Mir 1B 37mm f2.8 Review – Russian Lens

Hello dear photography readers. In this article, we will examine a famous lens again. Mir 1b 37mm f2.8. In our review of the mir 1 37mm as a user, we will look at the colours, sharpness, usage areas, sample photos and its characteristics. First, let’s examine the technical specification table.

Lens name: Mir 1B 2.8/37
Focal length: 37mm
Construction material: Metal –Rubber Ring
Weight: 250 g
Length: 6cm
Element: 6 optics in 4 groups
Minimum focusing distance: 70 cm
Number of diaphragm blades: 10 blad

No anti-shake
Max-min aperture: 2.8 – 16
Filter diameter: 49 mm
Made in: Soviet Russia

Mir 1 37mm

Mir is one of Soviet Russia’s wartime copy lenses. Claimed to be a Carl Zeiss 35mm jena flaktagon copy. It was first produced by the KMZ factory in 1954. After receiving the Grand Prix award in a competition in Brussels in 1958, it was focused on and several more versions began to be produced over time. It is even the case that an updated version is still in production today. It was produced in black and silver colors as Mir 1 in its early periods. There are more of these black versions on the market. It is standardized with M42 and M39 mouth structure. The pitch is then produced as mir 1a, mir1b and mir1 w. It is said that they have their own versions or different manufacturers. (The letter w in the Russian alphabet is pronounced as the lettersh in English  ). (similarly the letter b is pronounced as a v). They are known to be produced by manufacturers of kmz, vmz and zomz. But regardless of the version, the optical design has not changed. Maybe there was a difference in coating technology and case type.

mir 1w 37mm f2.8 – sony a7R2 – 1/4000 sn – iso 125

As with many Russian lenses, the first 2 digits are numbered to indicate the year of manufacture. It weighs 250 g and has very small dimensions. It is very sturdy with its metal structure. There are 6 optics in total and the structure of these optics are gathered in 4 groups. The most important feature that makes it famous is that it is very low in deterioration as in flatagon.

Aperture and Bokeh on Mir 1B 37mm

The mir 1b, which can take the maximum f2.8 and minimum f16 aperture value, is able to give circular bokeh thanks to its 10 aperture blades. Speaking of which, let’s move on to the bokeh thing. Expectations should never be high for a 37mm wide-angle lens. If you are very close to the subject, beautiful bokeh is formed. But if you’re going to focus on street photography, you don’t need bokeh and you don’t look for character. Russian rotary bokeh is selected on full-frame cameras, although it is not obvious at the widest aperture. Frankly, I don’t like peztval bokeh from time to time.

mir 1w 37mm f4,0 – sony a7R2 – 1/30 sn – iso 1250

I’m on the diaphragm. It has been tried to fit an extra diaphragm ring into its already small body due to the fact that it has a double or transitional, that is, preset diaphragm. This causes confusion with the focus ring I just mentioned above. Closer to the front and thinner ring, the one with lock and stop. The ring just below, which corresponds to the middle parts of the lens, is the fluid diaphragm ring. Closer to the bayonet is the focus ring. Although it will be easy for video shooters to get used to, these rings are often confused for photographers like me.

In the first full metal version, the mir’le, the focus ring and the aperture ring are often confused. The focus ring is the thinner ring that is closer to the camera, and the aperture ring is the wider ring that sits in the middle. As someone who is used to many Japanese manual lenses, I really messed up a lot. Unfortunately, the confusion goes even further due to the preset apertures that I will talk about shortly. The company will have noticed this, as they have increased the width of the focus ring more in the next versions and made the control better. But even in this state, the equally wide focus and fluid aperture ring still mix.

Feature That Mir 1B Doesn’t Have: Macro

The Mir 1 37mm’s focus ring rotates approximately 270 degrees. Although it allows for more accurate focusing, unfortunately it is slower to take pictures with a 270-degree rotation. While the first versions have a curved metal design, the later versions have a knurled rubber design. Both are easy to grip. Unless it’s confused with the diaphragm ring. Although the focus ring varies depending on the copy condition, it is generally not very fluid. Requires little strength. I must say that it has just the right hardness.

The closest focusing distance is measured at 70 cm. What is the 70 cm focus compared to a 37mm lens? This is the most important point I criticize the lens. So there is no macro feature. It is not suitable at all when there is no adapter for shooting objects up close. However, it is possible to take very high quality macro photos by using macro adapters of certain sizes. Although the aforementioned situation is contradictory, it increases the preferability of the mir 37mm lens. Because it is a lens with very good optical deterioration.

Flare at Mir 1B 37mm

Current versions of mir 37mm and mir 24h 35mm f2.

The flares formed by the hard light sources entering the frame are very beautiful on the mir 37mm. It certainly gives the impression of a quality cinema lens. With its preset diaphragm, it is the first lens that video lovers use at wide angle. Of course, one of the first reasons for this is the price. In the middle of 2022, it can be found in the second hand market for an average of 250 dolars.

Although we say nice for flare, it has been observed that large background flares, such as hard clouds, cause some low contrast and loss of sharpness. Shooting Raw will be very beneficial because of this. Even with mc trims, the mir 37mm barely withstands the rear blast. Even though it gets a passing grade above the average, I cannot give a full score on this subject. Therefore, it makes sense to use a lens hood to avoid framing the bursts. It does not have a hood of its own. And unfortunately, like some 50mm lenses, their optics aren’t too far from the edge. Therefore, it frames the eruptions. It is useful to use an external sunshade. The front filter part is 49mm in size and it is useful to use a silicon folded hood.

mir 1w 37mm f5,6 – Sony a7R2 – 1/30 sn – iso 1000

Sharpness and Colors on the Mir 37mm

We come to sharpness and colors. Center Sharpness is good at F2.8; The edges are soft. F4 medium very good; the edges are fine. F5.6 is very good. It’s a street lens. On fine bark f5. A lens that will fully deserve the price you have given for 6 and above. While the colors show minimal change, it flies around f4 f5.6. Contrast is also very good at slightly smaller apertures, as well as sharpness. The rear explosions are at a level that can be controlled with the diaphragm.

Vignetting, ie corner darkening, is almost not observed at f2.8 in multi-factor cameras. However, a little vignetting is evident on full-frame cameras, especially at f2.8. There is no harm like F5.6.

Another thing to pay attention to in wide-angle lenses is distortion, that is, edge warping. While it is impossible to observe distortion on crop compatible machines, it is also impossible on full frame machines. That’s how much. As with another Russian lens, the mir 24h 35mm f2, bending is not observed.

As a result:

Mir 1b 37mm f2.8 lens is a lens that stands out with its optical quality. Although the minimum focusing distance is 70 cm, it also has many features that make up for this disadvantage. It is like a jewel offered to those who want to take street photos. Yes, It also appeals to users who shoot videos. It is necessary to bring a clean quality copy and keep it in the collection.

2 thoughts on “Mir 1B 37mm f2.8 Review – Russian Lens

  • can you take some pictures with the lens? i really wanna see

    • Hi arnas. I forgot to upload a photo of Mir 1. That’s why I’m so sorry. After your warning, I was able to add a few photos. you can review


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