Soviet Lenses

The Soviet lenses are somehow atypical in comparison with their German and Japanese counterparts. Some optical designs, such as the ones in the Helios 44 and the Mir 1, are copied from the Biotar and Flektogon series made my Carl Zeiss. The Jupiter 11-A has the Sonnar design. However, what makes them stand apart is that they have a unique image rendering.

The Tair series on the other hand has a Soviet design and is very capable in terms of both optical performance and reliability. Another thing worth mentioning is that most of them were built throughout the country, which explains why people talk about slight variations in terms of performance and build quality.

Until now, we did not find any significant differences between Soviet lenses, at least in terms of build quality. Also, there are classes of lenses and not the usual line-ups from different manufacturers: the Helios class, the Jupiter class, the Tair class and so on. Last but not least, soviet lenses are heavier than average, so they are a little difficult to use on smaller digital cameras. We especially like the Helios 44 series, the 135mm 2.8 Tair 11A, the Jupiter 9 series and even the old Industar 50-2.