Kaleinar 5N 100mm f2.8 Prime Lens
Kaleinar 5N 100mm f2.8 Prime Lens

Review: MC Kaleinar 5N 100mm f2.8 Lens

An in-depth look at this intriguing Soviet era manual focus legend

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Kaleinar 5N 100mm f2.8
AT A GLANCE
While harder to master than some, this lens features exceptional contrast, enchanting bokeh, and superb center sharpness.
Our Score
4.3
Where to buy

Well recognized for its excellent sharpness, superb tonal contrast, and haunting bokeh, this lens delivers beautifully unique images with a quality well suited for portraiture and wedding photography.

This lens was produced in Russia’s legendary Zavod Arsenal in Kiev. In point of fact, the Zavod Arsenal is the infamous location that an entire Zeiss factory was relocated to during the time that Russia occupied East Germany after WW2. The Russians literally dismantled the optical plant and spirited it eastwards into Ukraine, where it was reassembled and reopened under a USSR workforce. Many of the first Zeiss clones to leave this factory still bear Zeiss markings as many of the parts that had already been produced in Germany (prior to the plant being captured) were recycled.

Kaleinar 5N 100mm f2.8 at a glance

  • Excellent sharpness, colors and contrast
  • Virtually no barrel distortion
  • Low chromatic aberration
  • Relatively fast and bright f/2.8 maximum aperture allows for shallow depth of field and for good results in low-light photography
  • Quite sharp at center wide open at f/2.8
  • Excellent image compression for a superb bokeh effect
  • Ideal for weddings, portraits, and other close up work

Kaleinar 5N 100mm f2.8 Sample Images

Technical Specifications

Focal Length (35mm format):100mm
Maximum Aperture:f/2.8
Minimum Aperture:f/22
Mount format:Nikon F-Mount (AI)
Format:35mm Film
Angle of View (35mm format):29° 24°
Focusing Distance:0.85m to Inifinity
Elements/Groups:5 elements in 4 groups
Number of Blades:6
Focus type:Manual Focus (MF)
Filter size:52mm
Manufacturer:Zavod Arsenal
Country of Manufacture:Russia (Former USSR)
Weight:380g
Optical Resolution50/30 Ipmm (center/edge)

Equipment

The sample images in this post were captured using a Sony A7r, Mark III

The product images of this lens (below) were captured using a Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Image quality
Bokeh
Build quality
Micro contrast
Ergonomics
Center sharpness (wide open)
Edge sharpness (wide open)
Reader Rating1 Vote4.7
Pros
Clean accurate colors
Solid, enduring build quality
Sharp at center wide open
Low distortion
Excellent contrast
Cons
Heavy
A bit soft at the edges wide open
Manual focus may present a challenge to first time users
4.3
Where to buy