FROM JUPITER 8  to VENUS, ... in the pool !

During a short period in World War II, the Carl Zeiss Otical Factory at Jena built their famous Sonnar lenses in a lens mount that was used by their biggest competitors in the market, Ernst Leitz Cameras in Wetzlar.

The president of Carl Zeiss was appointed by the German government to coordinate export of German products during World War II. The Germans needed foreign currencies for their trade with other countries, but trade with Nazi Germany was either restricted or forbidden in most countries.
Various German military organizations were also commissioning Leica cameras to be used by their personnel, most notably by Kriegsberichters, German journalists that were assigned to Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine and the Wehrmacht to deliver heroic images that Joseph Goebbels used to uplift moral with civilians and soldiers.

All in all, Ernst Leitz in Wetzlar still had some business going for them. Leicas were even traded with Switzerland for minerals! The Carl Zeiss-made Contax camera sales had dropped since the war started. To make sure not all profit remained with Leitz, the president of the Carl Zeiss Jena plant ordered that the Leicas should be fitted with Carl Zeiss lenses.

And so Carl Zeiss in Jena made several lenses in Leica Thread Mount. They issued a Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 50mm f2.0, a Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 50mm f1.5, a Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 85mm f2.0 and a Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 135mm f4.0.

At the end of the war, the Russians overran the Jena plant on their race to reach Berlin before the Allied Forces. They immediately started dismantling the factory and transplanted it to Charkow in Ukraine. The FED factories in that city had earlier been demolished by the German military advance. They took everything they could get with them to Charkow: designs, machines, stock, and even workers were forced to relocate to Charkow. The famous Sonnar lenses were the ancestors of the Jupiter-8 (50mm f2.0), the Jupiter-3 (50mm f1.5), the Jupiter-11 (135mm f4.0) and the Jupiter-9 (85mm f2.0). The Russians even adapted the Contax-mount Biogon 35mm f2.8 to their Jupiter-12 35mm f2.8 in LTM


K&F concept - 39mm / Fuji-X adapter

Sonnar at a budget price.  Those are the thoughts when purchasing a Jupiter 8 lens.  A lens design which has become quite a “must have” for a photographer, but can be out of reach in many cases.  This is where the wonderful Jupiter 8 (ЮПИТЕР-8) comes in, with a very useable L39 Leica Thread Mount or Contax bayonet mount, both of which have a plethora of inexpensive adapters for a wide range of cameras.

The Jupiter 8 is a lens you may reach for when you feel creative.  Do not put it on your camera if you are looking for edge to edge sharpness, spend the extra money and get the Zeiss Planar instead.  If you are looking at introducing some character into your photos, then this lens gives it in spades, with some pretty amazing sharpness in the middle.  Don’t mistake this as a criticism, it is a feature which defines it.

JUPITER 8 F2-50mm ltm

This copy of the Jupiter 8 was likely manufactured in the early 1960s based on the design and serial number.  The lens barrel is made from aluminium, which makes the lens very light, at roughly 130 grams.  It is also very common to find the 40.5mm filter thread bent, due to the soft light metal.


The lens mount is Leica Thread Mount (L39).  While this will attach to a Leica, the slightly different register required on the Zorki camera, that it was designed for and the lower quality control from the Soviet factory at the time, means that the lens is well known to impact the exact focusing, generally back focusing on a Leica.

The Jupiter 8 has a Sonnar lens design, with a construction of six elements in three groups.  Single lens coating has been applied to the front element, which is meant to reduce flare control.


Aperture range is from f/2 to f/22 with 9 aperture blades.  The aperture ring is at the front of the lens and does not have click steps.  Focusing is through the ring further back on the lens, and is from 1 metre through to infinity.


  • Focal length:50mm

  • Weight:130g

  • Optical design:6 elements in 3 groups.
    Analog Carl Zeiss Sonnar 1:2/5 cm

  • Mount:M39 LTM

  • Aperture:f/2 to f/22

  • 9 bladed aperture

  • Manual

  • Covers:Standard 35mm film size

  • (24×36 mm negative)

  • Closest Focus:1m

  • Filter Size:M40.5x0.5 mm

jupiter8 F2 / Fuji X-pro 1 + adapter M39/FX (FOV 75mm)
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