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So which Jupiter-9 is best? Old/New?

Skip Williams , Dec 12, 2002; 12:02 p.m.

OK, so my first foray into getting a Jupiter-9 85/2 Soviet/Russian lens didn't go so well, with me getting a 39mm, SLR, preset, stop-down-metering lens instead of what was advertised.

So my question is: Which Jupiter-9 is better, the earlier 1950's chrome lenses or the later black lenses? Are the early ones coated?

Skip

Responses

gerald widen , Dec 12, 2002; 01:17 p.m.

The older silver lenses are supposed to be better made in the 1950's and into the 60's when Soviet quality was supposed to be better. They are coated. However I have a Jupiter 35mm/2.8 black made in 1974 (the first two digits of the SN are usually year of manuf.)which is an excellent performer and well made very smooth focusing. Much better than my Summaron 3.5 ever was and not that far from my LTM Canon 35/2 which is comparable to the earlier 35 Summicrons. I also had (sold) a black Jupiter 50/1.5 that had excellent glass and focused smoothly but wasn't quite as well made. So I guess a little good luck helps.

andrew schank , Dec 12, 2002; 02:26 p.m.

Skip, I was persistant and kept buying these lenses trying to get a good one. After 3 tries, I have given up. Couldn't find one that would even focus right on my cameras. By the way, they are all horribly stiff on focus and lubrication has no affect on loosing them up. Save your money and buy the Canon or Nikon equivalent if you want an older 85mm f2.0.

Dan Fromm , Dec 12, 2002; 03:51 p.m.

Some years ago M. J. Small told the LUG that all but one of the roughly (forgive me, I don't remember the numbers exactly) 18 Jupiter-9s he tested were outstanding. They seem like a good gamble.

Kelly Flanigan , Dec 12, 2002; 07:24 p.m.

The Jupiter-9 used Russian lens has the most variablity. I bought 3 and only one focuses correctly; but is stiff as hell to focus. It is a late 1950's chrome lens in LTM.
A new old stock black 1970's Jupiter-9 takes very sharp photos; but not where one focuses. The russians had disassembled ; re lubed it; and then jumbled up the helixes when rebuilding it. Yet another one had the same problem; but not as bad.

These lenses are easy to rebuild if one is good at rubic cubes; and has alot of patience; and one takes alot of good notes; and marks/scribes the entrance point of each helix.

One of my black jupiter-9's was off at infinity focus so bad that turning the scale to infinity made objects 10 meters away be in perfect focus. I am NOT talking about rangefinder or cam issues; but talking about how the entire lens block was WAY to far forward after relubing.

The chrome 1950's and black 1970's LTM jupiter-9s have different lens mount internals. The black one of mine allow the lens cam to be adjusted every 90 degrees on a super fine pitch thread. At no position would the lens mounts infinity be correct with a good leica body. I uses the position that was past infinity; and lapped/sanded the lens cam to be correct. Then the lens block from the front maybe adjusted for correct infinity adjustment at the film plane. Now the rangwfinder and lens works at infinity. BUT my black russian Jupiter-9 mis tracks when focusing closer. This is because Russian's didnt match lens mounts by exact focal lengths. To get my lens to focus correctly closer up; required lapping the lens cam at the close focus area. This is madness. A used Nikkor 85mm F2 would be a better useable lens from the start.

Of all the Russian lenses; the Jupiter-9 has the most problems. But the luck few who get a good one will be rewarded.

emmanouel pateros , Dec 14, 2007; 09:57 a.m.

I have a jupiter 9 that I bought new in the box from a russian guy 1n 1991 just after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The lens was a black version M42 with a serial number starting 91. So it was made during 1991. The last period of Gorbachev in the Soviet Union was a complete chaos. People were not sure what is going to happen with the Communism and the factories were producing lower quality products than during the Stalin period for example. This is very easily observable from the products of East Germany and USSR during this period. Everybody considers for example more reliable the Salut 120 SLR than the Kiev 88. And we have to consider that the Salut was 30 years older. The same is easily observable with the pentacon cameras. As I said before the lens was new with the box and the manual. I took with this lens great portraits, pics of flowers , macro pics and etc. When you use this lens you have to know 2 things. The first is that it is a portrait lens. That means that it works well in close distances. It is not good in the infinity focus. The second is that the lens is completely manual. It is not good for people with a very little knowledge about photography who always used comfortable Japanese AF Lenses. My lens served me all these years and proved to be better than my takumars 50mm f/1.4 ,55mm f/1.8, pentacon 135 f/2.8, Carl Zeiss Sonnar 135mm f/3.5, and other zooms I have for my Pentax K and Minolta MD mount.It produces very nice lines. As for the colors it is not very contrastry because it is not Multi Coated. If somebody considers the fact that lenses with 85mm focal length from Canon and Nikon are at least 10 times more expensive and hard to find in good condition. And that this lens has the value that is very easily placed in every mount (Canon FD, Pentax K, Minolta MD, Olympus OM, Digital SLRs) it is a huge value for money. My opinion is that if somebody really wants this lens, he has to buy the new model which is cheap (120$) and Multicoated and avoid the Russian Guys in the Ebay market because most of the stuff they sell was in bad condition and refurbished-repaired. This Lens is cheap new and the newer model of this decade will be better as the Russian Economy the last few years is improved and the Russians get into the Global Market. The Russians now have learned that you have to sell quality in a reasonable price and not crap that is cheap, like the Chinese for example. I recently bought a new Mir 1v from Rugfit.com and the quality of this lens has nothing to do with an older same lens I borrowed from a friend. So I insist that somebody who wants to take real pics with DSLRs, has to own this Lens, its value for money is the best in the whole market. Avoid used when somebody can buy a new MC version with 100-120 $.

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