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
|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-4B (12)||f/3.5 / 250
||M 77 × 0.75
||80 × 150
|Telear-5B||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
|7.5 (14)||6.0||Front: M 98 × 1 (15)
Rear: M 52 × 0.75
|115 × 195||2200|
Lens resolution, elements and groups
On its website, Araxfoto lists the following additional data on
these and some other lenses:
|Lens name||Focal length,
|Angle of view,
|MC ARSAT (Zodiak)||30||3.5-22||180||0.3||10/6||60/14||38|
|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|
|MC ARSAT standard||80||2.8-22||45||0.6||6/5||50/20||62|
|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||52 (3)
(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.
(3) According to my notes, it would appear that this was previously listed in the Araxfoto website as 55mm. I have just (August 2015) received from Arax a handy chart of this lens data, printed on a small card, and it shows the filter size for this lens as 52mm, which is indeed the size of the filter on the ZM-3B lens that I have (see here). Perhaps I made a typing error when I copied the data from the Arax website. The following link still works, and the information, checked today, is accurate.
See http://araxfoto.com/lenses/info/ for the original chart. This data was downloaded on 23.10.10.
Mir-26B 45mm 45mm
|To the best of my knowledge, this
wide-angle lens had single coating, not multi-coating, and
this appears to have been the case with most (all?) lenses
that were produced for the Kiev 60 by the Arsenal
factory. (If they did have
multi-coating, they never indicated this in their
literature, as far as I am aware, nor on the lens
itself.) However, at some point after the collapse of
the Soviet Union, Arsenal lenses were re-branded “ARSAT” and
most (all?) of these were multi-coated.
A multi-coated version of the Mir-26B can be seen here.
|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.
|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.
The Mir-3B on the left, with the Mir-38B on the right
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
“TAYIR” lettering on lens
The Tair-33 can also be seen here
and some results of tests with the lens can 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.
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
[jupdiag.jpg] Lens diagram for the 250mm Jupiter-36 lens
To see more lens diagrams, click here (30mm) and here (shift lenses).
As described here, there were
certain problems with the original design of the lens hood or
shade for the Jupiter 36 lens. This design detail was
obviously changed at some point – perhaps by someone who couldn’t
get his filter out of his shade!
Two versions of the Jupiter 36B
|The lens illustrated on the left in this
image was manufactured in 1980. Its case, lens hood
(shade) and lens cap are placed to the left of it.
The Jupiter 36b on the right in this image was manufactured in 1991. It has a permanently-mounted sliding lens shade. Its case (now manufactured in black instead of the earlier brown) is to its right. This lens, which was not new when I bought it, came with a Vivitar lens cap (not included in the pictures) -- no doubt an indication of the more porous borders between the former communist countries and the rest of the world in the aftermath of the collapse of the communist system, the Berlin wall and some of the other barriers to trade and travel.
Incidentally, even in 1991, the lens only had a single coating, not multi-coating. However, another improvement was included.
On the left, the 1980 Jupiter 36b, on the right, the one from 1991.The aperture blades in the older lens had a copper colour, those in the newer lens were a neutral grey. It may conceivably be that with the older lens, the colour of the aperture blades might have changed the colour of the image. Or it may just be that purchasers feared this, and so the blades were changed to grey, as with the aperture blades in lenses from other manufacturers. (Note that such blades are rarely totally black.)
Note that the shadows in these two pictures are of the photographer and the camera used to take the pictures of the aperture blades.
| Here are some pictures of a Telear-4B
manufactured in 1984.
This particular example of the lens weighs 1130 g, is about 145mm long and (as can be seen from the depth-of-field scales) has a minimum aperture of f/22.
The same lens set on infinity focus (left, [tel4inf.jpg]) and at closest focus (right, [tel4minjpg]). These pictures also show more clearly the maximum and minimum apertures of the lens. The depth-of-field preview lever can be seen near the bottom of each picture, on the left of the lens.
I note that in these pictures the lens has an East German Pentacon Six rear lens cap.
My thanks to Steffen for the information and the pictures!
General view of the lens described here
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: Б). 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. You can see a picture of an
example of this here.
To see pictures of the Pentacon Six and Salyut/Kiev 88 lens mounts, go here.
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.
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.
Back to beginning of the Lens Data section
© TRA May 2002, Latest revision: July 2018