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04-03-2008, 10:45 PM   #1
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The Jupiter-9 has finally arrived

It had been almost a month since I ordered it from rugift.com, but my new Jupiter-9 85mm f/2 finally arrived this last Tuesday. As expected, it came in a box with string binding and lots of Cyrillic writing on the labels.

I was a bit disturbed by the packing method. Inside were about three pages of crumpled Russian newspaper and the OPEN plastic display case with the lens manual stuffed inside. The case, the base for the case and the lens itself were loose and separate inside the box. Since the base serves as the rear lens cap, the rear element apparently managed the trip exposed to the world. The lens was quite dusty and covered overall by a thin coating of some sort of black sooty material.

I set about to clean the dust and soot off. Once that was done, everything looked a lot better. There were no scratches on the rear element despite its naked ride. The general construction of the lens is pretty sturdy and the level of finish is surprisingly good. The satin black enamel is evenly applied and all surfaces are smooth and well-finished. The only exception being the dabs of black paint applied over the set screws for the focus and pre-set rings. Both the focus and aperture mechanisms worked smoothly with no binding or roughness. (Very stiff, but smooth none-the-less.)

While the lens is supposed to be multi-coated, the coating on the front element must be really subtle. You can see that the inner and rear elements are coated, but the front reflects clean, white light. While the coatings probably help reduce flare, my initial test shots in bright sunlight show that a hood is indicated. Speaking of the front element...it is one heck of a big piece of glass and has rather little protection from the lens body (shallow setting). Gazing past the front element into lens itself, the 16 curved diaphragm blades are visible in all their glory. As with all J-9's, mine has light-colored metal blades. A few on my copy have a slight smear of what appears to be oil.

My initial and lasting impression is that the lens is on the heavy side. Not particularly bulky, but definitely dense. The combination of mass and the stiffness of the controls makes taking pictures a ponderous exercise. Both focusing and changing/actuating the aperture requires two opposing fingers on the rings. No quick flicking of the aperture pre-set ring on this baby! The focus movement from 0.8m to infinity requires about 300 degrees of viscous arc.

Typical of most screw-mount lenses, metering on the K10D is inaccurate at wider apertures. The J-9 allows for stop-down metering in both AV and manual modes with both modes showing a distinct tendency to underexpose at apertures wider than f/5.6. (At f/2 the bias is about 2.5 stops!) The photographer should use caution regardless of mode to avoid entry of light through the viewfinder window when metering! Apparently, once the lens is stopped down, the light entering the prism from the back may become much more significant. I was working on the tripod and taking my eye away from the camera for the exposure. Imagine my surprise when f/8 at 1/30th second exposure in AV mode became 1/250th second when I moved back from the camera.

Now for the moment you have all been waiting for...Ta-Da!...the optical performance! Once I got the hang of working the aperture pre-set and focusing with the limited depth-of-field, I can report that I am pretty pleased with the results. The J-9's bokeh lives up to its reputation...smooth, smooth, smooth. The J-9 is definitely soft wide open and remains so at f/2.8. Acceptable sharpness begins at f/4 and becomes impressive at f/5.6 - f/16. That being said, I must note that decreased contrast due to flare can take the edge off that sharpness. Color rendition is really impressive. I usually don't gush, but I love the Jupiter's rendition of both subtle and garish tones.

Below are a few test shots from my back yard under diffuse daylight:

f/4 full-image, no post-processing:



100% crop from the above:



f/8 full-image, no post-processing:



100% crop from the above:



The images suffered a little from the reduction and jpeg conversion, but I think the results are acceptable.

New Jupiter-9 shopping list:
  • Lens hood
  • Rear lens cap
  • Snap-on front lens cap



Last edited by stevebrot; 04-04-2008 at 12:17 AM.
04-04-2008, 12:29 AM   #2
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I think this review is pretty much spot on. Although I think my copy is sharp enough by f/2.8; maybe I just don't ask for much

Oh, you did forget to mention that these lenses are standard issue for military photographers in Russia. That's because they can survive a nuclear explosion, or if a soldier runs out of ammo he can hurl the lens at the enemy.

Here's a shot I took this week, at f/16:



And what the hell is up with that rear cap!?!? It's crazy! Mine was a gift, so it came without the plastic bell-jar that gives the rear cap a "reaon to be", like the French say.
04-04-2008, 01:08 AM   #3
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I like mine too. Bought about 10 years ago for my Praktica BC3.

The colors are just beautiful. The bokeh (or, whatever you call it) is exceptional.
Metering on digital bodies is problematic.
Getting used to the use takes time.
A hood is required.
Once you understand the lens and the body's response to it, you can make excellent photos with this duo.

An expert local camera repairman (+20 years of experience) said finding some grease on the blades is NORMAL for this lens; and that should NOT be cleaned. That is why I write this message...
04-04-2008, 03:11 AM   #4
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When the website says that the Jupiter-9's "intended for black and white photography" I take it they mean it's single-coated?

04-04-2008, 07:37 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
When the website says that the Jupiter-9's "intended for black and white photography" I take it they mean it's single-coated?
From the rugift.com Web site:
MC JUPITER-9 2/85 (manual diaphragm) Lens is intended for black-and-white and colour photography, used to take close-ups, in poor-lighting conditions, and for portrait work.

From the LZOS (manufacturer) Web site:
MC Jupiter lens is applied for any type of camera with a proper ring adaptor to M42x1 thread used to take close-ups, in poor-lighting conditions, and for portrait work. Allows making photo pictures from long distances at reduced illumination and at quick movement of an object. MC Jupiter lens is very useful at investigating reports. Special multilayer antireflection coatings at optical elements increase the light transmission; decrease the light dispersion; raise the contrast of a photo object.

The MC version of the lens is multi-coated, but I think the coating is reserved for other than the front element. Older versions are single coated and it is my understanding is that is true for all J-9's (except the MC version) back to the early 1950's.

Last edited by stevebrot; 04-04-2008 at 06:35 PM.
04-04-2008, 07:39 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by bc_the_path Quote

An expert local camera repairman (+20 years of experience) said finding some grease on the blades is NORMAL for this lens; and that should NOT be cleaned...
Thanks for the comment/advice! I was thinking that was probably the case.

Steve
04-04-2008, 10:51 AM   #7
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Steve,

I will write to James and ask about where he gets the matching lens hood. The lens hood is on 49mm and a cap cover for the lens hood is 58mm. The lens hood adds beauty to the already unique lens and it works really well together. I actually have a 58mm Tamron clip on lens cap and it works wonderfully with lens + lens hood.




The drilled hole doesn't secure the lens in place.
I failed in the 1st attempt to convert it to K mounted lens
I use Pentax Genuine adapter with the lens
How to convert Pentax M42 to K mount lens - Hin's Tech Corner



forget aperture (likely f/4.0 or f/8.0)


very soft at f/2.0
but I like the bokeh and softness in the shot


my mistake on focus with a moving boy
still very soft at f/2.0


Jupiter9 85mm f/2.0 Test Shots - Hin's Tech Corner

Last edited by hinman; 04-04-2008 at 11:01 AM.
04-04-2008, 11:21 AM   #8
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My version is probably over 10 years old, and all the blades are oily. As they don't have to move quickly, it's not an issue. I do wish the rings were a little less stiff, though; my fingers are starting to get overly muscular...

04-04-2008, 11:47 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by hinman Quote
Steve,

I will write to James and ask about where he gets the matching lens hood. The lens hood is on 49mm and a cap cover for the lens hood is 58mm. The lens hood adds beauty to the already unique lens and it works really well together. I actually have a 58mm Tamron clip on lens cap and it works wonderfully with lens + lens hood.
Hey hinman and all,
The lens hood was just a generic telephoto lens hood sold by a seller named Heavystar. He sells a lot of lens accessories like caps and hoods.

Here's one of his eBay listings for the hood:
New! Metal Tele 49mm Screw-in Lens Hood - eBay (item 140180272329 end time Apr-14-08 17:07:36 PDT)

The end of the hood is 58mm so I just used a generic 58mm cap that I had lying around. That way, I wouldn't have to remove the hood to cap the lens.
04-04-2008, 11:49 AM   #10
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James, thanks a bunch.

Warmest regards,
Hin
04-04-2008, 12:16 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by igowerf Quote
The lens hood was just a generic telephoto lens hood sold by a seller named Heavystar...
Thank you. I have seen this merchant's listings on eBay and will probably get one from him.
04-04-2008, 04:56 PM   #12
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Nice! This is next on my list...I love Russian lenses

It's a little long for a portrait lens on digital, but if you use film it should be nice. The bokeh is something else and I quite enjoy f/2-2.8 with my Helios 44, producing similar results
04-04-2008, 08:21 PM   #13
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I tested the lens at f/2.8 around sunset and unlike my initial impressions, the images from 2.8 onward seem to sharpen up a bit, some flower test shots with a bit of wind earlier



All test shots at f/2.8











I enjoy the color and soft bokeh from this lens. But for those who really get interested in this lens, be warned of all the caveats:
  • The lens is quite difficult to use due to stiff focusing ring
  • Focus throw is a complete turn and it can get frustrating to focus
  • Two aperture rings making it awkward to get something setup quickly
  • I find myself turning the lens loose frequently from the adapter due to stiffness in the focus ring
  • The front part is big piece of glass and subject to lens flare, a lens hood is required. The latest has the multi coating but a lens hood is necessary, I think
  • Many copies including mine and that of Miserere have oil have blades. Mine has a little oil on the back
  • Metering tend to underexpose in my K100D and I dial in +Ev in Av mode and adjust shutter in stop-down metering in M mode
  • Jupiter9 85mm f/2.0 Test & Impressions

A picture of the lens along with Pentax K 45-125 on the left, a Pentax M42 105mm f/2.8 in the middle the the Jupiter9 on the right with the hood on


Jupiter on the right


Jupiter on the left


Last edited by hinman; 04-04-2008 at 09:22 PM.
04-04-2008, 09:18 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by igowerf Quote
Hey hinman and all,
The lens hood was just a generic telephoto lens hood sold by a seller named Heavystar. He sells a lot of lens accessories like caps and hoods.

Here's one of his eBay listings for the hood:
New! Metal Tele 49mm Screw-in Lens Hood - eBay (item 140180272329 end time Apr-14-08 17:07:36 PDT)

The end of the hood is 58mm so I just used a generic 58mm cap that I had lying around. That way, I wouldn't have to remove the hood to cap the lens.
O/T... anyone know if this hood will vignette on a FA50?
04-04-2008, 09:57 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by benplaut Quote
O/T... anyone know if this hood will vignette on a FA50?
The same vendor has a hood for a "normal" lens that is not as deep for a little less money.

New! Metal 49mm Standard Screw-in Lens Hood - eBay (item 130191611828 end time Apr-18-08 22:50:38 PDT)

Last edited by stevebrot; 04-04-2008 at 10:12 PM.
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