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03-03-2013, 01:01 PM   #1
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Jupiter-9 85/2 -- okay, what am I missing here?

I was collecting some of my less desirable lenses for sale and looking up how much things were going for when I noticed that the SLR version of the Jupiter-9 85/2.0 is fetching about $150 on eBay. WHY!? It's a terrible lens. Maybe it has something to offer if you are going for a ethereal kind of feel, but otherwise its best use is as a paperweight. Well, mine is. Maybe I have a bum copy? My husband seems to think its 'character' serves as a bit of a redeeming point, but it's also a pain and a half to shoot with. It requires two adapters -- 39 to M42 to K -- and it is hard to focus without the mount becoming loose. I'm all for old lenses and just shot with my sweet little darling of a M42 Super-Takumar 55mm 2.0, but in regards to the Jupiter.... why?

EDIT: The $150 eBay'ed lenses were the 39 SLR mount and silver, like mine -- not the more desirable M42 and/or newer black model. Also, these were completed listings.


Last edited by jesssss; 03-03-2013 at 01:14 PM.
03-03-2013, 01:18 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by jesssss Quote
>> the SLR version of the Jupiter-9 85/2.0 is fetching about $150 on eBay. WHY!?
>>Maybe I have a bum copy?


My M39 J-9 is up for sale for more than the price you see on ebay...partly because it's a decent copy, partly because I wouldn't be sad if I couldn't sell it




Post some pics from yours, let's see what you're working with
03-03-2013, 01:21 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote


My M39 J-9 is up for sale for more than the price you see on ebay...partly because it's a decent copy, partly because I wouldn't be sad if I couldn't sell it




Post some pics from yours, let's see what you're working with
Geeeeez, that's downright respectable. I'll go fetch the poor thing from its corner and take some sample shots. The ones I have handy don't give it a fair shake.
03-03-2013, 01:26 PM   #4
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You probably have a bad copy, but it also sounds like you're using the version that was made for Russian Leica clones that use a copy of the Leica (M39) screw mount and not the version made for Russian SLRs that use a copy of the Pentax M42 mount. I might be wrong, but I'm almost certain the registration distance (flange focal distance) between the Russian M39 and M42 cameras is different (and so the optics in the M39 and M42 versions of the Jupiter 9 would be different) ... which would result in focus issues.

I took this shot with a native M42 Jupiter 9 lens back when I was shooting with the old Pentax *ist DL. I'm pretty sure the aperture was either f/2.8 or f/4 (those are the apertures I used most of the times indoors with flash and that lens). I don't use mine much anymore but I've always felt the Jupiter 9 is a great lens.



03-03-2013, 01:41 PM - 1 Like   #5
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You could sell it to me, I won't complain
03-03-2013, 01:47 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JJJPhoto Quote
You probably have a bad copy, but it also sounds like you're using the version that was made for Russian Leica clones that use a copy of the Leica (M39) screw mount and not the version made for Russian SLRs that use a copy of the Pentax M42 mount. I might be wrong, but I'm almost certain the registration distance (flange focal distance) between the Russian M39 and M42 cameras is different (and so the optics in the M39 and M42 versions of the Jupiter 9 would be different) ... which would result in focus issues.

I took this shot with a native M42 Jupiter 9 lens back when I was shooting with the old Pentax *ist DL. I'm pretty sure the aperture was either f/2.8 or f/4 (those are the apertures I used most of the times indoors with flash and that lens). I don't use mine much anymore but I've always felt the Jupiter 9 is a great lens.
There are two M39 versions. The Leica M39 version and the Zenit M39 version. Zenit M39 was for SLRs, the focal flange distance is 45.2mm, so a little shorter than M42. Zenit switched to M42 in the late '60s.
03-03-2013, 02:42 PM   #7
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This is the SLR version (I call it the "hand grenade" since it weighs like 2lbs and is almost round )

03-03-2013, 02:49 PM   #8
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Once I managed to get a sharp shot, it doesn't look so bad. The problem seems to be in that I had to shoot two dozen frames to get it, even with the camera on a tripod, since the pressure needed to turn the focus ring is greater than the pressure needed to unmount the lens from the camera. Counter pressure is needed and I'm not sure how I would do that if I was also holding the camera. I need three very large hands. But the bokeh is nice...



03-03-2013, 02:56 PM   #9
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And the brute itself:

03-03-2013, 08:00 PM   #10
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Mine's a 'semi-lemon'.
Sometimes it works pretty nice (often at f2.8 and higher).
Wide open, its like playing Russian roulette with images ranging from 'special'/characterful to plain junk.

I know its my copy cause I've seen nice samples from others here in various posts.
Too bad the bad ones are all too common to risk money on nowadays.
In the past when they were worth next to nothing, I'd recommend risking it to try, but not at the $150 or more now.


J9 on good days





Personally, I'd recommend ppl to plonk up a bit more for the various 85mm that Pentax produced or the Samyang 85/1.4.
Much more dependable and sharp from wide open.
The J9 never sharpens up as much to match.

Tak 85/1.9


03-03-2013, 09:03 PM   #11
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Jupiter-9 prices have been on the rise for the last five years or so...pretty much ever since some pretty wonderful photos taken with that lens were posted on this site and other places on the Web. Since then the J-9 has become something of a cult classic.

I have this lens in both M42 (black, recent, and multi-coated) and in Contax/Kiev (silver, vintage, and single-coated) and both are capable of very nice images, though I might add that it is not an easy lens to work with or to like. For best results, a hood is strongly recommended. Shooting wide open is only recommended if you intentionally want low contrast or need the wide aperture for low light. Due to limited depth-of-field, critical focus is difficult without some sort of focus aid in the viewfinder.

Cult classic or craftsman's tool? Or both? My testament is that I have no desire to sell mine. It has been a good tool and I am happy to have it in my bag.














Steve
03-03-2013, 09:08 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jesssss Quote
since the pressure needed to turn the focus ring is greater than the pressure needed to unmount the lens from the camera.
Sounds like your lens needs to be re-lubed. The grease the Russians used turns into a waxy consistency with time. From the examples you posted, it looks like yours might be worth servicing.


Steve
03-03-2013, 09:19 PM - 2 Likes   #13
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Vintage lenses are special.

And I say that in the sense that lenses such as; Jupiters and the Helios' have most likely made their claim to fame based on their characteristics. Which isn't to say that they do everything perfectly. In fact... I don't think I've ever seen a perfect lens period. Though there's no denying that these lenses have made their claim to fame for some reason or another. ie. I have four favorite Russian lenses in my stash that do something wonderful. And the beauty of that is where I reach for one when the right opportunity presents itself. Was it worth spending thousands of dollars buying and trying lenses to find the perfect copy? Well, that answer will no doubt vary, though my answer would be, yes, absolutely!



I love my copy of Jupiter-9. I purchased many models(manufacturer dates and types) to get it.
And I suppose that just adds to the overall value of finding that perfect lens.

PS. I payed $280.00 + shipping for a silver J-9 that turned-out to be a dud. The seller was very remorseful and offered to set things straight by shipping his own personal copy(black 73). He promised it would be worth the wait and that if I wasn't happy that he's refund the entire affair back to me. And he was right. The lens was spectacular.

Hope this helps.
03-04-2013, 01:57 PM   #14
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Lovely picture
03-04-2013, 02:18 PM   #15
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Yes, there are some great images here ... J
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