Series of lenses “ZM”

ZM is a family of Soviet photographic mirror-lens lenses, created on the basis of scientific research by prof. Maksutov. It is the second generation of mirror lens photographic lenses after MTO.


Explanation of the name – “Mirror Maksutova” or “Mirror-Meniscus Lens”. Long-focus lenses of the ZM family are designed for single-lens reflex cameras. The use of a mirrored meniscus design made it possible to reduce the length and weight of the objectives in comparison with the lens. Mirror-lens (“ZL”) lenses “ZM” do not have aperture controls, the value of the relative aperture is constant.

The focusing ring is made “with overrun”, this is necessary so that with strong temperature changes relative to “normal”, the lens does not lose the ability to focus on the extreme values ​​of the distance scale (infinity). A side effect of this design solution is the ability to mount lenses on cameras with a slightly larger flange distance than 45.5 mm, without losing focus to “infinity” (for example, on cameras with Nikon F mount, where the flange focal distance is 46, 5 mm).

In designations of lenses “MC” means multilayer coating; “A” – the use of a replaceable adapter


ZM lens layout

Types of lenses

  • ZM-1 prototype
  • ZM-3 prototype
  • ZM-3 medium format
  • ZM-4A
  • ZM-5A
  • MS ZM-5A ( review )
  • MS ZM-5SA
  • ZM-6A
  • MS ZM-6A
  • ZM-6B medium format
  • MS ZM-7


Due to the peculiarities of the lens design, light sources, and indeed any glare in the out-of-focus area, turn into “bagels”.

Lens adapters ZM

To work on digital cameras, you will need an adapter from the M42x1. Can be used on both Nikon and Canon. Due to the power reserve of the focusing ring.

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.

Light filters

The set of 3M lenses for small format (24×36 mm) included a set of 4, or an expanded set of 5 (only with “ZM-7”) light filters. This set of filters was very popular with Soviet lenses, and is the basic one. (Old names before 1974 are shown in brackets):

  • “UV-1 ×” (“ZhS10” or “ZhS-12”)
  • “О-2.8 ×” (“OS-12” or “OS-14”)
  • “ZhZ-2 ×” (“ZhZS-9”)
  • “N-4 ×” (“NS-7” or “NS-8”)
  • “Н-2 ×” (only with the lens “ZM-7”)

Lenses “MTO-500A”, from at least 1970, had the same 4-piece set of light filters.

The Rubinar lenses also have filters from this set, but in various cut-down versions, with the exception of the Rubinar 10/1000 lens, for which the set of small (rear) M35.5×0.5 filters consists of 5 pieces and is similar to the set ZM-7 “.


  • Lenses “ZM” had the USSR quality mark.
  • The “MTO-11” lens differs from other “MTO” lenses in that it has a design and optical scheme as in the lenses of the “ZM” family.
  • Lenses with adapter “A” are more compatible with modern cameras, not only because you can install the mount connector for different cameras, but also because the “A” -adapter protrudes significantly beyond the rear wall of the lens and due to this, the camera’s flash compartment does not rest against lens.

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