The mighty TAIR 3S 300mm f 4.5 – made in the USSR

Update 02 august 2016 : I have been fortunate to find a few good Tair 3S 300mm lenses, they will come for sale soon, but this time I will keep one for myself 🙂

Look at this test shot I took a few weeks ago, no tripod only handshot, and at full open aperture ! – look closely at the sharpness of the strawberry !

Testshot Tair 300mm f4.5

TAIR-3S 4,5/300mm lens USSR

The above picture was taken from the same place as with the Osawa 80/205mm in another album :
Only it was 22:00 in the evening – Shot was taken with a Pentax K5 @ 1600 iso – F 4,5 1/200 straight out of hand.
Lens adapter :
It was just a shot for testing purposes, but look at the edges on the picture – no distortion.
This is a mighty lens !


A while ago I was photographing seabirds with my Pentax K3 and Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG APO at Oesterdam.
Today ( 24/06/2015 ) I went again, but this time I took with me my Pentax K5 and the manual focus lens Tair S3 300mm f 4.5.
I just wanted to take some pictures with this lens on a digital camera and putting the lens up for sale afterwards.
I had set the Pentax to 6.3 MP and Jpg, because I probably wouldn’t use them for myself, but just as a selling point.
When I came at home and copied the pictures to my computer, I was stunned to see what this lens was capable of.
I had fired a few dead sharp pictures of flying sea birds.


Not only that, but the Pentax with the Sigma missed so many shots ( flying birds ) with its AF that I had a score of maybe 2/3 out of 10 sharp.
The Tair 300mm had fired at least 7 out of 10 dead sharp.
I am starting to wonder if I should sell this lens or keep it ?
Most of the pictures I took where at F 4.5 and iso 200, all out of hand, and I have to say they are fine.
Focusing is done by a metal wheel in front, this works very fast and accurate. It is possible to modify the gunstock to use it with modern digital cameras, search Google. Here is one :
Originally the lens is mounted on a gunstock and it uses a modified Zenit 12S.
The camera itselves is in working state but misses the iso setting scale plate.
But this can easily be overcome.
The Photosniper set is impressive when you look at it, but the lens is even more impressive in its image quality.

I only had the bird pictures uploaded in RawTherapee for exposure correction, and very little sharpening, all the other are unaltered.
This lens is highly recommended !

More pictures @ :


  1. Great shoots !
    This lense is so amazing.

  2. HI there. I have the same great lens but there’s something really strange and I don’t know it’s because the camera I use. I adapted the lens on a Fuji X-E2 via adapter ring but when having the lens at infinity, it doesn’t focus right when the aperture is at 4,5. It gets better and better as I close the diaphragm and by 8, I think, it does focu straight and sharp. It’s like the lens should get a little closer to the front of the camera. I don’t know if somebody has the same issue.

    • Hello,
      Even with aperture wide open, you should have focus to infinity.
      In some cases it’s possible that the infinity mark on the lens is a little bit of with the real infinity, but from what I can understand is that it doesn’t get sharp at all.
      In that case it’s probably the adapter.
      I quickly looked up the register or LTM for a Fuji X to M42, I think it’s 17,7mm.
      That means that the lens adapter should be exact 17,7mm thick,
      see if that is correct – if not, there’s your problem.
      Sometimes cheap, adapters found on the internet or from unknown brands, are not always made with exact measurements, if they are a little bit off : they can’t focus to infinity.
      You probably have no problem focusing to (very) close distance objects ?
      Let us know if the answer solved the problem.
      best regards,

  3. Rechecked it – and it’s correct, Fuji X to M42 is : 17,7mm

  4. Hi all and thank you for all the answer. Yes, I thought it might have been due the focal distance, and it was. Strange because all the M42 adapter I have are longer than 17,7mm. but I didn’t have any problems with any of the lenses I have, included another Tair 11A. Infinity focus worked well with every lens. I’ve tried to put the lens against the camera without the adapter and it worked, no focus problem.
    So I modified the lens mounting ring and connected it directly to the adapter ring after I removed the inner threaded ring. In this way the camer sits closer to the lens and it works perfectly.
    Two examples of the viewfinder, before and after the modification (I don’t know if you’ll be albe to see the images, I saw there’s no preview button here to check if it works correctly).

    And this is the lens after the modification

    • Hello,
      The inner ring is for lenses with automatic aperture control.
      In the old day’s you had three kind of aperture controls,
      manual ( pre-set )
      switchable ( manual and automatic )
      The manual aperture was set by a ring, the automatic one was set by a pin.
      If you have a lens with automatic aperture control only, you need the inner ring of the adapter, otherwise you can not set thet aperture.
      Fortunately the Tair is manual only – and so for many other Russian lenses – so you can leave the inner ring, and maybe gain just a little bit in lenght.
      A lot of lenses from the old days – and even some manual lenses today, have a little slack at infinity.
      For instance, if you look up modern Samyang lenses, you will find that many have a problem with the focus beïng a little bit of at infinity – you will even find tutorials explaining how to correct.
      That beïng said, a lot of old lenses are off to, but in this case it could make a difference with an adapter that is not exact.
      The only problem is that you would realy have to focus at infinity, and not just turning the lens to the end of its range.
      Have fun with your Tair !

  5. Hi Pentaxian,
    I only need this trick for the Tair since the other lenses work correctly. And yes, I have several Super Takumars being manual and automatic but I only use them in manual. That’s the fun for these lenses.
    And about infinity, same thing: probably all lenses have the infinity real focusing a little bit before the mark on the barrel, or however a little before the end of the focus stop.

  6. I’ve just ordered one of these, I know a lot of comments are about the weight – can it be used handheld?

    • Hey Rick,
      Whether it’s an old or new lens, every big lens is a bit heavy.
      All my pictures here are taken handheld, it only takes a good breathing technique.
      Lots of fun with the new lens !

      • Thanks, Hopefully i’ll be getting out with it this weekend as i’ve just ordered a monopod 1/4 – 3/8″ adapter. I have another question regarding the focus wheel, the infinity symbol does not line up – is it possible to adjust the wheel? Everything else is in good condition

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