Jupiter-37A 135mm f / 3.5 (1986)

Jupiter-37A is the twin brother of Carl Zeiss Sonnar 135mm f3.5, which has an excellent price-performance ratio. Massively produced in the USSR and after the collapse of the Union, from 1978 to 2009, at the Kazan plant (KOMZ).

Review of the lens Jupiter-37A 135 / 3.5

One of the Soviet lenses that left a pleasant impression on itself. The article contains a photo of several lenses.

Lens Jupiter 37A, part number 862053

Had very poor condition of the frame but not the lenses. There were defects in color and damage after impacts. Didn’t have a factory kit. The lenses were in good condition. Production of KOMZ, 1986. The markings are in yellow and green paint.

Lens Jupiter 37A, s \ n 8129379

In close to perfect condition, with a factory kit (wardrobe trunk, hood, instructions). Production of KOMZ, 1981, white and yellow paint was used in the markings.

Lens Jupiter 37A s \ n 8129379, factory delivery set

The Jupiter 37A is supplied from the factory with a hard plastic case, hood, instruction manual for the lens and covers. Hood with thread for a seat on the front lens frame, plastic, painted. It has matting inside. In the stowed position, the hood covers the focusing and diaphragm rings.

Instruction manual Jupiter-37A, part number 8129379

Lenses similar to Jupiter-37A

Jupiter-37A is found with multi-coating, Olympic symbols, with various options for attaching to cameras (m42, “K” mount, H mount (Soviet adaptation of Nikon F)). Also, from 1990 to 2002, a lightweight version of the lens with a modified rim, Jupiter-37AM, was produced . The year of manufacture can be conditionally determined by the first two digits of the serial number. According to some reports, the lens is an adapted copy of Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar.

Jupiter-37A diagram

Lenses with a similar design:



Focal length, mm 135
Relative hole 1: 3.5
Angle of the field of view, degrees 18 ° 13 ′
Minimum focusing distance (MDF), m 1,2
Maximum aperture f / 3.5
Minimum aperture f / 22
Resolution according to TU (center / edge), lines / mm 45/30
Diaphragm petals 12
Working distance, mm 45.5
External thread M52x0.75
Connecting thread for the camera M42x1
Lens length without caps (at ∞), mm 92
Maximum frame diameter, mm 57
Weight (without hood and covers), g 410

Jupiter-37A at work

Jupiter-37A body has the shape of an elongated tube, painted metal. The lens itself is small in size. At the far end of the lens barrel there is a thread for a hood, after which a preset aperture ring is found on the barrel. The aperture ring is followed by the focusing ring.

The focusing ring of the Jupiter-37A lens has ribs throughout the entire area, which, however, does not add convenience in handling it. Due to the small diameter of the lens, it was inconvenient for me to rotate the focusing ring. Matter of habit. Further along the lens body follows the distance scale, depth of field scale and lens shank.

The scales are engraved on the case and marked with paint. On some early versions of the lens, blackening of the barrel (both inside and outside) falls off – engraving was a good solution.

Jupiters come across both with M42 thread and with a connector for Nikon, Pentax. The only differences are in the lens shanks, which regulate the distance from the rear lens to the focal plane of the camera.


The lens focusing ring is ribbed and rotates smoothly and almost 360 degrees for precise focusing. If the lens has not been serviced for a long time, the factory grease thickens and the rings become tan in the cold. Fresh lubrication restores the smoothness of the rings and prevents them from becoming tight in the cold. The front edge of the lens barrel comes out at the maximum focusing distance – about 2 cm.


Jupiter 37A has a 12-blade iris diaphragm that draws even circles in bokeh from light sources at any f / value. There is no version with a jumping aperture of the Jupiter-37A lens, when, like the alleged “dad” (CZJ Sonnar 135mm), only it is.

The relative aperture of Jupiter 37A is adjustable from 1: 4 at open and up to 1:22 at fully closed diaphragm. To use the lens correctly on modern cameras, you must use the exposure lock function, or adjust the exposure later, during post-processing.

Aperture presetting mechanism

To activate the presetting mechanism, pull the lens aperture ring towards you, and then, without releasing it, set the required aperture value. Aperture presetting mechanism, as in Helios 44-2 or Industar-61 LZ. It has a similar operating principle, combined with the diaphragm ring. The mechanism is triggered when the diaphragm ring is pulled towards you.

Users are often unaware of the existence of this ring. Presetting the aperture by locking is necessary in order to correctly focus and set the depth of field.

Modern digital cameras estimate the level of exposure in the frame at an open aperture of the lens (in fact, old film ones too). The final exposure calculation should take place at the moment the electronically controlled aperture closes, just before the shutter opens.

When using Jupiter data at an aperture other than open, you will have to introduce exposure compensation. Shoot in RAW and Aperture Priority mode. Especially if you are working with Jupiter for the first time.


When the aperture is open, there are color aberrations in contrasting transitions. Aberrations are stifled without problems in the simplest photo editors.

Sharpness, contrast, color

The lens has a simple coating, the picture quality drops in backlight or side light, sometimes so much that it is impossible to extract the file even from RAW. Versions with multi-layer coating have the letter “MC” on the frame and not much better picture. Jupiter-37A does not like shooting objects in front of a bright background.

Depth of field control

Due to the shallow depth of field, focusing on cameras with a small viewfinder can lead to hitting problems. You have to use LiveView mode much more often than with autofocus lenses.


The lens, thanks to the focal length and optical scheme, both perfectly separates the subject from the background and perfectly draws the out-of-focus area. Circular highlights in bokeh provide artistic images with a large number of aperture blades.

Case and build quality

Jupiter-37A does not suffer from build quality. However, on many of the specimens one could notice the backlash of the diaphragm rings and its presets. Overall, the build quality is decent. Even when compared with imported contemporaries produced by Carl Zeiss and Pentacon, the Jupiters-37A produced in the USSR do not seem clumsy and heavy. You can often find non-blackened edges of the lenses inside the frame, as well as blackening of the case collapsing. Time makes itself felt.

Advantages of Jupiter-37A

  • Any serviceable Jupiter-37A, even now, is able to compete for quality with modern plastic autofocus competitors.
  • The cheapest 135mm focal length lens with adequate image quality.
  • Artistic blurring of the background and round highlights in bokeh, provided by a round aperture at any value.
  • The lack of autofocus should not be embarrassing, because, for example, in portrait photography, it can be omitted.
  • The depth of field calculator and distance scale are missing in the vast majority of modern lenses. Jupiter-37A can be set according to the marks on the lens itself and shoot without looking through the viewfinder.
  • Reliability. The lens is not afraid of frost, temperature and humidity changes, falls. The metal case will not crack in case of an accidental impact, and the absence of electronics will not let you down at the right time. The lens is easy to disassemble and maintain.
  • The ability to use with almost any digital cameras , through the appropriate adapter. About adapters below.
  • High artistry. Even in the absence of special processing skills, you can get a warm tube photo. Branded blur in bokeh, good color rendering.
  • The focal length is universal – Jupiter-37A is suitable for photo hunting for not shy birds, and for shooting portraits.

Use on modern cameras

To work on digital cameras, you will need an adapter from the M42x1. The easiest way is to put this lens on cropped Canon EOS with EF-s mount, especially considering that adapters without chips on Canon cost mere pennies.

By ordering things from the links below, you help the project cover the costs of site maintenance and development. List of adapters, systems and mounts (direct links for ordering)

When ordering, it should be borne in mind that cheap adapters of poor quality with a lens on the Nikon F mount significantly spoil the picture. Adapters without a lens reduce the maximum focusing range (due to the difference in focal lengths). Adapters with chips come across poor quality, exposure metering and focus confirmation on some Canon EOS models may suffer from this.

Nuances in working with Jupiter 37a

  • Due to the small depth of field, when working with the viewfinder of a digital camera, there is a very high probability of not hitting the target. It is advisable to use the lens with a focusing screen with micro raster and wedges, or Live View mode.
  • Jupiter-37A on 1.6 crop (Canon EOS Ef-s) has the same angle of view as a 216mm lens on a full-frame camera would have.
  • The Jupiter 37A lens on a Nikon lens can be installed through an adapter with or without a lens (but then infinity is lost).
  • When using these manual “glasses” at aperture other than open, you will have to enter exposure compensation.

Focal length alternatives for Jupiter-37A

135mm – Universal Focal Length:

  • Enough magnification to shoot birds and animals in the city (on the crop).
  • Excellent background blur, which is good for portraits.
  • A huge park of optics for this focal length

Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 135mm f / 3.5

The main plus in favor of Jupiter, when choosing between Jupiter 37A and, for example, Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 135mm, is the 12-blade diaphragm of Jupiter-37A versus 6 Zeiss, ergonomics, price. With the same optical scheme, the lenses of the German are slightly better, although this fact has little effect on the final result as a whole, because computer processing methods neutralize the optical disadvantages of modern, and not so, lenses.

Pentacon 135mm f / 2.8

Pentacon is a series of lenses from Pentacon. Issued in the German Democratic Republic, it is a facelift by Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 135 / 3.5

Meyer-Optik Orestor 135 / 3.5

Dubbed the monster bokeh for the aperture, which produces flare in even circles at any aperture value. The ancestor of all lenses presented above.

Tair-11 135mm f / 2.8

High-aperture portrait lens of Soviet production. Someone is considered the best in its class.


The Jupiter 37A lens loses contrast when shooting in backlight, without a hood – even with side illumination. The lens is sharp from open aperture, creating circular highlights in bokeh with 12 blades. I recommend it for beginners. Versions of Jupiter 37A with multi-layer coating (multicoating, MC) have few differences in terms of pictures, so you shouldn’t chase them. The average price of a lens in the secondary market for versions with and without MS is 2000 rubles.

Sample photos on Jupiter-37A

Jupiter 37A and Canon 60D

Jupiter 37A and Canon 1DS

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