This entry is about a lens I’ve already had one of before. (Wow; that was an awkward sentence.) Back in the good ol’ days when film was the only option I had quite a kit of Exakta cameras and lenses, including an Exakta VX500 – which was the ‘low price’ version of the VX1000 – and it had one of these lenses on it: the Meyer Domiplan 50mm f2.8.
As such I thought I knew what to expect from this M42 edition, which was “not much”. The one I had on the Exakta was not particularly great, although in fairness that was in comparison to other lenses such as a Zeiss Tessar and a Meyer Primoplan (the one lens I regret not stuffing in my pocket and bringing home with me in 2018).
This one is noticeably better than the first one I had. Hurrah for that, eh?
Although obviously not the sharpest lens in the arsenal, it is certainly better than several of the others. But it is unspectacular. The contrast is a tad low, but the colour rendition is accurate and there’s no sign of chromatic aberration.
Over-all I’d rate it as “good”, but not “very good” – especially considering its small control rings are something of a pain to work. It is also an “automatic only” lens, meaning it won’t function properly on the Canon adaptor.
Right now it is serving as a “body cap” for the Pentax Spotmatic as I’ve confiscated that camera’s 50mm f1.4 Super Takumar for my shooting arsenal. But with a little effort it can make a decent photo:
(I’m not trying very hard with the photos because hey, it’s -35C and there’s 38cm of snow on the ground.)
In other news my wife is apparently stuck in England for a couple more weeks at least – we don’t know for sure as it is impossible to get a definitive answer about anything from anyone. She spent over 9 hours on hold with the airline one day, until she fell asleep. Other contact attempts have included her being cut off and her being hung up on. Gee, Westjet, you’re really helpful. Our government here has issued Orders, but no directions as to how they can be complied with. The province is at capacity for testing and can’t promise anything. Worst of all, everything is subject to change without notice.
Are you tired of reading mediocre reviews of mediocre lenses? Well I’m tired of writing them too! Fortunately there is hope for us all as this time I check out the Pentacon Electric 50mm f1.8.
It is my understanding that this lens is based on the Meyer Oreston. Meyer made many great lenses, and also a few mediocre ones. The Oreston was one of the greats, and this copy is no slouch either.
The colours are not over-saturated and the contrast is also good, rendering realistic reproduction. Chromatic aberration is not in evidence anywhere and sharpness is top-notch. No doubt this is due to it having been constructed in communist East Germany where the quality control manager had the authority to send any slacking workers straight to the gulag.
If it seems as though I’m obsessed with sharpness, there’s good reason: not only that 100+ years of optical endeavor has gone into making lenses as sharp as possible and any example which falls short of being the best it can be is a betrayal to all who worked so hard, but my own actual eyes are lacking in such quality so trying to see a fuzzy image with fuzzy eyesight is doubly annoying, as well as irritating mentally and physically.
Just how good can it do? Take a look at this tree:
Now look at a 640 x 427 segment cropped out of the full size image:
Yes indeed, this lens can make good use of the Sony’s 20MP for some close-up imaging. It can turn out some very nice artistic images too:
What does the future hold for this lens? It will be staying with the camera it came on, the Praktica LLC. Why? For three reasons: 1). it is the Electric model, made specifically to work with the camera’s metering system (and does not work with my Canon’s adaptor); 2). I don’t use 50mm lenses often, and when I do; 3). I already have the excellent Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 which is still a better lens than this.
Despite that fact the Pentacon earns a ‘very good’ rating. There’s little to complain about in its performance, only slightly less competent than the Takumar but a bit more difficult to use owing to smaller control rings.