Tair-3 4,5/300 Review

09/21/2015 - 21:54
Tair-3 4,5/300. Review and Sample Photos

Tair-3 4,5/300 (Russian Таир-3 4,5/300) is a fast telephoto lens with the fixed focal length for 35 mm SLR cameras. Perhaps this is the only telephoto lens having a focal length and aperture ratio, which was produced for half a century, with almost no change in the optical design.

It produced from the mid-1950s to 2005 in USSR on the factories KMZ (Krasnogorsk Factory Zvereva) and ZOMZ (Zagorsk optical-mechanical plant) and KOMZ (Kazan Optical and Mechanical Plant) and endured several modifications:

Tair-3 4,5/300 - the very first issue for the M42 system, presented in this review. Still, it does not have a built-in hood and tripod socket.

Tair-3A 4,5/300 - redesigned barrel, equipped with the retractable hood, tripod socket, and A-mount (T-mount analog), and installed on any system.

Tair-3-S 4,5/300Tair-3-PhS 4,5/300 - intended for the mount on "Zenit Photosniper" have a completely different barrel design and the other focusing mechanism and a rubber hood.

Tair-3-T 4,5/300 - version for television and cine.

Tair-3 4,5/300

Later modifications have multi-coating and have letters "MC." In 1958, Tair-3 the award-winning Grand-Prix at the World Exhibition in Brussels as one of the most dramatic telephoto lenses. With such a modest optical design, all 3 lenses in 3 groups, and the aperture ratio of 1:4.5 at the 300mm focal length, even now, it is surprised by its sharpness.

Tair-3 4,5/300

This is the first version of the lens, has serial number 001115, and released on KMZ. Judging by the appearance, the lens has passed a difficult path. Housing badly battered life side is stock number caused by oil paint, indicating the use of the lens in the state structures. But despite the appearance of such lenses in the order, the case took all the blows of fate itself. It shows the reliability of the barrel.

Tair-3 4,5/300 optical design

Tair-3 has optical design 3 lenses in 3 groups. This design has a long flange distance that equates it to a retro focal design where the flange distance is almost equal to the lens's focal length.


Tair-3 4,5/300 Specifications

Focal length: 300mm

Aperture: f/ 4,5 – f/ 22

Weight (gr): 1340

Length (mm): 250

Filter Ø (mm.): 72

Aperture blades: 16

Min. Focus distance (m.): 3


Tair-3 4,5/300 Handling and Mechanics

Visually the lens has a huge size and looks at the camera giant. Something like a telescope. But despite its almost 1,5 kg weight, it has good balance, and it is convenient to shoot. I did not feel the disadvantage of my Nikon D3100. On the contrary, big weight reduces a handshake, and I could shoot without motion blurring at 1/80 shutter speed.

Handling on Nikon D3100

Handling on Nikon D3100

The main weight is on the edge of the lens, where the optical elements are located. And that half of that is closer to the camera is an empty tube with the internal hood to reduce stray light. The barrel is made of metal, and the design is like some military equipment like the lens is designed for military purposes. The aperture ring and the focus ring are not rubberized. The lens has a 72mm filter thread. Next is the narrow aperture ring. The diaphragm closes smoothly. 16 blades allow forming perfect circles in the bokeh. To the surprise of the blades are blackening; not all the objectives of those years have blacking diaphragm blades. The lens has no automatic preset aperture, only manual.Tair-3 4,5/300

At infinity mode

Tair-3 4,5/300

At MFD mode

A short distance from the aperture ring is the focus ring. It is rotated by 270 degrees. The front part of the lens extends to 3.5 cm. Focusing smooth. The front element is rotating. Generally, focusing is convenient, but because the focus ring is narrow and is located near the aperture ring, I sometimes confuse them; it is inconvenient. I set the lens on the Nikon SLR camera via an adapter M42-Nikon while Infinity saved.


Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

I took all examples on camera Nikon D3100 on wide open. RAW export without any post-processing.


Tair-3 4,5/300 Sharpness

The lens has good sharpness. The best sharpness saw at a distance of 30-40 meters. Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

On the wide-open, there are certain scenes with slight chromatic aberration.

Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

On the close focusing on the aperture, the sharpness is good for portraits. When closing the aperture to a value of f/5,6, aberration partially disappears. At f/8 is greatly improved sharpness, disappearing almost all aberration.

Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

Sharpness at Infinity mode

Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos


Tair-3 4,5/300 Character and Bokeh

The lens at this focal length and aperture nicely separates the object from the background in portraits good blurs the background. Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

Bokeh beautiful when the background is much distant from the subject. Even at a distance of 40 meters, you can get a good selection of the object from the background. Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

But in general, I do not really like bokeh. However, it is a subjective opinion.

Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

Tamron 1:5,6 f=300mm i like more.  

Tair-3 4,5/300 Color Render and Contrast

Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

Unfortunately, the lens showed low contrast, even with the hood.

Photo quality requires correction of contrast.

Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

It is afraid of the strong backlight and sidelight.

Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

  The same applies to color reproduction. The images give a slightly yellowish.

Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

But in general, the contrast is not much worse than the rest of the Soviet lenses. I would say to the Soviet lenses, such color reproduction is the norm, and to demand from the lens with three lenses and a single layer coating something more is unnecessary. Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

MC version of the lens a bit better but does not eliminate these disadvantages.  If you shoot with a hood of a bright sunny day and are not allowed in the frame's strong light sources, you can get good quality pictures.

Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos


Tair-3 4.5/300 especially interesting for its fastest and sharpness. Aperture f/4,5 allows shooting in cloudy weather and even night landscapes and astrophotography. Tair-3 4,5/300 Example Photos

But in terms of contrast and color, it worse than the same lenses.

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