Jupiter-9 85mm 1:2.0 – review

Published by Tony on

Jupiter-9 lens review (black 85mm 1:2.0)

Mount – M42

One more popular Russian lens. It has something special that makes it valuable for many photographers, but not everyone succeeds in making friends with it because of its low IQ. Sometimes it seems that those who know how to shoot masterpieces with this lens, in the next stage, should start photographing through a bottle of beer.

The lens for the test was provided by Egor Nikolaev (Егор Николаев) – many thanks and greetings.

Jupiter-9 on Minolta X-700

Jupiter-9 specifications

Name engraved on the lens Jupiter-9
f[mm] 85
A max [1/f] 2.0
A min[1/f] 16
Lens design [el.] 7
Lens design [gr.] 3
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 49
Lens Shade
closefocus[m] 0.8
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 66.5 x 65
Weight[g] 363gr
Year 1951 – Initial Design

1985 – Multy Coating

Style Black, For Export
Notes  2008 – the end of production

More data

Floating elements NO
Aperture blades number 15
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copies Enough for the lens from USSR
Reviewed Lens SN: 9104706

Historical note

The lens design is based on the design from Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 85 mm f/2, which was developed in 1932 by Ludwig Bertele and is based on the optical design of his previous Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 50 mm f/1.5. Thus Jupiter-9 is not a copy, but really modified version (unlike Jupiter-3, which was the direct copy in the first period of production after WWII).

As you can see, the lens has been in production for 57 years. It is not hard to guess that lenses from the 50s and 90s are very different lenses. Here is the smallest possible division into modifications for this lens (the specific lens under test is shown in bold.):

  • ЮПИТЕР-9 2/85 АВТОМАТ – In the hull for cameras Kiev-10/15, “Arsenal (Kiev)” factory, mount Kiev-Avtomat
  • ЮПИТЕР-9 1:2 F=8.5см. – Silver, Krasnogorskiy Mechanicheskiy Zavod (Krasnogorsk Mechanical Works, the abbreviation KMZ), mount Contax-Kiev
  • ЮПИТЕР-9 1:2 F=8.5см П. – Silver, “Arsenal (Kiev)” factory, mount Contax-Kiev
  • ЮПИТЕР-9 1:2 F=8,5см П. – Silver, KMZ, mount M39 for Zenit cameras (It is not “Leica Thread Mount (M39)” – the flange distance as for M42 SLR cameras)
  • ЮПИТЕР-9 2/85. – Silver, Lytkarino Optical Glass Plant, mount М39 for Zenit cameras
  • ЮПИТЕР-9 2/85. – Black (Old style), Lytkarino Optical Glass Plant, mount М39 for Zenit cameras
  • JUPITER-9 2/85. – Black (New style), Lytkarino Optical Glass Plant, mount М42
  • MC JUPITER-9 2/85. – Multi-Coated, Black (New style), Lytkarino Optical Glass Plant, mount М42

This separation allows us to understand that we are dealing with not even one lens. Please note that it is not enough to divide lenses into black and silver or multi-coated and non-multi-coated because there are 4 mounts, 3 factories, and 57 years of changes.

About the quality

This is the fact that in the USSR, the quality was so-so watched. And also there were periodic deviations from the requirements that were allowed in production to speed up the process, for example, before holidays or closing the annual plan. Probably one of the most popular articles on the Russian Internet about these Jupiters talks about how to properly tune these lenses.

You reasonably already realized that this review is not about the whole Jupiter lens line and not even about this particular black model without multi-coating. This review focuses only on lens 9104706 because any other lens named Jupiter-9 can be very different from it.

Jupiter-9 lens exterior

BTW: The absence of the oil on blades inside Jupiter-9 just means that someone already has cleaned it.

Jupiter-9 mounted on camera Minolta X-700 (via original Minolta P-adapter)

A bit crazy set – but why not? It’s absolutely a working combination

Jupiter-9 sharpness

Сlose-distance resolution test, minimal distance

Testing methods description

  • Target: 10-15 cm picture, printed on glossy photo paper
  • Distance: 1.7m
  • Camera: Sony A7II (24mpx, full-frame, tripod, remote control). M-mode, ISO fixed, WB fixed, SteadyShot – OFF.
  • The test was repeated for every F-stop on every focus position with manual focus adjustment for each shot. That is to avoid the effect of field curvature.
  • RAW processing: Capture One, default settings. All quality settings – 100%. Crops – 300×200 px

Original target image (printed in horizontal orientation on 10cm X 15cm glossy photo paper)

Scene preview

Test results

Jupiter-9 resolution - close distance

Long-distance resolution test

Testing methods description

  • Target: cityscape
  • Distance: > 200 meters to center focus point
  • Camera: Sony A7II (24mpx, full-frame, tripod, remote control). M-mode, ISO fixed, WB fixed, SteadyShot – OFF. The focus point is on the center only.
  • RAW processing: Capture One, default settings. All quality settings – 100%. Crops – 300×200 px

Scene preview

Test results

Jupiter-9 resolution - far distance

Jupiter-9 aberrations

Vignetting

Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Long-distance bokeh

Test #1

Test conditions: the lens was focused on minimal distance on the scale (0.8m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance.

Test#2:

Test conditions: lens was focused on 2.0m

Light bubbles bokeh – long distance

Test #1

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 0.8m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Test #2

Test conditions: lens was focused on 2.0m

Jupiter-9 – final conclusion

In one sentence, the emotions after the use of this lens can be expressed as – it is so terrible that it attracts. Let me explain:

There are all kinds of strange arts in this world, like painting on dirty cars or sculpting out of rusty bicycles. And this Jupiter is just such a special material or tool with which you can do something that will differ from the generally accepted one. Yes, in the 40s it would not surprise anyone, but today, when lenses and ultra-pixel sensors make photos up to a crunch in the viewer’s pupils, this lens can be salvation. Simply attracting attention through the unusual.

Base results:

A cursory examination of the test results reveals that the lens’s IQ can be called terrible and this would not be an exaggeration. There are positive aspects, like almost no vignetting, good geometry, and rounded bubbles on a closed aperture. But sharpness, one might say, is completely absent. To get a good result in the middle, you need to close it F5.6, or rather even up to F8. Corners simply speaking are absent.

It requires skills:

There is a problem – it is difficult to imagine how much a photographer must train to learn how to use it well. For example, in reviews, this lens is often praised for its bokeh and is called an excellent portrait lens. But we can see the sharpness only in the middle. As a result, not everyone is ready to use a portrait lens in which the subject cannot be placed according to the rules of the golden ratio. Simply because there will be a softness in the place of the golden ratio.

By the way, this lens is equipped with Preset Aperture Ring. A very strange thing from the modern point of view, but it works.

The feelings:

And one another trait of this Black – the feeling. I have a very accurate description of the feeling that a photographer gets when holding Jupiter 9 in his hands. Do you see this photo?

So, the feelings are absolutely identical. The grenade may be felt a little fragile, but not the lens – it is really the very fat piece of iron.

Of course, it would be strange to recommend Jupiter-9 to anyone. But if it falls into your hands – try to take a picture with it. There is a very good chance that this piece of glass and steel can entertain and delight you.

Have a nice day!


7 Comments

DawidDawid · 2020-12-18 at 19:41

Try the earlier made by KMZ. It’s craaazy sharp!

    Tony · 2020-12-18 at 21:34

    no, it is not true. All lenses of this family are close to the same by IQ. Even Carl Zeiss is not an exclusion

Thomas · 2022-08-14 at 07:44

I respectfully disagree these Zeiss-Sonnar heritage optics are misfits. My 1969 Jupiter from the LZOS facility has fine resolution in the corners by f2.8. And it’s great the rest of the aperture range to diffraction limits. The issue here is with production quality variances. The review does well to mention this. Case in point: I own another Jupiter 9 which is severely decentered. I keep it around to show my students the oddities of Soviet production.

Okiman · 2022-09-29 at 16:41

The problem with most RF lenses tested on this site is that they don’t work well with digital sensors, especially Sony. So most of RF lenses would test much better off-center if tested on film. Another thing most RF lenses (and others of course) do is curve the plane of focus, so for corners to be sharp they should be “refocused”.

    Tony · 2022-09-29 at 17:08

    These tales were refuted on the website. For example, the refocusing for center/middle/corner was performed in each test. And the statement that these lenses are better on film than on a digital camera cannot be verified at all because of the resolution of the film.
    Actually, the site was created to refute some legends

      Okiman · 2022-09-29 at 18:30

      I applaud you for creating this page. It is wonderful and full of extremely detailed tests which I personally love. But you are wrong about film. I shoot film exclusivelly and there are many films with higher resolution than any digital sensor. And even on those that aren’t, the quality of a lens can easily be seen in the contrast and resolution differences. Take for example the Zeiss ZM line of lenses and it is immediatelly evident that they (especially Biogon designs) perform many times better on film – no comparison actually. But again. Thank you for this site. And keep up the good work.

        Tony · 2022-09-29 at 19:31

        Thank you for these good words. I absolutely understand you. We are on the same side. During the my “testing carier” I have changed my position tons of times. I was passed the periods of Zeiss, Leica, film, crops, number of pixels, Sony, Canon, color rendering etc. You understand of course. And now I’m on the place of the time line when I don’t agree with any radical statements – I think that every case should be tested – if we are speaking about Minolta on Sony XX camera vs Zeiss on Canon XX camera – then both cases should be comparied. Because there are many unexpected surprises. On the other hand, if I love the lens because of the history or exterior or label, and this lens is just “good enough” optically – I will use this lens and skip the test results in my mind. Hope you understand me ))

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