Please support mflenses.com if you need any graphic related work order it from us, click on above banner to order!

SearchSearch MemberlistMemberlist RegisterRegister ProfileProfile Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages Log inLog in

Finally got a Zenitar 1.7/50.
View previous topic :: View next topic  

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:09 pm    Post subject: Finally got a Zenitar 1.7/50. Reply with quote

Click here to see on Ebay

Despite having more standards than I know what to do with, I still have had an itch to get this lens since I started collecting. Usually the price is not unreasonable, but the shipping from Russia or other former soviet states to the U.S. is upwards of $30. When I saw this was $13 I jumped on it. I'm happy that it is also the export version, if for no other reason than piece of mind. I'll try to get some samples up once I actually receive it.

Can anyone confirm that it is multi-coated? (not that I care one way or another) I know the helios line, and the zenitar f1.9 was at this time (1981) but they tended to advertise that fact. Any other comments regarding the lens would be much appreciated. Thanks everyone!


PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it isn't multicoated because not marked with MC. I haven't got and seen any russian lens before 1990, that marked with MC.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dont think so, mine is 1983 on Zenit 19, looks identical to yours ,nothing on it to say 'MC' the Zenitar 50/1.9 is and generally Russian lenses do have it on if they are. BTW did you get that m42 volna? I have a spare k volna 50 if you fancy trying to convert it!

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KMZ definitely had MC coating available to them at this time. You can see on their website: http://www.zenitcamera.com/archive/lenses/zenitar-me1-1-7-50.html This is the ME-1 that was specially designed for the Zenit 18. You can see the lens was made in '82. And there were versions of the helios 44m-4 marked MC and these were in production during '81. It was a hopeful but not unrealistic question. Haha, Thanks guys!

I never got the volna unfortunately. I watched it until the end and it went for somewhere in the $70-80 range - way beyond what I was willing to spend. I really don't have the means for a conversion but thank you for the kind offer.


PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Already MMZ Helios 44-3 is multi-coated.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zenitar 50/1.7 is NOT multi-coated. Zenitar 50/1.9 is. They are similar in optical qualities except the 1.7 is older and veils/flares more. And that's even while MC Zenitar 50/1.9 struggles with light and is generally a very low contrast lens.

Other than that, it's typical Planar/Biotar design with swirly bokeh (it has lots of it) and very fast resolution fall-off towards the edges. Even on a crop camera, edges are extremely soft under f/2.8. Overall, I would place this lens slightly below Helios-44M-4 and below Helios-77.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A friend of mine uses this lens. According to him, the central sharpens at f/1.7 is really impressive. Here's his test shot (central 100% crop of 8MP picture of his LCD screen at f/1.7)


(c) J.Vacek

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some test on the net shows that Zenitar 1.7/50 is much sharper than helios lenses! Any experience?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks for everyone's input!

I'm not really one who requires or looks for tack-sharp lenses. Good to hear that it is respectable even at f1.7 though. I primarily look for the characteristic Russian colors (I suspect this may be more on the neutral side of things) and swirly-bokeh (thanks for the confirmation on that one, aoleg).


PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote




I was wondering if anyone could tell me something about lens designs. I apologize for the naivety of the question but whenever I try to search the more technical aspects of lenses there is conflicting information. I really love to know why a lens is doing what its doing, rather than just accept its qualities.

Now these are all Double-Gauss designs. Each has 6 elements. The Helios has them arranged in 4 groups while the Pancolar and Zenitar have them arranged in 5. But as long as 3 elements lie on both sides, in a positive and negative fashion, they still comply to this design. Am I right so far? The Zenitar appears to have the 3 elements in front separated. The Pancolar has the back 3 elements separated. I guess my question comes down to why? What is the advantage of making 5 groups and not 4? And why choose a different group to 'take apart'? Corrective purposes? Anyways it would just be really interesting to know if someone had experience in the area. Many many thanks in advance!


PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some pancolars are 6/5, others 6/4:


The Zenitar 50/1.7 design is Ultron, imho. Ultron design allowed to make fast lenses with shorter focal length. 5xmm Sonnars were not usable for SLRs, because the required register distance was too long for it, Biotars were lengthen to 58mm, beacuse of similar problem as for Sonnars. Ultron was one the first designs, which allowed to use shorter focal lenght and higher speed simultaneously. The other property is, that many Ultron lenses become sharp at f/2-f/2.8, while Biotar lenses mainly at f/4.

As for Pancolar, I have no idea... three different designs... I heard, that Pancolar is Planar, but this is double Dutch to me, because each planar design I have ever seen is different to me and not any single of them is similar to the Pancolars Laughing

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Your right about the comparison between the Ultron and Zenitar, at least in the earliest form. Great to know where the idea came from! Later designs seem to have added an extra element to the front (4 instead of 3). So the design scheme of those would be 7/6.


PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basic Ultron is 6/5. This basic Ultron design (6/5) was used even by Asahi for Takumar 55mm series (f/1.8, f/2.0 and f/2.2). Not sure about the later (Super/S-M-C) version.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a MC version!

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can find The design of Zenitar here http://www.zenitcamera.com/archive/lenses/zenitar-me1-1-7-50.html
Use google translate Very Happy its Russian

The Zenitar M2 50/2 is MC, I had one. Then I replace it with Zenitar M 50/1.7, its sharp at wide open, sharper than Helios? Yess!
My firend has the ME1, it looks same sharp as M, The two blades square shape of ME1 make different price much!

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The picture that I showed is not the ME-1. I know that the ME-1 is multi-coated. I've been searching for one for a long time.

This is a MC version of the Zenitar M (just M!), 6 blades, no electronic coupling. Checking the literature, it just doesn't exist.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is what google chrome did with translation of link I gave above.

MC Zenitar-ME1 1.7 / 50

MC Zenitar-ME1 1.7 / 50 Normal regular lens for small-format SLR cameras. Automated drive mechanism diaphragm shut-off. Multi-layer coating.
Was a staff for the camera ZENIT-18 , proposed staffing for one of the options ZENIT-20 . Electrical connections and value of the selected aperture in an electronic camera control unit (hence the subscript "E" - E lectronic).
Characterized by an unusual square aperture 1) .

Focal Length: 50 mm (51.98 mm)
Aperture: 1:1,7
Angle of view: 46
Frame size: 24x36 mm
Operating distance: 45.5 mm
Number of elements / groups: 6 / 5
Diaphragm type: compression is disabled
Number of diaphragm blades: 2
Limits the scale of the diaphragms: 1:1,7 - 1: 16
transfer the aperture value: electrical, contact, change in resistance
Closest focusing distance: 0,45 m

Resolution on TU 2) (center / edge): 48/27 lines / mm
Type of enlightenment: Laminated
Transmittance, no less: 0.90
Light scattering coefficient, max: 0.02
Formula Color: (11,4 + 3) - (0) - (-0.7 + 3)

lens with the camera: M42x1
for screw-in tips: M52x0, 75
for donning Tips: 54 mm

length of the lens without the caps: 52 mm
maximum diameter of rim: 65 mm
Weight: 0,26 kg.
Temperature range for specification 2) : minus 15 C - 45 C

MTBF TU 2) : not less than 5000 cycles
Average yield on TU 2) : not less than 10000 cycles

Year of development: in 1979, the completion of the ROC - 1980
Calculation: no data
Design: Padalko AJ
Production: Serial
Years of production: 1980 - 1987

Optical scheme

Front view, well seen unusual iris lens

Switch A / M
Construction lobe aperture
Table resistances

Scale value of the diaphragm Resistance, kOhm
1,7 0
2,0 0.888 + 3%
intermediate value 1.835 + 3%
2,8 2.845 + 3%
intermediate value 3.928 + 3%
4,0 5.090 + 3%
intermediate value 6.340 + 3%
5,6 7.690 + 3%
intermediate value 9.150 + 3%
8,0 10.735 + 3%
intermediate value 12.462 + 3%
11 14.352 + 3%
intermediate value 16.427 + 3%
16 18.717 + 3%

1) - the square shape of the diaphragm serves two purposes: to simplify and reduce the cost structure by reducing the number of parts as well as the need to strengthen at the close of the diaphragm, which in turn improves the time-critical closure of the diaphragm, an optical point of view, this solution improves the resolution the ability of the lens, changing the pattern of diffraction spots and the distribution of light energy within it. However, this formal approach to assessing the quality of the images do not take into account is considered aesthetically unacceptable figure in the zone of confusion, given by the lens (the so-called "bokeh"). Because of this circumstance, the square (or rectangular) aperture in the consumer photographic practically applied, in contrast to optical systems that require the high resolution, for example: aerofotoobektivov, astronomical instruments and lenses for other special applications such as photolithography.