I picked up a Jupiter 8 because I wanted a small, low cost manual focus lens. I like the idea of getting a Voigtlander, which I’ve never tried but I’m told offer excellent quality manual focus lenses, but I’m pretty put off by the price of them.
After some digging around on a few photography sites, I discovered the Jupiter 8 and after a quick scout on eBay I found one for about £25 including postage. That’s a saving of about £300 on a Voigtlander 40mm, but can you tell in the final images?
Firstly I will say that the build quality leaves a lot to be desired. From what I’ve read, these lenses are not known for their consistent quality. If you had never heard of the lens before you could tell it was probably cheap by one twist of the aperture selector ring. Unfortunately there’s no nice clicking here - it’s a fluid aperture ring that is easily knocked out of place. Not as easily as my Helios 44-2, but that’s about as easy to spin as my road bike wheel.
The body of the lens feels a bit flimsy, but after using it a few times I think it could withstand a bit of rough usage. The focus ring on my copy is very smooth, which makes for a pleasant experience when shooting.
The lens is a Leica-fit so it sits very close to the body of my Sony A7ii with a cheap adapter, which means it’s low profile and looks very unassuming. I’m anticipating using this adapter a fair bit in the future (once I’ve saved enough for a rangefinder and some of the Canon LTM lenses) so it was an easy purchase.
In terms of performance, I’m actually quite impressed with what you can get for £25. Sure, there’s some distortion and some fringing at points, but if you stop down it’s a sharp, portable lens that delivers some sharp results. All in all, a very good example of a budget lens that can yield some interesting results on a mirrorless camera.
Here are some frames with the lens, all shot on my Sony A7II. You’ll see that if you miss focus then things can get a bit messy, but if you nail it then the lens is plenty sharp enough.