Jupiter 11 135mm f/4.0 telephoto lens on Sony NEX 6 – with samples

This post describes my experiences with a Jupiter 11 telephoto lens fitted to my sony NEX 6 via an M39 to NEX adaptor. Hopefully it will be useful to anyone who owns this camera and is thinking of purchasing one of these lenses. For the impatient the samples are here

The bug has bitten and I’m afraid I’m now infected. Infected with the disease of “Soviet Lens Acquisition”.

Lens Description

I found this beauty on e-bay from a dealer in Glasgow. It looked like a nice clean example so I bought it with ‘buy it now’ and took delivery a few days later. The lens looks quite long, but that is mostly because it is only about 1 3/4 inches in diameter (it takes a 40.5mm filter). It’s actually only about 4 inches long in fact.

Like many soviet lenses, there seems to be more than one design of this lens available because I’ve seen a shorter stumpier version. That may be a variation which indicates the date it was made. If the normal practice of dating these Russian lenses by the first two letters of the serial number can be relied upon, this example was made in 1971.

It’s certainly not a heavy lens, at least not by SLR standards, but the camera is probably twice the weight with the lens fitted compared to the body alone, but the length of the lens helps here because it allows you to support the camera at the balance point where the lens joins the body.

The spec is

  • Serial No 7106033
  • Focal length 135mm
  • Effective focal length on NEX 6 202.5mm
  • Maximum aperture f/4.0
  • Minimum aperture f/22.0
  • Minimum focusing distance 2.5 m
  • Mount 39mm screw thread (use an M39 to E-Mount adaptor)

The aperture ring is click-less and made up of a large number of blades – I found it difficult to count them but some internet research suggests 12. It certainly looks pretty round and should provide a nice Bokeh.

There seems to be a coating on the lens which, depending on the angle you look at the lens is either purple or amber so I would guess that it is multi-coated.

Shooting with the Jupiter 11

I’ve not had much chance to use the lens yet as the weather has been so awful over the last few days, but the few practice shots have taught me that it’s important to keep an eye on the shutter speed when using the lens. Normally, when using a modern coupled lens on the NEX it is good at making sure the shutter speed is appropriate for the focal length of the lens you are shooting with. I’ve certainly noticed this with the 16 – 50 mm kit lens in aperture priority mode. Once you fit one of these manual lenses to the camera however, it doesn’t know the focal length of the lens and so can’t calculate the slowest allowable speed. The first few shots I took had camera shake because of this as the selected speed was down to 1/60th.

I’ve found a few ways round this problem:

  1. Shoot in Aperture priority mode but set the ISO high enough that you won’t have a shutter speed too low for the lens focal length
  2. Shoot in Shutter priority with Auto ISO. You can then set both the shutter speed and the aperture and let the camera set the correct iso speed for the exposure (which is just like Pentax’s Shutter and Aperture Priority mode on the K5)
  3. Shoot in Manual mode and set the whole exposure yourself.

Since this is a manual focus lens, it’s wise to have the focus peeking mode turned on to assist in finding the correct focus point. If you shoot in RAW (which I always do) another trick you can try is to put the camera in RAW+Jpeg and turn it to creative mode ‘black & white”. This allows the peeking indicator to really show since it improves the contrast. When you then upload the images you can discard the jpegs and just use the RAW, which will be in colour of course.

Sample shots.

This is the first batch of sample shots from this lens. I make no claims for their artistic merit, but I think they show off the lens quite nicely. (Full sized pictures here – navigate with arrow keys)

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