Exciting new toy: a Russian lens!

Or more accurately: A Soviet lens!

Built in 1959 in Kiev, a Jupiter-9 85mm f/2. Bought from the Ukraine (oh the irony, I suppose). With a nice blue day-glo that I sincerely hope is not caused by radioactive glass (haha – only part kidding :|).


The Blue-eyed Monster @_o!

But I didn’t buy it as a nightlight. I bought it to look good on my camera! Well that, and to take nice portrait and other close-up pictures. It’s got 15 aperture blades so it’s meant to have really nice bokeh and highlights.

Does it? And is it anywhere near sharp? So I got on with some uninspired test-like shots and… it’s not half bad.

The first thing of note is that photos come out around a stop underexposed. Good to keep in mind but as it’s all-manual, nothing that bothers me.

The second thing is that is does seem to have this “Instagram” colour cast, depending on the situation. This is just a sea view to see how sharp the boat would come out at the edge of the frame (answer: not too bad), but it also came out decidedly… characteristic.


I quite like this look (as long as it is limited to these types of shots!)

Sharpness – not too bad. I think this was at aperture 8 (all manual, no record of the f-stop!), after some sharpening in Photoshop:


100% crop:


I think sharpness is (probably quite far) from my 90mm f/2.8 Tamron SP Macro [hoping to do some side by side tests soon], but then again I did not buy it to compete with that on sharpness :). Also contrast is quite good. These pics have been through some Photoshop, but it’s also present straight OOC.

Resistance to flare, ghosting and suchlike is as I expected: pretty minimal. That just wasn’t paid attention to in the olden days. Also note that I don’t need Instagram with this lens to get that faded blue/green look =):


Still there is plenty of detail in the shadows. The EXIF says ISO 100 at 1/2500 so likely to be f/2 – which would explain the (longitudinal) CA in the highlights in the reflections along Hove Lawns.

Also from the top of my head this is f/4 (ISO 200, 1/3200s), again with a very signature colour cast, quite charming:


Although this is not perfectly straight-on, distortion seems pretty minimal as you’d expect from an 85mm.

And finally, the bokeh (or rather, highlights – didn’t have time to set up proper bokeh test shots). Let’s see what these 15 blades of aperture can do:



Both at f/2 and this is really nice – fully circular and very even. Shutter speed limited me to f/2 (I got blur at f/4, these pics are already borderline at 1/25s and 1/13s) but changing the aperture while looking through the viewfinder, the highlights remain perfectly circular all the way up.

All in all, not bad for a 55-year old.

Jupiter, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship :)