borrowed from The Kiev Survival site

Illustrations are borrowed from The Kiev Survival site

These two screws must then be LOOSENED (NOT taken off, or you will be in a world of hurt!).

Turn each screw around 1 turn and check if you can loosen the coupling to the lens focusing gear mechanism.
After LOOSENING the two screws a little, you should be able to gently lift the coupling up from the lens focusing gears.

In this position, the rangefinder and the lens focus operate independently

Make sure your lens is at infinity, then adjust the loosened rangefinder with the normal focusing knob on it, until the "+" and the "x" on the paper form a star "*" shape in the focusing window of your Moskva-5. After that, gently push the rangefinder coupling back into it's place, making sure that the gears take on the lens focus and that the rangefinder is engaged well.

Fasten the two screws and then put the black lid back on and securing it with the final, single screw.

My Moskva-5, lens detail

After this adjustment, the camera was spot on. The optics on mine isn't sickeningly sharp, but I suppose there are variances in the production-line.

It's a funny camera over all, you do everything "backwards" while operating it. For example, pulling the film from the right to the left, your shots will come out "upside down" on the film as well and finally, you need to press the left button and not the right one to take the photo. ^^

Example after rangefinder adjustment, focus is spot on.
Moskva-5, Acros 100 @ 400 HC-110B

Example after rangefinder adjustment, far away subject
Moskva-5, Acros 100 @ 400 HC-110B

Example after rangefinder adjustment, corner sharpness and film-flatness test.
Moskva-5, Acros 100 @ 400 HC-110B

All in all, I really like the Moskva-5, it's solid, the negatives are huge and it's also pretty fun to walk around with. It's not super heavy and it is also impressively compact when folded, you can slip it into a coat-pocket of the larger kind with no big problems. :)

- Never advance the film, before you are actually going to take a photo. If you advance the film after a shot, close the camera, walk around and open it, the film may have developed slack, the suction-effect from the bellows opening up can also cause slack on the film. So always advance, then take the shot. ^^

- Never use the self-timer with speeds faster than 1/100s, the shutter on this thing is very strong and it's not recommended to use the self-timer with the faster speeds due to the great tension in the mechanism.

- Set your shutter-speed before you wind up the shutter.
I am not sure if you will ruin the camera, but you will strain the shutter if you change your speed after winding up the shutter.

You can read more about the Moskva-5 and the previous versions here:
Alfreds camera page
Matt's classic cameras