samedi 18 mai 2019

Review : My 10 favorite soviet lenses

Quite often people are asking me what are my favorite lenses in my collection.
Today, I decided to answer this question. But before I start, it's better to clarify some things.

First of all, this ranking is only personnal, related to the lenses I own.
This is not a ranking about sharpness, character, rarity or whatever caracteristic you can define for a lens. 
This is mostly the lens I like to use.

I only recently discovered the pleasure of this soviet fisheye, whereas it's not a rare lens at all.
But it's sharp, it's compact, it's relatively fast and it's fun!

This lens is not really easy to find it cheap nowadays (I got mine for 40 euros some years ago in Odessa) and is not really easy to adapt, especialy on DSLR camera since the rear focal flange doesn't give a lot of space.
But once it's adapter, that's a very interesting lens to use. In opposition with other aerial lens, it's rather compact.
But the most interesting here is the color rendition. This lens give to shadows a blue tint that can be nice. It's also quite sharp and give a smooth bokeh that can be also interesting! Without hood, it's also prone to flare, so that's quite a funny lens to use!

This is a really great lens. This was firstly designed for cine camera and technical purposes. I found mine years ago, for around 140 euros. If you look today's price, I can say I'm quite lucky! Mine was also adapted to M42 in zebra style, I guess professionnaly.
I usualy use this lens when I'm doing a serious job, when I have some real responsibility (like earning money). It's sharp, it's fast, it's easy to use with such adaptation and it also has a nice bokeh, a bit swirly, but not that much like Helios-40 for exemple.

It's a lens I received not long time ago. I hesitated to put the Helios-44 in the top 10, but this OKS took its place. Actualy, I consider it to be kind of a super helios-44. A more prononced caracter, sharper, and more compact. Naturely, it has been adapted by my master, and it really helps to appreciate the handling. A little gem, despite its not great shape. Note that it almost covers the 24x36 format (it covers more than the RO3-3M, which is also excellent).

A rather common lens, for 6x6 format (Kiev-60 or Kiev-88 type), that we can find in Б or В mount. But I love its caracter, with a pleasant aquarel bokeh and a good image quality. I mostly use it on my A7, but I have tested it on my Kiev-6S. Also, I particulary like the look of the lens itself, with its beautifull coating.

This is, by far, my favorite lens for concert or other low light scenaries with spotlights. It doesn't really cover the 24x36, but what a caractère! In obscurity, the vignetting is not that important compared to daylight photos. Also, its big frontal lens creates nice flares, which I particulary like in concert conditions. Naturaly, it's a fast lens, that allows low ISO (I don't like high ISO). And finaly, it's a pretty compact lens, and, if well adapted (like in my case), it's very pleasant to use.

Le Tair-11 est un grand classique soviétique. Même si tous sont bons, le Tair-11T reste mon préféré. Tout d'abords, il possède un très long pare-soleil qui marche merveilleusement bien sur le 24x36. Ensuite, il est plus léger car il ne possède pas de système de présélection du diaphragme. Enfin, parmi toutes mes versions de Tair-11, c'est le plus piqué de tous.

The Tair-11 is one of the biggest classic of the soviet lenses. All variantes of the Tair-11 are good, but the Tair-11 is my favorite. First, it has a very long hood that fit perfectly to 24x36 format. It's also lighter since it does not have a preset system. Finaly, I find it to be the sharpest of all my Tair-11 (Tair-11A, Tair-11, Tair-11K, Cine Tair-11...).

Oh boy, this lens I love. It's the best cata lens I have ever owned. And it's also pretty rare, and I like it too. The body is a bit similar with MTO 500 second generation, so it's easy to use, and it's also a light lens (that's the purpose of a cata lens, with the side). F8 is naturaly not fast, but it's very very sharp. A perfect lens for a paparazzi during a shiny day.

A product of my great master Valentin. He turned a pretty common projection lens KO-140M 140mm/1.8 into a fully usuable lens. It has M42 mount, diaphragm with a lot of blade and a pleasant focusing ring. It's a very fast lens, and it has petzval caracter (swirly borders). Wide open is already sharp, but with some CA. Once closed a bit, it's very sharp and without CA. Also its looks is very unique. That's why this lens is #2.

Aaah, the Helios-40. Despite of the number of unknown or very rare lenses I own, that may sound a bit weird to find an Helios-40 in the first place. Well, in fact, it's not a regular Helios-40, but the TV version, the Helios-40T. It's like a perfect Helios-40 for me. I have 2 other Helios-40, but this one is definitly sharper. Like many TV lens, it comes with a very long hood that fits perfectly the 24x36 format. It's also lighter than regular Helios-40 because of the lack of preset system.
Helios-40 is often considered to be a lens that you can use only for swirly bokeh. I don't agree with that, since when it's closed even at f2, the focal plan become more flat and it does not swirl that much. I very often used this lens in concert or other event, and I always was very pleased.