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11-27-2009, 10:25 AM   #1
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Jupiter-9 85mm question

I got a Jupiter-9 85mm M42 lens, it's one of the older version with no MC. I tested in both my K2000 and K-x, pictures came out kind of blend, Color was not as rich as other users' Jupiter-9 pictures I saw online. I compare the pictures to my Helios 58mm, the Helios' pictures looks better than the Jupiter. I want to know is there any difference between the MC and No MC version of the Jupiter-9 85mm? Thanx

11-27-2009, 10:30 AM   #2
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I also have the non-MC Jupiter-9 (the chrome one from 1965). It's a copy of the Zeiss Sonnar 85/2 and it was never supposed to be very contrasty and sharp. I also have never been happy with my Jupiter-9, not even with the MC version which I also had, but I really think it only excels at portrait distances. It is not a good all-rounder.
11-27-2009, 10:39 AM   #3
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Never compare to the Helios

First off, let me just say that comparing any lens to the Helios 58 is going to be losing battle... The only hands winners in my eye are the FA 31, FA77 and DA 35 It is the greatest 20 dollar lens ever!

But we really need to see a couple of photos. The larger the better. I do know in some conditions the Jupiter can benefit from a levels/contrast boost in PP.(what lens cant)

Post a couple and lets see how bad it looks.
11-30-2009, 12:48 AM   #4
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My J-9 is pretty soft wide open and can suffer from low contrast at those apertures as well. When I first got the lens, I took it around the neighborhood did a bunch of snapshots. To be honest, they sucked big time. The next time I went out, I added a hood. Immense improvement.

Steve

12-18-2009, 03:16 AM   #5
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I also have one fat black non-MC Jupiter 9; same here that I am not satisfied with the results. But how can people obtain results like this.....

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12-18-2009, 04:08 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by task Quote
I also have one fat black non-MC Jupiter 9; same here that I am not satisfied with the results. But how can people obtain results like this.....
I think there is a lot variation between different copies of this russian gem.

I had non-MC black copy from '72 and it was really good stopped down. Wide open was usable also. Regret a bit selling it.

This is a lens with certain character that you either learn to deal with or not .

My samples around F2-F2.8






12-18-2009, 04:35 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
First off, let me just say that comparing any lens to the Helios 58 is going to be losing battle... The only hands winners in my eye are the FA 31, FA77 and DA 35 It is the greatest 20 dollar lens ever!

But we really need to see a couple of photos. The larger the better. I do know in some conditions the Jupiter can benefit from a levels/contrast boost in PP.(what lens cant)

Post a couple and lets see how bad it looks.
Gus, how bout the 55/1.8?
12-18-2009, 09:23 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by task Quote
I also have one fat black non-MC Jupiter 9; same here that I am not satisfied with the results. But how can people obtain results like this.....
I have generally gotten pretty good results with my J-9, though I do remember being somewhat disappointed during my first couple of sessions (see earlier comment). Here is what I learned:
  • Use a lens hood...always. Even the MC versions are prone to contrast killing flare.
  • Both contrast and sharpness are compromised at f/2 - f/2.8. Things are best at about f/5.6.
  • Be sure of your focus. DOF is quite thin even at f/5.6. Be aware too that the stock focus screen on a Pentax dSLR works poorly for use with faster glass.
  • Be prepared for bizarre results at times with wide dynamic range, color-intense subjects. I have found that the color rendition of the J-9 is best for more subtle subjects.
  • Be aware that many of the photos posted on the Web have been heavily post-processed to boost saturation and contrast. Remember too, that no one posts their crummy shots!
The Jupiter-9 is a fine tool. Keep working with it to find its sweet spots. If you get a chance, try it with film too.

In case, you are interested, here is a link to a few of my J-9 shots. The are not as intense as the example you posted, but again, subtle color is the Jups strong point.
Flickr: Search sbrothers55's photostream
Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 12-20-2009 at 10:33 PM.
12-18-2009, 09:40 AM   #9
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For the life of me I can't remember where I put my Jupiter 9 :P It's certainly a lens you need to help a bit to get the best results. A hood is a must. But, you know, don't be afraid to do what most people do: increase contrast and saturation in PP to fit your taste!

The focal length is a bit weird on APS-C, I think. What Jupiter 9 used to be for, Helios 44 is for now. And it's terrific
12-18-2009, 10:04 AM   #10
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I think Steve's list of do's and don'ts is a good start.

I have been toying at putting to gether an M42 kit, and have 5 lenses so far

Vivitar 28mm F2.5, SMC Tak 35 F2, SMC Tak 50mm F4 macro, helios 44 (55mm F2) and a super tak 85 F1.9.

I am now shopping for lens hoods because even the super tak suffers a little from loss of contrast. the best by far is the smc tak 35F2, but I will be shopping as I said for hoods on all of them to cut flair.

A while back there was a thread showing the improvement on an SMC-F 50mm F1.4 with a hood, it really is a must.
12-18-2009, 10:55 AM   #11
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I forgot... A Hood is a must

I forgot to mention that a hood really helps this lens. That front glass really likes to be shaded.

And Pentaxor... I should have put the S-M-C tak 55 1.8 on that list too... I was tootin' the Helios horn a bit too carelessly there.
12-19-2009, 09:07 AM   #12
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In the very first place, the J-9 is a portrait lens.

Like that, NOT saturated colors. Only subtles and delicated tones. In the portraits with that saturated colors, the model is showed like a macro of a bee.

Not with this lens, gentlemen. And in B&W, the portraits are really beauties.

Second. Do you want sharp portraits? Well, use the J-9 in F/5,6 and 8. More sharp? Buy Leica or Zeiss. Are they so expensive? Well, again, use the J-9 at F/5,6-8.

Third. The images taken with the j-9 are yellowish and you don't like it? Well, with PP not problem. Well, you don't like PP. Are you sure that not use PP with the rest of your lenses? If you use it in minimal with any lens, why not with the J-9. Any prejudice ?

Forth. Are you looking for the 3D portraits? Well, here not for the J-9. The sonnar formula lost in 3 D character in front of the planar design. Leica or Zeiss are the winners here.

Rino.
12-20-2009, 07:33 PM   #13
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I do believe the sample variations is very wide of this lens. There are sample pictures of rather sharp f2 pictures on the next as well as very soft ones (mine falls into the latter). The J9 is truly a quirky lens some shots can be real good, while others turn out to be too soft (used too wide) or have too sharp backgrounds (too small an aperture and too near backgrounds).
12-20-2009, 10:29 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
I do believe the sample variations is very wide of this lens...
That is the reputation, though it should be remembered that this lens has been in production for about 60 years in multiple mounts and multiple types of construction and intended for use on both 35mm and MF cameras. About the only constants have been the optical formula, maximum aperture, and focal length. Many of these lenses suffered from extremely variable build quality, particularly the 39mm thread mount models. There is also the problem with faulty repair attempts on these mechanically complicated designs.

Current Jupiter-9 production is limited to one plant (LZOS), one physical design (simple focus helicoid, pre-set aperture), and one mount (M42). (Someone correct me if I am wrong...are the Kiev versions still being made at the Arsenal plant?) Current lenses are multi-coated (barely) and seem to have pretty consistent quality control at this point of history. (I know...JJJPhoto's review on this site indicates differently...but his lens was an older model) It seems like the good folk at Lytkarino have figured it out. (They better have...current pricing, factory direct, is $240 USD. I only paid $85 in spring of 1985.)

The reason I say this is that those of us using the lens on this site seem to be getting pretty consistent results. Soft wide open with great bokeh along with consistent sharpness at f/4 and narrower with good contrast and few aberrations. There is also this matter of the incredible rendering of subtle colors and textures.

So, to the OP...Use your lens. Practice makes perfect and the J-9 will deliver once you learn its sweet spots.

Steve
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