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jgharding

Looking for advice on Helios, Mir and Jupiter for Iscorama and EF mount

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Hello all,

I have a pre 36 Iscorama and Redstan clamp.

I'm looking for the classic trio of simple characterful lenses everyone recommends after searching the threads here: Helios, Mir and Jupiter.

However, since there are so many versions of them all I'm confused as to which ones will indeed convert to EF.

Some, it seems, were made for Leica M style rangefinders, and won't convert. Does anyone know which to avoid and which are gems?

Also, is there a lens of the period that is ismilar, but ever longer focal length, than 85mm, say 100mm or 120mm too?

I gather the silver ones are the most "flarey" but some i think are rangefinders? I'm a little lost in this specific department as I'm new to the Iscorama. I've wanted one for about 5 years or more though so it's very exciting!

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Hey man! I have a set like that and I picked them all with m42 mounts since m42 to EF is a very cheap and common adapter. The longer focal length to match the set is the Tair 11A, 135mm f/2.8, 20 aperture blades, beautiful results.

They have a few different versions but I think just the Helios is numbered (the one everyone loves is the 44-2). About the Jupiter 9 and Mir 1B, I've read somewhere that the ones with "finger cuts" ( http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/3144/jupiter9.jpg ) in the focus ring have less coatings, while the regular, round ones ( http://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/data/83/IMGP3762_2.jpg ) are less prone to flaring.

These versions also have preset aperture, which makes them naturally declicked, while more modern versions have clicked stops (the Helios 44 for sure, since I had a few).

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Hey man! I have a set like that and I picked them all with m42 mounts since m42 to EF is a very cheap and common adapter. The longer focal length to match the set is the Tair 11A, 135mm f/2.8, 20 aperture blades, beautiful results.

They have a few different versions but I think just the Helios is numbered (the one everyone loves is the 44-2). About the Jupiter 9 and Mir 1B, I've read somewhere that the ones with "finger cuts" ( http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/3144/jupiter9.jpg ) in the focus ring have less coatings, while the regular, round ones ( http://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/data/83/IMGP3762_2.jpg ) are less prone to flaring.

These versions also have preset aperture, which makes them naturally declicked, while more modern versions have clicked stops (the Helios 44 for sure, since I had a few).

This was great info about those "finger cuts". Didn't know that, thanks! I am just on same market here as jgharding is. I am looking good russian lenses with a lot of flare and other lovely character to combine with my anamorphic lenses (iscomorphot 1.5x and kowa 8z). And on my buying list st the moment are Jupiter-9, Mir-1B and Volna-9 (already have a Helios 44-2).

I have also read about serialnumbers that some years are better than others (manufacturing year are the first two digits in the serialnumber) like from 75-89 are good years or something like that.. Don't know might be just a haux :) old russian lenses are often hit or mis. Those are plenty out there but there is bad and good copies. Good luck with the lottery!

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Enjoy, guys! Russian lenses are amazing and, after a while you end up forgetting how sharp glass can be (I picked up a Contax Zeiss set earlier this year and, oh man! these are razor sharp when compared to the Russians), which is also a great rediscovery.

I've grown my set to include others that won't play along with anamorphics, such as the Mir 10A, which is 28mm f/3.5 and the Mir 20M, which is an amazing 20mm f/3.5. If you're looking for a faster alternative for the Mir 1B, the Mir 24N is a 35mm f/2.0, but the flares are considerably different from the rest (Helios and Jupiter). I also got a Tair 3, which is 300mm, but haven't tested it with any scopes yet. hahahah.

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Enjoy, guys! Russian lenses are amazing and, after a while you end up forgetting how sharp glass can be (I picked up a Contax Zeiss set earlier this year and, oh man! these are razor sharp when compared to the Russians), which is also a great rediscovery.

I've grown my set to include others that won't play along with anamorphics, such as the Mir 10A, which is 28mm f/3.5 and the Mir 20M, which is an amazing 20mm f/3.5. If you're looking for a faster alternative for the Mir 1B, the Mir 24N is a 35mm f/2.0, but the flares are considerably different from the rest (Helios and Jupiter). I also got a Tair 3, which is 300mm, but haven't tested it with any scopes yet. hahahah.

I have also noticed how easy it's to forget what razor sharp glass looks like. I really like older softer look. That is why I sold all my sharper lenses (those Panasonic lenses even over digital sharp in my opinion) and bought full Canon FD prime set. Which are my "normal" lenses to use daily. And when I want more look, I use russian lenses to play with the flaws.

At my work I use quite a lot new Canon L-serie primes. Those are quite sharp. But damn I hate those focus gears! You turn 1mm and you are from infinity to 0.30cm on focus scale! Try to follow with the focus on people walking in depth through your frame, challenge! :d

Some day I want to get lovely DSO Trump lenses full 3 lens set!

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Tito is spot on about the Jupiter 9 - the pictured one is the one to get, but are harder to find in decent condition (this goes for a lot of the Russian lenses - quality control & age can make it all a bit of a crap shoot).

For the Helios 44-2 this thread from MFLenses forum is the best source of info:

http://forum.mflenses.com/complete-list-of-helios-lenses-getting-closer-t26100.html

This forum is an amazing resource for all vintage lenses:

http://forum.mflenses.com/

A couple of other lenses, longer than 85mm, worth considering are these 135mm: Jupiter 11 & also Jupiter 37a (the 37a comes in MC & non-MC versions - v.low contrast on the non-MC'd version).

The Mir-24M or N (M=M42, N=Nikon) 35mm f2 - stunning lens & not as MC'd as you'd think (its my go to Russain 35mm, as the Mir-1b ain't the greatest).

For those that love sharp lenses & can't afford the Zeiss Contax lenses, then the "Yashica ML Primes" are a v.good cheaper alternative:

http://cargocollective.com/yashica/About-Yashica-ML-Prime-Lenses

 

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The Mir-24M or N (M=M42, N=Nikon) 35mm f2 - stunning lens & not as MC'd as you'd think (its my go to Russain 35mm, as the Mir-1b ain't the greatest).

For those that love sharp lenses & can't afford the Zeiss Contax lenses, then the "Yashica ML Primes" are a v.good cheaper alternative:

http://cargocollective.com/yashica/About-Yashica-ML-Prime-Lenses

 

Ace, cheers!

I already have a Contax Zeiss Set. I'd heard they don't play so well with Iscorama, hence looking for Russian set... any truth in this do you know?

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I managed managed to find most for pretty cheap, and have left getting a Tair for later. We shall see how this goes! Looking forwarding to shooting with the setup, though it'll be some months before I get the time.

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Ace, cheers!

I already have a Contax Zeiss Set. I'd heard they don't play so well with Iscorama, hence looking for Russian set... any truth in this do you know?

I have used a modern zeiss ZE 50mm f1.4 & that works just fine - in fact it even allows the 54 to flare more easily than other lenses (go figure!).

The Contax Zeiss set that you have should be crisp & clear.

My experience so far has not limited what taking lens you can use with an Iscorama - mine tends to mimick the taking lens & this can lead to over exagerating any downfalls that they might have. So with some wide-angle lenses you will get that curved distortion at the edges & with others you might not.

I really like the tiny Super Takumars coupled with the Iscorama - they're not-MC, warm & actually quite sharp without being nasty.

And am seriously considering getting a set of Nikon ai-s lenses - am really impressed with the image that the 24mm f2.8 & Iscorama produces on the BMPCC.

The Tokina AT-X Pro 28-70mm f2.6/2.8 (Angenieux design) is an amazing taking lens with the 54, but not sure how it pairs with the 36 (is the rear element too small?) - really worth a pop, as they are cheap & v.good on their own.

 

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Ace, cheers!

I already have a Contax Zeiss Set. I'd heard they don't play so well with Iscorama, hence looking for Russian set... any truth in this do you know?

My Contax Zeiss lenses love Iscoramas, The 50 and 85 make some of the most beautiful images I got out of Iscos so far. I used them for the tests in this video and in the Isco 36 review, which will come up mid-november. :p

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfeIZk0zlfY

 

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1.  Avoid units with bright blue or purple front element coatings - the majority of early silver units are of this nature. - the coatings flare up and peak the blue channel in a horrible way.

2. search for a unit with bronze/gold coatings which will match the coatings on your isco really well.  also the purple coated lenses starting with serials 72, 73, 74 have a nice magenta coating which also matches well with the isco and also doesnt peak any channels.

3. the jupiter is a sonnar design which tends to also peak in the blue/green channel of a sensor in a condensed spot of colour depending on the coatings

4. avoid the majority of m39 jupiters since these are usually for 'Leica L39' mount - you can tell them apart since they have a longer body than the m42 units.  m39 helios lenses are the same as m42 units in their adaptability.  just use a m39 to m42 adaptor ring before your ef adaptor ring.

5.  avoid af confirm chips at all cost if using on canon bodies - a plain brass adaptor, with silver nickel coating is best for canon cameras.  on the flip side, if using with a metabones adaptor you need an adaptor with a af confirm chip since without often means the longer pins on the metabones adaptor cause short circuits when they touch the non af confirm adaptors.

6. there are a number of very cool night vision lenses of around 100mm in m42 mount.  infact i think there is a 100/2 lens.  I've not used it, but I imagine it will be rather nice.  however might not have a built in aperture.  if you can find a variation of the m42 100mm/2 with a built in aperture it'll be killer since its a planar design.

7. if going for a sonnar type 85mm lens (like the jupiter9), i'd match it with a 135mm/2.8 like an early pentacon 135mm/2.8.  I have found the carl zeiss tessar 135/4 works very nicely with the 'rama 36.  its normally found in rollei sl35/qbm mount.  being old and without t* coatings it matches the early russians rather well!, and is dirt cheap

 

  

 

 

though not shot on russin lenses, I shot this with the Iscorama (single coated) and a set of Rollei SL35 lenses.  as I recall I used 35mm/2.8 distagon, 50mm/1.8 planar, 135mm/4 tessar.  each of these was a non HFT unit meaning they are earlier units.  going rate for the 50mm is around £50, the 135/4 is about £35 and the 35/2.8 is around £130.  pretty cheap for a matched set that performs so well.  if shooting full frame just go for the 85/2.8 instead of the 35/2.8. 

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Thanks for sharing your vast knowledge with lenses @richg101!

But i got very curious with the item 1 of your list:

1.  Avoid units with bright blue or purple front element coatings - the majority of early silver units are of this nature. - the coatings flare up and peak the blue channel in a horrible way.

I've never heard of this issue with flares peaking up the blue channel in a bad way.
Does this occur with other lenses and combinations?
I have an Isco BlueStar and also a Yashica Scope what do i have to look for to find a nice match for my anamorphic adapters (and what to avoid)? Flares in the same color?

Thank you very much!

 

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