Using "Krasnogorsk" Lenses on BMPCC | In-depth Review

Krasnogorsk lens review has been a long time coming. I first discovered them in 2013 when I reviewed their little brothers, the Kiev-16U trio. At the time there were no adapters that would allow Krasnogorsk mount lenses to be used on any modern cameras, but shortly after I bought my set, RAFcamera released the Krasnogorsk to MFT adapter, allowing me to use them on my BMPCC.

These lenses were originally designed for Krasnogorsk 16mm film camera, so do not expect to use them on S35 or FF camera. With an adapter you can use them on MFT (M4/3) mount cameras with S16 sensor or S16/ETC crop mode. I believe (unconfirmed) that 20mm & 50mm also just about cover the GH4 in UHD mode.

Just to be clear, these lenses are not called Krasnogorsk, but there are 3 main prime lenses, same as with the Kiev-16U set, often referred to as Krasnogork lenses and although there is also a Metior 17-69mm zoom and a few rare primes with the same mount, this time we will be looking at the popular 3, which can often be bought together as a set.

These lenses are:

Before we take a closer look at each one of them, let’s see what all of them have in common. These lenses have a soft, lower contrast vintage look with wonderful flares and beautiful bokeh. If you are familiar with Russian M42 lenses, you’ll know what I mean. While they are not as small as the tiny Kiev lenses, this trio is still very compact; pretty much perfect size from a small camera like BMPCC. They have cine style step-less aperture rings; focusing rings have long throw and you can even buy the custom made follow focus gears, turning them into proper mini cine primes.

Now, let’s have a look at each of these in mode detail:

MIR-11 12.5mm F2.2 – This is the widest lens in the set. When used on BMPCC it has a 35mm (FF) / 24mm (S35) equivalent on a pocket cam and while it’s still not very wide, I found it to be wide enough for most shooting situations. The F-stops range from F2.2 to F16 and unlike Kiev-16U equivalent this lens has no click-stops in between. Focusing ring has a whopping 270° of rotation, but it’s a little stiffer than on the other two lenses, which I guess is something that will vary from one lens to another depending on its age/condition. This lens also has the most impressive closest focusing distance out of three at 25cm. Now as far as sensor coverage goes, this lens is really pushing it on BMPCC. It’s important understand that it was designed for 16mm film, so it just about covers the S16 sensor. It does vignette a tiny bit, maybe even slightly more than the Kiev version. Wider lenses always tend to be the most problematic with the sensor coverage and it’s also the case with this set. Vignetting is visible at all F-stops but focusing range doesn’t affect it much. Optically this lens is probably the softest out of three. It’s a bit dreamy wide open with blooming highlights, but optical performance is significantly improved by F2.8 and by F4 it’s pretty much perfect. It’s worth noting that there is also a MIR-11M version, which appears to be sharper, but unfortunately vignettes even more, so should avoided by anyone wishing to use these lenses on S16 sensor camera. The “M” version also has a much shorter focus throw but otherwise looks pretty much the same. Both versions have quite a bit of barrel distortion which is quite noticeable when you have a lot of straight lines in the shot.

    Technical Information:

  • Focal length: 12.59mm
  • Max. aperture: f/2.2
  • Min. aperture: f/16
  • Filter Thread: 58mm
  • Focusing range: from 0.25m to infinity
  • Focus Ring Rotation: 270°
  • Optical scheme: 7 elements
  • Coefficient of transparency: 0.70
  • Resolution by the lens technical specifications: 55/25 lp/mm
  • Lens Mount: Krasnogorsk Bayonet
  • Weight: 150 g
Mir-11 12.5mm Optical Formula
Mir-11 12.5mm Optical Formula


Vega-7 20mm F2 – This is the “standard” lens with a 58mm full frame (38mm S35) equivalent on BMPCC.  It’s the fastest lens out of three and also my favorite lens in this set thanks to its wonderful Helios 44-2 style, swirly bokeh and beautiful flares as well as almost identical field of view on BMPCC to that of Helios 44-2 if used on a full frame camera. Same as with MIR-11, aperture ring is also step-less, but focus throw is quite a bit shorter at around 200°. The closest focusing distance is 40cm, which doesn’t sound as impressive as 25cm on MIR-11, but field of view when focused to the closest point is literally the same with both lenses; VEGA-7 simple has more natural look, because it doesn’t have the barrel and general close up distortion you get with MIR-11. Sensor coverage is perfect with VEGA-7 and it’s also sharper than MIR-11; useable even wide open. I definitely consider it to be the main lens that I would generally keep on the camera unless I need to get wider or closer. It’s light, compact, fast, sharp, produces nice flares, has nice amount of shallow depth of field and a very natural field of view. If you like Helios 44-2 on S35 or FF, you’ll love this on BMPCC or any other MTF camera with similar size sensor or crop mode.

Technical Information:

  • Focal length: 20.2mm
  • Max. aperture: f/2
  • Min. aperture: f/16
  • Filter Thread: 52mm
  • Focusing range: from 0.4 m to infinity
  • Focus Ring Rotation: 200°
  • Optical scheme: 5 elements
  • Coefficient of transparency: 0.80
  • Resolution by the lens technical specifications: 55/35 lp/mm
  • Lens Mount: special Krasnogorsk bayonet
  • Weight: 150 g
Vega-7 20mm Optical Formula


Vega-9 50mm F2.1 – the “longest”, but physically the most compact lens out of 3. The Vega-9 has a 145mm (FF) / 96mm (S35) equivalent on the pocket cam, so this is the lens you’d use for if you want as much shallow depth of field as possible. As with the other two lenses, aperture adjustment is step-less, but it goes all the way to F22 unlike F16 on the other two (not that you’d ever want to use it at F22 anyway). Vega-9 has the longest focusing throw at about 280°, which is particularly useful on longer lenses like this, which has thinner depth of field than the other two. Sensor coverage is perfect on BMPCC and probably the best one out of three on slightly larger sensor cameras like BMCC or GH4 in UHD mode. Sharpness is similar to Vega-7. I found it to be usable wide open, but stepping down even a little improves the performance further. Of course Vega-9 is not particularly fast for a 50mm lens and there are other 50mm lenses you can get for the same money, but there is a reason to use this lens instead of any other when shooting with the other two. All of these lenses work with the same adapter, are similarly sized, have step-less aperture and even though all 3 have different names, they were actually made in the same factory, so their overall performance and look is very similar. If you are going to get the wider two, then it makes sense to get this one as well, especially considering its price, which is around $50, but if you are lucky, you can get it for next to nothing on an ebay auction.

    Technical Information:

  • Focal length: 50.06mm
  • Max. aperture: f/2.1
  • Min. aperture: f/22
  • Filter Thread: 43mm
  • Focusing range: from 0.9 m to infinity
  • Focus Ring Rotation: 280°
  • Optical scheme: 5 elements
  • Coefficient of transparency: 0.80
  • Resolution by the lens technical specifications: 55/35 lp/mm
  • Lens Mount: special Krasnogorsk bayonet
  • Weight: 170 g
Vega 9 50mm Optical Formula
Vega-9 50mm Optical Formula


These 3 lenses are often sold as a set, which can be bought for as little as $100-150 on “buy it now” ebay listings and possibly even cheaper on auctions., which is quite a bargain for 3 usable, fast primes. Some of these lenses come without original back caps, which are almost impossible to find, but thankfully RAFcamera is making the back caps for these lenses, which aren’t super cheap, but worth it. If you find an amazing deal without caps, it might be worth buying, because replacement caps are much better anyway (original caps keep falling off, which is the reason why so many sets come without them).

Krasnogorsk Primes alongside Angenieux 9.5-57mm
Krasnogorsk Primes alongside Angenieux 9.5-57mm

It’s important to remember that these lenses are unusable without a dedicated adapter, which isn’t made by 100s of companies like all common adapters, therefore you can’t get one for $5-10. Krasnogorsk mount is more complicated and rugged than the Kiev-16U screw mount, therefore adapter is more difficult to make and it costs more. At the time of writing RAFcamera Krasnogorsk to MFT adapter costs $85 (permanent version $65) which might sound a lot, but compare it to any decent ARRI B / PL / OCT-19 adapters (which have similar design) and it’s no longer expensive at all. In fact the only reason why adapter seems expensive is because actual lenses are incredibly cheap. Same goes for the dedicated follow focus gears, which might seem like a pricey mod, but compare them to any other fully metal infinity gears and these are very cheap in comparison.

Conclusion: If like Russian M42 lenses like MIR-1, Helios 44-2 & Jupiter 9, then this trio is definitely worth looking at if you are using a camera like BMPCC or its upcoming S16 replacements. There are more and more cameras coming out with S16 sensors and S16 crop modes, so I expect prices to go up. If you find a set for under $100 grab it!

krasnogorsk 1
Krasnogorsk Primes (top row), Kiev-16U (middle row), Pentax-110 primes (bottom two)

P.S. Many people will now wonder which set is better, Kiev-16U or Krasnogorsk? To answer that question for myself and anyone wondering, I’ll be comparing both sets, so expect to a comparison soon.

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18 Responses to Using “Krasnogorsk” Lenses on BMPCC | In-depth Review

  1. Hi Alan, i always like your post but i specially liked this one. Thank you very much.. I really like how the 12,5 and the 20mm have the first element so protected, it remembers me to a PL lens.. A bad point is that the adapter to MFT is a bit expensive..
    I have a question.. What is the Coefficient of transparency of a lens? And also where did you get the custom FF gear for the three lenses? I dont find it on, is the only website i know that make them..

    Thank you again

    • Hi Chema. Adapter is a bit expensive, but I explained why.

      “Coefficient of transparency” – I’m not actually 100% sure myself. It’s the term that Russians must have used as part of specifications for their lenses. It’s other the clarity of the image or reflective factor, I’m not really sure.

      There is a link in the post for the follow focus gears, but here it is too:

  2. Hello Alan. Your site is amazing! I want to buy the Vega 20mm lens for my Pocket. Which version produces less vignetting? Krasnogorsk or Kiev 16U? Wich is more simple to find the adapter? And another question: Do you know the Meteor 5-1? hat do you think about it? Thanks!

    • Thanks Walt. All Vega7 lenses have similar coverage as far as I know, prices are similar too because even though Kiev lenses are a bit more expensive, adapter for Krasnogorsk lenses is more expensive. I have the Metior 5-1. It’s a very interesting lens, but it’s not as sharp as these 3 primes and doesn’t cover perfectly at the wide end.

  3. Hello Alan, I agree with you that the viga-7 20mm f2 is Helios structure. I had modified a vega-7 to a macro lens. It has an impressive picture quality.

  4. Hi Alan and first of all congrats for your site..I was looking for lens for my Blackmagic Cinema Camera MFT and suddenly I´ve discovered your site. I was wondering how this set lens would work in my camera. I´ve read you cropped a 5% the frame on the BMPCC, this way it doesn´t vignetting..Do you know how it would works on BMCC..? Regards

  5. Hey Alan! So, I have a Panasonic DMC-GH2, and I bought the the krosnogorsk lenses online, as well as the MFT mount Here is a link to the mount I purchased:

    The adapter connects well to the the camera, but I can’t figure out exactly how to connect the the lenses to the adapter itself. Is this the incorrect adapter, or am I missing something?

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