Leica Jupiter-3 5cm F1.5, Various Manufacturers

Classic Sonnar forumula, based on the Wartime Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar. Not all J-3's are created equal, only way to state it. Most are good at F1.5, much sharper at F2.8. Most benefit from changing the shim to optimize for close-up/wide-open work.

This one is from 1950, required a complete rebuild- including changing the focal length and setting into a new focus mount. It was worth the effort.

These are at F1.5, with a Red filter.
L1001294.jpg
L1001295.jpg
L1001306.jpg
L1001308.jpg
 
Last edited:
ZOMZ 1963 Jupiter-3 5cm F1.5, on the M9.

This lens has very clean glass, and is representative of the 1960s~1970s Jupiter-3's.

Paired images are at F4 followed by F1.5.
L1007501.jpg
L1007500.jpg
L1007522.jpg
L1007521.jpg
 
Last edited:
Between F1.5 and F4: probably about 1" at minimum focus. I optimized these for F1.5. For most of the FSU lenses built to the Zeiss standard, the focus shift works in your favor for infinity focus. Normally, you have thicken the shim of the lens about 0.1mm for the Leica. This would mean it falls short at infinity. Stop down- the focus shift makes up the shortfall.
 
Jupiter-3's and the pre-war Sonnars: more deviation between the rendering of individual lenses than what you will find in modern optics. Slight changes in the actual focal length of the front and rear sections, relative spacing between them. So each one is slightly different, some are very smooth. I swapped out optics in one lens built from scratch based on the Bokeh. I'll have to post some shots with a couple more.
 

KS11

Regular
Jupiter-3's and the pre-war Sonnars: more deviation between the rendering of individual lenses than what you will find in modern optics. Slight changes in the actual focal length of the front and rear sections, relative spacing between them. So each one is slightly different, some are very smooth. I swapped out optics in one lens built from scratch based on the Bokeh. I'll have to post some shots with a couple more.

please do, i'm looking forward to those sample shots as well.
 
Two of my best Jupiter-3's and the C-Sonnar.

A 1950 Jupiter-3 with a SN on the rear module showing it was made by Zeiss in April 1945. A lot of work was required to correct the spacing between the groups on this lens, the optical fixture was the wrong length. "WORTH IT!".

A 1956 KMZ lens, one of the last made by KMZ. In a new focus module.

All wide-open, with Orange filter. M Monochrom.
csonnarf15.jpg
50J3_f15.jpg
56j3_f15.jpg
 
Last edited:

Penfan2010

All-Pro
Location
NJ, USA
Real Name
Ed
Classic Sonnar forumula, based on the Wartime Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar. Not all J-3's are created equal, only way to state it. Most are good at F1.5, much sharper at F2.8. Most benefit from changing the shim to optimize for close-up/wide-open work.

This one is from 1950, required a complete rebuild- including changing the focal length and setting into a new focus mount. It was worth the effort.

These are at F1.5, with a Red filter.

Last photo of the desk is really good, great lighting.
 
One of the last KMZ Jupiter-3's ever made, has perfect glass. I set it in a much later focus mount, relubed and shimmed for F1.5 and close-u. On the M Monochrome with an Orange filter. Straight exports to JPEG using LR4.

Comparison Shots at F1.5 and F4.
gunston_hall_56J3_F4.jpg
gunston_hall_56J3_F15.jpg
56J3_Gun_f4.jpg
56J3_Gun_F15.jpg
56J3_Monument_f4.jpg
56J3_monument_F15.jpg
 
Last edited:

asiafish

All-Pro
Location
Bakersfield, CA
Real Name
Andrew
I also have one of Brian's Jupiter 3s, a Zomz from 1963 that is PERFECTLY tuned to my M Monochrom. I've tried many other 50mm lenses including two Leica Summicrons, a Summitar and a Zeiss Planar, but day in and day out, it is the Jupiter 3 that spends the most time on my camera.

This lens has a character that I just can't get enough of. My only complaint is the mechanical build (which I knew going in). I bought this hoping to use it occasionally for its unique effects, and to have a "modern" lens with modern coatings for everyday use. Sadly, I think for an everyday lens I will need to pony-up for either a C-Sonnar or 50 Lux. The Jupiter 3 works well enough for now that when I go out with only one lens, this one is usually it.

At around f/4
9733123116_a4019ec014_b.jpg

L9999017-Edit.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr

Wide-open f/1.5
9733118594_74ac8f34a4_b.jpg

L9999009-Edit.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr

f/4
9729887783_ebc9a6cf55_b.jpg

L9998974-Edit.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr

f/1.5
9656897886_a143e405fa_b.jpg

L9998689.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr

f/1.5
9653596327_73424f8d15_b.jpg

L9998676.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr

f/2
9656790440_64352b3909_b.jpg

L9998674.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr

f/8 (I think)
9653474607_6ca253ca5a_b.jpg

L9998671.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr

f/1.5
9549419256_e36c3ec6f3_b.jpg

Table 10 by Lawman1967, on Flickr
 
They look really good! The all-aluminum construction does seem to last- with some effort. I've been using "Lacquer" (a color of nail polish that Nikki quit using) to secure the set screws. That seems to be the weakest link; the second is the guide pins used to keep the helicals together. I've picked up some spares and try to get good matches between the heads of the guide pins and the rails.

Someday- a Chinese company with a CNC machine will start selling focus mounts for Sonnars and Jupiters made of brass. I'll buy 10.
 

asiafish

All-Pro
Location
Bakersfield, CA
Real Name
Andrew
They look really good! The all-aluminum construction does seem to last- with some effort. I've been using "Lacquer" (a color of nail polish that Nikki quit using) to secure the set screws. That seems to be the weakest link; the second is the guide pins used to keep the helicals together. I've picked up some spares and try to get good matches between the heads of the guide pins and the rails.

Someday- a Chinese company with a CNC machine will start selling focus mounts for Sonnars and Jupiters made of brass. I'll buy 10.

And when they do I will send you back my J3 for retrofit.
 
I made this particular J-3 from 4 different lenses. I was sent a 1952 J-3 with beautiful glass in a focus mount and fixture that was epoxied together, would not come apart. The focus was way off, which explains why the glass was so nice, it had never been used. The lens was cobbled together from various parts, the rear fixture was "not standard" and the black paint was flaking off. I ended up buying a 1962 ZOMZ j-3 from Ebay for the focus mount, using a 1950 optical fixture- wartime alloy (another cobbled together lens), rear optical fixture from a 1953 J-3 (bad glass), and aperture ring from the 1962 ZOMZ. The rear triplet and fixture in the KMZ and German lenses have a different shape from the ZOMZ lenses. The latter have threading up front and a guide ring in the back. It will not screw in deep enough to a KMZ fixture, the KMZ glass will not go into a ZOMZ rear fixture. If you need to reapir a pre-war or wartime Sonnar, you can use parts from a KMZ J-3. The ZOMZ and KMZ J-3's: the front triplet and front element can be interchanged. The rear triplets: different.

ANYWAY! Lots of work and rework, the 1950 Fixture was much too long for the ZOMZ rear that someone put into it in Russia. I bought it 10 years ago, realized much later on that the rear triplet was wrong. I had to file the back-end down trying to make it work, never could. Now it worked out- this lens gives good focus from close-up to infinity as the rear triplet is closer to the front group and the focal length is close to the Leica standard. Not the sharpest J-3 that I have, but the Bokeh is very smooth.

Wide-Open

13932946791_4cd97f71a4_o.jpg


13956119293_3860461b41_o.jpg


13932948761_2785704514_o.jpg


13956117843_9f0ba664bf_b.jpg
 
Last edited:
Close-to Infinity focus at F1.5, focus on the far tree line.

13933486432_d68b1c8404_o.jpg


I made a stand-off shim for the rear triplet using jumper wire, tried 1mm, 1.1mm, and 1.5mm. The latter- too thick to screw in to the focus mount. The 1.1mm worked well, gave enough stand-off and allowed the fixture to be screwed into the focus mount. The insulation of the wire "compresses" so acts as a variable shim for fine adjustments. Lots of trial and error on this one, but in the end- good focus across range.
 
About 1/4th of the ones I've seen have a fair bit of slop in the helical, I use vacuum pump grease in those. Most have a little play in them, but lithium grease is fine for most.

Plummer's grease will also work, is as thick as vacuum pump grease. If the helical does NOT have play, don't use it. White Lithium is better in that case.
 

Latest posts

Latest threads

Top Bottom