The Best Old Russian Lenses for Today’s Cameras | Photgraphy 101

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Adapters:
M39 Mount to MFT: amzn.to/2qY4nk7
M42 Screw Mount to MFT: amzn.to/2qY4nk7
Favorite Russian Lenses:
Arsat 20mm f 2.8 – ebay.to/2qdpxff
Mir 1 37mm f 2.8 – ebay.to/2qXELSK
Mir-10A 28mm f3.5 – ebay.to/2riQ4Yq
Jupiter 12 (35mm f 2.8 – pentagon bokeh stopped down) –ebay.to/2rRABMd
mattsclassiccameras.com/lenses/jupiter-12-35mm-m39/
Jupiter-12 35mm M39
Jupiter 8 (50mm f 2) M39: ebay.to/2qXjwAr
Jupiter 8 Contax mount – ebay.to/2rB57fW
Industar 61 M39 (55mm f 2.8) – ebay.to/2rBf794
HELIOS 44-2 (58mm f2) M42: ebay.to/2qhSrGW
Jupiter 9 (85mm f 2 – zeis copy): ebay.to/2riyl3s

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Notable Replies

  1. Great to see a return to these photography videos / camera-kit reviews Logan :smiley_cat:

  2. Oh man, I love legacy glass. I have several Canon FD and M42 lenses that I regularly shoot with, and then several other oddball lenses that can be very cheap. eBay and it's damn cheap old lenses filled out my kit without having to spend a fortune while also making me an addict to those very listings. While I do like Russian glass, I personally find some of the Japanese and other 'off-brand' glass to be just as good and a bit cheaper. Overall, prices have seem to come up a bit now on eBay as the demand for these older lenses has grown a little. I started buying them because there were maybe five m4/3 lenses when I had a GH1, and adapters and eBay was the only way I could affordably get faster glass.

    And then the MetaBones SpeedBooster hit the market. Holy balls. While it was kind of expensive, ~$400 IIRC, I ordered the Canon FD to m4/3 adapter as soon as it was available. It literally doubled my kit. You can use the lenses with a standard adapter and the 2x crop factor, but with the SpeedBooster, my Canon 50mm/1.8 becomes a 71mm/1.3 rather than a 100mm/1.8. There are now plenty of 'knock-off' and cheaper focal reducers that do nearly just as good of a job, but it really made buying legacy glass a hell of a lot easier. As Logan pointed out, wide angle lenses are a bit trickier with the 2x crop factor, and a focal reducer will help bring that down to ~1.5x crop and also give you ~1 extra stop to boot!

    For reference, these are a few other common focal length lenses that I have and their 'converted' focal lengths/apertures.

    28mm/f2.8 on 35mm, 56mm/f2.8 on m4/3, 40mm/f2.0 on m4/3 + SB
    35mm-105mm/f3.5 on 35mm, 70-210/f3.5 on m4/3, 50-149mm/f2.5 on m4/3 + SB
    55mm/f2.8 on 35mm, 36mm/f2.8 on m4/3, 26mm/f2.0 on m4/3 + SB

    I made this video more for a reference for myself to go back and look at, but this was some test footage I shot with a few of the lenses I have. I shot this before I got my SpeedBooster, so I may need to do an update video. But it can give you an idea of some of the image quality of the lenses and focal lengths on a crop sensor (Panasonic GH2, 2x crop factor)

    I can post sample more photos and video, along with pictures of the lenses themselves later. I really love m4/3 for the fact it's so easily adapted to older mounts. C-mount lenses can be super cheap and fun to play with as well, though vignetting can be an issue. This is a short I shot with a cheap 25mm/f1.4 CCTV C-mount lens (it was cheaper to go this way than just buy an adapter alone).

    One of my favorite lenses is an SMC/Takumar 55mm/1.8. The back part of the lens has a radioactive coating, so over time it give the image a slightly warmer tone (or so they say, they stopped production in 1965, and since I haven't had the lens since then, there's no way to tell how much has changed). But that is really what I like about the older lenses; their character. You obviously don't want to buy ones with broken focus rings or massive scratches, but I think the little scratches and dust in/on the lens adds something to the feel of the footage/photos. Digital photo/video can look very 'clinical,' and a lot of new lenses designed for super high resolution digital photography/videography are extremely sharp and only add to that look. It's not necessarily a bad thing, especially depending on your personal style, preference or the project you're working on; but for what, and how, I like to shoot, the newer lenses are kind of boring.

    Sorry for the long post, there's a whole bunch more I could add, but if anyone has any questions, feel free to tag me here or on the Discord.

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