A Tair-11 - It was meant to be...

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by ralf_j., Jan 6, 2013.

  1. A couple of months ago,I put up a post regarding the KMZ Start here, and among other things had mentioned how limited the options were when it came to its lenses.
    I have the MIR-1 37mm lens for it, but I was really yearning for the Tair-11 telephoto. The desire to own it became even stronger after I saw Rick Drawbridge's post on it; alas that was extinguished by the prices this lens commands on eBay, even from FSU vendors.
    Last week, as I was walking on Kings Hwy, I noticed a local photo shop which was displaying a number of classic cameras on its window shelf, mostly for decoration,- a bunch of Yashica FX-2, a Balda Rangefinder, A FED-4,and... a towering chrome lens that seemed familiar. I asked the shop owner if I could inspect the lens, and he handed it to me. It was a Tair-11, 133mm focal length, 2.8 aperture. I paid no mind to the mount - I didn't care, I wanted the darn thing and initially thought it would be the common M42 mount made for the Zenit. Condition looked good over-all (mechanically) with aperture blades moving well, forming a perfect circle, however it was very dusty/dirty from sitting on the shelf for so long. $30 USD later it was mine.
    Brought it home, and was pleasantly surprised that this was the M39 mount, made for the Zenit 3M - in other words fully adaptable to my Start via the adapter that had been included with Mir-1.
    Unlike Rick's lens, this copy has a strange hood/step down adapter which reduced the diameter from 52mm to 49mm; that was screwed in and held in place by a tiny screw on barrel. Removing that, and the hood/adapter, gave me access to the slotted ring holding down the front element. Once that was unscrewed I cleaned up the whatever I had access to; but still saw dirt and dust past the middle element group. Screwed in the front element and hood/adapter and started working the preset aperture rings - by chance, the part of the barrel holding the front group and middle group unscrewed. This gave me access to inner elements for cleaning. It was finally cleaned and ready to shoot with.
    We were blessed with a couple of beautiful/mild winter days, here in NYC, so I took it with me to the local zoo. Here is the lens and some results.
    Lioness and Cubs - 1899

    1/250s, f/11 on Fuji Superia 400
    A Colorful Duck

    1/250s, f/2.8 on Fuji Superia 400
    Shimmering in Sunlight

    1/250s, f/5.6 on Fuji Superia 400
    Shimmering in Sunlight 2

    1/250s, f/8 on Fuji Superia 400
    Last Rays of the Winter Sun with an Ansco Shur Shot

    Passing on the classic film shooter habit
    1/250s, f/8 on Fuji Superia 400
  2. Amazing colour and sharpness from that lens, love the saturation on the photo of the duck. Also the highlights have that lovely roundness from the aperture blades.
    I reckon that the barrels are made from re-cycled Migs, look impressive when polished up anyway. I had two of these for my 3M, sent one to Rick and also have the 37mm wide. The soviets made these strange focal lengths just to be different I'm sure!
    What is the camera that your daughter? is using?
  3. Ignore that last question...I see that it is an Ansco sure shot...did she get any pics from it?
  4. Yeah, she put 2 rolls through it, we will develop them together on some D76 soup tomorrow afternoon.
  5. WOW Ralf,
    amazing job, I am flattered. As of a focal length, I think it is actual length for this type of lenses. Since your one does not have "Brussels Grand Prix" engraving I think it is Tair 11A that suppose to have M39/M42 screw adapter A. And therefore the center to margin resolution of this lens is 44/24 vs 28/18 of Tair 11
  6. Excellent find and photos!
  7. Congratulations, Ralf; the one Tony sent me gets used on a regular basis on my DSLRs and, in my humble opinion, it would be hard to find a better lens in that range. Very sharp and contrasty with vivid colour rendition, as your photographs show. Excellent winter images; "Shimmering in Sunlight" is a stunner, typically Sonnar-style? Nice post; thanks.
  8. Kozma, thanks for the information, much appreciated along with the kind feedback.
    Mark - thanks for stopping by, appreciate the kind comments.
    Hi Rick, thanks for the providing your impressions on this post. Are you using this with a M39 adapter for your DSLR? Are you able to focus to infinity?
    Tony - thanks for the nice feedback. I noticed that bokeh footprint as well, always nice to see with such a well built piece of glass.
  9. No problems with infinity focus on my Canons, Ralf, and it fits with a standard M39-EOS adapter. Just to reassure myself I took a pic ten minutes ago of my neighbour picking up the last of his hay...No sharpness issues, really...
  10. Very beautiful. Thanks for the confirmation Rick.
  11. I love your pictures. Great work!
  12. Thanks William for the kind feedback, regards.
  13. Fantastic color and sharpness from this lens, Ralf.
    How does the little one enjoy the Ansco box camera? Is this her first time developing film ?
  14. Hello Gabor, thanks for commenting. She is still getting the hang of it, i.e. images in the viewfinder being reversed, and the desire to bring the viewfinder to eye level vs. waist-level etc, but she likes it. I am impressed how steady her hands are tripping the shutter with a camera that has 1/40s shutter speed. Negatives should confirm that. Yes, this would be our first time processing film together.
  15. Cool.
    Lovely results. :)
  16. Thanks JDM, I am glad you like them.
  17. Thank you Les, appreciate your comments.
  18. What a great find... .just what you're looking for ..come your way. Excellent results. I too loved the colorful duck and the shimmering sunlight. I often try to get that shimmer effect! You nailed it ! Lovely shot of your daughter holding the Ansco and squinting in the sun. I could never interest my kids in old cameras or developing. The want digital SLRs! Fat chance! Now that you've stated you will do the D76 dunk... please post results and impressions!
  19. Hi Chuck, thanks so much for commenting. Film processing was done yesterday and they look great, quite ok for a box camera; I had taken that Box camera apart and including meniscus lens which was held in place by a simplistic snap ring, it is truly sparkling now, as if it came from store shelf yesterday. Regards, Ralf.
  20. I just scored one of these in M39. It will be used on my Zenit 3-M and also on M42 SLRs with an adapter. I took a couple of shots with it recently, fitted to my Olympus FTL, but the roll's not done yet. They're a pretty thing and a lot the results I've seen on the web using one attached to a digital device have been impressive. The sample images posted here have done nothing to change that opinion. With the standard M39 Helios that came with the Zenit giving me some lovely shots, and now the Tair 3 in Photosniper spec that arrived recently, I guess my appreciation of some of these Soviet lenses is growing fast.
  21. Thanks for commenting Brett, and congrats in getting this optic in M39. I think they are quite scarce compared to the army of Jupiters and Industars, and quite well built as well. Enjoy your copy.

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