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Jupiter lenses vs. the more normal Japanese ones

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by zacster, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. zacster

    zacster Mu-43 Regular

    72
    Nov 4, 2011
    I somewhere, probably here, saw some mention of the USSR Jupiter lenses, the 85mm one and a 135mm one. I checked them out on eBay and see that at least the Jupiter 9 85mm is pretty pricey for a lens of variable quality. The Jupiter 3 50/1.5 is also expensive, but the 50/2.0 is cheap. Does anybody think these are better than the usual Japanese lenses, such as the Takumars, Nikkors, Rokkors, and whatever in the same lengths?

    The aluminum silver Jupiters would look really cool on a silver E-PM1 though. And I read that they are light for an all metal lens. Their M39 mount is not quite the same as a Leica M39? Is that true?
     
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    They are LeiCa M39. They are not better or worse than Japanese lenses, they have a vry different character. The M39 versions are much smaller than you'll get with an SLR lens with adapter. The Jupiter lenses are Russian copies of the German Zeiss lenses, design stolen from the war.
     
  3. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    223
    Apr 22, 2010
    I would just add that amongst rangefinder lenses, the Soviet lenses tend to be great bargains. Probably the most interesting ones to an M4/3 owner are the Jupiter-3 50/1.5, the 50/2, and Jupiter-9 85mm/f2. I just picked up the Industar 28/2.8 pancake half-frame lens, which is also supposed to be interesting!
     
  4. the.growler

    the.growler Mu-43 Regular

    What I prefer with the old Russian rangefinder lenses compared to more modern Japanese SLR lenses is the "character" and "cool" factor, light weight, compact dimensions and much shallower adapter. If you are looking for "technical" IQ, the Japanese lenses are better. If, as Ned pointed out, you are looking for old-fashioned "character", the Russian lenses are much more interesting. I tried shooting Konica Hexanon and Olympus OM lenses on my E-PL2 and was dissatisfied with the balance and handling compared to my Russian lenses, but YMMV.

    The Jupiter-8 is a great all-purpose lens. Stick with the earlier bare-aluminum bodied versions for better quality (assuming you can find a decent copy, remember these lenses are over 50 years old). My 1955 copy that is my everyday lens.

    The Jupiter-3 is the same barrel as the Jupiter-8 filled with larger diameter and more complex optics. As a result, the lens is more fragile and the lens elements are more likely to become mis-aligned. If you are not wholly committed to FSU lenses, I don't think the J-3 is a good first lens.

    The Jupiter-9 is a lovely lens but, at 170mm equivalent on a M4/3 body, not a practical everyday proposition.

    M39 is not exactly the same as the Leica 39 mount but, since you will be using the lens on your M4/3 body through a M39 to M4/3 adapter, the difference is irrelevant.

    A cheaper alternative to try as your first M39 lens is an Industar-26m or its later derivative Industar-61. Both are readily available on eBay for very reasonable prices. But my personal preference is for the Jupiter lenses; I find the Sonnar designs of the Jupiters deliver higher contrast images that the Tessar designs of the Industars.

    In any event, experiment, have fun, and shoot what you enjoy!:smile:
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    jupiter-3_web.
    Silver E-P1 with 1953 Jupiter-3. This kind of brushed silver finish was available originally for the E-P1, then later made available for the E-P2 after some time.
     
  6. avidone

    avidone Mu-43 Top Veteran

    520
    Jun 24, 2011
    Rome, Italy
    I pretty much agree with what the others have said. I like the "character" rather than the technical perfection in these lenses. I would say that the combo of sharpness, colour and probably small "imperfections" combine to give a look that reminds me of good 35mm film shots.

    Jupiter 8 is a great 50mm sonnar-type; I would say that for Tessar quality, the best results I got were on the Fed 50/3.5 collapsable lens which came on a Fed 2a camera. I think it is the same as the collapsible Industar 50/3.5.
    On Soviet m39's beware that the Jupiter 12 (35mm/2.8) is not a typical modern retro-focus lense, so it has an exposed element sticking too far out on the back side to fit in mu4/3 cameras; if you try, it may damage both lens and camera.

    I have quite a few m42 Soviet lenses as well and even though they can be a bit bulky, not usually much more so than other SLR lenses and again I like the results they give. One Japanese lens I have and quite like is my Yashinon 50/1.4... YET, I find I still like the results from my Zenitar 50/1.7 a bit more.

    As for good longer lenses, I really like the results from my Jupiter 37a 135/3.5. It is an m42 but not too bulky. There are also similar Jupiter 11 for the m39 ltm, but beware with these as with some other Soviet m39's, there are Leica-type rangefinder versions and also some other m39 thread versions which have instead an m42 SLR-type distance to focal plane, meaning they would need an m39 to m42 thread adapter, then an m42 adapter and would be more bulky, like the m42 versions.

    If some of this is muddled, ask me again after the cappuccino takes effect.

    Oh! Do be aware that those lovely Jupiter 21m 200mm lenses weigh 990 grams (that's over 2 lbs. in Americanspeak)!
     
  7. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    714
    Apr 11, 2009
    The Jupiter-3 is a different optical formula, 7 elements in 3 groups, and in a completely different barrel than the J-8. The J-8 on 39mm mount is a 6 element in 3 group design. Not as important for a mu-43 camera, but the J-3 mount allows adjustments for the RF cam, Distance Scale, and actual focus to all be set to agree. The Jupiter-8 design allows the actual focus and RF cam to be adjusted to agree, but the distance scale can be off.

    Jupiter-3, shimmed for optimal performance for Leica, Wide-open at F1.5 on the Leica M8.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    714
    Apr 11, 2009
    And a 1935 Carl Zeiss jena 5cm F1.5 Sonnar, converted to Leica Mount using a J-3 focus mount.

    Wide-Open on the EP2.

    [​IMG]

    The original J-3's used German glass.
     
  9. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    714
    Apr 11, 2009
    The Canon 50/1.5, Nikkor 5cm f2, 5cm F1.4, and very rare Nikkor 5cm f1.5, and some other less-common Japanese less common lenses are Sonnar based. They are not exact copies as is the Jupiter-3. They tend to cost much more than the Jupiters.

    I find a good Jupiter-3 as good as my Canon 50/1.5 and Nikkor 5cm F1.4 lenses. I find a good J-8 to be as good optically as my Nikkor 5cm F2 lenses. The best J-3's were made from 1951~1956 by KMZ, 1958 through 1964 by GOMZ.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yeah, they were made in the Zeiss factories which where wholly disassembled and reassembled in Russia. They took Zeiss parts and even complete lenses with them, so the early models like my 1953 J-3 were made with those Zeiss pieces. :cool:

    Biggest difference between the early Jupiters and the Zeiss lenses they copied is that the Russian copies never used coated glass. The quality they produce is still amazingly good though.
     
  11. zacster

    zacster Mu-43 Regular

    72
    Nov 4, 2011
    Thanks everyone for the replies. It sounds like these are pretty well liked, and I'll have to look around for one in the Russian thrift shops in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. If not there, there are lots of them on eBay, with one seller that seems to keep a stock.
     
  12. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    714
    Apr 11, 2009
    from about 1951 and on, the Russian mounts were different designs than the wartime Zeiss lenses. the J-3 focus mount corrects several design flaws. The "ZK Sonnars" are made with many German parts still with original serial numbers stamped in.

    The Russian lenses used mostly coated optics. I found some 1951 through 1955 lenses to have uncoated rear triplets, others in the same period with all-coate surfaces. They are exact replacements for pre-war Sonnars and I have used them to repair original Zeiss lenses. I suspect they were made in Germany. The forward surface of these triplets have a ridge in them to snap in place in the optical fixture. It is a perfect fit for the pre-war and wartime German fixtures. Perfect replacement for a damaged rear on this lens:

    https://www.mu-43.com/gallery/g1470-uncoated-sonnar-5cm-f1-5-sn207xxxx.html

    The KMZ lenses used German Schott glass, but finished and coated using German equipment. This supply ran out ~1955, J-3 production shifted to GOMZ which used Russian glass. I have used Russian glass front elements to repair KMZ J-3's. The triplets are differently shaped for the fixtures.

    Whether "stolen" or "War Reparations", the Jupiter-3's tend to be great performers and a bargain in fast rangefinder optics. A good one is close to the pre-war and wartime Zeiss Sonnars in performance, the latter is running up in the $600+ range for one in Leica Mount.

    1953 KMZ tear-down:

    http://www.ziforums.com/showthread.php?t=374

    Adjusting a J-3 for Leica:

    http://www.ziforums.com/showthread.php?t=97

    Late Wartime Sonnar Teardown:

    http://www.ziforums.com/showthread.php?t=143

    Early Wartime sonnar teardown:

    http://www.ziforums.com/showthread.php?t=120

    ZK Sonnar, Russian lens made from German Parts:

    http://www.ziforums.com/showthread.php?t=306

    So- you can see that the J-3 mechanics are very different from the German focus mount. The Jupiter-3 mount is much more practical, and less prone to loosening up. i consider the design to be both simplified and improved.

    Take 100 or so of these lenses apart, you tend to pick up things.

    http://www.ziforums.com/album.php?u=15
     
    • Like Like x 3
  13. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    714
    Apr 11, 2009
  14. rapsquared

    rapsquared Mu-43 Regular

    42
    May 7, 2011
    The Jupiters are generally Sonnar clones, I use both on my Canon P. If you're getting one in M39 mount, I suggest you get the Jupiter 8, not only is it cheaper than the Jupiter 3, there's less reports of back focus so no need to adjust, although I think back focus isn't that important if you're mounting it on a m4/3 body, although I may be mistaken.

    The Jupiter 9 or the 85 2.0 is an excellent lens, although it'd be better to get one in a pentax screw mount, but then again, that's gonna be an 170 equivalent on an m4/3 body.

    6456931273_4a2fc3c2d1_z_d.

    Shot with a Jupiter 8 on a Canon P:
    5128631828_d73f6a01c3_d.
     
  15. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Thanks, Brian! That's a lot of great information... :thumbup: There is so much history steeped in these Russian lenses...
     
  16. zacster

    zacster Mu-43 Regular

    72
    Nov 4, 2011
    Are the Contax/Kiev mount versions adaptable? Most of you mention M39 screw mount versions, but the Contax mounts are cheaper, which I somehow figure means they are less easily used.
     
  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    No, they're not less easily used. They're just less common because of the competition between Zeiss and Leica, so that most manufacturers made rangefinder lenses in either one mount or the other and rarely both.

    Contax mount is rare for KMZ lenses so I don't really know why they're cheaper, lol.
     
  18. zacster

    zacster Mu-43 Regular

    72
    Nov 4, 2011
    I'm seeing a lot of Contax mount on eBay right now. At least one seller has them $50-60 cheaper for the J-9 in Contax mount. Hard to say about the quality of any of them.
     
  19. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The quality should be the same as the M39. The mount won't make a difference, but it might help you determine what era the lens was made in (though with Jupiter lenses this is easy - the first two digits of the serial number is the year of manufacture).
     
  20. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    532
    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Mark
    Same glass, different mount. The Contax fit lenses sell for less due to lack of demand. There's a lot more Leica screw bodies out there than all the working Contaxes, Nikons and Kievs put together.