Tair-11A is highly appreciated among amateurs and professionals abroad. We suppose, that they are the fifth at the top. The fifth position, most likely, is connected with the unavailability of the lens.
Focal length is 135mm and maximum aperture F/2.8 allows to get very good control of depth of field and to take pictures with blurred background. Blurred background is often very important in portrait pictures .
As it is expected, Soviet lens Tair-11A is made of metal and glass, this lens has a huge weight about 600 grams. In 1958 at the exhibition in Brussels, Tair-11 was awarded the highest award — «Grand Prix». The lens was produced in different versions, there are an old white «Tair» and a new black one with slightly different
The main characteristics of Tair-11A:
1) Aperture F/2.8 and focal length 135mm . For example, the kit lens that came with Nikon D80 Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 G IF-ED AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens had F5.6 on 135mm, darker than Tair-11A for 2 stops (4 times). For portraits this aperture is 4 times better. This is due to the fact that a large aperture has the ability to select only a small area of sharpness. This feature is indispensable for portraits because it allows you to identify the person in the photo, remove the background and focusing on the person.
2) Large lens focal length allows you to use Tair-11 as the telephoto. Telephoto opens a completely other horizons of photos than the standard lens. The peculiarity of Tair-11A is in focusing in the range of 1.5-1.2 meters. It is much closer to the image, thereby increasing the focal length.
3) Round aperture . The number of diaphragm blades is 20 , which is a very good indicator for shooting with the right circles in the zone of confusion. No matter what kind of aperture to install, you get smooth, circular bokeh without any deviations. Actually, there are quite a few lenses with a normal amount of aperture blades, because often bokeh is obtained in the form of «nuts» and bagels.. Aperture is round and the bokeh is creamy.
4) The picture quality is just great, the lens is quite sharp, but at the same time, for portraits it is soft, therefore it has the fame of «women’s portraits», such as Jupiter-37A that has a glory of » male’s portraits» as it shoots sharper. Lens’ bokeh is often compared with the most glorious lenses. The blurring is quite unusual, soft, plastic – but as they say, tastes differ – all the markers are different. Lens are chromatic, but that is the experts’ nitpickings .
5) Weight. The weight is great and plays the role of filter’s stabilizer. With such a large focal length, the shutter speed must be at least 1\135 seconds.
6) Built-in lens hood is a great advantage. Tair is afraid of backlight, though a hood is not a disadvantage, but it still improves the final result in the picture. An elongated lens hood easily slips and retracts back.
7) The lens size is quite large, if you unscrew the focus ring to 1.2 m (and thus the lens extends – his trunk) , it does not fit in trunk.
8) Having a replaceable shank is indispensable advantage, allowing to use a lens with different systems (models).
9) The Lens is suitable for full frame cameras. At one point all photographers will switch to full-frame SLR cameras and then Tair-11 can manifest itself at full power. This allows you to use the lens without any limitations on full-frame cameras.
10) The focus ring of the lens rotates up to 360 degrees, which makes focusing very soft and smooth.
11) The lens has a ring preset aperture. The aperture does not have fixed values and can be set to any intermediate value.
Tair-11A is a great portrait lens. It is very interesting, has a 20-blade aperture diaphragm and a combination of aperture and focal length. You can still see on the white version of the Tair-11.
Dmitry: The aperture 2.8 on 135mm is a very strong side of Tair.
Basil: I am pleased with the lens, aperture, blurring. Beautiful portraits are great, similar to Nikon 55-200,but certainly the latter has better optics properties.
Timon: Excellent lens and cool portrait camera! I use a lot of Soviet optics, and the native optics is the same quality as the outlander ones. It’s pleasurable.
Dima: I had a good impression. Maybe , there is a particularly colorful background, but the bokeh is amazing. It is really soft and has some «pencil», but not too intrusive originality.. But on the crop I will not put it.
Roman: Thanks for the review. I remembered that I have a vintage Tair 1986 and decided to use it . Your review was very helpful for me.