Vega-11U lens review

I was presented with a rather interesting lens - this Vega-11U (50U)... Vega-11U is not a lens in the classical sense. Vega-11U is a lens purely for photographic enlargers, therefore, its focusing method is different from a conventional lens. If the lens is disconnected from the enlarger, then it will lose all ability to focus, since Vega-11U has no focus ring.

Vega-11U. Review Vega-11U 2.8 50mm

Vega-11U. Review Vega-11U 2.8 50mm

TTX Vega-11U
Optical design: 5 elements in 4 groups
Focal length: 50mm (there are versions with 54mm)
Aperture limits: F2.8-F11
Fit thread: M39
Number of aperture blades: 12 mm

In fact, there are quite a few modifications of the Vega-11U 2.8 50mm lens. Some of them have not 50mm focal length, but 54mm. Also, some Vega-11 lenses have a maximum aperture F3.5 instead of F2.8. Main modifications: Vega-11U (50U), Vega-11UR, Vega-11U-2. The lens was produced in many factories and exists in different frames. You can view review of the 'black' version of the lens VEGA-11U 2,8 / 50manufactured at LZOS.

View of the Vega-11U lens

View of the Vega-11U lens


  1. Enlightenment. The lens has enlightenment, for the type and quality I can not say anything.
  2. Maximum aperture 2.8 makes the lens suitable for work in low light.
  3. Compactness. The lens is very small and compact. Looks funny on my Nikon D200.
  4. Vega-11U is a specialized lens, therefore it is not intended for ordinary purposes. Due to its enormous sharpness, he can work as a great macro lens... For example, the beloved Industar-61 LZ has a center / edge resolution of 45/28 l / mm, and for Vega-11U: 70/40 l / mm, which is much more.
  5. A lot of aperture blades. Here is a very interesting point. Aperture blades as much as 12 pieces, because the circles in the blur zone have a regular rounded shape. This is very important for macro, because there the depth of field is very small and the nature of the bokeh greatly affects the picture. Only a few lenses have such a large number of aperture blades. For example, one of Nikon’s best macro lenses, the Micro-Nikkor 105mm f / 2.8G IF-ED AF-S VR, has 9 aperture blades.

    Vega 11U - view on a modern camera

    Vega 11U - view on a modern camera

  6. Easy. The lens is made with a fairly light metal alloy.
  7. On DX cameras with crop factor 1.5x viewing angle will be narrower. The angle will be equivalent to the viewing angle for a 75mm lens in full frame or 35mm film.
  8. The lens is also suitable for a full frame. When used on younger cameras, Nikon will not work with metering. When using Canon, there will be no confirmation of focus accuracy.
  9. At the lens only manual iris control without the possibility of pre-installation. The aperture can be set to one of 5 values ​​- 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11. This is one of the few cases when one would like to be able to set a smaller aperture, at least F16, in order to increase the depth of field during macro photography ...
Sample photo on Vega-11U

Sample photo on Vega-11U

Important: Vega-11U does not have a focus ring. It is impossible to focus using this lens in the usual sense of the word. The lens is always focused at a certain distance, for the Nikon / Canon working distance and setting using a conventional adapter, the focusing distance is 20-30 cm (distance from the focal plane to the subject). Due to the fact that the lens is most often used for macro, the focus problem is not so important - it is very convenient to focus by moving the camera to or from the subject. It is very convenient to use the Vega-11U with macro rings.

Sample photo on Vega 11U

Sample photo on Vega 11U

Use with modern cameras

Lenses with an M39 mounting thread (for enlargers, M39 X 1 / 28.8), such as the lens from this review, are very easy to use on modern cameras, just select correct adapter. On lens reflex cameras can only work in macro mode (shoot small objects with a short focusing distance). On mirrorless cameras, it will be possible to achieve focus on infinity. The cheapest adapters can be found

For use on modern digital SLR cameras Canon EOS need M39-Canon EOS adapter, you can buy such an adapter (adapter) here. Also, an adapter M39-Canon EOS can be easily replaced with two adapters: M42-Canon EOS + M39-M42. In any case, the lens will always be focused at close distances.

An adapter is required for use on Nikon SLR cameras M39-Nikon F, you can buy such an adapter (adapter) without a lens and a chip here. Also, one adapter M39-Nikon F can be easily replaced with two adapters: M42-Nikon F + M39-M42. In any case, the lens will always be focused at close range.

For such a lens, I advise you to additionally buy macro rings with M42 thread, for example here.

How to use this lens with cameras of other systems (Pentax, Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, Samsung, Sigma etc.) - ask in the comments and you will be prompted. If you have any questions on compatibility and adapters, ask in the comments (comments do not require any registration at all, any user can add a comment).

Photo on Vega 11 U

Photo on Vega 11 U

Why can I use Vega-11U?

The lens is perfect for macro photography. At the lens very good sharpness over the entire field of the frame. A good macro can be shot with both the lens itself and the lens with macro rings. When using macro rings, you can achieve simply amazing image quality. The lens was created specifically for photo enlargers, where the transmission of the maximum number of parts is important, therefore, in macro photography the Vega-11U will feel like a fish in water.

Vega-11U bokeh

Vega-11U bokeh

Sample photos on Vega-11U and APS-C camera (crop, 1.5x)

All photos without processing, shot on Nikon D200 (Raw → JPEG, Q80%, resized 10mp → 1600 * 1200 + EXIF water mark)

Sample photos on Vega-11U and APS camera (full frame)

All photos without processing, shot on Nikon D700, JPEG L, VI, Q80%, resized 12mp → 1600 * 1200 + EXIF watermark). This is the anniversary, 200th gallery in Radozhiva.

Picture on the Vega-11U lens

The main indicator of the picture on the Vega-11U is the sharpness of the lens. Sharpness is excellent, even at 2.8. By closing the aperture to F11 we increase the depth of field and the sharpness itself. Diffraction at F11.0 aperture does not affect the photo. I do not observe distortions on my cropped matrix. Vignetting is missing. Please note that distortion and vignetting on DX cameras will be less noticeable than on a full frame. The lens is a classic anastigmat, because HA Hardly ever. The bokeh of the lens is quite pleasant, but it’s difficult to judge, since I could see it in my work only by the example of macro photography.

Photo taken at Vega 11U.

Photo taken at Vega 11U.

Other lenses from photo enlargers (U)


  1. INDUSTRAR 22U-1 1: 3,5 F = 50mm П | LZOS | 8 petals
  2. I-22U 1: 3,5 F = 50mm П | KOMZ | 10 petals
  3. I23U 4,5 / 110 | LZOS | medium format | 6 petals
  4. I-26m-U 2,8 / 52 | FED | 10 petals
  5. I50U-3,5 / 50 | FOZ | 6 petals
  6. I50U 3,5 / 50 | LZOS | 6 petals
  7. I50U 3,5 / 50 | NGO 'Optics' | 6 petals
  8. I50U-1 3,5 / 50 | LZOS | 6 petals
  9. И50У-1 1:3,5 F=50мм П | LZOS | 8 petals
  10. INDUSTRAR-55U 140 / 4.5 | MMZ | medium format | 9 petals | reader review
  11. INDUSTRAR-58 3,5 / 75 | MMZ | medium format | 9 petals | reader review
  12. I-90U 4/75 | LZOS | medium format | 10 petals
  13. I96U-3.5 / 50 | FOZ | 6 petals
  14. I96U 3,5 / 50 H-22 | NGO 'Optics' | 6 petals
  15. I96U-H-22-3,5/50 | FOZ | 6 petals
  16. I96U-1 3,5 / 50 | FOZ | 6 petals
  17. I-100U 4/110 | LZOS | medium format | 10 petals | reader note


  1. VEGA-11U 2.8/50 | AOMZ | zebra | 12 petals
  2. VEGA-11U 2,8/50 | LZOS | black | 12 petals
  3. VEGA-11U 3/54 | MMZ | black | 12 petals
  4. VEGA-5U 4/105 | AOMZ | medium format | 6 petals
  5. VEGA-5U 4/105 | MMZ | medium format | 6 petals
  6. VEGA-22CA 5,6/103 | MMZ | medium format | 6 petals | reader's review


  1. Mikar / s 4,5 / 55 | PZO WARSZAWA | Made in Poland | 5 petals
  2. Emitar / s 4,5 / 80 | PZO WARSZAWA | Made in Poland | 5 petals
  3. Amar 4,5 / 105 | PZO WARSZAWA | Made in Poland | 6 petals


  1. LZOS - Lytkarino Optical Glass Plant, Lytkarino
  2. KOMZ - Kazan Optical and Mechanical Plant, Kazan
  3. MMZ - Minsk Mechanical Plant named after S.I. Vavilova
  4. FOZ - Theodosia Optical Plant
  5. AOMZ - Azov Optical and Mechanical Plant, Azov
  6. NPO Optika - Optics Research and Production Association, Moscow
  7. FED - Kharkov Engineering Plant 'FED' (F. E. Dzerzhinsky)

The names of the lenses are clearly indicated according to the marks on the case.


Vega-11U is a specialized lens from photo enlargers, because it has very good sharpness. A lens without a focusing ring, on modern digital SLR cameras can be used as a budget macro lens.

Thank you for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 85, on the topic: Vega-11U F2,8 50mm lens overview

  • Jury

    Vega lenses have an optical scheme of the most pathos, sharp and beautiful in the picture of the Schneider lens. This is Xenotar.

  • Alexey

    and what is the diameter of the filter? and which adapter is it worth sticking to? and if you stick the adapter, how then to use the macro rings?

  • Anastasios

    A very interesting lens. There would be another helicoid attached to it - there would be no price. Can someone tell me where to get an inexpensive helicoid on M 39 to put on a nex. In the meantime, here's what happens on the canon

  • Vyacheslav

    The lens in the photo has 12 blades, in the description 10 ...

  • Vadim

    Arkady, what do you think this infa about this Vega can mean: “Resolution (center / edge) 70/40 lines / mm (according to other sources 71/39 lines / mm or 45/25 lines / mm)”? Several sites indicate this. What is the other data?

    • Rodion

      Most likely, they were measured on different photographic materials. Here are different data. One way or another, it is better to focus on smaller ones - they often bully) In any case, this is a harsh thing!

  • Vadim

    Another question: Do you know anything about the NIKON EL 40MM F / 4.0? And in general about EL Niccors, they are also cheap and, in theory, should be good too.

  • Vadim

    today became the proud owner of this masterpiece of Soviet optical engineering! Since I also own a Nikkor af-s 105mm f2.8 VR, the first thing I decided to do was compare. I was only interested in f between 5.6 and 8, Nikkor (thank Nikon) is still sharper and more micro-contrast, but not catastrophic, but the comparison of freezing plunged me into SHOCK! An under-lens from 1986, for $ 5 better on the head of a Japanese lens, I'm lying - Chinese, but of Japanese origin, bought for $ 980!

  • Vadim

    A friend found Vega 11U 54mm f3 Minsk Mechanical Plant. S.I. Vavilov, with thread M42. To put on the M42-Nikon adapter, I first had to screw on the middle M42 macro ring, since the adapter simply did not wear because of the design. Despite the larger DF, it can be seen from the other working segment, the scale turned out to be slightly smaller in comparison with the Azov Vega, i.e. fit into the frame a little more. I liked it, maybe you can always move closer, but you can't move back. When shooting the portrait of the Amer President, I did not notice any difference between Vega, neither in sharpness, nor in color. Minsk Vega pissed off during the tests by the absence of a reference point for the aperture on the lens barrel, you see such a chip among Belarusians, on Vega 5U, the same factory does not have a point either.

  • Vadim

    I forgot to write that I tested it at 7100.

  • Vadim

    It turned out to compare another Vega 11u production LZOS 80goda. On the lens is a quality mark of the USSR. Quite
    W hard diaphragm switches, the most compact of the three Veg. It seemed quite a bit sharper than the Belarusian and Azov Vega and a bit more contrasting. Enlightenment looks the most violet. Inclined to green. It is a pity that there is no Vega 11u with MS. There is Vega 29u with MS apo, but it’s easier to find a top Rodenstock or Schneider than her.

  • Kingmakerthegod

    You gave so much information about Vega 11u for that I thank you, I have gifted this lens by a old man who is a senior photography lecturer and I have used it on my Canon as micro but now for the first time I am going to use it on my a6000 and I am confident about I will make a focusing helicoid and infinity focus on Sony a6000 will post the results spoon

  • Pavlo

    Is it possible to tidy up the diaphragm more for 11 ?. Having read here, I’m better to bolt and screw more.

    • Rodion

      No, it’s only marked up to 11. You can cover it if you squander a groove.

  • Ruslan

    I recently purchased this glass. Maybe someone will give a link how best to make friends with NIKON and which macro rings to take?

  • Vladimir

    Tell me, what can be the problem, I use macro focuses no more than 3 cm from the lens, mode M manual, what am I doing wrong?

  • Vladimir

    and without macro, everything focuses normally at a distance of 10-15 cm

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thank you :)

  • Stas

    Arkady, please tell me which version of the lens you like more, Azov or Lytkarinsky? is there any noticeable difference? (question to all participants in the discussion)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      This one from this review

      • Stas

        Thanks. Judging by the photos, I also liked the Azov version more. Confuses the size, It seems to me that the Lytkarinsky version is easier to transplant into someone else's frame.

  • Novichok

    My Vega 11u 3/54 on nex 3n, helicoid from helios 44-2. The lens turned out like a factory in appearance!

  • Novichok


  • Novichok


  • Novichok

    Sorry that everything is not in one post.
    Z. S. I used a thin ring nex-m42, a helix from helios 44-2 (the optical part was simply unscrewed, it can be turned upside down and connected, for example, with helios 44m-6. They fit right into each other) and veg 11u 3/54 (bore the shank so that he entered the helicoid tightly).

  • Novichok

    The lens adjusts for sharpness from 32cm to infinity.

  • Graf

    Here is a photo on Vega 11u. in conjunction with nikon 1

  • Serg

    From my own experience I must say that the Azov version of Vega -11 is the most protected from lateral exposure by built-in deep blending. In second place is the Minsk version, and closes the Lytkarino table. All Soviet lenses for enlargers are very afraid of contrast, sharply reducing contrast. But under normal lighting, they are very sharp and contrasting. The biggest problems are the side flare, to combat which you have to design home-made hoods.
    All this affects the dimensions. The Azov version is the largest, and the Lytkar version is the most compact. It is more convenient to use Lytkarinskaya with fur and even turn it upside down inside the fur to transfer slides and negatives to crop.
    It is more convenient in terms of shooting small insects in order to less frighten them with the approach of the lens. But lateral flare can easily ruin the frame.

  • Vitaly S.

    Photo from Vega 11 U on Nikon D80

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