"Russia is the homeland of elephants" or how KMZ made new lenses for professionals. Article from the reader Radozhiva

Note 'Russia is the homeland of elephants or how KMZ made new lenses for professionals' prepared Rodion Eshmakov (subscribe to Instagram!)

The prices for optics in the official zenit.photo store have already been seen by everyone who is interested, and you can discuss it here

The prices for optics in the official zenit.photo store have already been seen by everyone who is interested, and can be discussed here. Enlarge Image.


Summer 2020 years appeared information on the release of a new line of optics for modern SLR and mirrorless cameras by Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant. In December, another lens was announced - Zenitar 50 / 1.5. And now, in the spring of 2021, all of the listed lenses, as well as those previously produced, have become available in the official online store. zenit.photo at rather immodest prices not only for the CIS market, but also for the world as a whole. Many of these lenses are significantly more expensive than some of their more advanced counterparts. A reasonable question: what is “under the hood” of the new optics of KMZ? Read the answers, guesses, and considerations in this very long, emotional, non-academic article.

List of lenses produced by KMZ at the time of 02.05.21/XNUMX/XNUMX:

number Name* FR, mm Aperture Weight, gram Diameter, mm Mount
1 Zenitar 3,5 / 8 8 F / 3.5 690 89 Canon EF, Nikon F
2 MS Zenitar 2,8 / 16 16 F / 2.8 350 60 M42, Canon EF, Nikon F
3 Zenitar 2 / 35 35 F / 2 300 61.5 Sony FE
4 Zenitar 0,95 / 50 E 50 F / 0.95 1200 85.5 Sony FE
5 Zenitar 1,2 / 50s 50 F / 1.2 690 74.5 Canon EF, Nikon F (APS-C)
6 Zenitar 1,5 / 50 50 F / 1.5 287 61.5 Sony FE
7 Selena 1,9 / 58 58 F / 1.9 450 73 Canon EF, Nikon F
8 Zenitar 2,8 / 60 Macro 60 F / 2.8 590 76 Canon EF, Nikon F
9 MS Zenitar 1,4 / 85 85 F / 1.4 580 78 Canon EF, Nikon F
10 Helios-40-2 1,5/85 85 F / 1.5 820 82 M42, Canon EF, Nikon F

* KMZ names the parameters of optics in the German tradition, in the text I use more loose designations.

At the end of April, a photo exhibition was held in Moscow, where everyone could see and even touch KMZ's fresh optics (buy a ticket there). I was able to visit her and find out some details concerning both the technical component of the new lenses and the peculiarities of their positioning on the market.

So, we have in front of us exactly ten lenses (I do not include the Zenitar 35/1 in the list, since it is not available for sale as a separate product), covering the focal length range from 8 to 85 mm, which is a fairly rich assortment.

What does dry data say?

1 fact... Currently, the line of KMZ lenses is focused primarily on users of digital SLR cameras (DSLR).

Only 3 out of 10 lenses are designed for mirrorless cameras (MCPs). This does not coincide with the global tendency to reduce the production of CPMs and optics for them, which may indicate the development cycle lagging behind the market needs. Naturally, SLR lenses work just fine on mirrorless cameras, but they are usually much larger and heavier than their counterparts with a short back cut.

2 fact... At KMZ they don't know about universal optics mounts.

It is difficult to blame the manufacturer for the lack of Sony and Pentax optics in the range of CZK, which are not popular. Plus, some of the lenses come with a fairly versatile M42 thread.

However, this does not apply to optics for the UPC: although the rapidly developing systems Fujifilm GFX (G), Nikon Z, Leica L (here also Panasonic L, Sigma L), Canon R, Canon M, FujiFilm X have been presented for a long time - KMZ optics (only 3 lens) is designed for Sone FE mount only (I add the letter F to emphasize that the optics are designed for full frame cameras), which is not compatible with other systems.

How did the Chinese manufacturers of manual optics for the UPC come out of the situation? - They use Leica M mountcompatible via adapters with all modern systems. You can also remember, at worst, about the existence of the old, inconvenient, but very versatile M39 LTM mount.

3 fact... At KMZ, when calculating optics, they do not really take into account the dimensions and weight of the final product.

So, probably, in Russia, the largest 8 mm fisheye is produced with weight and dimensions, as in a 300 mm lens. Rubinar 300 / 4.5 - "Soviet microcomputers are the largest in the world!" Korean counterpart, Samyang 8 / 3.5, one and a half times lighter and 1,5 cm smaller in diameter.

The giant Zenitar 50 / 0.95 has also become a talk of the town: its weight (1,2 kg) is only 140 g less than the weight of the long-focus lens for the Tair-3FS 300 / 4.5 photographic gun! It uses the same filter diameter as the aforementioned Tair (72 mm). For comparison: Mitakon 50 / 0.95 III, available for all modern full-frame UPCs has almost half the mass.

Much the same can be said about the lens for APS-C SLR cameras (endangered species!) Zenitar 50 / 1.2s, which is twice as heavy and even larger similar old lenses.

Helios-40-2 weighs as much as 820 grams! It is clear that the lens itself is extremely cumbersome. However, its technical version "Cyclops" has a mass of "only" 450 g, which is almost half the weight. The mechanism of the diaphragm itself does not weigh 370 g, you can believe it.

Apparently, the obscene dimensions are associated with the use of thick optical components, which allows you to do with fewer lenses. In the realities of underdeveloped and mediocrely equipped manual production, the development, manufacture and assembly of complex multi-lens circuits (hello Sigma) is not a trivial task. Thus, spending more glass, more metal, turns out to be easier and more economically profitable for the plant. It is also beneficial for private clinics, which will then treat herniated intervertebral discs with users of the new KMZ optics.

4 fact... A number of new lenses at KMZ seem to be based on old or very old designs. It is definitely not possible to say if the Zenitar 8 / 3.5 was a reimagining of the lens. Zodiac 10 with the same outstanding dimensions, but it is reliably known that Zenitar 2,8 / 16 is optically no different from similar lensWhich released 30 years ago.

In addition, it is not difficult to guess (however, representatives of KMZ do not hide it too much) that Zenitar 50 / 1.5 is a reworked Lomography New Jupiter-3 +, which, in turn, differs from the lens that has been mass-produced since 1952 only in enlightenment ( so what - there are still three groups of lenses!) and MDF (so what - the Chinese have an M39-NEX macrogelcoid with the required thickness!). Do I need to remind here that Jupiter 3 is a recalculation of the Sonnar 50 / 1.5 (L. Bertele) scheme from the mid-1930s?

The same can be said about the notorious "hit of sales", which began the history of manual hysteria in the post-Soviet space - Helios-40-2, which differs only in appearance and enlightenment from its Soviet counterpart.

Finally, the Zenitar 85 / 1.4 is based on the 1991 lens. MC Gelionar-1 85 / 1.4 (according to the KMZ engineers, some recalculation took place). Considering that the level of technology of the late 1980s in the USSR was 20 years behind the world, this product does not look innovative at all.

5 fact... Representatives of the KMZ plant believe that the provision of technical documentation for the lenses is not required to the consumer. What kind of documentation? First of all, this is an image of the basic optical scheme of the lens (this is what we used to call in jargon simply the optical scheme; indeed, the optical scheme includes the exact values ​​of all physical and geometric parameters of the lenses), these are graphs of frequency-contrast characteristics (MTF, MTF) of lenses ...

Without these data, the consumer buys a "pig in a poke", especially when it comes to lenses that are not copies of the old ones: it is not hard to guess how different quality can be calculated from a banal 85/2 lens. Even in the absence of MTF charts, it is almost always possible to determine what to expect from the sketch of the optical scheme. At the exhibition in the Zeiss pavilion, one could even find lenses literally cut in half, demonstrating the beauty, precision and conciseness of optical design. KMZ will not even give you a picture, considering that it only worries a bunch of fanatics.

In order to orient the consumer (and for the purpose of advertising), optics manufacturers often make special instructions for low-dispersion (ED, ULD, SLD, SED, etc.) or high-refractive (HR) elements, which no Russian manufacturer has done so far. Obviously, the same circuit can be implemented in completely different ways on the "old" and "new" glass (examples: Tessar 80 / 2.8 1939 and 1949, Industar-26m и Industar-61L), because the presence of such instructions really often plays an important role for the consumer.

In the palette of optical glass produced in the Russian Federation at the LZOS plant (the most relevant types of glass are marked in red), it is easy to find what can be called ED or HR glass.

Abbe diagram for glass produced in the Russian Federation at LZOS. Mass-produced glass grades are marked in red.

Abbe diagram for glass produced in the Russian Federation at LZOS. Mass-produced glass grades are marked in red.

6 fact... None of the KMZ lenses now belong to the budget price range: prices start at $ 250. While Chinese / Korean counterparts can cost 2-4 times cheaper with similar consumer properties. In the past, the prices of such lenses as Zenitar 50 / 1.2s and, in particular, Zenitar 16 / 2.8, were much more democratic and amounted to about $ 150.

It may also seem surprising that the cost (in Russia) of Zenitar 35/2 is almost ahead of the price of a high-end autofocus lens. Sigma 35 / 1.4, eg. In other words, the lenses are positioned in terms of price as premium solutions like the Canon L line, although both optically and structurally are hopelessly far from them.
Thus, the only possible consumer is a well-to-do Western lover of the Soviet legacy.

7 fact... According to the employees of the KMZ darketing department, all these lenses are intended for use by professionals (verbatim). I will leave this without comment.

Now that the general state of affairs is known, you can pay a little more attention to some of the lenses.

What's in the black box?

Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to do any on-camera tests of the new lenses. It is assumed that if the manufacturer is interested in having his optics tested and given feedback, he will provide the optics for study. However, this did not happen.

Zenitar 50 / 1.2s is the only new CMZ lens that I have actually shot for a long time. And now I continue to use it.

Photo Zenitar 50 / 1.2s from the lens page in the zenit.photo store.

Photo Zenitar 50 / 1.2s from the lens page in the zenit.photo store.

According to available data, the lens was calculated by order of the Lomographic Society, calculated from scratch. First, the lens made for Canon's APS-C cameras had an aspherical component, then it was simplified to reduce the cost of production and the letter "s" was added to the name - "spherical".

Optical design Zenitar 50 / 1.2s.

Optical design Zenitar 50 / 1.2s.

By design, the lens is a descendant of the Planar, the outlines of which are well traced in the optical scheme sketch. 8 lenses in 7 groups provide a fairly high degree of aberration correction at an angle of view of 32 °, therefore, even despite the sacrifices associated with increasing the rear focal length of the lens for use with a DSC, the optical quality of this Zenitar is high. For example, it is definitely better than all the old (from the 1970s - 1980s) lenses of the 50 / 1.2 or 50 / 1.4 class and is not inferior to similar Chinese lenses for mirrorless cameras, which are much easier to develop. For example, this lens is significantly sharper in the center of the frame than 7artisans 50 / 1.1.

The KMZ specialists responsible for information in the zenit.photo store, however, believe that the lens layout is 7 lenses in 8 groups.

The KMZ specialists responsible for information in the zenit.photo store, however, believe that the lens layout is 7 lenses in 8 groups.

They also found it difficult to agree on the number of aperture blades among themselves.

They also found it difficult to agree on the number of aperture blades among themselves.

Despite the fact that Zenitar 50 / 1.2s was designed in the 2010s for APS-C frame, it works without problems with APS-H format frame. Cropping a full frame to a 4: 3 aspect ratio is also a good idea, just like in the application narrow film lens.

But there is also a big fly in the ointment. The lens is available for both Canon and Nikon cameras. But, apparently, all lenses for the Nikon F mount due to its small diameter have a partially shielded rear lens, which is why the geometric aperture drops to f / 1.4. Many copies are broken about the fairness of the F / 1.2 indication on this lens for this reason. Canon's EF mount showed the same shutter speed and luminance when compared to 7artisans 50 / 1.1 at fully open apertures. The lens entrance pupil diameter is also F / 1.2.

Another problem with the lens is, as noted earlier, the large mass.

Thus, this lens can be attributed to the number of interesting ones: given the appropriate optical quality, the lens can be a very interesting solution for users of Canon SLR cameras. However, I like to use it on Sony's full-frame mirrorless camera too. However, this lens is rapidly running out of time with APS-C DSLRs.

Helios-40-2 in the new design can be obtained with Canon EF (-C) or Nikon F (-N) mount, version with M42 thread has a traditional "Soviet" body.

Photo of Helios-40-2-N from the lens page in zenit.photo store.

Photo of Helios-40-2-N from the lens page in zenit.photo store.

In reality, apart from the finishing and coating of the optics, this product does not differ from the Soviet lens in any way. Although I have come across opinions that the versions with a bayonet mount are “twisted wrong,” I don’t believe in it. The consistent optical design is both a plus and a minus. Helios-40 is a lens of mediocre quality, but that's why it is loved.

Optical design of Helios-40.

Optical design of Helios-40.

Unfortunately, the lens hasn't been redesigned at all. Its layout has not changed since the 1950s. It uses all the same star-shaped aperture, because of which myths are formed that you can shoot with a lens only open (yes, really - I would not want such saws in bokeh either). By the way, this form was originally made for the purpose of linearizing the stroke of the diaphragm.

The lens is still heavy, albeit made lighter by the tripod foot.

Thus, there is nothing fundamentally new in this lens. There are no design improvements. Fortunately, there are also deteriorations. There should be benefits from multilayer enlightenment, but even it is not all equally useful (for example, MC Jupiter-9 frankly worse in color rendering than Jupiter 9 KMZ 1959). But this is still the same Helios-40, which cannot but please his admirers.

Exactly the same can be said about the lens. Zenitar 50 / 1.5, which is the dubious reincarnation of Jupiter-3.

Optical design of Jupiter-3.

Optical design of Jupiter-3.

The lens design evokes mixed emotions: it's a non-universal Sony E mount, it's a weird skirt at the bottom of the lens.

Render Zenitar 50 / 1.5 from the lens page in the zenit.photo store. The lens on the store page does not even have a photo of its appearance.

Render Zenitar 50 / 1.5 from the lens page in the zenit.photo store. The lens on the store page does not even have a photo of its appearance (UPDATE: new pictures appeared, with a soiled euro coin, no comments)

Lomography Jupiter-3 + under the archaic M39 thread looked much nicer, but ... it seems that everyone was too lazy to rework its design and it was decided to make a "blown" shank for the existing product.

Taking into account the cost of the new lens, it is 10 times more than the cost of Jupiter-3 in the secondary market and the same as that of the Carl Zeiss C Sonnar 50 / 1.5 ZM (2005 lens, calculated on the basis of the original Bertele lens), in the absence of any "Killer feature" - not a drop of meaning is visible in this lens.

Zenitar 16 / 2.8 in its consumer properties, it does not differ at all from the 1989 lens, except for its design. Perhaps the new enlightenment is a little better than the old one, or, perhaps, the Nikon F variant is nice. Otherwise, this is an ordinary ancient fisheye, although by no means the worst. KMZ is positioned as dust and moisture resistant, although the lens does not even have a rubber seal on the mount.

Photo of MC Zenitar 2,8 / 16 from the lens page in the zenit.photo store.

Photo of MC Zenitar 2,8 / 16 from the lens page in the zenit.photo store.

Before the price increase, it was like the most affordable ultra-wide-angle lens in the CIS, “people's fish-eye”.

Zenitar 85 / 1.4 Is one of the strangest lenses in the lineup. This is no longer fanned by legends "Big Gel", but not even Samyang 85 / 1.4, which has a modern optical design with an aspherical element and internal focusing.

Photo Zenitar 85 / 1.4 from the lens page in the zenit.photo store.

Photo Zenitar 85 / 1.4 from the lens page in the zenit.photo store.

Yes, it is definitely devoid of all the disadvantages of Helios-40, including weight, aperture design, and a number of optical features. He even looks very handsome. But it does not have any outstanding features - it is an ordinary 85 / 1.4 lens at the technological level of the 1970s with a rather unoriginal picture.

Optical design Zenitar 85 / 1.4.

Optical design Zenitar 85 / 1.4.

Such modest properties are caused by the use of an absolutely ordinary planar seven-lens scheme. This lens would have been good in the USSR, it was late with its release by 30-40 years. Good? Yes, it seems. Interesting? Not.

The same can be said about the "late" circular fish. Zenitar 8 / 3.5.

Optical design Zenitar 8 / 3.5.

Optical design Zenitar 8 / 3.5.

Zenitar 50 / 0.95 is trying to compete with both eminent brands and Chinese manufacturers in the niche of especially fast lenses.

Photo Zenitar 50 / 0.95 from the lens page in the zenit.photo store.

Photo Zenitar 50 / 0.95 from the lens page in the zenit.photo store.

This lens is the most bulky among its counterparts, with only 9 lenses in 8 groups. As noted earlier, this is a consequence of the absence of aspherical elements in the scheme (Leica Noctilux 50 / 0.95 has only 8 lenses, but 2 of them are aspherical) and the ability to assemble optics with more complex schemes.

The concept image of the lens is unpublished. However, an analysis can be performed using two of the 50 / 0.95 design types known for full-frame (lenses with a smaller field of view!)

1. Type "Noctilux Asph" - the ancestor of the Planars with a negative anterior component, which evolved into a complex "afocal wide-angle attachment". The brightest representative is Zeiss Otus 55 / 1.4.

Optical design Noctilux 50 / 0.95 Asph.

Optical design Noctilux 50 / 0.95 Asph.

2. Type "Mitakon" - development of the "Herzberger lens", Planar with a collecting system of lenses in the rear ("speed booster"). The scheme is especially popular with Chinese manufacturers, in particular 7artisans / TTArtisan / Laowa.

Optical design Mitakon 50 / 0.95.

Optical design Mitakon 50 / 0.95.

Now let's compare both schemes and the result of their work with the appearance of the Zenitar 50 / 0.95 lens and with the result of its work. Note:

  1. Zenitar has a smaller number of elements in comparison with Mitakon in the absence (at least, their presence is not declared) of special elements in the optical scheme - aspherical or low dispersion. This casts doubt on the possibility of calculating a lens with a sane optical quality according to the Mitakon scheme.
  2. Zenitar has a relatively small rear lens group, which is unlike the Mitakon design. The existing Mitakon counterpart from TTArtisan has a larger number of elements with a smaller rear lens, incl. special (including 1 aspherical).
  3. Zenitar's image clearly shows that the first lens is negative, like Noctilux. There is currently no 50mm Mitakon type lens with such a negative lens. But there is 35/0.95.
  4. KMZ has not mastered the mass production of products with aspherical lenses in the circuit. The larger number of optical elements in comparison with Noctilux can be explained precisely by the need to improve lens correction due to lens splitting.
  5. Zenitar has a similar Noctilux, but generally more pronounced aberration profile (the type of correction of spherical aberrations and coma, the nature of distortion).
  6. KMZ has recently collaborated with Leica and even released a Leica (a kind of Maybach with the VAZ emblem) turned into Zenit.

Based on the combination of factors, it is reasonable to believe that, most likely, Zenitar 50 / 0.95 was developed not without the participation of Leica (KMZ bought a license for the optical scheme?). Simply put, this is an adaptation of not the newest aspherical eight-lens lens to the realities of Russian production, where instead of one small aspherical lens, it is easier to produce and use a dozen huge conventional ones. But in fact, it is not simpler - multi-lens circuits, too, have not yet been assembled.

In fact, this is what raises interest in the lens. It is definitely far from ideal optically, it is definitely too heavy, but at least it differs greatly from its Chinese counterparts in the picture (here it is really closer to the original Noctilux), which makes it stand out. Moreover, Zenitar is many times cheaper than aspherical Noctilux 50 / 0.95. Another plus is that the Russian manufacturer has not yet adopted the Chinese aperture measurement system, when F / 0.95 in fact turns out to be F / 1.3 - I personally trust KMZ in this respect more than Mitakon or 7Artisans / TTArtisan.

Despite the massiveness of the body elements, Zenitar 50 / 0.95 has a large MDF for fifty dollars - as much as 0.7 meters with a "norm" of about 0.5 m. It is clear that at 0.95 no one will even shoot in a 1: 3 scale (MDF 30 cm), but for this the lens still has a diaphragm, and half a meter is quite a large-face portrait with a claim to artistry and compositional innovation :). There is no feeling more disgusting than when you rest against the composition of the frame in MDF. The travel of the lens focusing ring, moreover, is of the order of half a turn - I don't know how to focus with this at an open aperture.

By the way, about the diaphragm. Its design is another odd thing. They again made irregular petals. If this is done to linearize the travel of the ring, then why does a conventional photographic lens need it? This is more true for cine optics controlled by stepper motors in real time. Most likely, the laurels of Helios-40 do not give rest to designers.

In general, the product is quite interesting, with character, but made “not for people”.

Zenitar 35 / 2which (as we would have liked!) was supposed to be a good everyday lens for mirrorless cameras is also shrouded in a veil of secrecy. On the store's website, only a render of the lens is available, not a photo. Sample photos are also not available. No documentation available.

Render Zenitar 35 / 2 from the lens page in the zenit.photo store. The lens on the store page does not even have a photo of its appearance.

Render Zenitar 35 / 2 from the lens page in the zenit.photo store. The lens on the store page does not even have a photo of its appearance.

All we know about this lens is that it was designed with 7 lenses in 5 groups and that it was originally "Lomography Mercury-2" (not related to the Summitar-like Mercury-2 20 / 2.5 ) for cameras with M39 mount.

Even the look of the old version of the lens speaks of a rather large back focal length. The same can be noted when considering the new Zenitar from the shank side. This immediately allows us to reject the "official version", which says that Zenitar 35/2 is a development of the lens Jupiter 12 - Biogon-like lenses have extremely short back focal lengths. Negative menisci, characteristic of later Biogon lenses (based on the Rusinov scheme), are also absent. Consequently, Zenitar 35/2 is built according to the classical planar-like optical scheme. However, there are two options here:

1. Type "50 / 1.4" - a scheme with a split rear component into 2 lenses, the most common among lenses of the 50 / 1.4 class of the 8th century. One of the well-known Soviet lenses built according to this scheme is the standard OKS35-1-XNUMX filming lens.

Optical design OKS8-35-1 35/2.

Optical design OKS8-35-1 35/2.

2. Type "Uran"- a rarer scheme traditionally used to create wide-angle lenses. The most modern known representative is Carl Zeiss Planar 35/2 (Contax G). In the USSR, large-format aerial photography optics and objectives for epidiascopes were manufactured according to this scheme. The Uranium 35/2 developed for the Leningrad camera did not go into production.

Optical design Carl Zeiss Planar 35/2. The front lens is on the left.

Optical design Carl Zeiss Planar 35/2. The front lens is on the left.

The optical schemes are very close and outwardly distinguishable little, at first glance. Especially when no one will let you climb inside the lens. In reality, there are a number of very important differences:

1. The diameter of the rear lens of Uranus lenses is usually greater than or equal to the diameter of the front lens. Lenses of the "50 / 1.4" type have a smaller rear lens group than the front.
2. The ratio of the back focal length and focal length for lenses with the "Uranus" scheme is in the region of 50-60%, and for lenses of the "50 / 1.4" type - 65-75%.

Zenitar 35/2 has a small rear lens, and its posterior segment is approximately 25-28 mm (70-80% of the focal length). Accordingly, the lens is designed on the basis of a very old and frankly "worn-out" optical scheme of the "50 / 1.4" type. An ancient evil has awakened!

A similar scheme has a lens for APS-C cameras. TTArtisan 35 / 1.4... Achieving an extra stop of luminosity or an extra stop of the angle of the field of view leads to approximately equivalent compromises in image quality when using this optical scheme.

In addition to the applied optical scheme, criticism is caused by a large MDF for a 35 mm lens - as much as 0.5 m.I can only recommend KMZ to honor traditions to the end, since we are talking about Jupiter-12, and make an MDF 1 meter at once. For comparison: very unusual in its properties 7artisans 35 / 1.2 has MDF of only 0.35 m.

The design and mounting to the camera have already been mentioned above.

Thus, for $ 900 (in the Russian Federation), the consumer is offered a lens made at the technology level of the mid-XNUMXth century. Even relatively inexpensive and not the most successful (in my opinion) 7artisans 35 / 2 may well be optically more interesting than the new Zenitar.

Thus, this lens cannot be called anything other than a failure. No high image quality, no unique features.

The lens left a slightly better impression Zenitar 2,8 / 60 Macro... Before us is a specialized macro lens capable of working at a 1: 1 scale without additional adapters. Optical design unknown, but includes 8 lenses in 7 groups.

Render Zenitar 60 / 2.8 Macro from the lens page in the zenit.photo store.

Render Zenitar 60 / 2.8 Macro from the lens page in the zenit.photo store.

As you know, in the USSR, only 1 specialized macro lens was mass-produced - it was Wave-9 50 / 2.8, which knew how to work at a scale of 1: 2 without macro rings. It is no secret that this lens itself is rather mediocre and in fact did not have significant advantages over the cheaper Industar-61LZ MS (macro scale 1: 3 without macro rings). It is also no secret that old macro lenses from Japanese or German manufacturers tend to perform well in macro, but are bad at long distances. All this suggests that Wave-9, apparently, was corrected to work at infinity and therefore had no real advantages in macro photography, and other lenses were corrected in the macro range. To overcome this limitation, manufacturers use floating lens systems, for example, Nikon calls it CRC - Close Range Correction.

The new KMZ lens uses precisely focusing due to floating elements. Strictly speaking, it is not entirely internal, but, nevertheless, it leads to a strong decrease in the required travel of the helicoid (for Zenitar it is ~ 45 mm versus the usually required ~ 75 mm) and, most likely, helps a lot with the correction of distortions at different scales shooting.

Such a scheme has never been used in any of the lenses produced in the USSR / RF. Of course, perhaps this is a truly original development, but, most likely, it was not without the influence of some famous lens. For example, Nikon Micro-Nikkor 60 / 2.8 D .

Optical design Nikon Micro-Nikkor 60 / 2.8 D.

Optical design Nikon Micro-Nikkor 60 / 2.8 D.

The new Zenitar also appears to use a planar-like design (even the number of lenses and groups are the same), and like the Nikkor mentioned, it has a floating element system with a fixed rear lens.

The rest can be noted for the pleasant design and good quality of finishing. Of the minuses - a six-blade diaphragm. What prevented to pour more - I do not know. But this diaphragm is electromagnetic, i.e. controlled from the camera. For the first time among Russian optics. Most likely, the control mechanism is licensed.

The lens seems to be good. But if it's inspired by the old Nikkor, why not just get a Nikkor?

The most interesting lens from the point of view of design and characteristics seemed to me Selena 58 / 1.9.

Render of Selena 58 / 1.9 from the lens page in the zenit.photo store.

Render of Selena 58 / 1.9 from the lens page in the zenit.photo store.

This lens is based on the Lomography New Petzval 58 / 1.9 (2015) design, which was produced in a XNUMXth century body. By itself, this scheme is indeed a "inverted" (to increase the back focal length) classic Petzval lens.

Sectional Lomography New Petzval 58 / 1.9.

Sectional Lomography New Petzval 58 / 1.9.

The new Petzval is now made in the usual modern case, but at the same time it has retained the main feature of its predecessor - the ability to control the aberration profile to change the bokeh structure. In a lens, this is achieved by moving the first lens relative to the rest, which leads to a sharp increase in vignetting and field aberrations. Visually, this looks like an enhancement of the swirling bokeh effect. Changing the blur mode is done simply by rotating a special ring on the lens barrel.

The design flaws are a large MDF (0.8 m) and (for some reason) 8 aperture blades for the Nikon F version, while a Canon mount lens has 12 aperture blades.

This lens is truly eye-catching due to its ingenious design and image flexibility. Moreover, it is not super complicated from the point of view of the optical scheme, but it serves as a really successful implementation of it.

Results

The currently proposed KMZ line of optics is mostly represented by either ordinary lenses that do not stand out among analogues (sometimes of better quality, convenient and cheap) lenses: these are Zenitars 8 / 3.5, 16 / 2.8, 35/2, 60 / 2.8, 85 / 1.4; or - in a pure form, reincarnations of old KMZ designs (Zenitar 16 / 2.8, Zenitar 50 / 1.5, Zenitar 85 / 1.4, Helios-40-2 85 / 1.5), most of which are quite available on the secondary market. Only 2 out of 10 lenses use any progressive solutions (bokeh control in Selena 58 / 1.9 and floating lens correction system in Zenitar 60 / 2.8 Macro). And, apparently, only 2 lenses are truly original developments of KMZ - and these are not such new Zenitar 50 / 1.2s and Selena 58 / 1.9. Both of these lenses appear to have been developed under a contract with the Lomographic Society. Leica's ears openly protrude from the "like Russian" Zenitar 50 / 0.95, although the creation of such a lens, even in the image and likeness of a well-known one, is still some kind of achievement.

The new KMZ lenses do not have a number of such important features for professional use as autofocus and aperture coupled to the camera (except Zenitar 60 / 2.8 Macro; principally for photographers) or support for focusing and aperture control (principally for filmmaking). Thus, they can at most be of interest to only a very, very limited circle of well-off material amateurs of Soviet-Russian optics, which the representatives of KMZ seem to be unaware of.

You will find more reviews from readers of Radozhiva here... All Rodion reviews in one place here.

Add a comment:

 

 

Comments: 68, on the topic: "Russia is the homeland of elephants" or how KMZ made new lenses for professionals. Article from the reader Radozhiva

  • Oleg

    To buy KMZ you need to be a masochist. Announcement laova 33 / 0,95 exclusive solution sane price, optically definitely better

  • Valim

    Thank you very much for your timely review. I will not rush into shopping. I really wanted ... I will suffer with foucht and watering cans ...

    • Archie

      If you are tired of suffering, give it all to me.

  • Ivan

    Rodion, a little different, in the original - "Soviet microcircuits are the largest microcircuits in the world!"

    • Novel

      Soviet large (or very large) integrated circuits are the largest integrated circuits in the world. The term is such - LSI or VLSI.

    • Novel

      By the way, it's funny. The Apple II was a sleek, in fact, evolutionary development of the Apple I put together by enthusiast Wozniak. Everything was collected in the garage, from publicly available components, with maximum savings on everything possible to get a super-budget home computer. In the great and powerful, they somehow managed to steal and repeat the design of the 6502 processor (for the defense industry, obviously), and then they built an unstable and expensive clone - Agat, which was used in schools. But Agatha still had to shove the original 6502, they could not repeat it.

      It used to be just a shame, but now it's just disgusting.

  • Victor

    “The cost of the Zenitar 35/2 is almost higher than the price of the high-end autofocus lens Sigma 35 / 1.4”, yes. And at the same time (judging by the very few samples) it is noticeably weaker.
    “KMZ representatives don't seem to know”
    I think they guess. But they don't care.

  • Dmitriy

    Rodion, i.e. You praised the senseless MC RUBINAR 4,5 / 300 MACRO, but you totally hated the redesigns from KMZ .. You are not from the marketing department of LZOS, by any chance? :)

    • Rodion

      Yes, I was recruited and ordered to take over the crafts of another plant from the Shvabe holding. How did you guess?

      • Dmitriy

        I guessed because there is competition between these factories, although both are in the same holding. They both have something to scold. But for an ordinary amateur photographer, lens lenses are much more interesting than EVIL, so if you didn’t like the reworked refractors, then you would have to destroy the reflectors altogether .. But it turned out somehow inconsistent.

        • Rodion Eshmakov

          Yes, there is generally no competition at all. Against niche EVIL I have nothing at all - there is not much choice there. But KMZ with their handicrafts climbed into the place where they have no place.

    • Victor

      No, it's just that the LZOS weren't very greedy and provided several lenses for review (albeit with a return), but KMZ did not, so they received a blowback :)

      • Arkady Shapoval

        This is not a hassle, Rodion still very carefully walked through their products. I would add here a story about the theft and sale on ebay of a pre-production or serial 35/2 from a 'powerful and responsible' near a military plant, reluctance to produce Helios-44 in a new case (cheap and very popular lenses among the people) and, certainly, a few quotes from Fotar's visit to the exhibition (35 minutes) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=movFUy3WHjk&t=2124s
        Zenith M is an excellent camera, it costs half a million rubles (C). That's all that has been said about Leica's copy.

        • Rodion

          Perhaps, if they began to make Helios-44, I would have blown up much stronger. No, that's enough - it's definitely unnecessary. We do not know how to make cheaply, but they simply do not need to do it expensively. There are so many of them released that there will still be enough for the grandchildren. Another thing is that on the basis you can calculate something like Biotar 50 / 1.4 for full-frame UPC, with the same aberration profile, but sharper. But they already have a good product in the face of Petzval.

          • Arkady Shapoval

            Well, I'm talking about the same thing - about rethinking the 44th series in a new way and at a modest cost.

            • Rodion Eshmakov

              This is yes. The classic compact 6/4 50 / 1.4 under the bzk on the new glass would be cool. Like a little Helios-40))) They are very cheap. Or even variations a la Summitar (doublet instead of the front lens of helios), since they climb into the watering can. In the USSR, such lenses of this type were Mercury.
              I generally support the idea of ​​resurrecting Russar with them - for freaks, the shirik is excellent) But it would be nice to revive not it, but Sputnik 20 / 4.5 according to the more complex Distagon / Biogon / Russar scheme. Russar MP-2 for matrices is very weak and has severe problems with color shift. And the most ingenious thing was to count it at all on normal glass.
              And yet - almost everything that KMZ is doing now - lenses are not optimized for mass production at all. For example, Jupiter-3 itself is very low-tech because of as many as 2 glues from 3 lenses. In Zeiss Sonnar ZM, the problem is partially solved, as in 7artisans 50 / 1.1.
              Russar with his menisci, which can only be sharpened 1 at a time, are also hemorrhoids for technologists.
              By the way, Tair lenses have about the same problems. They also have a disgusting supercurved meniscus in the back, but at least one.
              Therefore, it is expensive and of poor quality. And all because they do not want to move and do something new. Seknoomili is called R&D.

        • Dmitriy

          Arkady, what else can you say about Leica's “copy”? What's native there?

      • Rodion

        The LZOS products that I have tried, especially the Rubinar 500/8, make much more sense. They are more niche, and this saves them from fierce competition. The price differs from analogues not by an order of magnitude, but by 1.5-2.5 times, which is tolerable. In the case of KMZ products, everything is very different. In addition, even in their products, I found a lot of good things.

        • Dmitriy

          It is not very clear what niche the Rubinar 500/8 has. On the one hand, the focal length is too small to capture something interesting in the sky. On the other hand, it is too large to photograph anything on Earth. Moreover, this is not a zoom lens. Add low aperture here.
          Analogs of this lens are on Avito in a large pile. Here on the next street they sell MTO 8/500 for 7 thousand rubles. Is “your” Rubinar competitive with this MTO at such a price?
          In general, the price for them starts at 4500r.
          It was a gorgeous marketing plan, I guess ..

          KZM products are ordinary lenses, and they are in great demand. Fishai, high-aperture bokeh fifty dollars and a pair of 85 mm portrait ones, too for the sake of bokeh.
          The prices are generally sane, 20-something thousand. They just have a chance to sell a certain amount of their products. I even used their Zenitar 16 / 2.8 until I bought the Canon 8-15 / 4.

          Try to formulate your claims to KMZ products point by point and you will understand that all this applies to LZOS products, only to a greater extent. That's why I wrote a comment. It was strange to praise the EVIL 500/8, and then criticize the more popular lenses of another factory.

          It is clear that LZOS gave you lenses, but KMZ did not give you, but why go too far? Please be more objective.

      • Dmitriy

        Yes, you can feel some subjectivity :)

        • Rodion Eshmakov

          What do you want from a non-academic article?

          • Dmitriy

            Rodion, yes, the article is quite "academic", at least there are technical details here and I, on the whole, agree with them. And everyone has the right to be subjective. But these very "unfortunate" fisheys and high-aperture fifty-kopeck pieces are all that we have for today, dear :) I must admit who KMZ did at least something, in their line of lenses you can see thoughtfulness. For more, they may not have enough dedicated resources or specialists, no matter how strange it may sound in relation to a large plant.

  • Jea reth

    Who is there to want competent marketing decisions and a sensible approach to business from?
    Let me remind you: this office in all seriousness sold in (at least) 2016 film SLR cameras with a focal plane shutter for 5 automatic exposures and a viewfinder that covers two-thirds of the frame field. For nearly 80 years these guys have been tormenting the unfortunate poltossik zonnars of the pre-war Zeiss in one way or another. These are the people who have not even tried to adequately master the autofocus technology ...
    The only sensible thing they have is their panoramic “Horizons”. But even there, everything is clumsy and antediluvian to disgrace - even in the top-end Horizon S3 PRO, there is a clear bloom of cheap plastic Zenith. And again - this is again a mechanical camera for photographic film. And for the design of the filters, I would generally prescribe a vasectomy to a genius engineer ...
    What do I want to say? It becomes more and more incredible task for KMZ to get out of its pit every year.
    They should have learned a lot from Arsenal even in the days of the USSR. And not to stamp the wretched Vigilant-4 and the eternal reincarnation of the Zenith.

    • Oleg

      But Arsenal was blown away without a fight at all

      • Jea reth

        I'm talking about the days when the arsenal was not blown away yet. Then they had a lot to learn. Unlike the Krasnogorskys, the Arsenal made system cameras. This understanding of the * system * of KMZ has always been lacking. Their cameras seemed to exist separately from optics. Recall at least their experiments with the K mount, around which they never built a sensible set of optics.
        And as a result, we see what is presented by Rodion above in the article. Or can this be called a system proposal? Where is everything so incomprehensible and motley, without clear logic, everything for different mounts and different systems?
        All this would not look so sad if they had made a clear systemic proposal. Even if only reworked Zeiss developments of a century ago! Let's omit that.
        Let's say there are two sections of proposals - a park for a central locking center with up-to-date Canon EF / Nikon F / Pentax KAF mounts and a park of optics for an UPC with up-to-date mounts (of which there are more, by the way). And every park has offers from super-wide to telephoto. Even without zooms, although they can also, they are just shy. As a result, a situation arises when you come to their website and really choose what you need. But this is not the one above ...
        We will not consider the lousy quality of their products and the price tags for it in this situation, because this is generally a broad topic to shake your head in rue. They need to start from the basics, how to build logic in their products.

    • B. R. P.

      In Soviet times, factories did not have a will of their own) The will of the party was for everything.

  • Fedor

    Everything suits me in lenses from KMZ, if they were 5 times less)

    • Novel

      They will stand for eternity.

  • Molchanov Yuri

    Thank you very much for a detailed and interesting review. Unfortunately, marketers and “effective managers” are the children of those who took over all these businesses in the 90s. Therefore, parents can only teach children how to act impudently. This happens with us and with them.
    Hence the lag behind fashion, hence the methods of developing optics, and of course the prices.
    It's good that the Chinese make optics better every year.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Not only the Chinese. If we are talking about professionals, that is, those people who earn their bread by photography, then for work they are likely to take some kind of autofocus Sigma 35 / 1.4 (recently released, $ 900), rather than a manual 35/2 for 1100. I mention here about the professionals, because KMZ constantly hints that these lenses are used as such. Of course, there is a buyer for their 35/2. But this is not an excuse for such prices, and let me remind you once again - SHVABE / KMZ in our time is not Leica, not Zeiss and not even Voicht.

  • Vlad

    Horse prices, but the quality is shit, I know not by hearsay, I will never take anything from KMZ and I do not advise others.

    • Rodion

      Well, there the grandmother collects the lenses by hand and twists the slotted screws into the rings with a screwdriver, what did you want? Completely hand-assembled. Each lens they have is "individual" (as they said in an interview) literally - each has its own jambs when assembling. Someone had sawdust in the lens (often were in Helios-40 before), someone had a coma in the center (I met such a review from users of the Zenitar 1.2), someone had blackening crumbled (users of lomo-petzvali made a return).

      • Vlad

        You really don't need to defend what you don't know! They have a KMZ, the system is called “do not give a damn about buyers!” I want to buy a new lens and not for little money, I do not wipe it from dust and the new one does not tighten loose screws, moreover, ripped off, and then it was on warranty repair at the plant for three whole months and came in the same sad state!
        At the same time, Samyang bought it, also a manual and for the same money, in terms of quality and production culture, this is heaven and earth!

        • Rodion

          You do not know how to sarcasm at all, or what? Samyangas, by the way, very often go out of alignment. The design of the lens unit with the use of plastic contributes to this. There are complaints about 24 / 1.4, for example. And 14 / 2.8, especially. So I wish you what you are to me.

          • Vlad

            Complaints about Samyangi?)) Many people complain about Europe and America, how bad everything is there, but they themselves just climb there! (Metamorphosis of life)

            • Novel

              You are some kind of strange. If Samyang is better than the CMZ product, that does not mean that he is becoming the best lens in a world devoid of all flaws. It's just that nowadays even smoking is better than products from KMZ.

        • Victor

          Vlad, if you live in Russia, then according to our laws he simply could not have been repaired for three months, the maximum warranty period is 45 days, but if you do not know your rights, who is to blame?)
          Samyangs are excellent lenses, so they gradually switch to autofocus, a very powerful competitor is emerging.

          • Vlad

            I know that 45 days, but this is on paper, but in reality you will find out what and what! And I won't take anything else from these bunglers.

            • Victor

              You just need to know your rights and use them. The repair period has been exceeded - you contact the store with an application for a refund, it does not help - in the OTP.

  • Alexander Rifeev

    This article is like a test shot for the whole concept - import substitution in the Russian Federation and catch-up (advanced) development of science and technology in the same place: - ((.. Alas ...

    • Dmitry Kostin

      No, but it's one thing to try to make sausage in Russia, or bread, or to do business in general, and another thing to master the production of high-tech products of its own production and development.
      The problem is that under the current tax legislation and the Criminal Code, doing business in today's “Great Russia” is fraught with danger. And the release of something high-tech without the patronage of the State and the interest of the FSB is not possible in principle.
      It turns out that the private business, which has not yet finished off and is barely making ends meet, has no desire to get involved in risky projects. And the state has no desire to develop the production of high-tech products on the territory of “Great Russia” (c).
      Although I do not understand what the problem of the state is - you can come up with tax benefits and try to somehow lure something to organize here.
      But all the maximum was reduced to the screwdriver assembly of foreign cars.

      • Alexander Rifeev

        in the conditions of the Russian Federation, it is economically senseless to produce domestic high-tech products for general civil purposes - Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai will always be more attractive for the population because of its low price, but in our conditions it will not work to make the price lower than in Southeast Asia ... but purely Japanese and German the products will always be of better quality, since we will not be able to provide high quality either for economic reasons (costs are high), which means the price will be high, at the level of Japanese or German products, but not the fact that it is the same in quality ... so the hand of the market economy put everything in its place ...

        • Rodion

          Yes, everything is possible, but there is no need to go where it is quite unrealistic to compete.
          There is an example of optics that literally one person did with his hands - Sonnetar 85 \ 1.6 or something like that. And they bought it because it is a unique niche product. And KMZ decided to get into a sweaty stuffed minibus called “the market of ordinary, unremarkable lenses”, presenting their non-exclusive product as a squeak of fashion and the peak of perfection. Sorry, but when there is, for example, Canon RF 35 / 1.8 (I even had time to evaluate it - it's just a bomb), nobody really needs their Zenitar, and there is no place for him in this minibus.

          • Dmitry Kostin

            It is surprising that they still have not reoriented the production of lenses for the UPC.
            I understand that this is not easy and will have to be recalculated and reworked.
            But after all, the market for DSLRs and the photo market in general is shrinking and it is necessary to react more quickly and transfer Sony, Fuji, Canon and Nikon mounts under the BZK.
            *
            About the commercial photography market (I think Arkady knows this photographer):
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byJEPAV_1Cw

            • Rodion Eshmakov

              Elementary - for the UPC they have no soviet developments, except for a bunch of antediluvian rangefinder lenses. And they fundamentally do not want to consider the new. Or do not even understand how to count, judging by Zenitar 35/2. You should have guessed to make a full-frame wide-angle lens, having tortured the scheme of the unfortunate fifty-kopeck piece. Nobody has been doing this for 70-80 years (since the discoveries of Bertele and Rusinov). After all, there was an example of Zeiss. There were a bunch of schemes in the GOI catalog. Noooo!
              And what is the result? There, vignetting is only 60 percent, probably a coma (judging by the photo from the stolen copy) and does not really go away on closed ones. I am already silent about the "tortured" "rattling" bokeh of this lens (judging by the examples for the lomographic version). However, to understand how bad everything will be there, I just had to look at the diagram. Frankly, because of their illiteracy, they beat even the Chinese. And it costs $ 800 or how much is there?

  • Vladimir

    Well, you still need to somehow support production. The same import substitution ... And if nothing is done at all, then nothing better will ever be seen ...
    It would be nice if the export of nikons, canons and the like to Russia was banned :) Including cameras :) I would look at this review later ...;)
    The fact that the heads of the plant should be kicked in the head is also understandable. But with a small series of cheap prices and automation, one cannot see even a kilometer away without the state intervening there and giving money, and at the same time in the head of those who make the dregs ....

    • Michael

      If they are forbidden, they will “get it”. There is also nothing special to support and no one to support. Soviet schemes are copied from the pre-war Zeiss, its own - minuscule. And this was in the USSR, now it seems that no one keeps specialists there.

  • Reiknarr

    For a very long time I tried to understand what KMZ is trying to match, now I realized that they themselves do not understand what they want

    • Victor

      Well, it’s not clear.

      Money, of course. They want money.
      Actually, everyone wants money, that's okay. But not everything is justified.

  • Andrij

    I hope that KMZ spent a lot of money on the development and production of those 5 or 6 copies that they were able to give birth to.

    • Rodion Eshmakov

      KMZ has lots of hundreds to thousands of copies. Single-piece - this is at LZOS) Although Selena has released several dozen, it seems, so far only. And there are several hundred anti-aircraft guns 35/2. Phenomenal logic is simple.

      • Andrij

        Have they released, maybe hundreds, but have sold at least a dozen? I'm sure that's not why they started all this. Quality - the century before last, there is no marketing. The goal is to cut the bablishko. And that explains everything. But in fact, it's even good that they work that way. The more money is spent or stolen, the better.

        • Rodion Eshmakov

          I am sure they have sold. There are definitely a hundred or even a thousand suckers in the world (let's be honest) who will buy the most pointless of these products. The most important circus will begin when they want it all back. This was the case with the Lomographs.
          Also, your position about what is good is bad. No one is better off from this, except for those who are directly involved in this.

      • Sergei

        Hundreds of thousands of copies are a myth. In reality - hundreds of copies for new products, maximum - several thousand.
        See the 2020 Photographic Equipment Report.
        http://www.zenitcamera.com/rec/news.html

        • Andrei

          From there- "An article was published in the first issue of the factory newspaper" Patriot "for 2021 ..." Newspaper "Patriot", yes. With tanks and missiles, I hope.

        • Rodion

          Hundreds-thousands are 100-1000, not 100000.

  • Konstantin

    Rodion, tell me, please, what can you read to know how to understand the optical removal of lenses? Thanks in advance

    • Rodion

      You can read Volosov's Photographic Optics. Although I do not even rely more on fundamental theory, but on empiricism. Taking into account the fact that I had more than a hundred different lenses, including extremely extraordinary ones, including a series of roughly similar ones, it is not difficult for me to navigate the diagrams.

      • Konstantin

        Thanks for the tip. Yes, there is no substitute for experience, but you have to start somewhere.

  • Zheka

    The article is filled with resentment.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Hatred of idiocy

    • Rodion

      For domestic optical production.

    • Victor

      Zheka, I thought so too :)

      • Oleg

        You can always support a domestic manufacturer with a ruble, review and refute hate. But something tells me that you will not do this. I was waiting for the release of an inexpensive makrushnik from KMZ, but at this price there is a similar lava with an increase of 2: 1

        • Rodion

          By the way, I'm not particularly against their 50 / 0.95 and 58 / 1.9. The first is fully justified, the second is praised. And I do not even condemn Helios-40. But people only see what they do see)

          • Victor

            People are just observant, and people also have memory))

            2Oleg: I personally will not do this, yes, and buy domestic trash too. I just know that the review could have been somewhat different if KMZ were more willing to make contact.

  • Archie

    How insulting for Mother Russia.
    How would you like to buy a good and inexpensive Russian lens. Yes, this is a small reason to be proud of the Motherland. From such small reasons, patriotism grows.
    And I'm sitting in the kitchen in leaky tights and I'm proud of what the generation of my grandparents has reached.

  • spitzer

    Messrs. Commentators, you just don't like Russia. And someone will buy this all this and will take pictures of holes on the roads, outhouses on the street, parades with rockets, birches, rallies and so on. This is a special path and spiritual bonds, all of this is paramount and extremely necessary,

    Che Europe is threatened .. the technological reserve wrung out from the Germans in the 40s has dried up, a new one is needed. Under the slogan “Give the country Zeiss Otus”, they will attack the Baltic states, demand for the care of technological maps, inventions and other finished R&D, plus Finlandia vodka technologies ..

Add a comment

christening photographer price Photography for lovers

Copyright © Radojuva.com. Blog author - Photographer in Kiev Arkady Shapoval. 2009-2021

English-version of this article https://radojuva.com/en/2021/05/about-new-kmz-lenses/