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11-06-2011, 05:28 PM   #1
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Russian Lenses: Advice requested.

I am considering the purchase of Russian lenses. Does anyone have advice to offer with respect to any of the following. Particularly best factories and years. I understand that Russian lens coating got better as the years went by but do not have any srs clue as to which year changes mattered.

300mm f1:3.5 photosniper. Best currently seen example:
M42 Zenith 12S Kit 300mm Tair-3S Complete | eBay
It's above my price range at this time.

85mm f1:2.0 Jupiter 9. This is high on my list. Years? Factories?

35mm f1:2.0 Mir 24N. The question is whether it is close enough to M42 to work on a Pentax DSLR. Example:
MC Mir-24 2/35mm russian lens M42 screw mount for Zenit Pentax M Praktica - EXC! | eBay
It is obvious that it has a slide diaphragm rather than a pin and that the N is for Nikon. These commonly come in a plastic bubble box with a Nikon base. It appears that the screw thread is M42 and that it would not work on a Spotmatic. Has any one had practical experience with a Mir 24N on a Pentax DSLR.

There is also the Mir 20 but I cant find any current examples.

Peace?
aoeu

11-06-2011, 06:24 PM   #2
Ole
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Perhaps you could find some answers in the Soviet Lens Club forum:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/31430-soviet-lenses-club.html

Anything called M42 ought to fit a Pentax DSLR with the Pentax M42/K adapter.

Last edited by Ole; 11-06-2011 at 06:30 PM.
11-06-2011, 06:47 PM   #3
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Ozzy_mate

I'm not sure why you are specifically looking at shooting with Russian lenses but I do own the 300mm Tair lens you mentioned. It is a fine lens with a nice creamy bokeh. There are a couple of shots taken of a small bird on my site at : Natural Beauty | Electric Paint Phography with this lens. It is quite sharp, however, it is very unusual in it's mode of operation as there is a screw under the lens that is rotated in order to focus. The other factor is that the operation being cumbersome makes the lens very difficult to use for fast moving subjects such as birds and small animals as well as photographing sport. I don't own the Jupiter 9 but for the 85mm focal length I would recommend the Korean Rokinon F1.4 85mm as a modern alternative. It is an A lens not an AF but can produce excellent results.
11-07-2011, 06:56 AM   #4
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Thank you Ozzy_mate.

11-07-2011, 06:59 AM   #5
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@Ole

My question regarding the Mir24N is whether it is in fact an M42 lens. As delivered it appears to be one with a non standard diaphragm mechanism that has a Nikon adapter from the factory.
11-07-2011, 08:33 PM   #6
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I don't know the Mir24, but it appears it has been manufactured both with M42 and bayonet mounts: Krasnogorsky Zavod -- Фототехника -- Объективы -- Мир-24

Information on Jupiter 9 can be found here: Krasnogorsky Zavod -- НТЦ -- Архив -- Объектив Юпитер-9.

I have the J-9 - there are old silver ones and newer multicoated black ones. The old silver ones are reputed to be sharper. The black ones have a soft effect wide open (mine has it at f/2 and f/2.8). One forum member found a black copy that was actually sharp, so there are exceptions too.

I reviewed the Jupiter and other Russian lenses on my blog. Of all old glass that I tried, the Russian lenses had the most predictable optical characteristics and I have never been disappointed by them. I wouldn't worry that much about their years of production. Coatings only got better on some models like the Helios-44 whose design was refined many times, but there were drawbacks too - lenses got fewer aperture blades and the rendering of OOF areas is subtly affected too. Even the better coatings are not close to SMC quality, so it's all rather moot.

A more important point is that some of the older lenses may have been disassembled and reassembled improperly by their owners - this has probably also caused the impression of QC issues with Russian manufacturing. Another issue is that focusing may be stiff due to lack of use. These issues aside, these are the sturdiest lenses I've seen. Check this shot of a lens I banged on cement to get off a stuck hood - and this is an image taken with the lens later.
11-08-2011, 02:08 AM   #7
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Tair 300A is a better option versus the PhotoSnaiper version. For a start it's a straight M42 mount preset lens without a need to mess around with all the extra fixtures that the PS version has for use with the dedicated Zenit camera.
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