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TAIR-3S 300mm F4.5 - Fotosniper 12 ensemble Review RSS Feed

TAIR-3S 300mm F4.5 - Fotosniper 12 ensemble

Sharpness 
 9.8
Aberrations 
 8.5
Bokeh 
 9.5
Handling 
 7.4
Value 
 9.4
Reviews Views Date of last review
17 98,106 Thu April 11, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $79.47 9.29
TAIR-3S 300mm F4.5 - Fotosniper 12 ensemble

TAIR-3S 300mm F4.5 - Fotosniper 12 ensemble
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TAIR-3S 300mm F4.5 - Fotosniper 12 ensemble
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TAIR-3S 300mm F4.5 - Fotosniper 12 ensemble
supersize
TAIR-3S 300mm F4.5 - Fotosniper 12 ensemble
supersize
TAIR-3S 300mm F4.5 - Fotosniper 12 ensemble
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Description:
There are several versions of the 4 element Tair 300mm f4.5:

Tair 3 This is the original one, different structurally to the later ones, conventional milled focus ring at the front of the lens, no preset. Often found in M39 mount (needs review page).
To adapt original M39 mount tair 3's to eg mirrorless, Thomas Bernardy on mflenses recommends: "a Zenit M39 4 ring set (cheaply available from Russia) and a M39/LTM to mirrorless adapter ...
The Zenit ring set includes a 16.4mm distance ring which is exactly the difference between M39/LTM (28.8mm flange focal distance) and Zenit M39 (45.2mm). Obviously this was done to enable the usage of Zenit/M39 lenses on the old Russian M39/LTM cameras like the Zorkis and FEDs. "

Tair 3S/3C/3 PhS (or FS). This one - the classic "Photosniper" variants of the Tair 300mm f4.5 designed to be mounted on a stock with focus operated by a disk on the underside of the lens.
Tair 3A/ 300-A The most conventional of the variants: preset t-mount lens, focus at the rear end of the lens (reviews here).
Tair 33 This is a larger medium format lens designed for the kiev (= hasselblad bayonet) mount cameras. Lenses for those are very difficult to adapt to other cameras.

The Tair-3 300 mm f/ 4.5 was manufactured at three plants:

Tair-3 4.5/300 S. A. Zverev Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant (KMZ).
Tair-3A 4.5/300 - Zagorsk Optical Mechanics Plant, Sergiyev Posad (ZOMZ).
Tair-3 4.5/300 Kazan Optical Mechanics Plant (KOMZ).

Optics: 4 elements in 3 groups.
Weight: 1.6 Kg (excluding trigger mechanism and stock)
Length: 24.6 cm
Width (diameter plus focus wheel): 12 cm
Preset Lens: 4.5 to 22 in full stops, but mechanism permits infinite variability between minimum aperture set, and fully open.
Diaphragm: 16 straight blades.
Trigger Mount (can be used for Tripod): 3/8 inch (needs adapter to standard 1/4 inch thread) fixed to body rather than rotatable.
Mount: M42, but can easily take T2-PK instead.
If trigger mount is used for tripod, either the tripod head must allow the lens to be flipped, or the mount needs to be loosened and rotated, to switch between portrait and landscape.

Scan of original user manual posted here.
Mount Type: M42 Screwmount
Price History:



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Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,401

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 27, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: SHARP, BOKEH, IQ, Preset
Cons: heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10   

I bought this lens last year. It came with the photosniper stock setup, which really works well with my Kx. The lens itself takes a little getting used to because of the focus wheel. It focuses more like a telescope than a camera lens. It is also rather heavy at nearly 4 lbs.

All that aside, it is an EXCELLENT lens. The sharpness is unbelievable, right from wide open. The huge amount of aperture blades makes the bokeh extremely smooth at all apertures. The colors are outstanding. This is my go-to lens for wildlife photography.

This lens also renders very 3D images, thanks to its front aperture. Just a GREAT lens, I can't recommend it enough

Here are a few photos taken with this lens.


Mule-Deer-18-Feb-2012-1 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


Elk-18-Feb-2012-4 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


Elk-18-Feb-2012-1 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


Mule-Deer-18-Feb-2012-2 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


Mule-Deer-18-Feb-2012-6 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


29-Feb-2012-2 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


Airport-14-April-2012-3 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


Diamondback-22-April-2012-1 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


Eclipse-at-Sunset-v2 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


Great-Blue-Heron-2 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


Theodore-Roosevelt-NP-4 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


Indian-Peaks-Wilderness-11 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr
   
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2012
Location: Sydney
Posts: 1,182

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 30, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Cheap
Cons: Heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10   

My version is the Grand Prix Edition (img stolen from mflenses.com) Optically the same, but cosmetically different in that that it behaves like a standard preset lens. Mine is also has a M39 thread (register distance the same) with a m39-m42 adapter.

Now. Its a big lens. So much so I went and bought a monopod just so I could aim and focus it as the same time. Make no mistake, this thing weighs about 3x your camera body.

With a 3rd arm supporting the weight, using it becomes wonderful. Focus is smooth and quick (despite its age) And as below, its very very usable wide open, The example below was shot with an afternoon sun setting, (hello purple) with no post processing. Focus the thing accurately and its fantastic



Click for much Bigger

I probably paid to much for it, but i wanted something bigger then 200mm "shrugs" and it matchs the other Soviet lens I've been collecting anyway :P

Oh, It will also focus down to 2.8m approx, and the tripod collar is adjustable, Happy Happy Happy
   
Pentaxian

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 18,005
Lens Review Date: December 31, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, Bokeh, Preset possible
Cons: Somewhat large & heavy, focus wheel ...
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10   

Bonjour,

This was be far my best thrift store score to date ... the photos (above) for this review page are mine and got everything in super condition for less than $10.00! My copy is only missing the shoulder stock ... hopefully I will find one someday.

The lens shoots great, just look at the samples already provided ... a really fun lens too use, too.

I will try to add some additional images later ... J
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 15
Lens Review Date: February 25, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast, handles well, good bokeh
Cons: Huge and heavy
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

The picture shows the full Photosniper 3 kit, including the trigger mechanism, rifle stock and the bundled Zenit camera; I believe it was sold between 1974 and 1982. The big lens at the heart of it is the TAIR-3. Mine is rather battered, has quite a lot of dust in it, and is missing the trigger mechanism and stock.

The other Photosniper on this site is the later Photosniper 12 based on the TAIR-3S. The maximum aperture is the same, but the lens tube is different.

The focus wheel under the main body of the lens works well. In spite of the 1.6 Kg weight I have no difficulty hand-holding and manually following focus from the touchline of a Rugby match.

The inscriptions on mine are all in Cyrillic; it self-identifies as a TAИP3-ФC 4,5/300 9668.

If 9668 is a serial number either they didn't sell very many, or mine is earlier rather than later.

Although it is an M42 lens, the M42 screw piece is attached in the same way as the outer piece of a T2 adapter is secured to its rotatable core, and it is the same depth. I managed to find a T2 adapter whose rotatable core matches the Tair 3 tube precisely, and so mine now has a PK bayonet.

Wide open the images straight from the camera are somewhat lacking in contrast, although the detail is all there. This lens is sharper than my Sigma 70-300 f4-5.6. However, wide open, pixel peeping fine texture (eg. tree bark) that should be pretty much black reveals itself to be very dark purplish-reddish, whilst highlights acquire a turquoise tinge. Unfortunately, these defects are simply magnified when I attempt to use a 2x or 3x teleconverter; the image looks soft, and the CA becomes intrusive. On most of my lenses, the Kiron 7 element 2x and Kenko 7 element 2x converters clearly outperform the Kenko 4 element 2x teleconverter, but on this lens they are all equally bad.

The 16 aperture blades ensure that the aperture is always round, and the bokeh is excellent.

Because this lens, even with the T2-PK bayonet, lacks the aperture sense lever of a proper PK or PKA lens, the Pentax 1.7x AF adapter doesn't add autofocus. But I find the CA of images taken with this combination (510 mm f7.65) acceptable.

Under challenging shooting conditions (hand-held in a strong wind) I was able to get sharper images with the Samyang 500 mm f6.3 mirror, though the differences aren't great (and neither are the photographs ); the longer exposure time due to f7.65 versus f6.3, or even random variations in 'seeing' (a townscape shot on a misty evening in a strong wind with the clouds changing minute by minute) may explain this.

Stacking the Pentax 1.7x AF adapter with a 1.5X PK Teleconverter (DOI or Kiron Matchmate) (which provides the necessary aperture lever) allows the AF to function, but the images are mushy.

The two 1.5X Teleconverters I have tried by themselves actually work well. The Kiron Matchmate 1.5X gives a sharp image, but Lateral Chromatic Aberration is apparent. The DOI 1.5X doesn't give any lateral Chromatic Aberration, but is less sharp. I prefer the Kiron, but the DOI is perfectly acceptable, and detail is apparent that you cannot see if you simply increase the size of the base digital image by 50 percent.

Overall, I recommend it.
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2012
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: March 25, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, easy to focus, great gun stock
Cons: Heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I bought this lens for some wildlife and sports photography on the cheap. It has not disappointed!

I use it almost exclusively with the gun stock and have made the trigger electrical. This works as a charm! After some initial getting used to the focusing wheel in the front of the lens I now consistently have around 50% of my shots in focus, and that is for wildlife and rugby. Using the gun stock and trigger really gives great balance, smooth focusing and reduces shake considerably. There are some aberrations when shooting very high contrasty things, like a bird in a tree before white clouds.

Other people say the setup is very heavy, and they are probably right. However, it has not bothered me in the slightest. I do think that without the gun stock the lens is quite a bit harder to handle, even though I have had success with this on occasions where running around with a "gun" looks a bit weird. I am also of the opinion that the gun stock is more versatile than a monopod in situations where 300mm is too long to handhold.

Heres a shot I took of a pheasant (I think) today. Im not really much of a birder.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Sunny Dun(ny)fermline, Fife
Posts: 404
Lens Review Date: July 16, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $62.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Handling
Cons: Weight, older tripod bush, preset iris
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9   

Bought complete with the case (battered) and rifle stock - though like a lot of others I would never use the stock. The lens was bought on ebay and described by the seller thus "You will not often find this item in this condition and it is Well Worth Having to The Collector." It had quite a bit of fungus on the glass.
Thankfully instructions have been posted on dismantling the lens so I was able to get to the fungus which cleaned off quite easily - I was surprised.
The unusual turn wheel focus actually works really well and the results are pretty sharp
   
New Member

Registered: October, 2013
Posts: 10

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 14, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness , Bokeh , Colors ,
Cons: Slight CA , Flare
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I got this lens with the Pistol grip removed , but the aperture mechanism is still the same . With a Fotox m42 to Pentax adapter it can infinity focus .

Pros:

Super sharp compared to Sigma 70-300 DL Macro, and sharper than Soligor 300 5.5 .
I ve never held a Star series lens but the results i get from this lens , it is a Star for me

Focusing is smooth as is the aperture mechanism .

Not to heavy, weight actually helps stabilization.

Cons:

Flare if u shoot into the Sun

Slight CA, but easy correctable in LR or PS .




   
New Member

Registered: December, 2014
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: December 13, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, Solid build
Cons: Heavy, hard to set the aperture
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 6    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-r; K-5   

Its cheap, and have a special feel when use it because of the focusing mechanism. The IQ is very good, But its heavy for a long walk in the woods.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2015
Location: France
Posts: 363
Lens Review Date: May 26, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharpness, bokeh, color rendition, IQ, can lock on the camera
Cons: minimum focus distance, slight flare, CA until F8
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: k-x   

First of all, I like manual 300 mm lenses. Tair 3S is no exception.

I bought it on the flea market for 13 euros, together with a pistol grip and a rubber hood. Aperture was stuck wide open, the reason being the rotten rusty springs that are closing the aperture. I have cleaned all the rust inside, re-lubricated the lens and replaced the springs and it worked great. I hated the sound of the cocking aperture (birds did too) so i removed the cocking aperture lever as well and now I use the pin that engaged this lever to engage the remote control of the shutter. If you have one, and did not lubricate the focusing mechanism, I advise this as a priority, I think it is essential for precision and long life of the gear.

They do not lie when they say that this lens is sharp, It is super sharp. I've tested it against my Sigma DL zoom 75-300mm f4 and Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 300mm f4 and I find it to be sharper than both of them. Not to mention the ease of use compared to the CZJ elephant.

Now, about the ease of use.

It is a heavy lens and it is difficult to carry around for hours but with a leather strap that goes with a pistol grip it is not a problem. It is very difficult to follow fast flying birds at close distance (swifts, swallows) without a pistol grip and I tend not to use it without it. It is also difficult to get around with focus mechanism in the beginning but I started to like it after a while and find it easy to use now.

One very interesting advantage with this lens is that it is possible to have infinity focus with any adapter used. I prefer to use the wide adapter that enables the locking of the lens. I have adjusted infinity focus by moving a ring with a lens name on it for a mm or so. Now I can have infinity focus and lock the lens at the same time. Another consequence is that it is now possible to use the green button metering and "catch in focus" option as well (with the paint removed from the adapter).

This lens is not the best choice if you want to take pictures of tiny insects, butterflies, flowers etc because it requires that you step back a lot. For the birds, minimum focus distance is not a problem, anyway, at least not in the countries where hunting is allowed.

To control chromatic aberration, I use it at F8 for still subjects or sky in the background and F5.6 for flying birds. It is sufficiently sharp at F4.5 as well and CA are acceptable as well.

All in all, great lens that I enjoy very much and I gladly recommend it.
   
Inactive Account

Registered: May, 2010
Location: Sydney
Posts: 217
Lens Review Date: September 9, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $65.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, built like a tank
Cons: Heavy, setting of aperture a bit rough
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K7   

I bought the lens, minus the gun stock, off e b a y Slovakia, for US 65. It arrived two weeks ago and so far I have been very happy with it. It is quite sharp and easy to use handheld even without the gun stock. Nonetheless, I have bought a pistol grip with electronic shutter release cable for my Pentax K5 and K7. It should arrive by next month. I highly recommend this lens.
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2015
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 20, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: razor sharp full open, great image quality overall.
Cons: none, is huge but a sturdy tripod will do the job.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax ist DS, modified Canon AstroDSLR   

This is my 300mm of choice in Astrophoto: incredible sharpness, great contrast (better used with a dedicated hood), nice colours.
Its huge dimensions are irrilevant piggybacked on a telescope mount, so is not an issue for me; on the contrary, the unique focusing
mechanism of the PhS version is easy to convert in a motor assisted digital focus system (computer controlled): a valuable plus.
The T-mount system make it possible to use it with different body brands (need dedicated adapter).
I always use it full open, but I understand the strange aperture preset mechanism can be initially confusing... but genial once mastered.

If you are looking for a no-compromise wildlife or astrophoto medium tele, this is the lens for you.

P.s: I purchased mine without the pistol grip sniper mount, but I've never feel the need to use it.
   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2014
Posts: 87
Lens Review Date: October 18, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharpness wide open, colors
Cons: a bit huge and heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 6    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K5IIs   

I bought this lens because of the good reviews here.
My Tair 3s got a very oily diaphragm, so i decide to clean it from all of the old oil.

Before:


After:



Manual focusing is a bit tricky, i think i'll buy a focusingscreen with microprism.
But now here are some shots.













You'll find more in my Flickr Album:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/duc-driver/albums/72157657292677553


Edit: Today, I did s sharpness test for pixel peeper.
I think - you know how good the Tair is, but what is the best aperture for a real sharp picture?
So...let's see.
This is my focus indicator (here at F4.5)


Looks great, so far...or?
So, here're the 100% crops (resized):



Full resolution:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/9252452/sharpness.jpg

For best sharpness, use F11

Regards
Stefan


edit: few pics of the Tair itself



   
Junior Member

Registered: February, 2016
Posts: 44
Lens Review Date: April 22, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sharpnes
Cons: weight
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 5    Value: 9    Camera Used: Praktica, N50, Rollei 35 SLR, various Pentax and now KS2   

Nice lens, have used it in several cameras with self made adapters. When used with auto preset as originally worked with the Zenith, the "recoil" was impressive, delivering enough torque to slightly blurr the image if you were not firm and steady. I took it apart and removed two of four springs from the return mechanism of the dia.
The focusing wheel is ackwadr but I love it.

Greetings from Chile.

Oscar
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2016
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: December 8, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp (wide open), color rendition
Cons: Preset not so convenient without fotosniper, good tripod mandatory
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 5    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K5   

This lens is really like a tank, when you take a photo, your hands remember it

At the beginning, I was afraid how the M42 adapter will survive with the lens weight, anyway, I realize how solid is the Pentax mount.

According to me, it's a must have with an incredible ratio price/quality.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2017
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 25, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpnes
Cons: Weight
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 6    Value: 6    Camera Used: QHY5IIL-Canon 600D   

I purchased mine without the pistol grip sniper mount for US 200 in Argentina. It is a very good lens for astrophoto. I put it over the Star Adventurer mount and with the QHY5IIL guide camera and take this photo of Omega Centauri (ω Cen or NGC 5139). 150 lights, 50 darks, 2.4 sec.



And this one with Tair 300mm on Canon 600D. One shot.



Nature photos:



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