Soviet Lenses. Names and Optical Design

11/09/2016 - 13:09
Soviet Lenses. Names and Optical Design

In the formation of the names of Soviet lenses can be divided into two main logical way. First - this is when the name is encoded optical design (Helios, Industar, etc), the second way - is the brand of the manufacturer (Arsat, Zenitar, BelOMO). The first way implies that the name of the lens attached specific optical design. This logic is likely to have been borrowed from the German company Carl Zeiss. Historically, after the WWII the Soviet Union brought the reparations of the optical factories from Germany, with raw materials and blanks, and also received the right to use certain optical designs, it is mostly the firm Zeiss.

But in the future, Soviet designers took Zeiss lenses, counted them under the Soviet type of glass and put into production. So there were many legendary Soviet lenses. But not all. Some optical designs were invented by Soviet designers. For example Tair, Telear, Kaleinar etc. In the names of the Soviet lenses often featured cosmic themes such as Jupiter, Vega, Helios, Tair. In the Soviet era, everything that is connected with space was a trend. And they called the cosmic names of not only the lens, take such tape player "Vega" motorbikes "Jupiter," and so much more.


A List of the Names of Soviet Lenses

Next, I want to list all the names of Soviet lenses that I know. In alphabet order.

Arsat The name "Arsat" lenses were issued by the Kiev factory "Arsenal" after the Soviet Union collapsed and Ukraine became independent. Plant "Arsenal" has made rebranding, and all lenses manufactured earlier after this were named Arsat.

Vega (Вега) Vega Lenses has an optical design of Zeiss Biometar or modification (Vega-28, for example). Vega released as photographic and cine lenses (Vega 12 Vega 7, Vega 3), and for photographic enlargers (Vega-11U. Vega-5U).

Volna (Волна) I know 2 of the lens with the same name: Macro Lens Volna-9, produced by LOMO and medium format lens Volna-3, produced by Arsenal. Both have planar-like optical designs, which differ significantly.

Helios (Гелиос) The lenses named Helios include broad family of a variety of lenses. They all originate from Zeiss Biotar. Some of the most known representatives of this group are the Helios 44 and Helios-40.

Granit (Гранит) It is a zoom lens Granit-11. This is one of the few Soviet zooms. Other lenses with the same name are not met. DM (ДМ) This family of small-format projection lenses. Have Triplet design and issued on the Azov optical-mechanical plant. The representative is DM-3.

Zh (Ж) Yes, there are lenses that are marked with only one letter and a numeric code (Ж-54 for example). They have a planar-like design. This is projection lenses.

Zenitar (Зенитар) The lenses with this name were produced in the Krasnogorsk Factory. Zvereva (KMZ). The most known lenses are Zenitar 50/1.7 and fisheye Zenitar 16/2.8. These lenses have different optical designs. The names also vary: Telezenitar, APO-Zenitar, there are also zoom lenses called Variozenitar.

ZM (ЗМ) "ZM" - an abbreviation of "mirror-meniscus". The name speaks for itself. Under this name were produced several mirror telephoto lenses.

Zodiac (Зодиак) This name is the only one Soviet medium format fisheye - Zodiac-8 3.5/30.

Industar (Индустар) All Industar have a Zeiss Tessar optical design. Came mainly on cheap small-format cameras (Industar-61), medium format (Industar-29). large format (I-51, Industar-4). A lot of Industar comes on photographic enlargers, their models simply innumerable. By the way, in some names of Soviet lenses meet the reduction, for example, Industar marked the first letter "I", Triplets - "T" Petzval lenses - "P".

Kaleinar (Калейнар) I know only two lenses with this name: Kaleinar-5 2.8/100 and Kaleinar-3 2.8/150. Both were calculated and made at the Kiev factory "Arsenal". The origin of the design I do not know, maybe it's some kind of the planar modification.

KO (КО), KP (КП), OKP (ОКП) Abbreviations "Movie lens" and "Cinema Projection." Accordingly, this is projection lenses. They have different optical designs: aplanat, petsval, planar.

LOMO (ЛОМО) These lenses are called of manufacturer abbreviation - Leningrad Optical-Mechanical Association. This association was considered number one in the USSR, it produces a variety of lenses with different designs. There are already appears in the name is not optical design but a brand. Yes, the lenses of the plant, especially cine lenses OKS (ОКС) have good optical properties and is very highly valued.

Luch (Луч) This is name were produced large format lenses with a Goerz Dagor symmetrical design. They are called the Soviet Dagor.

Mir (Мир) With this name were produced wide-angle lenses of different focal lengths and formats. The most famous are the Mir-24, Mir-1B and medium format Mir-3, Mir-26. The basis of the optical design of these lenses is the Zeiss Flektogon.

MTO (МТО) The abbreviation "meniscus telephoto lens." This mirror this is mirror lenses MTO 500/8 and the MTO 1000/10.

Oberon (Оберон) Name of fast telephoto lens Oberon-11 200/2.8. Produced at the Vologda Optical and Mechanical plant. I've heard mixed reviews about it. Some good, some bad.

OKS (ОКС) It is an abbreviation of "Cine Lens", most of them were produced by LOMO. They have different optical designs.

OR (ОР) The abbreviation "Lens for reproduction" These lenses tend to have a Tessar and symmetric designs. Is installed on the copier and reproduction machines.

Ortagoz (Ортагоз) This name is the very first mass Soviet lens Ortagoz 1:4,5 f = 13,5 cm was mounted on the first Soviet camera "Photocor." The name comes from two words - "Ortho" and "GOZ". "Ortho" because of symmetric optical design and the "GOZ" - an abbreviation of the State Optical Plant. Optical design, copied from Goerz Celor.

P (П) These lenses have a Petzval design. Usually, this is projection lenses.

Peleng (Пеленг) This is fisheye. Produced by BelOMO (Belarus).

Rubin (Рубин) Under this name I've seen a rare zoom lens with a constant aperture - Rubin 37-80 f/2.8. For small format.

RO (РО) This name has projection lenses. Most of them Planar optical design.

Tair (Таир) Lenses Tahir initially expected for telephoto and had three elements (Tair-3), then, to make wider angle has been added a fourth element (Tair-11). There are also cine lenses Tair-56, medium format Tair-33 and others. The name comes from the name of the constellation "Altair".

Telear (Телеар) This is telephoto lenses. Produced by Arsenal plant. I know two: small format Telear-H and medium format Telear-5.

Telemar (Телемар) This is a telephoto lens. Produced before the 60-ies on KMZ. Has retrofocal telephoto optical design when the front and rear elements have a big distance. Later, it was replaced by the Jupiter-21, which is at the same focal length of 200 mm has the better optical performance.

Triar (Триар) This is projection lenses manufactured at the Arsenal plant. Have Triplet design.

Triplet (Триплет) Lenses name matches the name of the optical design. The triplets were installed as a series of projection lenses on overhead projectors. And also came for amateur cameras at entry-level, such as the Smena.

Uran (Уран) Lenses Uran used for aerial photography. Have a planar design.

Jupiter (Юпитер) These lenses has a Zeiss Sonnar design. This is photo lenses for the small and medium format (Jupiter-11, Jupiter 37, the Jupiter-9, Jupiter-21, the Jupiter-36).

Era (Эра) Lenses with this name are very rare. The design is unknown to me. Presumably the kind of planar. It produced a very small series.

Yashma (Яшма) I know only one lens with this name - Yashma-4 300/2.8. A fast telephoto lens. It has impressive dimensions, weight and price. Produced by Arsenal plant, and after re-branding was named MC Arsat 300/2.8. So we looked at a list of names and a brief overview of the Soviet lenses. Certainly this is not a complete list. Many lenses have been developed but not commercially produced. Perhaps now you can find them in single units as a collector's value, but in this article, their names are not considered.

Summing up we can say that the name of the Soviet lens can already have what kind this lens, and what character expect. Also part of the alphabet, the name of the lens also has a numeric part. And if the origin of the alphabet of the more or less clear. The numbers next to the name can not be any logic. There is an assumption that they were placed on a lantern. Or maybe it's some kind of successful modifications that have survived by natural selection? :). I do not claim to absolute truth in this article. It is written on the basis of my observations. If you have something to add or refute my arguments, write in the comments.

diego pendino's picture
sirs: hello, i need to know about mount of Arsat lenses mirror lenses for use in EOS R body camera lens thank you diego
Ivan K's picture
Most of the Arsat lenses have a Nikon F mount.
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