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Jupiter-37A 135mm f/3.5

Sharpness 
 9.2
Aberrations 
 8.7
Bokeh 
 8.8
Handling 
 8.2
Value 
 9.6
Reviews Views Date of last review
21 123,105 Thu March 28, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $56.11 9.00
Jupiter-37A 135mm f/3.5

Jupiter-37A 135mm f/3.5
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Jupiter-37A 135mm f/3.5
supersize
Jupiter-37A 135mm f/3.5
supersize

Description:
Another of the "sonnar" like 135mm's from the former USSR. Made most commonly by KOMZ, also KMZ factories. Variants include a multi-coated "MC" version and a "K" version with PK mount. More info here (google translate from russian).


Mount: swappable Russian variant t-mount, typically comes with M42
Preset aperture: operation is a little finicky (reviewer Biulazz) "...turn ring at F22, pull the ring towards the body, turn to the desired preset aperture and release; use it as a normal Preset Aperture ring; then pull again and turn at F22 to cancel preset..."
Multi-coated and non-multi-coated versions
Min focus distance: 120mm
Max aperture: 3.5
Min aperture: 22
Metal construction
Weight (410g ~ 14.5 oz)
Filter size: 52mm
Lens construction: 4 elements in 3 groups
Manufacturer: Kazan Optical-Mechanical Factory (KOMZ)

There are some diligent comparisons of these east Bloc sonnars:
135mm sonnar lenses tested
East bloc 135mm Sonnars comparison
Mount Type: M42 Screwmount
Price History:



Add Review of Jupiter-37A 135mm f/3.5
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New Member

Registered: March, 2019
Location: Ontario
Posts: 11

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 28, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: very sharp, good micro-contrast, natural colour rendition, smooth bokeh, little to no lateral CA, 12 aperture blades, sturdy and durable, easy to repair, good value, impeccable performance on APS-C, lightweight and compact, single-ring preset aperture
Cons: some purple fringing, axial CA, short plastic hood
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony a6300   

Mine is the single-coated version, with a beautiful violet and amber tint.
Mine came in perfect optical and mechanical condition. Focusing is the smoothest I've ever seen. The lens is built like a tank, though the paint is not very durable. The front element is uncoated, making it much more resistant against scratches. The lens is lightweight and compact. Unfortunately, it only focuses down to under 1.2m, compared to the 1.0m of the Jupiter 11a. The lens hood is a disappointment, it's cheap and plasticky, and half the depth of the premium-feeling one on the Jupiter-11a. Interestingly, the hood is still quite sufficient for me.
Optically, this lens is impressive. It's sharp, with good micro-contrast. Colours are natural, warm, and comfortably rendered, as is with all Soviet single-coated optics. Lateral CA is nonexistent, though there is some purple fringing and noticeable axial CA. Compared with my Zeiss Jena 135mm f3.5, it is just as sharp, with similar CA and fringing. It is slightly less contrasty, though personally, I find myself liking the colours and mechanics of this lens a lot more. It is not as critically sharp as my Jupiter-11a mainly due to an increase in axial CA(it's still sharp enough to max out the resolution of my a6300), but flares less.
All in all, this lens performs very admirably and has a nice, rounded character to it. This is my favourite walk-around 135mm lens.
Now for sample photos!
Geese, all shot wide open. Sorry for the colours, I shoot in AdobeRGB, which Chrome seems to hate. Please view with a properly colour-managed browser.










American robins. Shot wide open on a dreary day


   
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2018
Location: Lyon / Rennes
Posts: 39
Lens Review Date: December 7, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Quite sharp, incredibly small, lightweight (for a full metal lens), solid, swappable mount.
Cons: stepless diaphragm ring (good for video, but for photography I prefer clicks), "only" f/3.5
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K30   

A nice lens !

I had it for almost a year now and I'm very happy with it. (I have the MC version with cyrillic name, which make the lens rarer and more expensive)

I use it mainly for portraits. It's sharp, with a resolution of 44/30. The bokeh is nice, round and smooth. The lens itself is very small for a 135mm and quite lightweight, considering it's only metal. (more or less 380 grams). The mount shank can be changed, but the only adapters I found to be fitting is the ones from Kood. (images down below). There is multiple versions of this lens, there's the Jupiter 37A, MC Jupiter 37A, Jupiter 37AM, MC Jupiter 37AM, MC Jupiter 37-A-N (A-H in cyrillic) (I don't know if there is a non-multicoated of this rare lens). The only difference between them is coating (MC) and weight (37AM weighting ~350 grams). It has a stepless diaphragm ring, which I don't really like, since you're forced to look at what aperture you're stopping the lens but it won't bother many people.

Note : This lens can have dirty diaphragm blades, with oil for instance. Unfortunately you can't dismantle this lens as far as I know.
˛ : The coating on some copies can have several little bubbles inside it. Don't worry, it does not affect image quality.

I hope this'll help, and sorry for my quite poor English, as it is not my native language.

   
New Member

Registered: July, 2018
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Posts: 22

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 10, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, bokeh
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Canon 1100D   

I really like this lens, once you get used to it, it's quite simple to use. Sharpness is great, and it has lovely bokeh. I bought it for 40$ with M42-EOS EF adapter in January, and since then, I fell in love with this lens. Quite nice and fast, great sharpness and overall feeling is great.







   
New Member

Registered: June, 2017
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: June 1, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Warm colors, many aperure blades, cheap
Cons: Not too sharp
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: Nikon D5300   

This lens is really good, especially you're looking for a portrait lens,the jupiter 37a is a great choice. It is a little bit soft, which can be either good or bad, that is up to you to decide. For portraits I don't find sharpness too important. Bokeh is actually not bad, I kinda like it. It gives nice warm colors. The aperture ring is stepless so you can go between stops if you want to. The maximum aperture can be set (I never used it). It's really easy to find this lens for cheap and in good condition. There's no reason to not buy it.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2016
Posts: 11
Lens Review Date: April 2, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp enough, usually cheap enough, simple
Cons: Loss of contrast when shooting into a backlight
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-x, Sony a5000   

I have a Jupiter 37A olympic edition lens which has been in the family since about '79 or so bought with a Zenit camera back when Estonia was still under Soviet occupation. There is a thin ring of fungus around the edge of the front lens but to my surprise it produces pretty decent images on APS-C sensor, provided that one can get the focus right.

My first try of this lens was on Pentax K-x some years ago and it was underwhelming. With the default focusing screen in K-X it is very hard to get the focus right even if using the little green hexagon focus indicator. So I would not really reccoment one to use this lens that way. With aftermarket focusing screen with split prism it might be much better experience. On sony a5000, however (a mirrorless with focus peaking function) this thing is an entirely different animal and a lot more user friendly. It just works - after about a day of walking around I can still see that I have missed some shots but success rate is much much higher for me than it was on K-x.

If one gets focus right then this lens is very sharp, however, keep in mind that if you focus relatively close (minimum focus a bit more than 1 meter) the depth of field gets pretty short with the lens at 3.5. Main disadvantage is loss of contrast and everything washed out if one is shooting against a light source so that light manages to hit front element at an angle (even with the lens hood) - that said most of it can be handled with little tweaking in post processing to be suppressed enough to get more or less usable images even under such conditions (and keep in mind my copy has light fungus as well which might affect my judgement in this regard).

I'll upload some images a bit later. I also have a focal reducer coming for Sony a5000 so I'll try to update my impressions in a little while once I get to play with this lens in a closer to "full frame" like FOV for a bit. In a nutshell I would reccoment this lens for a mirrorless user, for a pentax dslr it is probably also a good lens if one has aftermarket focusing screen which would allow one to get the focus right with a manual lens.

Edit: Adding the sample photos done with Sony a5000 full resolution. jpg's with LightRoom auto button press for exposure correction, DNG's (linked) unmodified other than auto conversion from the sony propriety ARW to DNG by LightRoom.

http://www.ioc.ee/~kert/Jupiter37A/DSC01292.dng

http://www.ioc.ee/~kert/Jupiter37A/DSC01298.dng

http://www.ioc.ee/~kert/Jupiter37A/DSC01325.dng

http://www.ioc.ee/~kert/Jupiter37A/DSC01330.dng

http://www.ioc.ee/~kert/Jupiter37A/DSC01331.dng
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2016
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: February 22, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, contrasty, nice colours
Cons: Mfd longer than original sonnar
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Eos 450, k -5   

It's a fantastic lens, sturdy as a tank. Sharpness and contrast are excellent from wide open, and funnily enough, it does not improve much by stopping down.
Colors are on the warm side, May not be very realistic, but quite pleasant. A strange thing I have noticed is that some reds, like poppies, turn out kind of purple, it really struggles to get reds right under certain strong sunlit conditions. Weird.
Mfd is 1.2 metres, which is quite good, but I wish it was 1 m, like the zeiss sonnar equivalent.
One of the best overall 135 heritage lenses you can find, and they are still cheap.
I have 2 copies, and both perform equally.
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2015
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: September 19, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp as a knife, vivid colours, small and rugged built. One of the best lens in this category, one of the best Russian lens overall.
Cons: None, just strange preset aperture lens mechanism (not easy to use).
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax ist DS   

Sharp as a knife, maybe at full aperture is a bit more "human" (and also more natural), vivid & saturated colours, small and rugged built. One of the best lens in its category (surclasses some of the original Sonnars from which is derivated), one of the best Russian lens overall.
Russian swappable T-mount make it easy to use with different camera brands (needs dedicated adapter).
Absolutely the best portrait lens I've encountered in many years, maybe some item is better (or worst) than average production due the lack of
a strict quality control selection in Russian factories: try to select the best lens beetwen 3-4 items (if you could...).

Absolutely recommended!

P.s: be aware this is a Preset Aperture lens, but its strange activation mechanism is not easy to handle when you are in hurry (turn ring at F22, pull the ring towards the body, turn to the desired preset aperture and release; use it as a normal Preset Aperture ring; then pull again and turn at F22 to cancel preset...)
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2015
Posts: 13
Lens Review Date: August 30, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Low price, nice "sonnar's" bokeh, sufficient sharpness
Cons: aperture f / 3.5, manual
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5, K-3   

Nice lens for the novice photographer. Inexpensive. Pretty sharp at f / 5.6, slightly less sharp wide open. Beautiful bokeh, thanks to the circular aperture and sonnar's scheme. Good for portraits. A small aperture did not reveal the full potential of optics.
Need M42 to PK adapter
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2013
Location: Jakarta
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: June 1, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: value, very sharp, 12 blades
Cons: 'ugly' body paint, handling?
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 9    Camera Used: K5, A7   

this is Russian lens and it's very sharp! even in wide open, mine is non MC version, ergonomic handling feel a bit sturdy and stiff, but still ok

here are the samples shoots:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/roe_groho/sets/72157643407602703
   
New Member

Registered: July, 2014
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: July 5, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: SHARPNESS, continuous aperture with a lot element, smooooth bokeh, quite enough f3.5, very cheap to its performance, surprisingly small and lightweight
Cons: a little rugged focus ring
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: D50   

My favourite lens all time, awesome sharpness, lovely bokeh, the perfect cheap lens for portrait.

Although it's well constructed, my copy has a little rugged focusing, need to furbish for a smooth ring.

D50 + Jupiter 37A at f3.5
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2013
Posts: 8
Lens Review Date: January 11, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great Lens
Cons:
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

Great Russian Lens... iam using for Panasonic Lumix G3 -micro 4/3 mirrorless camera ..Excellent lens and perfomance for me...
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: January 1, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Perfect handling and build quality, very sharp wide open, you can get it almost for free.
Cons: Flare appears too often, a little bit too long on crop, "nervous" bokeh.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

Perfect lens for portraits in soft light. It's microcontrast makes it perfect for conditions with soft and "unimpressive", "flat" light.
I don't know any other lens, wich can provide such a good picture on a cloudy day with a completely diffused light.
But it's virtually unusable in sunny conditions - shadows tend to get too dark and overall contrast decreases significantly.
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2011
Location: Kaliningrad region
Posts: 7

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 2, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

Pentax K-r + Jupiter-37A 135mm f/3.5


   
Junior Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: Berlin
Posts: 33
Lens Review Date: December 1, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharpness, bokeh, price
Cons: doesn't like contra-light situations
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9   

I've had this lens for over a year now and I really like it. It's sharper than the Pentacon 135 and the Pentax-M 135 that I've previously used and overall a better performer than the Vivitar 135, although not by much. It has very good sharpness even at 3,5. In fact, it doesn't gain much IQ when stopped down, the resolution is already there at 3,5. It has some drawbcks though, with no hood you get quite a bit of flare and coma that can get out of control easily. Soem of these problems are down to inner parts of the lens not being painted black and reflecting some of the light. I guess this wasn't a problem back in analogue days, but on digital it is. Also the colours are not quite as bright and saturated as with my Pentax-A 35-105mm. Still, overall a good lens, especially for the price.

   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2012
Location: Concepción, Chile
Posts: 127
Lens Review Date: July 1, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $55.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Unexpensive, sturdy
Cons: Flaring, coma (but you may like it), stiff focus ring (my copy)
Sharpness: 6    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 5    Value: 10   

This is a great lens for some purposes, in particular headshots. It is so common, you can probably find it for less than I did, and then, it is great value, too.

Flaring is a bit annoying and, sharpness is ok at the center to poor at the borders and, at least my copy, has ridiculous amounts of coma and astigmatism. This makes this lens, IMO, unsuitable for e.g. wildlife, but at the same time gives it a very nice character for some other uses, like outdoors portraits.

Build quality is a two edged sword with this thing: First, if you drop the camera lens first, you are more likely to break the camera mount than any part of the lens -- it is pure thick (1mm at least) soviet metal. On the other hand, the precision of the focusing helicoid is so-so. Which leads to some handling issues. My copy's focusing ring tightens when focusing away. You may need to clean it if it has been sitting in a shelf for too long.

All in all, I recommend this lens, as long as you know its limitations, and don't expect it to be your all-around tele.
Add Review of Jupiter-37A 135mm f/3.5



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