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01-12-2012, 10:30 PM   #1
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Need help... Jupiter 9 85mm f2

Dear All,

I'm back looking for opinions that could help me decide on this lens.

I am currently completing my Ultimate Lens Line-Up (based on the focals that i may need in the future).

I already have the:
CZ Flektogon 35mm 2.4
SMC K 55mm 1.8
Revuenon 55mm 1.2
Jupiter 37A 135mm 3.5
Vivitar (Komine) 200mm 3.5
Tamron 28-75 2.8

I have the chance to get the SMC Takumar 28mm 3.5 first version (49mm thread) tonight.

The only thing that's missing is a focal between 55mm and 135mm where the 85mm pops-up...

I will mainly use this lens for portraits (i've read that this lens is Not Good at all as all-purpose but can keep up with other 85's for portraits.
Please give me your opinions about this lens (I think I like its bokeh and portrait shots)

After these two, i think Im done with my list...

Thanks in advance...

01-13-2012, 12:05 AM   #2
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The J-9 seems to be a crapshoot. Mine is pretty much unusable at f/2 and great from f/4 onwards. I have seen wide-open shots of this lens that were excellent even wide open, but you may have to go through a few copies to find one. You might want to consider the Tak 105/2.8 as an alternative to a 85mm for filling the gap, especially since the Tamron already gets you pretty close at 75mm.

I also have the SMC Takumar 28/3.5, which is not one of my favorites either, I must say. My Super-Takumar 35/3.5 is definitely better.

QuoteOriginally posted by HoBykoYan Quote
After these two, i think Im done with my list...
Famous last words.

Last edited by Ikarus; 01-13-2012 at 12:34 AM.
01-13-2012, 01:27 AM   #3
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J9 is just not 100% reliable as an all round and portrait lens.
For fun and special effects its ~ok~ (provided its cheap, which it used to be)
Mine was very soft at f2 and usable from f2.8 onwards, but certainly better off being used at f4 and above.

I'd suggest looking at the M85/2, K85/1.9, A85/1.4 or the Tak 85/1.8 or Tak 85/1.9 if you want Pentax
Otherwise, the Samyang 85/1.4 is pretty well received by many, though personally, I see more 'oomph!' on the Pentax lenses.
If you want AF and some of the best 85/1.4, look for the FA*85 or new Sigma 85/1.4
01-13-2012, 03:13 AM   #4
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@Ikarus
Thanks for your suggestion. Im considering this since its much cheaper than other 85's but am afraid the copy is crappy...
I do have a Super Tak 35 3.5 before but I like the CZ 35 better. I will only use the SMC Tak 28 for the sole purpose of landscapes...

@Pinhole
others are way too expensive. I might consider 100-105 focals

01-13-2012, 03:52 AM   #5
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I like my J9 at all apertures, but I'm going blind, so don't trust me there.

Other glass in that neighborhood that I use and like are all manual-focus:

* Nikkor 85/2 that I simply modified to PK mount. Great lens. Always with me.
* Vivitar-Komine 90/2.9 macro (M42). Seen in various brands. Even greater lens.
* Meyer Trioplan 100/2.8 (M42). Demand may have driven prices out of range.
* Super-Takumar 105/2.8 (M42). Some hate it, I don't know why. I love it.

Bargain glass in that range is scarce. 90mm AF macros are well-liked, as is the aforementioned Samyang 85/1.4. Good luck!
01-13-2012, 04:32 AM   #6
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J9 is like Russian roulette, if you find a good copy, it's just awesome from f2. I sold all my MF lenses except this - it's just special. Pre-1990 black copy are known to be better than post 1990 and silver copies.
01-13-2012, 05:23 AM - 1 Like   #7
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The Jupiter-9 is one of the most underrated MF lenses available imo. And one of the reasons I think it doesn't get the respect it deserves is mainly due to it's price. Having said that, I think alot of people misinterpret the lenses purpose by categorizing it as an all around lens which end-up giving it a bad wrap.

From my own experiences(having owned three copies), I'd say there are no such things as a bad Jupiter-9(unless its damaged). Though I'd differentiate between the optical characteristics of the black and silver editions. And that's where the MC coated versions produce a sort of soft glowing effect wide open whereas the silver(usually older) do not do this. Which really comes down to ones shooting preferences.

Whatever the case, sharp or soft, if you're serious about portrait shooting, then you'll want to give this lens a look.

Black Jupiter-9, 85mm, most all taken wide open(f/2)














Hope this helps.

Last edited by JohnBee; 01-13-2012 at 06:07 AM.
01-13-2012, 11:52 AM   #8
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I only have one copy of the J-9, and I think it is a brilliant lens. I think that in most cases where people complain about it, they focus not precise enough. 85mm @f/2 gives a very shallow DoF, and with the not so bright viewfinders in our dSLRs.... Look at the 'bad' photos made with this lens, and you will see focus is off in most cases....

So, I'm with RioRico and JohnBee in this one: get one, get accustomed to it, and you will love it....

01-13-2012, 12:47 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
Mine was very soft at f2 and usable from f2.8 onwards, but certainly better off being used at f4 and above.
Here's an example of how the black MC Jupiter-9 softness can be beneficial wide open:

01-13-2012, 01:09 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rense Quote
I only have one copy of the J-9, and I think it is a brilliant lens. I think that in most cases where people complain about it, they focus not precise enough.
I wish! I have given my J-9 the benefit of the doubt for the longest time, until I discovered that what shows as a glow or halo at f/2 in the shorter range, manifests itself as line doubling with the individual lines being sharply resolved when focusing on distant objects. I'll check whether I've kept one of those shots.

I've heard people say that the soft glow was designed into the lens on purpose at some point, because it was in fashion in the 80s and customers asked for it, but I'm not sure this is true.

Last edited by Ikarus; 01-13-2012 at 03:10 PM.
01-13-2012, 01:24 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ikarus Quote
I wish! I have given my J-9 the benefit of the doubt for the longest time, until I discovered that what manifests itself as a glow or halo at f/2 in the shorter range manifests itself as visible line doubling with the individual lines being sharply resolved when focusing on distant objects. I'll check whether I've kept one of those shots.

I've heard people say that the soft glow was designed into the lens on purpose at some point, because it was in fashion in the 80s and customers asked for it, but I'm not sure this is true.
There is a fairly good Jupiter-9 test thread over at mflenses.com at which the op tests three of the most common variants(Newer black MC, and older silver and black copies). But perhaps the best example of the often acclaimed softness is demonstrated in this example:



Anyways, you can read all about it in this thread: Comparing MY Jupiter-9 85mm f2 silver, black & black MC
01-13-2012, 02:07 PM   #12
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there are a lot of options at 85mm, depending on how deep your pockets are.

I have a super takumar 85mm F1.9 (there are also 85mm F1.8's and both F1.8 and F1.9 in SMC Taks as well as an 83mm takumar preset)

I also have the Samyang (AKA vivitar) 84mmF1.4 which comes in KA mount.

there is also a jupiter 85mmF1.5, a Zeiss 85mmF1.4 and the K 84F1.8 and M85F2.

In AF there are the FA 85F1.4 and sitma's 85mmF1.4

it is actually much more useable than on film, and is a great lens for candid people shots in the city, although it gets competition from many zooms in that focal length as well
01-13-2012, 03:14 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
There is a fairly good Jupiter-9 test thread over at mflenses.com at which the op tests three of the most common variants(Newer black MC, and older silver and black copies). But perhaps the best example of the often acclaimed softness is demonstrated in this example:



Anyways, you can read all about it in this thread: Comparing MY Jupiter-9 85mm f2 silver, black & black MC
Thank you for this! If it looked like the top one, I'd have no reason to complain, but mine is like the bottom one.
01-13-2012, 03:49 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ikarus Quote
Thank you for this! If it looked like the top one, I'd have no reason to complain, but mine is like the bottom one.
I also have the bottom version(MC) and that's the lens I took the image of the cat with. And so my advice would be to make the best of it. However if you push your arperture ahead a notch(2.8), you'll see that it sharpens-up very nicely.
01-13-2012, 05:02 PM   #15
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the J-9 would do just fine for your intended use.

I disagree with the notion that the J-9 is unusable at wide open. actually it might if you got a lemon. mine was decently sharp at f2 but not as sharp as other 85s. what I like about it is it's character rendering that is somehow reminiscent of old/vintage portrait lenses. vintage colour and subtleness, unusual looking bokeh. I advice people to use a good hood with this lens if you want to get great results.

M85 is a better all-arounder. it has the typical Pentax color, vibrant and great bokeh. great for B&W shots and really sharp. just be careful shooting with this at f2 coz the colour blooming can really be a bitch.

Samyang 85/1.4 is very good as well. great smooth bokeh. sharp lens although lacks a bit of contrast. CA is very well controlled and shoots at f1.4. very bright lens. colors are good but not as great as that of Pentax. warning, this lens can be heavy and really big. plus the manual focus feel is not as good as the other two previous lenses. if you need the extra speed, this is the lens to go.
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