Amber PL Set From IronGlass – Lens Rehousing Company

If you have devoted yourself to cinematography, you start to look for lenses that will help you to cope with different tasks. You may buy each vintage lens separately or get a set of lenses. IronGlass rehousing company has prepared different sets for you to choose from. In case you cannot find a set, which contains all the necessary lenses, do not worry. IronGlass offers you the possibility to make a custom set. The main advantage is that there will not be unwanted lenses and it allows to save money.

Now let’s review one of the sets that you can get from IronGlass. It contains six vintage Russian lenses that are popular across the world even nowadays.

Mir 20M 20mm F3.5

Many soviet lenses are based on the Carl Zeiss optical formulas or lenses. Mir 20M 20mm f/3.5 is not an exception. The Flektogon 20mm optical formula has been used for this lens. As a result, it has become the widest lens in this set. Because of such size, it is also one of the slowest lenses in the set. The sharpness concentrates at the frame center starting from f/3.5 and rises to its maximum at f/5.6. However, on the edges the situation is different. In corner, Mir 20M 20mm F3.5 becomes more blurry. Speaking about color this lens renders quite low contrast muted colours, which are very popular with fan of vintage lenses. Photographers use this lens for taking architecture, interiors, landscapes, etc. As the minimum focusing range is just 0.18m, you may take close up pictures of high quality it’s also great for capturing close-ups.

Main Specifications:

  • Angle of View (FF): 90°
  • Aperture Blades: 6
  • Aperture Range: F3.5 – F16
  • Focus Throw: Approx. 220°
  • Min Focusing Distance: 0.18m
  • Weight (without modifications): 390

Mir 10A 28mm F3.5

Here is another wonderful soviet lens, which is a bit different from others. The truth is that it is not based on Zeiss optical formulas. Mir 10A 28mm F3.5 is a wide-angle lens with one layer coating. It was manufactured in the famous factory KMZ. However, this lens was not so popular and you will not find plenty of them on the market. Therefore, their price is often higher than in other vintage lenses. When you step Mir 10A 28mm F3.5 down you receive a bokeh that reminds five-pointed star. That occurs due to the uncommon design of the aperture. It also not a fast lens, when you compare it to some other 28mm lenses. From another side, Mir 10A is rather smooth when it is wide open and is focused on objects at close distances.

Main Specifications:

  • Angle of View (FF): 75°
  • Aperture Blades: 6
  • Aperture Range: F3.5 – F22
  • Focus Throw: Approx. 300°
  • Min Focusing Distance: 0.20m
  • Weight (without modifications): 520

Jupiter 9 85mm F2

Jupiter was another Zeiss copy. Its design was based on the Zeiss Sonnar lenses and contains almost the same characteristics as the original. It one of the shortest lens in among other Jupiters what makes it wonderful for portrait images. It is a fast lens that can provide you the opening of f2. You notice that wide open, Jupiter 9 85mm F2 has quite soft look. However, from F4 and up it creates really sharp images. Another strong feature of Jupiter is 15 aperture blades. They are well done and aperture provides you a round shape. Therefore, while taking a picture with bokeh you receive wonderful quality at a different stop. Among the disadvantages is a focusing range. With only 0.8m Jupiter 9 85mm F2 is more suitable for objects that are at some distance from you.

Main Specifications:

  • Angle of View (FF): 28°
  • Aperture Blades: 15
  • Aperture Range: F2 – F16
  • Focus Throw: Approx. 250°
  • Min Focusing Distance: 0.8m
  • Weight (without modifications): 318g

Tair-11A 135mm F2.8

If you are looking for a vintage lens from USSR to capture close up images, then you need to consider Tair 11A 135mm f2.8 Lens. It copes well with portraits and somewhat distant objects. The focus ring is also impressive. It provides you 330 degrees of manual adjustment. From another side, this lens is quite heavy, especially after modifications.

Main Specifications:

  • Min Focusing Distance: 1.2m
  • Angle of View (FF): 18°
  • Focus Throw: Approx. 300°
  • Aperture Blades: 20
  • Aperture Range: F2.8 – F22
  • Weight (without modifications): 620g

Mir 1B 37mm F2.8

Among different soviet lenses, Mir 1B 37mm F2.8 also deserves your attention. It was firstly manufactured in 1958 by the KMZ factory. The formula of high quality comes from Germany. To create this Mir lens, the blueprint of Jena Flektogon 35mm of Carl Zeiss was used. Another reason why this model is so popular is the first place Grand Prix at International World Fair in 1958. With a stepless aperture of this lens, you do not have half and full stops. It allows you to make quick but smooth exposure adjustments even when the lighting constantly changes. Even when the lighting is poor, with Mir 1B 37mm F2.8 you can achieve qualitative images.

Main Specifications:

  • Min Focusing Distance: 0.7m
  • Angle of View (FF): 60°
  • Focus Throw: Approx. 270°
  • Aperture Blades: 8
  • Aperture Range: F2.8 – F16
  • Weight (without modifications): 240

Helios 44 58mm F2

Helios is a favorite soviet lens for many professional cinematographers. It is not large, not expensive and also is not ideal, but still awesome and irreplaceable in a great number of different occasions. On the market, you can find plenty of various models, but Helios 44-2 58mm F2 is the most popular. The development of Helios lenses has started from the Carl Zeiss Biotar formula, which has become a standard of quality during those times. Many photographers & cinematographers choose Helios when they want to check out old vintage lenses. It will surprise you with its marvelous flares together with special swirly bokeh. The sharpness will never let you think that this lens actually a cheap one. Among standard features, you receive 8 aperture blades. However, there are versions with up to 13 blades. With modifications from IronGlass, you can have even 16 blades. With a larger number of aperture blades you get even rounder and more perfect background bokeh at any f-stop

Main Specifications:

  • Angle of View (FF): 40°
  • Aperture Blades: 8
  • Aperture Range: F2.8 – F16
  • Focus Throw: Approx. 270°
  • Min Focusing Distance: 0.5m
  • Weight (without modifications): 230g

De-clicked Apertures

IronGlass provides you lenses that are declicked. It means that you will not receive a clicking sound while moving the aperture ring, but even more importantly, sudden changes in exposure which is very important while shooting videos.

Hoods & Step-up Rings

While buying these lenses you receive steps up rings together with hoods, except the Mir 20 as it does not have a filter thread. These accessories improve your experience with light and flare control together with the usage of anamorphic and filter adapters. In addition, they have silver design too, which looks very stylish.


While buying a set of lenses at IronGlass you can choose what type of mount you want. As you receive lenses with proper mount types you do not worry about getting adapters, which would cost you extra and not always of a great quality.


As an addition to lenses, you receive rugged caps that also glow in the darkness.


  • Anamorphic amber modifications make your colors warmer.
  • With anamorphic modifications, you also alter the bokeh and flares.
  • All lenses have silver design
  • You can get lenses with PL mounts for professional purposes.
  • The follow focus gears are done with metal for better focusing
  • Hoods and step-up rings provide you with improved flare light control


  • Anamorphic modifications deteriorate the light and partially block it
  • For modified lenses, you pay more
  • PL mount type is not universal and cannot be used with all cameras

To Sum Up

Soviet lenses are unique tools for wonderful pictures. They are based on old technologies, which means that they have some strong and weak points. If you want to get them at a wonderful price and possibility to modify the way you need, then IronGlass lens rehousing company will be glad to help you with your needs and tastes.

Tair 11A 135mm f2.8 Lens

Tair is another vintage lens from soviet times. As a fast telephoto lens, it’s perfectly suitable for portrait and low light shots. Speaking about moving objects Tair 11A 135mm f2.8 is good at close distances. A large lens focal length opens completely other horizons of photos than the standard lens. The peculiarity of Tair-11A is focusing in the range of 1.5-1.2 meters. It is closer to the image, which increases the focal length. If you plan to shoot some sports events, it is better for you to come closer. Then you will receive an image of good quality. The focusing system is manual and it grants you 330 degrees of rotation. It works smoothly but not too loose. As the housing of this lens is metal, it weights up to 600g which is a bit heavy.

Another feature of Tair is that it has 20 aperture blades, which will help you achieve a perfectly round bokeh at any f-stop. Due to a large aperture. this lens is able to select a small with sharpness, while the rest is blurred. As Tair 11A has a ring preset aperture you can set adjust it to intermediate levels. Moreover, it has a step-less aperture adjustment, which provides you with wonderful control over the exposure when the lightning changes very quickly.

Helios 44-2 58mm F2 – KMZ & Valdai

Many people think about getting a vintage Russian lens. Most of them tend to choose Helios 58mm due to their quality. However, not every customer receives it of good quality. In order to figure out why the quality of two the same Helios lenses may differ, we have to look at the past.

Helios design and lens formula is based on Carl Zeiss Biotar technology, which manifests in focal length and aperture. In this USSR lens, the changes concern body style, coating layers, and resolution. Moreover, the quality of glass has been increased, which allowed Helios to become one of the most popular Russian lenses. Another feature was a preset aperture that matched the latest tendencies of that time. However, it became most popular due to its bokeh and color reproduction. The bokeh added a special swirly effect to the background, but you do not receive it all the time. It depends on the focus and the distance between the lens and the object.

  • In the beginning, the Valdai factory has manufactured an early version of Helios 44-2 58mm f2. The thought out design is almost the same as the original Helios 44 has. The housing was simple but sturdy and durable. This lens produces warmer colors, but you lose a bit of control over the flares.
  • Later the Helios manufacturing moved to the KMZ factory. It has altered the overall design of the lens and the focus ring has been repositioned. Helios 44-2 58mm F2 from this factory has more contrast colors and it is easier to deal with flares.

In general, both factories stuck to the original design and formula. That is why you can find Helios 44-2 58mm F2 lenses of good quality from each manufacturer. However, there was one thing that both of them lack. Means to control the quality of the lenses were not at a high level. Therefore, some Helios lens may not provide you the expected quality. On the internet, you will find more positive and negative reviews about the KMZ factory. The reason for such a difference is that KMZ had produced much more Helios lenses in quantity than Valdai. The difference between them is not too large, but if you want to be sure about the quality, it is better to get Helios 44-2 58mm F2 from someone reliable, who checks the quality of the lens before selling it.

Everything You Need to Know About Mir-1 37mm F/2.8

Soviet lenses have proved their quality and have become popular across the world. Mir-1 37mm F/2.8 is a vintage lens that also deserves such attention. You can find plenty of different reviews and tests on the internet, but if you want to save your time, then you will be interested in this review. It contains the most important facts about this lens.

If to go back to Soviet Era, you will find various wonderful lenses. In 1958, the KMZ factory has produced the first Mir-1b. Many optical formulas originate from Germany, and the same goes for this lens. It is based on Carl Zeiss blueprints of Jena Flektogon 35mm 2.8. During that time, many manufacturers have started to produce Mir lenses and Zeiss formula has become a standard of high quality. Therefore, many variations and modifications have been made.

The 1958 year has become a turning moment for Mir-1. This lens has won the Grand Prix in Brussels at the international World Fair. After such success, their production and development have increased even more. As a result, you have the possibility to hold Mir-1 37mm F/2.8 in your hands nowadays.

While holding it you will notice that the housing of the lens is made of solid metal. The mounting is also done with metal what improves its durability. That is why it’s a little bit heavy at 250g. Even if it looks very protected and sturdy lens it is not recommended to drop it to check whether Mir will survive or not. The early version of this lens was silver, however, you will generally find it in black color. This lens lacks dust sealing, therefore you need to try to protect it from dusty conditions and wipe the dust off when possible.

Aperture Blades

Capturing images of some bright spots is always not so easy. Depending on the number of aperture blades, you achieve different patterns of sunrays. Mir-1 37mm F/2.8 has 10 blades that results in a round bokeh at any f-stop. Often when you stop the lens down you may lose the quality of bokeh. With Mir lens, your bokeh will remain more round and wonderful.

Stepless Aperture

Every lens has different aperture settings. The stepless means that aperture does not have half and full stops. It means that you can capture images with precise exposure when the lighting changes very quickly. The aperture range is f/2.8 – f/16.

Focus Ring Ratio

Another feature that you will use all the time is the Focus Ring. Mir-1 37mm F/2.8 grants you 270 degrees for rotation. It means that you can adjust the focus very precisely. When the object is moving, you may slowly rotate the ring to follow the object. When lenses have fewer degrees for focus rotation, you may easily go out of the focus with inaccurate movement. Therefore, Mir is very suitable for capturing videos as it allows easily to change the focus by very tiny steps. On another side, the Mir focusing at very close distances is not very good. The minimum focusing distance is 0.7 m.


Flares are produced by the light, which scatters and reflects within multiple internal glass components of the lens. While capturing images with Mir you will get various wonderful flares. You achieve them due to not ordinary multi-coating. However, while filming in poor lighting you might receive only flares on the image. In addition, Depending on your project and scene, they can obstruct the objects and ruin the composition.

Overall Mir-1 37mm F/2.8 is a good soviet lens that can provide you with wonderful pictures. However, it also has its drawbacks, which you need to keep in mind to avoid some unexpected results.

HELIOS 44-2 58mm f/2 VS Canon EF 50mm f/1.4

When you plan to get a new lens, you always think about quality and price. With a limited budget, you may spend many hours on the market to find the proper one. After some investigation, you will find Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 and HELIOS 44-2 58mm f/2. Both lenses can impress you in their own way. Therefore, let us look closer at each of them.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4

With new technologies, it is easier to get better image quality, you also pay more. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 is a popular prime lens from Canon. It is based on a double Gauss lens that allows to produce qualitative pictures. Colors have nice saturation and Canon EF 50mm transmits contrast of shades even at without good lighting around. Speaking about focusing, it may be a complicated task when you need to adjust it manually. Focus works a little bit faster than other lenses and you may need to practice with it. Speaking about moving objects it would be better if they stand still while you shooting wide open.

HELIOS 44-2 58mm f/2

Helios 44-2 is a vintage lens that bases on Biotar formula of good quality and it is not very expensive. This lens copes well with backgrounds of pictures. While adjusting the focus at the front, objects that are out of focus receive a special swirly effect. The focus control is manual. It means that while recording a video you constantly need to adjust the focus while taking moving objects. However, you do not need to worry about clicking aperture adjustment sound that often appears with some photo lenses. In Helios, the aperture works smoothly and without any clicks which is perfect for subtle exposure adjustments while recording. Color rendition matches Soviet standards and you receive rather muted and cooled color shades. The same goes for contrast. You may not achieve saturated colors but this actually what a lot of cinematographers prefer when choosing vintage lenses.

Why Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 is Special?

Many various lenses have been manufactured in the Soviet Union. Speaking of Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 you will be pleased with experience while playing with sunlight. It allows you to receive wonderful flares that allow you to create interesting images. However, it is important to remember that this lens is not suitable for everything.

Another feature that is important to highlight is sharpness. While capturing close up images the focus quality is really impressive and Helios copes with that at f/2 maximum aperture with low light shots. However, at the corners, you may notice that objects fall out of the focus and become a little bit blurry.

With a clickless aperture adjustment, it is not difficult to adjust the focus while the objects are moving and the light is changing. This feature in most cases present in the cine lens, therefore you will be surprised to have it in Helios 44-2. That is why it is suitable not only for taking pictures but also for making wonderful videos.

A great number of modern lenses have an auto-focus system with short through. It ensures that internal motors focus automatically on the object very quickly. If you take photos, it is a good feature, however, for video it is not. You simply lose control over the manual focus and with unprecise movement, you need to start shooting all over again. While with the manual focus system like Helios 44-2 has, you may not worry about that. It also has a hard stop, which is particularly useful when using a follow focus with the distance marks.

There is an idea that in order to make a good quality of image you need to buy modern and expensive glass. It is not actually true and Helios proves that. In most cases, lenses with an autofocus system are expensive due to their internal motors. Manual lenses may be less convenient to operate for photographers but they great for cinematographers who prefer to focus manually anyway and they will save you money.

Shooting Commercials with Russian Vintage Lens

Sometimes people do not believe that you can shoot a nice commercial with old lenses. It is true that they can’t compete with modern lenses in terms of a “perfect’ picture, however, they have other advantages. Vintage lenses like Helios 44-2 have something special that can’t be matched by modern lenses – Character!

Working with vintage lenses requires to have an actual understanding of how they work if you want to get the best quality image for your commercial. Helios 44-2 can grant you nice sharpness and wonderful bokeh. Speaking about sharpness it is important to mention that edge performance is quite low. This lens makes them rather soft and a little bit out of focus. It is not always a bad thing and you can even find a nice way to use that, but you will not receive high quality at the corners. If you would try to focus on the edges, then the center gets out of it.  With a higher f-number, you can get a better depth of field that can compensate and make edges sharper. In such a case, you will have to deal with another issue, which is diffraction. It can influence the overall resolution of the image.

Ghosting and flaring effects are also common features that can add tenderness and romance to the scene you are shooting. You can easily create the classic flare rings from sun rays that are especially beautiful at sunrises and sunsets, while new types of lenses cannot produce them so well. Another technique, which you may use for your commercial, is Lens Whacking. It means that you place the lens in front of your camera, so Helios 44-2 can be disconnected. With a more distance between the camera and a lens, you let in more light rays that help to create additional light leaks with flares. This technique maybe not very suitable for all locations and year seasons. If the winter sky is covered with dense clouds, you will not receive enough sun rays. While shooting a during night time, you need a good source of light.

The most prominent feature of Helios 44-2 is the bokeh. Many cinematographers admit how special it is. Nevertheless, you will not achieve this swirling effect on every your composition. In order to get it right, you need to combine distance and focus. Only then, the background, which is out of focus, may become swirly.

Originally you receive Helios 44-2 with 8 aperture blades. However, sometimes you can find models with 13 blades. You can modify it with the help of the IronGlass lens rehousing company to get up to 16 blades. With a larger number of aperture blades, the bokeh becomes more round and you achieve better background quality at any f-stop while shooting a commercial.

With all these strong and weak sides, it is still possible to achieve a high-quality image. The key to success is the right distance between the lens and the object. Therefore, do not give up and try to experiment with Helios 44-2.