A Quick 1st look at the Lomography Jupiter 3+ Re-Issue Lens!

A Quick 1st look at the Lomography Jupiter 3+ Re-Issue Lens!

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So yesterday I received a package from CameraQuest.com that had the new Lomography Jupiter 3+ Lens inside. THIS EXCITED ME as I have a thing for the old Russian Jupiter lenses. The big let down with them though has been finding a good one. They are all old, many 60+ years old, many have been abused, dropped, mistreated and these days, when you find an original Jupiter 3 50mm f/1.5 it is not in very good shape. I went through several and found one a while ago that did quite well on a Leica M or on my Sony A7 cameras. It was beat up, dented and felt VERY light, almost plastic like..but it worked. It gave me LOW washed out contrast, softness and crazy Bokeh. But at times it gave me nice looking classic results.

The Jupiter 3+ wide open at f/1.5 on the Sony A7RII. Soft corners are a character of this lens, the sharpness is more towards the center. This is not a lens for landscape bit is more preferred for portraits and objects IMO. Notice though that the color and contrast is much better than the old original. 

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Wide open again…

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The crazy Bokeh of the Jupiter…

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Many want to try these lenses and many have, and been turned off by the bad samples. Many have amazing samples that they acquired for $50 and love the lens. But now Lomo is here with their new current production Jupiter 3+, made in Russia with great QC and the finished product is gorgeous to look at. It has a heft to it my previous old Jupiter did not have. It’s also sharper, gives bolder color results and has the same crazy bokeh that many hate.

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Lomography has packaged this lens in an amazing way. The box is lovely showing off an image taken with the Jupiter 3+, and they include a nice thick booklet inside with information and history on the original Jupiter 3 as well as talking about their new production version. Loaded with photos taken with the lens, it is a lovely little book to read and go through. They also include a Leica Screw Mount to M adapter inside (which is super thin and adds NO size to the lens at all) as the lens is made like the original, in the old Screw Mount. Why make it screw mount? Well, it is a replica of the original, so why not? The adapter is MEGA THIN, and is not noticeable when on the lens. When on, it appears like a standard M lens mount. I am just happy they threw it in!

Below is my 1st look video on the Jupiter 3+ from Lomography, take a look:

Now of course, with this new version we can never expect it to cost $50 or $100. Nope, this is a NEW current run of this lens, made in Russia just like the old originals. QC is in place and there have been some improvements which is why it has a + next to the name. Lomography has launched this lens at $649, which is quite lofty for a Jupiter but I look at it this way…buying a NEW lens will get you the NEW Lens. No worries about focus, no worries about construction quality or haze or fog or fungus. This new version is heftier, made better, feels awesome in my hand and the results are just what one would expect..creamy, dreamy but with better color and contrast (and sharpness at the focus point) than the original.

Sure, one can go find an old one for $80-$120 but you are indeed taking a gamble. With new, there is no gamble. This new version is $649, so not cheap, but worth it to anyone who love the Jupiters for their rendering (instead of cheap price). This is not your grandfathers Jupiter! It is indeed slightly better all the way around, comes with a nice metal lens cap, the M adapter and is ready to roll on your RF or EVF camera. Yes, $649 is steep for this lens, but it’s sort of a classic and well liked by many, hated by some and many just avoided it due to the issues of the old lenses circulating.

All Wide Open at f/1.5 on the new Production Jupiter 3+

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So enjoy this 1st look. I will have a longer review coming soon. I’m digging it so far, but it’s a jupiter..an art lens more so than an everyday lens. So expect some crazy rendering, much like the Lomo 85 Petzval Art Lens, reviewed HERE. 

For those with the itch already…This lens is available NOW at CameraQuest.com

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18 Comments

  1. Was just chatting with some photographer friends there a few days ago .Most had good opinions of old Russian lenses and cameras Zorki Fed Lubitel etc and just wished they could all be re issued in more reliable and updated forms such as this – so some marketing research is behind this product ?

    • Zenit has already announced they will issue a new or renewed SLR shortly. I hope it is based on the old Zenit E, but with free-market quality control like the new Jupiter 3+ (I love mine) has. I remember looking at those Zenits while saving up for my first Minolta SLR. As a teen on allowance, it was awfully hard to keep saving for the Minolta when I already had enough money for the Zenit.

      Looking back, I should have bought the Zenit. The Minolta was definitely a better camera, but I could have had two more years of photography and in hindsight the Helios standard lenses were better than Minolta 45mm f/2 Rokkor, which was decent, but not exceptional (like the Helios is).

  2. I am glad Lomo is giving Zenit a lot of work these days; like many things from Russia they are far better than the credit given.

    Have an 1963 KMZ (Zenit) Jupiter 3 that I bought a few years back as a teen for $90 and serviced myself. It is an excellent lens; they improved the design from the Zeiss 1.5 and I find it a more usable lens than most from it’s era with little ‘character’ getting in the way of resolution.

    I think I will stick with mine as regardless of market, $650 is a lot more and I much prefer the thick polished Aluminium build for it’s light weight and that it will not brass.

  3. I don’t think the price is at all out of line. This lens is made of brass and is by far the cheapest fast NEW 50mm rangefinder lens currently available. The closest lens to this one in character is the Zeiss Sonnar 50 1.5, and that is almost double the price. Judging by the way my copy wobbles (and many others have), the quality of build is an issue.
    The Jupiter is also the only new LTM lens available. They built it like this as there is a huge LTM film market out there, and this makes it much more flexible as it can be used on LTM, M and whatever other camera you want to adapt it to.

    Nice review Steve!

  4. I confess to being curious as to whether this is troubled by the focus optimisation issues that mar the otherwise excellent Zeiss Sonnar. I realise this isn’t an issue for mirrorless users, but for those of us who prefer rangefinders to peaking, it’s a valid question…

    • The Jupiter lenses are great to use with mirrorless cameras (I use the original Jupiter 3, the 8 and 11 on the A7RII), except for the 35mm Jupiter 12. Yet they are not totally at par with the 43MP sensor. If the 3+ will be, I will buy it for sure, because of its wonderful character.

  5. Thanks for this- had no idea about this before reading this post. Great info nice to see people exploring the use of old or new old style lenses.

  6. Dear Steve, it’s exactly articles like this that make me love this site that much!
    Indeed, this is not your everyday lens, but for sure one that can make you excited. And it shows!
    I have a specific request for you.
    I owned 4 Jupiter 3 lenses, and still own one. I only kept the best one, since there was a distinct difference between the different examples. I believe the one I own is a very good example with no deficits. But still, it’s made for lower resolution cameras than my A7rII, which BTW only shows when looking at 100%. I really love its character, more than the Zeiss C Sonnar’s and concidering how much a Zeiss aficionado I am, this is remarkable. I love this lens thàt much that I even would buy this new 3+ version, without hesitation, ànd for this price (!), if the detail that it renders, is really up to the hi-res level of the A7RII. Of course I’m talking about the center zone.
    So I have this specific request, Steve: please give us some 100% images that illustrate the detail capability of this lens.
    IMO, it would be a very good idea to also illustrate the bokeh at F/2, 2.8, 4, because this lens features no less than 13 aperture blades, which renders a considerably rounder shaped diaphragm, when stopped down. I believe the number of blades contributes to its character.
    You write that this lens has improvements, compared with the original one. I’d like to know exactly what improvements – compared to a very good original Jupiter 3, an exceptional one that still is in mint condition, like mine. Is this feasable to do? I hope the hi-res capability is one of them.

    • I bought mine within hours of reading the announcement. I have some of the best Jupiter-3’s ever made, cherry-picked over 12 years and adjusted to focus perfectly on the Leica. Also have Zeiss Sonnars in Leica mount, 3 original and 6 custom-converted.I’ve seen two of my converted Sonnars being resold for more than the new J-3+.

      Get the J-3+. This is the best J-3 that I’ve seen. I’ve been shooting it alongside the Nikkor 5cm f1.4, Canon 50/1.5, KMZ J-3, and Zeiss Sonnars. Less flare than the Nikkor; optimized for wide-open use.

      I also picked up a KMZ Jupiter-3 off of Ebay for $100 the same day as buying the J-3Plus.

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/72157663433906899

      But I’m good at taking them apart.

  7. The original Jupiter-3 was a copy of the prewar 50mm f/1.5 Zeiss Sonnar lens. So… how do you think this Russian revival compares with the modern (and much more expensive) 50/1.5 Zeiss Sonnar? Or the modern (but not much more expensive) 50/1.5 Voigtlander Nokton, also based on an old-school optical design?

    • The modern Voigtlander Nokton is a 6 element in 5 group Aspheric formula lens- great lens, but not the same formula as the 1950s lens that it is named after.

      The first “ZK Sonnars” were copies of the Zeiss lenses, made from mostly German parts, the Jupiter-3 improved the design. The focus mechanism of the Jupiter-3 is more reliable compared with the German design; the new J-3+ uses Brass instead of aluminum, even better.

      If Nikon decided to re-issue the Nikkor-SC 5cm F1.5 it would go for $1500. The build quality of this new J-3+ compares with the Nikkor, both lenses weigh about the same. Both use the same size filters and hood.

  8. Yikes! Crazy bokeh indeed. Yet, I really like the bokeh in the portrait with Debbie…whereas the bokeh with Ernie is about to give me a migraine. I’d say if the background has more depth, it’s much more pleasing…but if it’s a linear and even background, as you would say, it’s crazy bokeh.

    I’d like to see more portraits with this lens!

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