Tair 11A 135mm f2.8 Review

Hello dear fotografmania followers. Here we are again with a lens review, this time our lens is Tair 11a 135mm, one of the famous Russian lenses. In the Tair 135mm f2.8 review content, you can find information about our lens’ characteristics, technical features, sample pictures, colors, contrast and sharpness. First, let’s give the technical specifications table.

Tair-11a Technical Specifications

Lens name: Tair11-a 135mm f2.8
Aperture: F2.8- f22
Weight: 600 g
Length: 110 x 70 mm
Element: 4 elements in 3 groups
Minimum focusing distance: 120 cm
Number of diaphragm sheets: 20 sheets
Anti-shake: No
Filter diameter: 55 mm
Made in:  USSR

There are many titles that might look different when you look at the chart. For example 600 grams. Generally, 135mm lenses are in the 300-400 gr band. For those who know this, 600 gr may be strange indeed. In addition to the heavy optics, it is one of the most important factors in its weight, as it consists entirely of metal material. Similarly, its length is around 11 cm and longer, unlike normal 135mm. Due to these physical data, Tair-11a was awarded the title of Russian Tank.

Another remarkable detail is that it consists of only 4 optics. This simple arrangement, gathered in 3 different groups, actually has a much simpler arrangement than many lens brands. Considering the optical quality, which I will talk about shortly, it is hard to believe in this simple sequence.

Another striking feature is the offset with 20 diaphragm sheets. Why is it that 5-6 of them are not enough? You tucked 20 petals into that narrow place, right? I will talk about these lens sheets below in a moment.

Color and Contrast on Tair 11A 135mm

Tair-11a 135mm and diaphragm 20 blades 

I can say that Tair 11a is very successful in giving color. It is already known in the photography community for its wonderful color and sharpness. Similarly, I can say that the contrast is very good. One should not expect a Minolta contrast, but it is satisfactory even at the widest aperture. The darker it is, the more contrast the contrast becomes. It’s hard to decide whether the simple 4 element array plays a positive or negative role in getting the colors right. If it will be with 4 elements, why are many manufacturers making much more complex arrays? In fact, while many manufacturers set up more complex optical arrays for better quality photos, achieving this quality with simple 4 apples is a success of the manufacturer KMZ.

I should emphasize that it is of a quality that can compete with today’s current lenses in terms of color. When the photos taken are examined, it is hard to believe that they were taken with a 1970 model lens. Compared to a 2010 model above-average lens, the difference is absolutely incomprehensible.

Sharpness in Tair 135mm

Tnap 11a was produced from 1955 to 1995. Its production continued for about 40 years. This shows how much the company trusts him. Although a few updates have been made over the years, professional work has been done so that no difference can be observed optically. Here is one of its outstanding performances, which lasted for many years, is its sharpness. The fact that it offers satisfactory sharpness even at F2.8, which is the widest aperture, has made it a sought-after lens in the market. Its center acuity is so good that it is not noticeable even when the diaphragm is contracted. I can evaluate it as the sharpest range around f5.6-f8. Corners get much better around f8; six mediocre. In general, f4’te sharpness is not the highest, but considering the light transmission, I can say that it is the most efficient diaphragm.

Tair 11a Aperture and Bokeh quality

Normal lenses usually produce angular bokeh at their widest aperture. But this lens is capable of producing circular bokeh at any aperture. The most important factor in this is undoubtedly the 20-blade diaphragm mechanism. Especially for portrait shots, the power to destroy the background is high. The background is literally creaming, frankly. Bokeh performance is higher on full-frame cameras. It’s not like f2.8 does not refer to whirlpool bokeh from time to time.

The Tair 11a has a preset aperture not often encountered in a 135mm lens. These diaphragms have a locking system. There are two diaphragms. One of the diaphragms determines the lowest range that the other can get. For example, when the lock aperture is left at f11, the other aperture can take values ​​between f2.8 and f11.

tair 11a 135mm f2.8

Although it does not stand out as a feature to be used in photography, it is very useful for video shooting. Therefore, this lens, which has a preset system, attracts the attention of video lovers.

I should point out that the pop-up diaphragm has no stops. That is, diaphragm transitions are fluid. For example, it is very difficult to understand that you have moved from f2.8 to f3.5, because there are no stops. You can use any value imaginable, not just full or half stops like the stops of conventional lenses. For example, f3.4 is not specified as a stop on any lens and is not used. But with this lens (if you can locate it) you can use f3.4.

Vignette and Ca in Tair 135mm

It is interesting, although it is a very old lens, the ca phenomenon, which is often encountered in Japanese-made lenses, is almost difficult to come across in tair 11a. It produces a faint purple fringing at the widest aperture, but it’s definitely not annoying. Although I cannot say that it is completely under control, it is not disturbing either.

It doesn’t seem reasonable to me to examine tele lenses in the vignette. It is very difficult to observe. They don’t bother you in photos. A similar situation applies to this lens. If you look very carefully, it is possible to observe at the widest aperture. Almost impossible after F5.6. But as I said, there is no need to take it into consideration when it is very difficult to observe in the photograph.

According to my research on the internet, tair11 lenses are produced in several series. But it is almost non-existent in the market, except for 11a. I don’t remember ever coming across it in the second hand market in the country. One of these series produced is the tair 11 (version without a). It’s 133mm, not 135mm. Versions like him are really interesting. Produced with original 2 bayonets as m42 and m39. But I don’t know if it’s a replacement later, I also came across Nikon versions in the advertisements. Mostly black in color. Some are silver gray and these are m39 bayonets.

Tair 11a Usage Areas:

A portrait attempt with Tair 11a

If you are going to use it with a full frame camera, it is generally only suitable for portrait shooting. Frankly, when I say portrait, I mean weed and insect portraits. In my opinion, the power to make the tele, that is, the distance close, is not enough for the 135mm. At least 200mm wires should be preferred. But in portrait it will satisfy you more than enough. Similarly, ff is not useful for shooting macros. The minimum focusing distance of 120cm prevents macro photography, unfortunately.

But if you are going to use it on a crop factor machine, things change. On cameras with a 1.5x or even 2x multiplier, it becomes very convenient for portrait, tele and partial macro. In crop machines, the thing to be considered is the required shutter speed due to the multiplier factor. For example, in a machine with 2x multiplier, it will be equivalent to 270 mm and it will be necessary to use a speed of at least 1/250 sec. Something to watch out for in low light.

Tair 11 a Advantages and Disadvantages:


Its most important advantage is that it offers great sharpness and colors. Then we can list the bokeh quality, physically solid construction and having a preset aperture for video.


The biggest downside is its weight and volume. The lens feels too heavy, especially if it is to be used on a light mirrorless camera. It’s also heavy to carry. For example, that was the only reason for me to dispose of it.

Because it does not use a separate special coating, glare occurs. Of course, if we evaluate this within the production years, I should also mention that it gives better results than many of its peers. For example, a Carl Zeiss 135mm f3.5 zebra is good in this regard.

Another disadvantage is the difficulty of using the preset aperture for photography lovers. Although it is difficult to use a locking system at first, you get used to it in 2 days.

Tair 11a 135mm f2.8 Price

The Tair-11a is a sought-after lens in the photography market. This means that the price of the lens is 2 times higher than similar lenses due to the withdrawal of the lens from circulation by collectors and the lack of supply due to demand. By the middle of 2022, the price is estimated between 200-300 dollars.

Tair 11a is a lens to add to the collection for photography lovers. That’s why I think you should find a clean, quality copy and own it. They are a lens that can cause regret from time to time for selling them.

May your light be of good quality….

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