Leica Showcase JUPITER-11 f-4 - 135mm on Leica M9

"In the Day"- a 135mm focal length lens was the crowning achievement for Leica and Contax owners. A "long focus lens for distant landscapes, architectural details, presswork from distant points, large portraits- heads, birds, and big game photography"- from the Contax Guide by W.D Emanuel. With a name like that- no wonder he wrote these types of books! The 135 lenses tend to be very good, and go for a "pittance" compared with wide-angle and fast normal lenses.

The J-11 is a faithful reproduction of the Zeiss 13.5cm F4 Sonnar- I believe the Russian LTM versions do well on a Leica as the minimum focus is 2.5m and the minimum aperture is F4.On the J-9 the minimum focus is 1.15m, and that is where I always had problems getting it to focus correctly. The Sonnar inspired many manufacturer, the Nikkor 135 F3.5 is a good Sonnar formula lens made from 1950 up until the 1980s, the last version being Ais F-Mount.


I have the Nikkor 135mm Ais F-Mount too for my Nikon D800 which I also love but never seem to use much now as zoom lenses are just to convenient for me but using the Leica has brought be back into using primes again. I really enjoy these cheaper Russian lenses with the M9. I tried an M10 at the Leica store in Copenhagen the other day and I much prefer the M9 images. Thanks for the info on these lens too :)
1957 Jupiter-11, perfect glass, close to mint condition. Focus is good throughout the entire range. Min distance is 2.5m on the J-11.

All wide-open, on the Leica M9.

For $25 BIN on Ebay, could not resist this 1954 Jupiter-11. This one most likely has German glass in it. Condition is much better than described. It had been calibrated for Leica- but the aperture ring was not re-indexed, so is off 180degrees. I can fix that.

All wide-open, a partially cloudy day.


Great shots. I am using mine now on the Nikon Z7 with an adapter as I sold my Leica M9 but kept all the lenses. I originally planned to buy the new Leica M-E as a replacement but to be honest the lenses are so nice on the Z7 and so easy to focus I have given up on Leica bodies at least for now and just loving the lenses on the Z7. At least to me they seems sharper on the Z7 whereas this lens was always a little soft but I love using it.
The mirrorless full-frame cameras have made incredible advances, some days I'm tempted to get one just for the "dead-end mount" lenses that I have. Konica, Canon FD/FL, M42, Minolta MD/MC, etc. These lenses used to be "dirt-cheap"- have seen revived prices with mirrorless cameras.

But for M-Mount: I just like the M9 and M Monochrom, have a thorough understanding and comfort in how they work. To the point of writing my own raw processors for them. Hard to give that up. I should probably look for a lightly used original M-E...

I'm waiting for a sunny weekend for an outing with several 135/4 lenses: 1933/1937 (two) Carl Zeiss Jena, 1949 Nikon, 1947/1952 Canon, 1948 Minolta, 1954/1957 (two) J-11, and 1950s Zeiss Opton. I converted the 1937 CZJ 13.5cm F4 using a J-11 mount, use the early CZJ with an adapter. The 1947 Canon is not RF coupled- so will need a tripod. The Nikon was the only expensive one on this bunch, due to being rare. Maybe 600 made. Most of these lenses were under $100.
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Looking forward to seeing some shots from all these lenses you have and thank you for the update. I loved the M9 but had no real attachment to it so it was not that hard to sell it and not get another Leica. Although you never know with the new M-E being so cheap compated to other Leica bodies.

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