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Jupiter 21M review: Lowcost telephoto. 200mm f/4.0


After having used and tested the JUPITER 37A, I decided to look for his big brother the JUPITER 21M.

This is a 200mm  f/4.0

I was looking for more telephoto capability with the same image quality that I enjoyed with the JUPITER 37A


I received the JUPITER 21M with an old fashionned case, including a used guide (useless for me because writen in cyrilic caracters!)


JUPITER 21M with russian user manual

I have been surprised by the size and the weight of this lens considering that the JUPITER 37A is compact. At the same time I purchased a MINOLTA 70-210 AF f/4.0 (the famous beercan), and to my surprise, the russian prime lens is clearly bigger than the MINOLTA zoom which is also f/4.0

So I told to myself that this lens is certainly very robust. In fact, it is built like a tank! The weight is roundly 1000g !

The JUPITER 21M does not feature any preset mecanism. It has a fluid (but noisy in my copy) focus ring and a cranted aperture ring.

The lens hood is integrated into the lens. So you can not loose it. But it is is to short to be efficient.

The price I paid for this lens in mint condition was less than 50€.

I use it with a focus confirm adapter as explained in my howto with M42 lenses. Despite the focus confirm, I have more unaccurate focus than with the JUPITER 37A .

It is clearly due to the handling which is different between the twoo lenses. You must be used to handle very heavy and unbalanced lenses if you plan to use the JUPITER 21M. The other reason is that I use the JUPITER 21M always wide opened, so the dept of field is very narrow at this focal lenght. This is the drawback to use very sharp lenses.

JUPITER 21M mounted (hood extended) on my SONY Alpha 700 with Braun BVC 370 flash

JUPITER 21M mounted (hood extended) on my SONY Alpha 700

I think that focus confirm adapter is mandatory with such a long focal and such an heavy lens. This makes a big difference with the JUPITER 37A.

The MINOLTA 70-210 AF f/4.0 (beercan) is famous for being an heavy lens to carry. But the JUPITER 21M is clearly heavier and more unbalanced.

Concerning image quality, when focus is OK, the JUPITER 21M produce the same image quality as the JUPITER 37A, i.e. excellent and very sharp wide opened with natural colors and a soft bokeh. This lens is excellent for candid portraitures. The only issue is that the subject is aware that you have a long focal.

Should I recommand this lens? Considering the price, and the image quality clearly yes. The MINOLTA Beercan is 4X more expensive (and it is a lowcost aftermarket lens even if it is hyped). The image quality is better than with the MINOLTA Beercan. (The JUPITER 21M is a prime lens)

Moreover, the image quality is far better than the one with telezoom provided as kit lens like the SONY 75-300.

But I would recommand this lens only if you plan to take time for your shots (portraiture, landscape). Otherwise (e.g. sports shots) I would recommand to buy an autofocus zoom.

An other point is important: is there enough left space in your bag for this monster?

JUPITER 21M mounted (hood extended) on my SONY Alpha 700

In this match @200mm with other lenses, the Jupiter 21M is the winner in terms of sharpness at all aperture.


Last Updated on Monday, 04 January 2010 20:50