VEGA-M-1 2,8 / 35 from the rare Narcissus chamber. Review from Rodion Eshmakov

Material acc. To VEGA-M-1 2,8 / 35 specially for Radozhiva prepared Rodion Eshmakov (subscribe to Instagram!)

An old DSLR camera, however, does not stand up on DSLRs.

An old DSLR camera, however, does not stand up on DSLRs. increase.

The Vega-M-1 35 / 2.8 lens was designed in 1960 at the KMZ (Evseeva G.I., Maltsev M.D.) and was intended for the Narcissus narrow-film SLR camera. The camera was conceived for medical and technical use, but in the end it became an "elite Soviet crop", which did not take root in its homeland due to its rare format, but went well for export. Since just over 10 cameras were produced, Narcissus has a collectible value.

Vega-M-1 was supplied as a standard lens, but the angle of view on the 16 mm film format turned out to be 40 °, not 45 ° - apparently, as in the case of Helios-44, we had to choose the focal length so that the rear focal length a section of the lens made it possible to use it on an SLR camera Important: the Narcissa mirror and the mirror of even modern APS-C DSLRs are very different in size, therefore, even on APS-C SLR cameras Vega-M-1 does not allow focusing to infinity!

There were two serial versions of the lens: in a white body (rare) and in black (the most common, presented in this article). Experimental lenses produced in 1960 were called "Vega" without additional designations. Early serial samples - "Vega-1M" or "Vega M-1". Taking into account the small-scale production at KMZ of another Vega-1 50 / 2.8 lens (the predecessor Vega 3), the name of the narrow-film staffer introduced considerable confusion.

Specifications (source):
Optical design - 5 lenses, 4 groups (Biometar / Vega);

scheme Vega-M-1Focal length - 35 mm;
Aperture ratio - 1: 2.8;
Aperture - 7 blades, no presetting mechanism;
Field of view (native format) - 40 °;
Frame format - 14 * 21 mm;
Rear focal distance - 26.5 mm;
Working distance - 28.8 mm;
Camera attachment thread - М24 * 1;
Minimum focusing distance - 0.5 m,
Light transmission coefficient - 0.8;
Mass - 37

Features of the design and adaptation of the lens

A nice feature of the Vega-M-1 is the FED / Zorkiy working distance, unified with Soviet rangefinder cameras, equal to 28.8 mm. To install a lens on a modern camera, it is enough to make an adapter ring M24 * 1-> M39 * 1. Full-fledged use is possible only on mirrorless cameras due to the short rear focal length of the lens.

Vega-M-1 from the side of the shank, without adapter.

Vega-M-1 from the side of the shank, without adapter.

An unpleasant feature is the design of the helicoid. Its stroke provides quite a large distance for a 35 mm MDF lens - as much as 0.5 m. For comparison: MDF Mir-1A 37 / 2.8 is 0.24 m. It is unpleasant to focus with the lens due to the narrow focusing ring with corrugated fingers. I had the same problem with the lens. Vega 3... To eliminate these shortcomings, I used a 10-15 mm macrogelcoid with a thin M42-NEX ring as an adapter. It did not become much easier to focus, but the MDF decreased very noticeably without losing focus to infinity.

Vega-M-1 with focusing at infinity and on MDF.

Vega-M-1 with focusing at infinity and on MDF.

The lens diaphragm consists of 7 rounded dark but shiny blades. Perhaps, in this case, the engineers took the diaphragm assembly of the mass Industar-50-2 as a basis. The diaphragm forms an opening in the form of a distorted heptagon, but in reality, the uneven edge of the discs in the bokeh rarely manifests itself.
Vega-M-1 is much smaller in size than most lenses (even than Industar-50!). On the Sony A7s, the nose of the lens barely protrudes from the camera grip.

Vega-M-1 and Industar-26m

Vega-M-1 and Industar-26m

Optics Vega-M-1 has the usual single-layer coating of violet shades - typical for the early 60s. The lens turns slightly yellow in the light.

Vega-M-1 and Industar-26m

Vega-M-1 and Industar-26m

Summing up, it can be noted that the Vega-M-1 is a small but inconvenient lens: an ungraspable focusing ring, a large MDF greatly spoil the tactile perception. But it is very compact and easily adapts to modern mirrorless cameras.

Optical properties

Among Carl Zeiss small format lenses, there was a rather rare Biometar 35 / 2.8 T" target="_blank" title="/lenses/item/c_4149.html for Contax cameras with a frame format of 36 * 24 mm. Vega-M-1 uses the same type of optical design, which suggests the possibility of working with full-frame cameras. In reality, the Vega-M-3 does not cover the full frame of the 2:1 format, but it copes well with the full frame of the 4:3 format. There are also no problems with black corners when focusing on MDF even at a 3:2 aspect ratio. On crop cameras, of course, there will be no problems with vignette.

Vega-M-1 creates a sharp image in the center from an open aperture. The edges, of course, are far from ideal on APS-C too, but not as bad as on the Vega-3 lens. With aperture down to F / 8 for the edges on APS-C, you can no longer be afraid, aperture up to F / 11 sharpens the sharpness well in the full frame, although the corners remain blurred (4: 3 aspect ratio). On the full frame are noticeable chromatic aberration at the edges of the frame.

Such a fierce struggle for the focal segment during the calculation of Vega-M-1, apparently, did not take place, unlike the Vega-3 lens: the field aberrations are not as great as I expected.

Bokeh Vega-M-1 is rather soft and calm. The defocus discs are uniformly illuminated and have no bright edging - a sign of well-corrected spherical aberration. This distinguishes the lens from the lurid "helios". Closer to the edge of the frame, the discs turn into lemons due to strong vignetting, while changes in the illumination of the discs are hardly noticeable (unlike Vega-3 or Vega-11).

The color rendition is slightly shifted to the warm region. The lens does not like backlight - a veil appears. In normal light, the image is contrasting, saturated and requires little to no improvement in the RAW converter.

Below are examples of photos on Sony A7s. Part of the photo is cropped to 4: 3 format.


At first, I reacted with distrust to Vega-M-1 after the experience of using other lenses with a similar optical design, but it turned out to be quite pleasant. The lens proved to be especially good in shooting small objects due to the large depth of field, high sharpness and pleasant pattern. A big plus is the ability to work with full-frame cameras (at least 4: 3) - the Vega-M-1 can serve as an ultra-compact near-width. For crop cameras, of course, the most preferable of these older lenses is the excellent Pentakta 30 / 2.8, but it is noticeably more difficult to adapt, and it is difficult to find a ready-made version with a fixed aperture.

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Comments: 10, on the topic: VEGA-M-1 2,8 / 35 from the rare Narcissus chamber. Review from Rodion Eshmakov

  • Novel

    And this is typical - for flowers, even 2.8 in most cases is not enough, it would be nice to hold down to 4, sometimes up to 5.6. But we methodically turn up our noses at 2.8 and crave 1.2, 1.0, or even 0.95. For what? To a microscopic cut, and everything else in the trash?

    • Rodion

      Yeah, that's why I prefer not even 50 / 2.8, but quite 35 / 2.8 or even 24 / 2.8 (damn Canon).

      • Novel

        Now, if the old 135 / 2.8 had a fast autofocus with its size, it would have been a hurray. On a mirrorless camera with a stub on the matrix, a set of three glasses with an emphasis on compactness, some 24-50-135 / 2.8 would be a marching ideal. Even 24/4, 50/2, 135 / 2.8 - something like that. In straight hands, it would be enough for everything.

    • Alexey

      strange conclusion. I shot at full frame (5Dsr) on 24 1.4L II on full length portraits. GRIP more than enough. there was blurring of the background, I didn’t have to raise the ISO with a lack of light. so a light width is very necessary and useful.

      • Rodion

        Well, 24/1.4 is like 50/2. And the portrait is not near-macro floral. There is enough depth of field there - of course.

      • Novel

        Because you used a fast lens the way it was intended. Adequate distance from subject and in low light conditions. And from us Narid buys lenses with aperture tending to zero with one single purpose - flowers. Well, cats, yes. With a depth of field of one vibris.

        • Victor

          Xs, I took 50 / 1.2 with one goal - full-length portraits, maximum - chest-deep))

          Of course, it’s strange to shoot flowers on it)))

          I prefer flowers on long-focus telephoto cameras, there is enough depth of field and the background is washed well.

  • Onotole

    With this name, this camera should have been intended for selfies)))

    • Jury

      And so it was :)

      • B. R. P.


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