My J-8 is a fairly new one '61 the older J-3 was made in '59. My J-9 is also a '59. The ones I see listed for sale on the sale sites must all be the newer ones as they mostly seem to hide the serial numbers. Don't see many "old" ones coming out of the former Soviet Union at the bargain prices of even a few years ago. I use mime as is as I can't afford to have them "Brianized"and I'm afraid of making them worse right now. All in all they're good lenses I just don't know if any could be better.
The J-3 and J-8 are very easy to shim as there is only one shim to play with. You basically grab the lens from both ends and unscrew the optical block from the focusing block. Focusing block is the one with the screw mount. The shim goes between the two parts. Very easy.
Originally Posted by Red Robin
Only real problem with this may be if the lens has not been taken apart for, say, 50 years, then they might be a bit stuck together. I recently made a 0.8m close focus mount following Brian Sweeney's instructions on my own J-3 and it took some courage and grip to unscrew the two halves from each other!
I have adjusted these with shims cut from paper as I do not have access to ones made from metal (tips welcome!). The J-9 is a whole different kettle of fish and I believe Brian Sweeney is correct in stating that may be impossible to make a J-9 to focus correctly from 1.15m until infinity on a Leica body. After playing with mine for many hours (there are two shims that you need to play with in a J-9, one between the two blocks like with J-3 and J-8 and another one with which you can adjust the focal length of the lens) mine is now correct from about 1.8m until infinity.
ps. Hello to everyone from Helsinki! I used to lurk around RFF quite actively but as RFF seems to have vanished I thought to start lurking here instead!
Probably repeating what others have said and maybe too late but here goes. I own all three lens - the I-61, the J8 and the J3. My favourite is the J8.. its fast, sharp enough and produces surprisingly good results. The J3 is prone to flare (at least mine is) but has a lovely soft classic look wide open.. stopped down to f8 its sharp and contrasty. I tend to use it at night and for portraits.. otherwise the J8 live on the camera. Both are good. The I-61 good too but I prefer the J8 for most situations.. nothing specific.. I just prefer having that extra stop.
Originally Posted by Erik Petersson
I haven't used the J-8, but my 63 J-3 has become a favorite. It's very sharp, even wide open. Shooting it on a Canon P and m4/3.
Brians price for working on a J3 is exceptionally good. If you have one that doesn't focus and you aren't comfortable working on it yourself, definitely get in contact with him.
I started out with a very nice J8 and eventually moved to a 1962 J3 when I found myself wanting more speed and more bokeh in some shots. The J8 from Fedka was great as is but the J3 purchased on ebay was slightly misfocused. He adjusted it and it is now an excellent lens. Fast, light, small, very nice sonnar image quality, etc. Both lenses can be excellent if you find the right one.