VEGA-3 2,8 / 50 (KMZ). Review from the reader Radozhiva

VEGA-3 2,8 / 50 review, specifically for Radozhiva, prepared Eshmakov Rodion.

VEGA-3 2,8 / 50

VEGA-3 2,8 / 50

Vega-3 served as a regular lens for the Zenith-4 and Zenit-5 small-format cameras, which never became popular and massive because of the complexity of the device and its high cost (the price of Zenit-4 was twice as high. than the price of the “professional” “Start” camera). The cameras were designed with an eye on the German “Voightlander” with a central shutter and were a kind of achievement of the Soviet industry: “Zenit-4” had a paired light meter and an unusually large viewfinder field of view for Soviet cameras (96%), moreover, a camera similar to German mount DKL Z mount and a whole line of optics for it (including the only Rubin-1 zoom lens in the USSR for a long time).

Lens specifications

Specifications taken hence.

Optical design: Biometar / Vega, 5 elements in 4 groups;
Field of view angle: 45 degrees;
Resolution (0/10/20 mm): 55/38/21;
Enlightenment: single layer (color depends on the year of manufacture);
Filter thread: 40.5 mm;
Aperture device: 5 blades, "jumping";
Minimum focusing distance: 1 m;
Case material: brass, aluminum.
Mount: bayonet C (r / o 49.9 mm).

Design and features of adaptation "Vega-3"

The first lens was purchased in a form adapted for the Sony A mount. A significant disadvantage of the acquisition was the incomplete performance of the lens in this form: the diaphragm worked extremely poorly, the optical part had a backlash in the body. However, all the necessary details were preserved and, apparently, even part of the camera mount. The design of the lens was so unfamiliar (the "specific" remake at Sony was confusing) that I had to purchase a second lens intact and work with it first. I didn’t have any photos of the unadapted lens, but they are available on the Web (source:" target="_blank" title="/lenses/item/c_4804.html):

View of the non-adapted lens "Vega-3" in a black body

View of the non-adapted lens "Vega-3" in a black body

For converting to modern CZK, it is only necessary to manufacture a shank with the necessary fastening and transfer the diaphragm mechanism to fully manual control by means of a leash sticking out from the side. The first turns out to be quite simple due to the very large flange distance of the C mount, while the second will require disassembling the lens from the mount side and eviscerating the "jumping rope" mechanics. The minimum focusing distance of 1 meter is too long, this is a significant drawback of the lens. However, it can be corrected by increasing the focusing ring travel by 1.5 times (but while maintaining the full functionality of the mechanism - no more!). To do this, the lens will have to be completely disassembled and enjoy the "creative" approach of Soviet engineers to the design of the case and mechanics: instead of a fine thread, the focus ring slides over brass blades and a polymer (!) Gasket, while its stroke is limited by a milled (?) Case part (instead of the usual pairs of locking screws).

After adaptation, the lens from the untouched outwardly differed only in the presence of a shank with M42 thread and aperture ring.

View of the lens converted for mounting the M42.

View of the lens converted for mounting the M42.

The Vega-3 is compact (a little more than the Industar-50) and an attractive external lens, and you can hardly call it convenient: the focus ring is very narrow and small, and the decorative overlay on it has very sharp protrusions. It is necessary to focus with this lens with two fingers, and the process of pleasure does not cause. For its size, the Vega-3 is quite heavy due to the massive native shank.

Vega-3 and Helios-44 P.

Vega 3 and Helios-44 P

The stroke of the helicoid is small even after completion, the MDF is approximately 0.7 m. The famous Primoplan 58 / 1.9 has a similar MDF.

"Vega-3" with a focus on "infinity"

"Vega-3" with a focus on "infinity"

"Vega-3" with a focus on MDF.

"Vega-3" with a focus on MDF.

A good point is the unusual (compared to a very similar Vega-11U lens, for example) a large rear focal segment of the lens (its size was dictated by the need to place a centralized shutter): the lens will not touch the mirror of modern CZKs with the rear group of lenses.

View of the rear lens group of the adapted Vega-3 lens.

View of the rear lens group of the adapted Vega-3 lens.

The lens aperture has five shiny rounded dark petals and is adjustable in the adapted version steplessly from F / 2.8 to F / 16. Thus, when closing the diaphragm, pentahedrons (“quality marks”) will quickly appear in bokeh, and ten-pointed stars will be observed from point light sources.

"Vega-3" with a closed diaphragm.

"Vega-3" with a closed diaphragm.

Vega-3 attracts with its small size and beautiful appearance, although the price of compactness in this case is an inconvenient focus ring and a large MDF. The lens is easy to adapt for any modern small-format CZK, using a minimum of extraneous details.

Optical properties of Vega-3

Optically, the Vega-3 is not an ordinary lens. The lens is very, very sharp in the center of the frame (sharper than Helios-44 and fifty fifty Industars)! But the enthusiasm is replaced by the desire to rub his eyes when looking at the edge of the frame: the resolution very quickly decreases from the main axis - in absolute value it is much lower than the Helios-44, and its drop is much more noticeable than that of the Industars. The drop in resolution is caused by the strongest coma, spherical (“soft”) and chromatic aberration at the same time they are at a very good level. The best image quality can be achieved with an aperture of ~ F / 8.

Lens picture at f / 2.8.

Lens picture at f / 2.8.

Picture lens at f / 8.

Picture lens at f / 8.

The contrast of the lens is not bad, the color rendition is shifted to a warm area. In the backlight, glare of pink and violet colors is observed, while the image is saturated with a pink-red tint. The brilliant aperture blades also contribute to a drop in lens contrast on closed apertures.
Also, "Vega-3" has a noticeable geometric vignetting, estimated at the level of Helios-44 (ie approximately 50%).
As you know, the flaws of the lens form its individual image, and Vega-3, fabulously far from ideal, also has bokeh: the point sources of light are blurred onto bright edged flakes that “fly away” from the center of the frame. The bokeh is, in a sense, the “opposite” of Primoplan 58 / 1.9 and Westron 35 / 2.8. On covered apertures, background blur has no specifics.


Thus, the Vega-3 at the open aperture is the lens of at least one (central) composition. Specific bokeh and backlit behavior can also limit the use of the lens. Such qualities by no means characterize Vega-3 as a good staffer who should not bring surprises. Nevertheless, it is precisely the flaws that make this lens one of the most interesting “fifty dollars” of the Soviet era.

You will find more reviews from readers of Radozhiva here.

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Comments: 17, on the topic: VEGA-3 2,8 / 50 (KMZ). Review from the reader Radozhiva

  • Vadim

    Thanks for the review! It was very interesting to read a mini story about the lens. Pictures of flowers are very simpatic, bokeh is really interesting.

  •  gluten free diet

    Thanks for the translation! )

  • Oleguadix

    Thank you very much!

  • Michael

    Interesting thing. Really very peculiar lens

  • zengarden

    A kind of lens; but SF biometars in the picture are nicer.
    Bokeh is interesting. Photo with lilac and ass bumblebee - fly away :)

    • SashOK

      Wrote exactly the same as I wanted to comment;)

  • Alexey de Paris

    Thanks for the review, the lens is nice and well shot. Bokeh is good for colors, a nice combination of blur and sharpness.

  • B. R. P.

    I join in the thanks.

  • Alexander Hedgehog

    Really drawing and bokeh like oks 35

  • Arthur

    I have a Vega-3 with a focal length of 80mm
    And you're all losers (sticks out tongue)
    Just kidding of course
    Just a typo, but factory. Obviously affected the first year of release

    • B. R. P.


    • spitzer

      Somewhere there are pictures from him?

      Figure veg-3 recalled something fifty kopeck pentacon

  • Anatoly

    Tell me please. How the lens unit is removed from Vega-3. I bought a Chinese adapter DKL-EOS. But he has a different working distance. Adjustment rings should be added if possible.

    • Rodion

      There is nowhere to insert the adjusting gaskets. The design is confused too.

    • Igor

      The DKL has a focal length of 44,70mm, the C mount has 47,58mm

      how to increase 3mm? The confused version will print a washer on a 3D printer and put it between the two parts of the adapter, while you need to find four screws elongated by 3mm that hold these parts together.
      If you, suddenly, have an EOS R mirrorless camera or the like, buy a DKL-M42 adapter and an M42-EOSR macro adapter from an alik with a built-in helicoid, they have recently been released, just waiting for one to try Rubin-1 on my camera.

      • Anatoly

        So I'm thinking of making a spacer between the lens's D mount and the lens itself. Four screws probably need to be changed for long ones. I also thought to order the spacer on the printer. Or made of metal. I also need to make friends the lens aperture leash with the aperture switch ring of the adapter itself. Through the screw provided in the adapter.

      • spitzer

        and why did not the 3mm ring M42 fit?

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