The best Soviet lens for portraiture

Here in Radozhiv, a vote was taken on the best Soviet portrait lens with a focal length of 85 to 135 mm. Its results are shown below.

The best Soviet portrait lens

The best Soviet portrait lens. A total of 25 people voted. The image is clickable.

A large number of reviews of Soviet optics will find here. Results of voting for the best Soviet fifty dollars can be found here.

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Comments: 167, on the topic: The best Soviet lens for portraiture

  • Vovan

    Colleagues, I support the question. I have a Panasonic Gf6. Kit it some. For fixes it is more less clear. And how to leave your native whale to another, at least 2.8? The issue of autofocus is important. Purpose: to manage to shoot the date in the apartment. Thanks.

  • Alpex

    Tell me, please, is it worth buying Jupiter-37A, 3.5 135 if there is Helios-44M 2 \ 58.
    In general, I’m satisfied with Helios, I use it as a portrait (my crop has 2x crop), and as a macro lens through the rings. Will Jupiter give a qualitatively better result?

    • Pastor

      Well, depending on what you mean by the best result. He's just different. A completely different focus and purpose. On a doublecrop like yours, it will already be quite a telephoto lens, while on ff it is just a portrait lens. So it's hard to compare. I also have several 44 helios and a couple of Jupiters 37a. I can't say which one I like better. Helios for architecture, for nature, less often for portraits (but on your doublecrop this is the most portrait portrait). And I use Jupiter 90% just as a portrait, well, sometimes I take off some animal (if on a crop).
      And so, Jupiter is quite high-quality glass, clearly worth the money that they are asking for it now. Quite harsh in the open. Take the MC version, I have both (with and without MC), there is a difference - MC is less afraid of backlight.

    • anonym

      I have Nikon 5100. Crop 1,5. My Helios-44M 2 \ 58 passed to me from my old Zenith. I put an adapter with a lens for infinity. Joy knew no bounds. Then I read all about lenses. He caught fire, bought Jupiter-37A, 3.5 135 and was immediately disappointed. Jupiter has too much focal for cropped matrices. He worried that he would now lie unnecessarily. If you shoot portraits, then only one nose fits. That is, portraits are mostly facial or you need to move decently, do not compare in Helios. In my opinion, for a family home, Helios makes wonderful portraits with blur and it is quite enough. Now I would think well. Buy Jupiter or not. Just Jupiter itself is a solid lens and it is believed that every self-respecting amateur photographer is simply obliged to have it in his collection. If you have extra money, then you can take it. You need to get used to it; it is too narrowly targeted.

      • Konstantin

        I also have a Nikon D5100 and Helios with a lens on the adapter, but I don’t like it, it lathers. Here the world 1B is much better in this regard. And from Jupiter 37 I’m bleeding at all, this quality is obtained, I just sit and admire it for a long time later. Well, yes, you need to move away, but the quality at times is simply better. In general, helios disappointed me, peace and Jupiter in the arsenal.

        • Edward

          Soaps not Helios, but an adapter with a lens

          1) buy Helios under a mount Kiev-Nikon
          2) close the aperture to 4
          3) use an adapter without a lens and shoot up to a meter

        • Sergei

          Most likely you were disappointed with an adapter with a low quality lens. If you have 44-2, then it is better to deploy it and put a thin adjustment ring (I have 0,6 mm). There is no infinity, you can focus somewhere up to 7 meters (on the crop).

    • mAlex

      Jupiter-37 is a solid small telephoto camera, also suitable for shooting portraits. With the receipt of the Jupiter background. Which is "different from Helios." "Hopper Invest is a great company."
      And that's all - on a film camera. On the crop, it will be a telephoto lens with an equivalent focal length somewhere from 200 mm and with a proportionally reduced aperture ratio; to capture the face, you have to move away from the model quite far. It never occurred to me to use it as a macro lens - there are a bunch of much more affordable and suitable optics. By the way, the G-44 in this capacity is a great thing. And if a white Ju-11 turns up at a flea market, then hell knows what is better. I use Yu-11 from Kiev-4, converted to M42, and Yu-37, which is one and a half times larger and draws three times less interesting, lies in its good-quality cylinder ... lies to itself ...

    • Sergei

      I think it's worth it. Different FFs give different blur... and different images.

  • Rodion

    The best portrait lens is, of course, the white Krasnogorsk Jupiter-9, converted from Kiev. Gorgeous thing! Well, and Helios-44 as a short portrait. Still very cheap and cheerful - Triplet 2.8 / 78 from the projector is a thing!

  • Ilya

    The vote will be correct if only those people who have used all these lenses vote, so the vote turns into “I have Jupiter 37a, and I vote for him”

    • Sergei

      I agree, the question is incorrectly formulated. Yes, and you can vote as many times as you went to the page, you tried it yourself, there should be some kind of blockage from repeating requests from the same computer, but this is already very difficult, or a paid program is required (I don’t know, not a computer man). So the voting results are very approximate.

  • Vladimir

    Arkady, what do you think is number one ????

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Like the medium format Vega-28.

  • Igor

    Of those that I tried the most I liked the cinematic OKS6-75-1 on the crop.

  • anonym

    telezenitar 135 / 2,8

  • Ed

    There is Jupiter 11 early seventies. Is it worth buying the Yu37a without MS. With MS unreasonably expensive, I think.
    In terms of sharpness, drawing is better?

  • Jury

    I don’t understand how it is possible to compare lenses in such focal gates 85-135? they have significantly different optical characteristics, depth of field angles, and for a photo artist this is more important than the resolution that is emphasized. I would compare identical with the same focus and aperture. Here we can talk about quality (optical-mechanical), the beauty of the picture and, of course, about weight.

    • KalekseyG

      DOF angles? I'm inooooooooooo

  • Jury

    But if there is such a gate, then I will give preference to Helios-40 (white), but I think the G-40-2 is no worse. G-40 it is soft and at the same time at diaphragms 5.6-8 it can “cut”, but the weight kills, especially on light digital cameras.

    • mAlex

      And the Valdai G-77? - he is in no way inferior to the fortieth! Only lighter every five. And there is also LETI-2/92 - this is a miracle in skilled hands, too, a very good toy, especially an old one with a wormhole. Yes, it does not have a diaphragm, but it is not needed in the attachment to a portrait. And everything else here is not in favor of the G-40. With all the love for the legend.

  • ñ

    As for me, Jupiter 13 removes nothing like that

  • Adrian

    best jupiter 6

    • Andrei

      Jupiter-6 is the best portrait lens. I support.

      • Rodion

        The only Soviet lens from among the German copy-pastes, which came out really worse than the original

  • Novel

    Jupiter 37A - Excellent !!!!

  • Algerd

    Need a vote for the best shovel shirik

  • Valentine

    And tell me, Arkady, on the Nikon D200 for a portrait, what is better than Kaleinar 5N or Vega 12B. Thanks in advance.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I would take Kalainar. Which is better depends on the type of portrait photography, here a more subjective, artistic component plays a role.

      • Valentine


  • Sergei

    After many years of inaction, your articles motivate AGAIN to start taking pictures. Thank you!

  • Charles

    Porter? That is, to shoot exclusively by accepting a pint of a porter, or what?

  • Anton

    Hello, Arkady.

    Going to purchase a Soviet portraiture. The choice is between Kaleinar 5N and Jupiter 37A. It’s difficult to decide, because I didn’t take pictures of any of them, I choose based on the information in your blog and the Internet.
    Please help me decide. I have a Nikon D3000, and I plan to shoot mostly outdoors. If you have a comparative review of these two comrades - give a link, please (I could not find it on the site).

    Thank you!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      On the crop, Kaleinar is more convenient, it is shorter. But you need to look at the state of the options available for sale.

      • Anton

        Thank you!

    • mAlex

      There is, in fact, no choice in the presented case. “Kaleinar” makes a Yu-37, even if this Yu is an MS, in all respects, except for the price. If you have an extra pair of kilo rubles - take "Kaleinar".

      • Rodion

        By what articles does he "do", except for FR and luminosity (which is not critically different)?

  • Denis

    How Helios-40-2 ended up in second place, given that the authors of this site write about it, plus an article by D. Evtifeev, which compares Helios with Planar (, - mystery.

    • Rodion

      Well, he's cool)))

      • Denis

        Rodion, thanks. Get deeper into this lens. Now I understand :) But it's true. I got excited at first. Right, right people.

        • Rodion

          But don't worry: in addition to Helios-40, there are just a lot of lenses that are more interesting in all plans. For example, I have not had Cyclops for a long time, the review of which was here a year ago. But I have KO-120 120 / 2.1, which I appreciate more and have been using for more than 6 years in various adaptations.

  • Eugen Mezei

    The Jupiter-37A is a very nice lens, but in my opinion too contrasty for portraits.

    • B. R. P.

      Well, the contrast is easily adjusted during processing)

  • Amit

    Guys, hello. I have a question. On what system will Soviet lenses reveal themselves? On nikon Zii or leica m9/m240? Neither, but that is not yet on hand. If someone has experience using such an assembly, I will be glad to read it.

    • Dmitry Kostin

      “On what system will Soviet lenses reveal themselves?”
      I didn't quite understand what "revealed" means.
      On a full-frame modern BZK, IMHO, best of all.

      • Arkady Shapoval

        On Fuji GFX, HASSEL X just right :)

    • Andrii


    • Andrii

      If you put the power on the pack “with some kind of lens to open yourself nikon z or Leica M”, then it will be as dumb as your food.

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