"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 (patent RU 2592746 C1) is the only new CMZ lens I've 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 (patent RU 2626298 C1).

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 (a type of spherical aberration and coma correction).
  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”.

UPDATE (08.05.21): Found patent RU2726264C1, containing the optical schematic diagram of the Zenitar E 50 / 0.95 lens.

Schematic diagram and MTF Zenitar 50 / 0.95

Schematic diagram and MTF Zenitar 50 / 0.95

Thus, the lens is still designed with an eye on Chinese samples and belongs to the "Mitacon" type. The patent paid a lot of attention to the manufacturability of the lens: the engineers abandoned glued components whenever possible, resorted to maximizing the radii of curvature of the lens surfaces (in the lens, 6 out of 9 lenses have a flat surface). Apparently, this is indeed a very compromise lens in terms of design, which must be as simple as possible to manufacture.

Zenitar 50 / 0.95, apparently, does not use any special types of glass: the patent contains a table showing that the lens contains neither low-dispersion (dispersion coefficient> ~ 70), nor high-refractive (refractive index> ~ 1.8) glasses.

Lens parameters and glass grades used in Zenitar 50 / 0.95

Lens parameters and glass grades used in Zenitar 50 / 0.95

Lens parameters and glass grades used in Zenitar 50 / 0.95

Lens parameters and glass grades used in Zenitar 50 / 0.95 (continued).

Therefore, it is rather impossible to attribute any additional designations to the optical elements.

Further, it is easy to see that Zenitar 50 / 0.95 has a front lens group somewhat different from the usual type of planar-like lenses, with a very massive rear one. Such a pronounced asymmetry of the design, as well as the use of a negative lens with a characteristic profile as a front lens, reminded me of the optical scheme technical lens of the special camera PUSK-16.

Comparison of optical schemes of Zenitar 50 / 0.95 and a PUSK-16 50 / 2.8 camera lens

Comparison of optical schemes of Zenitar 50 / 0.95 and a PUSK-16 50 / 2.8 camera lens

On the whole, this helps to a certain extent to understand the reason for the poor correction of Zenitar 50 / 0.95 field aberrations, as well as the high distortion (its sign, however, is the opposite of PUSK-16). Zenitar 50 / 0.95 has a design asymmetry that is too significant for a planar lens - this usually makes it difficult to correct distortion. Artificial limitation of the number of correction parameters due to the use of flat lenses and the introduction of a “booster” into the scheme (collects the image field into a small frame) also hardly contributes to the improvement of the field quality.

In general, miracles do not happen: designed to simplify assembly and reduce the cost of manufacturing components, a lens is not able to provide high image quality. The scope of Zenitar 50 / 0.95 is extremely limited by its mediocre optical quality and its substantial weight. But the lens It has remarkable bokeh, acceptable near-field behavior and fairness aperture - in this he can be much more interesting than his Chinese counterparts.

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 developments (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. (Update: this lens is still an original development, albeit based on the experience of Chinese manufacturers).

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.

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