F.S.U. Range finder lenses

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Bill Bowes, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. I am not happy with JUST the Jupiter-8 on my Fed's & Zorki. I am going over to the Dark Side again & looking at the various Jupiter lenses offered for these M-39 cameras. 35mm, 85mm & 135mm are my goal.
    Question: I would like some input from users of these camera/lens combo's on how they stack up with other optics. Leica glass is out of the question unless someone hands me a CLA'd M-3 !! Anyone use the "Universal Turret Viewfinder" with these lenses?? Thanks, Bill
  2. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    Hi Bill,

    I have the Jupiter-12 35/2.8 and Jupiter-11 135/4. The 35mm is a good performer and quite useful, though I can't say my copy is the best 35mm that I have. The protruding rear element makes it kind of a nuisance to mount, so I tend to keep it mounted on the camera most of the time.

    The 135mm is excellent, very sharp, nice warm colors. I paid just $10 for mine, aperture ring didn't work due to a loose screw inside, an easy fix.

    I have also used the Orion-15 28mm f/6. Nice small lightweight lens, though I thought somewhat lacking in contrast, noticeable light falloff, and rather slow. In terms of performance--per-dollar (they usually sell for $150 and up) I would pass on it.

    For the above lenses, I really like the KMZ turret finder. Nice clear view with crosshairs, correct magnification and not nearly as bulky as they appear in photos. Definitely more convenient than separate viewfinders.

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
  3. My "go-to" lens for my M39's is the Jupiter-12. I now seem to prefer it to my Canon 50/2.8. Unfortunately, can't use it on the Canon P, rear lens bulb is too large.
    Not had success with the Jupiter-11. Focus cam problems which I am unskilled enough not to fix. Note. in pursuing one of these, double check it is for Rangefinder (with Cam). Many sold are for SLR (no Cam) and this is not always clear from the Seller.
  4. I have a beat up version of the Russian turret finder. - After a while the internal mask came loose and I had it serviced. - right now I am using it on 28mm with an 21mm Zeiss on M8. - The finder is quite OK, not stunning in modern terms and in the 135mm setting it must be like a -2 dptr prescription, but I feel no rush to replace it.
    Jupiter 12: "An old lens that takes pictures". - Mine didn't blow me away but it seems to be RF aligned. Maybe you 'll like it for it's shape or collect it as a curiosity?
    My Jupiter 9s seem far from aligned with any RF I have. Someday I 'll MILC them.
    I made bigger mistakes than buying the FSU stuff (while it was still affordable) and feel an itch to use it someday somehow.
    Sorry, I know no cheap gems in the RF realm. - Let's simply hope you 'll stumble across them.
  5. I have the Jupiter-12, 9 and 11 in both Kiev and M39 mounts. I also have and use the turret viewfinder, which I find very good and convenient if you really use several different focal lengths. Especially for the longer focal distances.

    In my limited experience the Kiev versions are better than the M39 ones, but all of them are on the better side of decent..

    The Jupiter-12 is a very good lens; when I get the RF wind, it is a favorite lens. I use a Zeiss 35mm finder as I find it more convenient than the turret.

    My Jupiter-9s: the Kiev type was excellent and useable from the e*ay purchase from Ukraine. the M39 had to go to several technical services until they got it right.

    The Jupiter-11s worked out of the mail packet in both mounts. It is a very sharp, underrated lens. But it is an inconvenient focal length for RF.
  6. Canon M39 lenses aren't as high priced as Leica lenses.

    (The rangefinder calibration on my Zorki is way off, so I can't complain about lens differences.)

    But it would be fun to have more FSU lenses for the Zorki.
  7. Some years ago my local camera repair guy who gets a lot of stuff in and can test it claimed that a 50 mm. Industar that landed there was the sharpest Leica thread lens he'd come across. I tried to get him to sell it to me but he wouldn't for years, and then one day I asked if he still had it and he said he'd given it to someone else. Grrr. Oh well, he's treated me very nicely at other times, and I may even forgive him before we're both dead. But it seems anyway as if occasionally Industar made some good ones.
  8. My Industar I-61's (have 3) are good, but the Jupiter-8's are far better. Perhaps you should put finding the guy on your bucket list ?? or pass his name to Me !! Bill
  9. My own experience with the Russian lenses is that the Jupiter 8 and Jupiter 12 are the pick of the lot. The J-8 is a good, sharp lens in both the earlier silver version and the later black ones. In checking about twenty J-8.s I found only one that didn't focus properly. The major issue with the silver J-8's is that the helicoid lubricant becomes tar with age; it is possible to DIY a cleaning and relube.

    The J-12 is a good performer, a credible alternative, IMHO, to the Leitz and Japanese glass of that era.

    The J-3 1.5/50mm lenses vary all over the place in focus accuracy, I had three out of four copies that needed shimming to be at all useable. Once shimmed, by a fellow who, happily, knew what he was doing, they became sharp fast lenses.

    I've run qualitative testing on about fifteen of the Russian collapsible 50mm/f3.5 lenses; Industar-22, Industar-50, and one labeled just "FED". All were good serviceable lenses with the best build quality I've encountered in a FSU lens, but in testing with newspaper want ads at 3 feet as my target, none of the Russian glass was equal to any of the Elmar 50/3.5 lenses I used as a comparison standard.

    I have one J-9 that works properly and have returned several to vendor for focus issues.

    My J-11 works fine but is not really anything remarkable.
  10. When I got my first non-Soviet LTM camera (my Canon VL2), I only had Soviet made LTM lenses. Later I ended up comparing them to actual Canon-made lenses
    to various Soviet lenses and the Canon original (Including:
    Soviet LTM lenses and a Canon LTM on a Canon VL2:
    Canon 35mm f/2.8 lens, black and chrome ("Type 2") (LTM)

    To my astonishment, the Soviet lenses were very competitive.

    My absolute favorite Soviet lens, however, has to be the Helios 103, just as good as anything from either zone of Germany (Contax IIa with Arsenal Helios-103 ( ГЕЛИОС-103 ) at the Warbirds show)
  11. Thank's for all the inputs everyone. I klutz'd last week & wrecked the Zorki, so a replacement (red !) with the J-12 and a KMZ Turret viewfinder has been worked out with my "Zorki Connection" in Ukraine. For now it's just a lonely Fed-2 & J-8. Off to the kart races in Spokane this weekend with it & the K1000 kit. Later, Bill

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