The Pentacon Six System
by TRA

Lens Data Summary

Russian and Ukrainian lenses for the Kiev 60


Most of these lenses were to the best of my knowledge produced by the Arsenal factory in Kiev, Ukraine.  I welcome corrections and further information concerning sources of design and manufacture, or news of other lenses that have been available in the Pentacon Six / Kiev 60 mount.  Most of this data is based on published information; I have not weighed and measured all these lenses myself.
 

Lens name (1) Max aperture
& focal length
Depth of field
preview
lever? (2)
Angle
of view
degrees
Closest
focus
m
Filter
thread
Dimensions
(Diameter ×
length) mm
Weight
g (3)
Zodiak-8B f/3.5 / 30 No 180 0.3 (rear) M 38 × 0.5 110 × 97 1000
Mir-26B f/3.5 / 45 No 83 0.5 M 82 × 0.75 86 × 96.5 650
Mir-69B (4) f/3.5 / 45 Yes 83 0.5 M 67 × 0.75 76 × 61 450
Mir-3B (5) f/3.5 / 65 No 66 0.8 (6) M 88 × 0.75 91 × 115 (7) 620 (8)
Mir-38B f/3.5 / 65 No (9) 66 0.5 M 72 × 0.75 78 × 88 550
Volna-3 f/2.8 / 80 Yes 53 0.6 M 62 × 0.75 76 × 57 340
Vega-12 (10) f/2.8 / 90 No 47 0.6 M 58 × 0.75 70 × 66.5 365
Vega-28B f/2.8 / 120 Yes 41 1.2 M 62 × 0.75 76 × 58 450
Kaleinar-3B f/2.8 / 150 No 28 1.8 M 82 × 0.75 88 × 99 (11) 1100
Jupiter-36B f/3.5 / 250 No 19 3.5 M 82 × 0.75 85 × 180 1500
Telear-5B (12) f/5.6 / 250 Yes 19 2.5 M 62 × 0.75 80 × 135 750
Tair-33 f/4.5 / 300 No (manual lens) 15 3.0 M 88 × 0.75 99 × 242 1879
Arsat APO MC (13) f/5.6 / 500 Yes 7.5 5.0 M95×1 105 × 290 1650
3M-3B f/8 / 600 No stop-down
(Mirror lens)
7.5 (14) 6.0 Front: M 98 × 1 (15)
Rear: M 52 × 0.75
115 × 195 2200
Notes
(1) From about 1990 Arsenal has renamed most of its lenses ARSAT.
(2) It is important to bear in mind that the Kiev 60 and the Kiev 6C have a depth of field preview lever on the camera body.  This lever stops down the aperture on any lens used that has an aperture-control pin (“automatic” lenses), to enable the user to check depth of field or to perform stop-down metering.  Therefore, when automatic lenses are used on these bodies, no lens depth of field lever (also known as aperture stop-down lever) on the lens is necessary.  However, knowing whether or not a lens has a depth of field preview lever is important if one plans to use one of these automatic lenses on a Pentacon Six, Exakta 66 or modified Kiev 88 with Pentacon Six mount, as none of these camera bodies have a depth of field preview lever.  Note that manual lenses, such as the Tair-33, do not have an aperture control pin, although it is possible to stop such lenses down quickly to a pre-selected aperture by rotating a ring on the lens or moving it between fully-open and stopped-down positions.
(3) Various versions of most of these lens have been produced.  As well as cosmetic changes and addition of multi-coating, some newer versions have a different body shape and/or are lighter in weight.
(4) This is an extremely rare lens.  You can read about it here.
(5) This lens was subsequently replaced by the Mir 38-B, which is much smaller and lighter.
(6) A later version of the Mir - 3B focusses to only 0.4m, which is incredibly close.  This is of course the distance from the subject to the film plane, so once the 74.1mm register distance within the camera plus the depth of the lens are taken into account, the front of the lens can approach to within only 215mm (approx 8 3/8") of the subject.
(7) According to “Discover Rewarding Photography: The Manual of Russian Equipment” by Ronald Spillman A.I.I.P., published in 1971 by Technical & Optical Equipment (London) Ltd.  The 1976 example that I measured was 105mm long.
(8) According to “Discover Rewarding Photography: The Manual of Russian Equipment” by Ronald Spillman A.I.I.P., published in 1971 by Technical & Optical Equipment (London) Ltd.  The 1976 example that I weighed was 570g, not including caps, which are of course not in place when the lens is being used.
(9) According to one report, a version of this lens with a depth of field preview lever has been seen.  I have never seen one with this lever.  It appears that there may have been a version of this lens with the Salyut/Zenith-80/Kiev 88 mount that had a DOF lever.  This mount is not compatible with the Pentacon Six nor the Kiev 60.  A preview lever is not needed on the lens when it is used on a Kiev 60 or 6C.  See note 2, above.
(10) The 90mm Vega was supplied as the standard lens with the Kiev 6C and with the Kiev 60 when it was first introduced (1984).  By 1989, when I got my Kiev 60 in Moscow, the standard lens was the Volna-3.
(11) As measured by me, 16.12.12.
(12) An earlier version of this lens, the Telear-4B, had a maximum aperture of f/3.5, focussed from 2.5 metres, took M 77 x 0.75 filters, had dimensions 80 x 150 and weighed 900g
(13) This lens is extremely rare.  It appears that there was just one production run, which took place in 1995.  According to some reports, just 75 lenses were made.  According to other reports, the number was much lower.  You can see a detailed review of this lens, starting here.
(14) Something must be wrong here!  If the 500mm APO does have a focal length of 500mm and the 3M - 3B does have a focal length of 600mm, the angle of view will not be the same.  This is based on published data.  Actual tests show that the angle of view with the 3M-3B is substantially less than with the Arsat APO MC and Pentacon 500mm lenses.  Details of these tests can be seen here.
(15) This lens is extremely rare, and it seems that there were only extremely small production runs of it, often separated by gaps of many years.  Between the different production runs, various cosmetic changes were introduced.  There may also have been other changes, for instance, to filter sizes.

Lens resolution, elements and groups

On its website, Araxfoto lists the following additional data on these and some other lenses:
 

Lens name Focal length,
mm
Aperture
range
Angle of view,
degrees
Minimum
focus, m
Elements/
Groups
Resolution, line/mm
centre/edge
Filter
size, mm
MC ARSAT (Zodiak) 30 3.5-22 180 0.3 10/6 60/14 38
MIR-26 45 3.5-22 83 0.5 8/7 45/16 82
MC PCS ARSAT 45 45 3.5-22 83-98 0.5 8/7 69/31 82
MC PCS ARSAT 55 55 4.5-22 69-84 0.5 9/7 98/71 72
MC PCS ARSAT 65 65 3.5-22 66-78 0.5 6/5 73/51 72
MIR-38 65 3.5-22 66 0.5 6/5 42/18 72
MC ARSAT standard 80 2.8-22 45 0.6 6/5 50/20 62
VEGA-12 90 2.8-22 47 0.6 5/4 N/A (1) 58
MC VEGA-28 120 2.8-22 36 1.2 6/5 50/30 62
KALEINAR-3 150 2.8-16 28 1.8 4/4 48/32 82
MC TELEAR-5 250 5.6-32 18 2.5 5/5 55/40 62
Jupiter-36 250 3.5-22 18 3.5 4/3 45/25 82
TAIR-33 300 4.5-22 15 3.0 4/3 25/18 88
APO-ARSAT 500 5.6-45 9 5.0 8/6 N/A N/A
MC ARAX-500 (2) 500 5.6 fixed 9 2.2 mirror N/A 105
ZM-3B 600 8 fixed 8 6.0 mirror N/A 55

Notes

(1) Araxfoto seems to have used the abbreviation “N/A” with the meaning “not available” (rather than the more normal meaning, which is “not applicable”).
(2) I assume that this is the f/5.6 Rubinar lens, which is described here.

See http://araxfoto.com/lenses/info/ for the original chart.  This data was downloaded on 23.10.10.

Mir-3B Mir-38B
 
When it was introduced, the Mir-3B 65mm wide-angle lens was a great advance for Medium Format photography, and it was physically smaller than the Carl Zeiss Jena 65mm Flektogon (although half a stop slower).

One can imagine the pride with which the Soviet scientists and workers designed and manufactured this lens, at a time when the Soviet Union still believed, officially, at least, that it could overtake “the West” technologically.

It was supplied with front and rear caps, two colour filters that were particularly useful for the black and white photography that predominated at the time and a hard case that also had a compartment for the filters, and it was beautifully presented in a smart box that was well up to the international style and standards of the day.

 

[C462_33.jpg]

 
However, subsequently the Mir-38B replaced the Mir-3B.

As can be seen from this picture (and the data above), it was much smaller and lighter than the 3B.

Unfortunately, it seems as though in the intervening years either disillusionment had set in, or at least the pride in good workmanship had decreased, and the quality control was so poor (if it existed at all!) that many sub-standard lenses left the factory, not only for the citizens of the Soviet Union of that time, but also for the wider world.

In some countries, importers and distributors worked hard to overcome these problems, checking, adjusting, repairing or even rejecting items that did not come up to professional standards.  In the U.K., Technical and Optical Equipment (London) Ltd did an excellent job, thereby ensuring that Soviet lenses achieved and maintained a high reputation in that country.

However, with the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, there was an uncontrolled flooding of the market with photographic equipment from the Former Soviet Union, some of it brought to London in backpacks by Poles who travelled between Warsaw and London by bus, and sold it both privately and through some retail photographic chains.  The quality of such items was often extremely poor.

It is therefore advisable to check such items carefully before parting with money.

A description of my experiences with this particular Mir-38B can be found here.

 

[C462_34.jpg]
The Mir-3B on the left, with the Mir-38B on the right

Tair-33

The manufacturers were extremely proud to have received the “Grand Prix” award for this lens at the 1958 Universal Exhibition at the Atomium in Brussels in 1958, and for decades referred to this award in their publicity.  The lens is good, but extremely heavy, and it has no automatic control for the aperture – admittedly a very new concept at that time.  Instead, it has a manual pre-set lever that enables the lens to be opened to full aperture for composition and focussing, and then stopped down to the pre-selected aperture without having to look at the diaphragm settings.  The lens also has a built-in retractable lens hood.  This is, however, extremely shallow and can’t provide much shading.  It is illustrated here next to a much newer and slightly smaller version developed for use with the 35mm Zenith Photosniper camera.


[C436-16] Tair-33 300mm lens in Kiev 60/Pentacon Six mount, with the subsequent Tair-3S in M42 mount for the Photosniper 35mm camera outfit.
Note the unusual focussing wheel on the Photosniper version, and the cable that transfers the chosen aperture value
to the Zenith camera metering.  The bar visible under this lens at the back stops down the aperture when the shutter is fired.

The Cyrillic (Russian-language) spelling of the lens can be seen in the above photo.  The lens was also widely exported, and some of the exported lenses had the name ring printed in Latin (or Roman) script (the alphabet that is used for English and most West-European languages, amongst others).  On these lenses, the name was transcribed as “TAYIR”.  Naturally, the manufacturers are entitled to transcribe the names of their products as they wish, and this was clearly an attempt to show that the original name is pronounced as two syllables and not one.  However, “TAIR” is an acceptable transliteration of the Cyrillic and so is also sometimes seen in descriptions of the lens.  In fact, “TAIR” is the Latin lettering that was chosen by the manufacturers for the Photosniper version of this lens, as can be seen in the above photograph!

“TAYIR” lettering on lens
“TAIR” or “TAYIR” with Latin script

The Tair-33 can also be seen here.

In 2003 and again in 2008 a “Jupiter-6” lens was offered on eBay.  It was described as an extremely rare f/2.8 180mm lens in Kiev 60 / Pentacon Six mount.  It appeared to have no aperture pin, to judge by the photographs on the auction.  On both occasions the illustrations showed an all “silver” metal finish.

The two 500mm Rubinar mirror lenses (f/8 and f/5.6), which are made by the LZOS factory just north of Moscow in Russia, not by Arsenal at Kiev in Ukraine, and are designed for 35mm cameras, have occasionally been modified to work with Medium Format cameras that have the Pentacon Six mount.  I have been told that the results are very good, however, my experience with the samples that I have tested has not confirmed this.  See the results of those tests, starting here.

Arsenal also produces a 2× converter and a 1.4× converter in the Kiev 60 (Pentacon Six) mount.

This data is based on published sources.  I do not have examples of all of these lenses (!), and I have not measured or weighed all those that I do have.  Sources vary on some details such as weights, and these differences may correspond to different versions of a given lens.

Lens diagrams

Here are the lens diagrams published in the instruction manuals of two of the lenses.  Not to the same scale.
 


[mir26diag.jpg]  Lens diagram for the Arsenal Mir-26
wide-angle lens

[jupdiag.jpg]  Lens diagram for the 250mm Jupiter-36 lens

To see more lens diagrams, click here (30mm) and here (shift lenses).

Lens mounts

It would appear that all of these lenses (possibly with the exception of the 3M-3B mirror lens, the 500mm APO lens and the Mir-69B 45mm lens) were produced in two different mounts:  the Pentacon Six mount used for the Kiev 60, and the Hasselblad 1600F/1000F mount used for the Salyut / Zenith 80 / Kiev 88.  When making a purchase, it is essential to get the lens in the right mount, as they are mutually incompatible.

Until recently, manufacturers in the former Soviet Union described the Pentacon Six mount as being: mount B (in Cyrillic – the Russian alphabet – this a symbol like a b with a horizontal bar extending right from the top of the upright).  They described the Kiev 88 mount as being: mount V (B in Cyrillic – the Russian alphabet).  The differences are summarised in the following table:

It is therefore necessary to take great care when ordering a lens to make sure that it has the right mount for the camera.
 

The situation is made worse by the fact that lenses were sometimes manufactured with the name and mount written in Cyrillic script and sometimes (presumably for export) with the name and mount written in Latin script!  Therefore, looking at what is printed on the lens barrel or name ring can also lead to confusion!!  The only sure way is to check (or see a clear photograph of) the lens mount.  The Pentacon Six mount has three lugs, while the Kiev 88 mount has a coarse helical thread (a sort of “screw mount”).  Perhaps because of this confusion, Arsenal now seem to be describing the Pentacon Six mount as “Type C”, and labelling their lenses accordingly.

An ideal system?

If you build up a system consisting of the 80mm Volna, the 120mm Vega and the 250mm Telear, you will have a flexible, compact and lightweight outfit that will cover most situations, with all lenses taking filters of the same size!  Naturally, if you add a wide angle lens to the outfit, you will need larger filters.


[C463_2.jpg]
This image of such an outfit includes a hot-shoe adapter in the flash bracket, connected by a cable to the PC sync socket.
This permits use of a flash that does not have its own sync cable.

Most of the Russian and Ukrainian lenses listed above are illustrated and tested in the Lens Test section of this website.  To go to the lens test section, click here.

For further details of the lenses – number of elements and grouping of elements, variations of the lenses, etc, I refer you to Nathan Dayton's excellent website, www.commiecameras.com

To go on to the next section, click below.
Next section (Joseph Schneider lenses for the Exakta 66)

To go back to the beginning of the Lens Data section, click below and then choose the range of lenses that you want to read about.
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© TRA May 2002, December 2012