Era-12 125/4, a review of a rare lens from a reader Radozhiva

A review of the rare microfilming lens Era-12 125/4 (KOMZ) No. 810003 was specially prepared for Radozhiva by Rodion Eshmakov.

Era-12 125/4

Era-12 125/4

Technical characteristics of Era-12 125/4:

Focal length: 125 mm
Maximum relative aperture: 1:4
Angle of view (in native format): 16 degrees
Resolution: in the center - 330 lines / mm, on the edge - 260 lines / mm (from the book by D.S. Volosov Photographic optics)
Design: optical design 'Era' (six lenses in five groups, two lenses in front, negative bonding and two positive lenses on the back)
Diameter for filters: 62 mm
The weight: more than 1 kg (of the lens itself), more than 1.5 kg - with a homemade focuser from Kaleinar-3B 2.8 / 150
Years of issue: 1980s, production of several per year. The copy from the review is most likely made in 1981 (judging by the number).
Aperture limits: F / 4 - F / 16, aperture changes smoothly, without fixed values. There are labels for F / 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16
Format: - medium format, 6 * 6 cm
Features: the lens is equipped with the mark of Soviet quality

Era-12 is a rare lens for microfilm, i.e. transfer of technical documentation to medium and small format photographic film. It was produced almost individually at KOMZ (Kazan Optical and Mechanical Plant).
The copy presented in the review is by no means in perfect condition (there are scratches in the optics), although, as practice shows, this has little effect on the quality of the photographs.

Era-12 125/4 aperture lens petals

Era-12 125/4 aperture lens petals

The lens does not have a focus ring, but has a connecting thread for the native installation. The rear segment of the lens is very large, it can be attached to any camera. Therefore, this sample, which is by no means a new state, was placed in the focuser Kaleinar-3B 2.8 / 150 with a shank on the M42.

The lens is very, very heavy, it takes skill to shoot. With its characteristics, it is almost 5 times heavier than Jupiter-11 135/4! However, it differs not only in weight ...
Key Features

  1. With ordinary indicators of focal and aperture, the lens has a completely fantastic resolution - almost ten times more than Industar-61 L / Z и Jupiter-37A! Actually, this is why the lens weighs so much - they used special types of glass, special scheme for distortion correction. This resolution allows for diverse shooting, although for a portrait the lens is sometimes too sharp.
  2. The lens does not have its own focusing unit - for its use, there are several options for "grafting". The easiest but inconvenient is to use a focuser Helios-44-2... The most sensible is to search for a "dead", unnecessary lens like Kaleinar-3B 2.8 / 150.
  3. This is a medium format lens. Those. in small format, the sharpness will be equally high with the edge and center of the frame.
  4. The lens has an aperture with 10 straight shiny (not blackened) petalsgives a fairly even hole.
  5. The lens is made of glass and metal, and there are a lot of both - which affects the weight. Nevertheless, the lens is assembled very well - for centuries. My copy survived with success and abuse (it's time to go to jail for mistreating such optics :)).
  6. In backlit conditions, the lens tends to lose contrast. designed for shooting in "greenhouse" conditions. This is also facilitated by the absence of blackening of the diaphragm and, apparently, single-layer enlightenment. However, it is not much worse than other Soviet lenses.
  7. The lens has a very good, natural color reproduction, although often technical lenses distort colors.
Era-12 125/4 lens transplanted into a part of the Kaleinar-3 lens

Era-12 125/4 lens transplanted into the lens part Kaleinar-3

Image quality

Speaking of quality, I would like to wish more lenses to have such an image QUALITY: the lens is incredibly sharp at F / 4, while it has the smoothest calm bokeh, smooth out of focus. Vignetting is, of course, excluded. Distortion is corrected - as it should be for technical lenses - excellent. The lens has only chromatic aberration, slightly affecting the picture, this is especially noticeable on contrasting contours in the backlight. However, the higher the sharpness, the more noticeable HA.

You can download RAW and JPEG source files at this link (59 file in '.CR2', '.JPG' format, 806 MB). All photos were taken on Canon 600D.


Era-12 is an excellent, rare technical lens. It requires improvement for use on modern cameras, but it has incredible characteristics and can serve as a lens for macro photography, portraits, etc. The design of the lens is the absence of defiant details, very calm, even, laconic - nothing more. Only a high-quality and sharp picture, which is its main highlight.

A list of all reviews from readers of Radozhiva will find here.

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Comments: 46, on the topic: Era-12 125/4, a review of a rare lens from a reader of Radozhiva

  • grandfather Fedor

    Yes, a really interesting lens. It is interesting to see its capabilities in the "native" format. By the way, here's the question: is the resolution of a film or a lens more important?

    • Rodion

      Volosov cited the data obtained using the Mikrat material with a native resolution of 2000 lines / mm. Here, in fact, the photographic resolution is given. There is also a visual one, apparently, when projecting a picture and manually counting strokes without photographing - there the resolution is ~ 30 lines higher.
      Actually, if you count the pixel density at approximately 600d, this is the only lens that can resolve these 18 megapixels. And on full-frame 5d cameras, it will have an excessive resolution at all - an unheard-of thing, it would seem!

    • Rodion

      By the way, you can put it on the P6 - but only in macro mode. There, to infinity, 10 mm is not enough.

  • Dim

    Very interesting. It's a pity there is no photo on which it would be possible to assess the transition to blurry - such as a fence going into the distance or alleys

    • Rodion

      It can be appreciated in the photo with a spider and other insects)

  • Anatoly

    Respect to Rodion

  • Vladimir

    Whatever “removed” A.Sh. - everything is interesting and beautiful!

    • Vyacheslav S.

      What does A.Sh. have to do with the pictures from R.E.?

  • anonym

    I didn’t think that there are lenses with such a high resolution

  • Grandfather

    I downloaded the archive, looked at the pictures, the usual good sharpness, that I did not see that vaunted ringing sharpness that I expected, maybe in conjunction with the FF sensor everything will be different, since more of those “magic” lines will cover the sensor, something is not somewhere plays.
    JPEG in Canon 600D wants to be the best.
    Thank you for the material.

    • anonym

      By the way, yes. the same kachets is also issued by 37 Jupiter, I am silent about the native insole of many Japanese firms. I don’t see ADCC either

  • anonym

    And why did you wind it on the 600D? Does he reveal all the qualities of glass? And sharpness is not outstanding, just average

    • anonym

      And still not a single photo is at a distance to assess sharpness throughout the frame, we conclude that the glass is rubbish.

    • BB

      What a man has, then put it. Not all photographers have eight carcasses.

      • Rodion

        That's it. I didn’t shoot this for the sake of reviews. Filmed as I want, with what it was.
        Regarding sharpness, it is obvious that most photographs are strong-strong macro (i.e. we stretch the resolution of the glass over a large area, it drops two or three times in fact). So, for example, a white-pink flower had dimensions of about 3-4 mm. The beetle was completely in motion during the shooting.
        Sharpness here is more limited by shake - the lens does not have a high aperture ratio. Well, and ISO, I can not punch well.
        The resolution can be estimated from the last portrait. The fact that every downy hair is visible on the face is an indicator cleaner than the world.
        The archived JPEGs are not in-camera.

        PS Anonymous is a local troll like that? Well, let's get acquainted with the local fauna.

        • Yarkiya

          Glass in any case is not rubbish, but a really sharp photo with only a large butterfly.

          • Rodion

            Because it is full of contrasting details. And in other pictures - you have to look for them. It's simple.

            • Yarkiya

              Well, no, not everything is simple, it's not about contrasting details, but in the distance. Just the contrast there is not big, but all the villi are visible. And the rest of the pictures are almost all blurry. So it’s not the glass, it’s just normal, it turns out that the shutter speed needs to be shortened.

              • Rodion

                I can't find “the rest of the photos are all blurry” among the photos, alas.

              • brighty

                I downloaded the source and looked at a 100% increase. Open to the full beetle, an absolute technical marriage, I try to immediately remove such.
                Yes, do not pay attention to this, it has a mediocre attitude to the review. Because, in fact, you are a great fellow and thank you very much for the review.

          • Rodion

            In my opinion, one of the best shots to illustrate sharpness is a shot with chicory and a shot after it. In the first case, a huge number of details are visible, and in the second case, with no less detail in the image, the magnification factor is very high. No matter how 1,5:1. The whole problem is that everything is off the hook. And the lighting is not particularly pampered in the forest. Therefore, what is, is.
            In any case, neither I-61LZ, nor Volna-9, nor Jupiter-37 with a macro ring would have shown anything good. I used Ju-11 with macro rings - the detail was much worse. And he has permission - like the 61st Industar, famous for its sharpness.

            • Rodion

              With a beetle, yes - there is grease. But he is alive, he runs) And I am chasing him with macro rings at ISO400. It is clear that it will be blurred)

            • anonym

              Very interesting lens! The combination of sharpness and softness of the picture. I liked the pictures and I understand you, because I myself crawl on all fours in the shade of bushes, etc. Judging by the excerpts, no. Buy an inexpensive flash compatible with your camera, make different attachments for it yourself (everything can be found in the institute) and then you can shoot at ISO 100 and shutter speeds shorter than 250, there will be no movement, and so on. small disturbances. Moreover, the hole allows! Yes, and it does not hurt for dynamic photo sessions in nature with a monopod. I sincerely wish you to enjoy your hobby! Good luck!

              • Rodion

                Thanks for the tips!
                External equipment is cool, but, alas, it's hard, very voluminous; if I carried it all with me - I would not have any desire to shoot. And at those times, when I rode a bike, I just took a camera with me from the era, which was still overloaded with Helios 44-2 helicoid (he groaned terribly from the load) ...

    • Maugli

      Well, they would give a man a ff carcass for a while, what's the problem?

  • Dim

    30 megapixels for FX. It is quite normal, the edges are simply not visible.

  • Dim

    ISO would be even lower, otherwise the sensor itself could spoil the picture

  • Michael

    Hello everybody.
    Let me put in a link I think a wonderful Nikon 80-200 / 4.5 Ai lens.
    And more photo examples

  • Sergei

    Thank you for your review, Rodion - respect and respect, thanks for your work

  • CV

    A viewing angle of 16 degrees and medium format contradict each other. At this angle, a frame with a diagonal of ~ 35 mm will be its native format.

    • Rodion

      Yes, probably. But he covers the 6 * 6 field without problems. Like Jupiter-21M, it also covers 6 * 6.

  • Somebody

    The glass is cool, but nothing more, but the Tester (with a capital letter!) - respect the most respectable! O_ =
    With such crap, on the rings, in the field to shoot live macro - you have to be not just a terminator, but a terminator from Rusnano ...

    It is interesting, of course, to stick it in the native format and look at the picture.
    Because the narrow digital cropper for SF film optics is a very indirect test.

  • Igor_K

    Dear colleagues, lenses of this class were developed for use in stationary reproduction and macro installations. To eliminate the lubrication factor, the installation itself was mounted on a vibration-absorbing platform (sand + expanded clay + concrete + bitumen-rubber mat), the weight of the installation itself is far beyond a centner, P - shaped guides like a hoist crane. The size of the negative is predominantly 9 by 12 cm. Negative - high-resolution black-and-white photographic plates. The development was done with a lean, fine-grained developer, often rolled onto glass for exceptional detail, etc. This is exactly the kind of photography I was doing 28 years ago; this process is similar to art photography, like a sports report is to fluorography. There was no mention of any bokeh and color rendition, only detail and resolution, contrast was adjusted in the process of developing and printing. Even in those years, Lingoff Technika Press, compared to similar monsters, looked like the built-in camera of a Siemens c65 phone compared to Nikon d800. So do not complain that the lens from the review could not show itself on a cropped camera. After all, it is unlikely that someone will come up with the idea to equip the hunchbacked “Zaporozhets” with an engine from the “Mig 29”, and complain about the lack of controllability of the structure. I didn't mean to offend anyone, just sharing my personal experience. Many thanks to the author of the review, very interesting.

  • Rodion

    The most interesting thing is that I am not mad about fat, I shoot with such optics. The lens was rescued from an antique shop for 1500r; he lay there all so poor, with one front cover and a thick layer of dust, grease and dirt instead of the back. Surprisingly, even after such a past, this lens performs well.

  • anonym

    Yes, Jupiter 37 gives no less resolution, where is the detail from the effects of VAX? no. Hence, it makes no sense to look for this rarity and masturbate on it, trying to make their work detailed pixel by pixel. The most common lens.

  • Subject

    and on the FF, not on the crop. The time has passed when they put this Soviet dermetso and tried to squeeze out of it a picture of the quality of the 21st century. Gone. it is better to spend money on native glass, which predictably produces more predictable results, and calmly shoot. YOU DO NOT BUY A SCOOTER TO GET from point A to point B, you take at least a train ticket or look for a car. So here, why bother bothering if today the options are DARKNESS. Used native optics are even more expensive, but the picture from it is many times more pleasant to look at. If you need an artistic drawing, it is fashionable for him to buy a couple of scoop glasses at a flea market. The requirements for modern photography have gone far from allowing this rubbish, and only those who are not engaged in either subject matter or commerce masturbate to it. That is, they shoot for themselves or for cheap orders “A la heifer against the backdrop of mountains”. for me, the most common lens, like how everyone jerked off at the G40 at one time, and what was the result? or studio light. all IMHO, but I did not notice the joy of using this glass (era 21). And I used it on FF.

  • Ivan

    Somehow, the resolution is not very high. Apparently low contrast that results in “glass fog” usually appears at zero in the lower left corner of the histogram. All this is aggravated by the small depth of field, objects seem to be in the same plane, but it is not clear where the plane of sharpness is. You can adapt, but I remember focusing on Jupiter 37A, I can imagine this torment.

    • Rodion

      So it is, the lens is very tired and clearly not intended for running around with it in nature. The weight limits my ability to shoot moving subjects at this high magnification. So - there are many factors that interfere with achieving ultra high sharpness. And, of course, there is a crop with macro rings - this greatly reduces the actual resolution of the image.

  • Tetris

    The catalog presents the history of the development of the production of photographic film equipment and lenses at the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant

    • ñ


  • ñ

    Funny glass, but again, when printing, it is still not possible to achieve similar quality + principle, and 61ls wave9 are quite comparable with it - one piece thing (like, for example, Jupiter-13), another massive

  • anonym

    very cool lens, perfect for macro

  • Nicholas

    I will answer everyone right away. First. Eras (12, 13, 15) are by no means medium format lenses. And especially not for the 9x12 format (do not believe it!). Its parameters are clearly indicated by Volosov: a linear decrease of 40x, an angle of 16 degrees. That is, this is at most a 35mm frame. And the most important thing. In order to get this craziest resolution of 330 (center) - 260 (edge) lines, like micro-nikkors, these lenses are designed for shooting under the light of ONE and ONLY wavelength (546nm). ARE NOT ACHROMATES. Not APOCHROMATES, but even just ACHROMATES. These are monochromator lenses. That is, in white light, these are “very high-quality monocles,” so they rightly say here that this lens does not give any special sharpness. And he can't give. A good magnifier lens will do the job better. But there is a way out. Compromise, but a way out. Shoot B&W film with a GREEN filter. And here the sharpness will be greater than that of any Nikkor (I don’t have the 12th era, although I could take it, but there are the 13th and 15th) But keep in mind that the weight of such a lens with a helicoid is about the same as that of a photo sniper. Do you need it?

    • Rodion

      Good info, then I'll try it somehow with a filter in bw.

  • Sergei

    Nikolay in his remark on January 4 is in many ways right.
    D.S. Volosov in his "Photographic Optics" does not indicate the use of fluorite or low-disperse glasses (and they had not yet been mastered).
    And given the focal length, they would be very useful.
    Therefore, the problem of HA for increasing the resolving power was solved using a hard green filter ZS-11. Each KOMZ lens was equipped with this filter (and orange OS-11).
    To the credit of the developers, they tried to reduce the rays of different wavelengths as they could, so there was no pronounced chromatism on all lenses in this series.
    Therefore, it is incorrect to call these lenses monochromats.
    These lenses were designed for shooting on 35-mm film on a scale of 1:40, the optimal focusing distance of 0,2-1,7 meters.
    I advise you to look at the scans of the passport of the Era-13 150mm / 4,5 lens at the lens club.

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