I am 3 days into my ownership of the Meyer Görlitz Orestor. Already now is it clear to me that this is perhaps the most intriguing lens I ever owned. Continue reading Das Objektiv, Meyer-Optik Görlitz Orestor 2.8 135mm (3)
Der Name Meyer-Optik-Görlitz ist mehr als das
Today an adventure started, it arrived on a rainy day (typical). A perfectly restored Meyer-Optik Görlitz Orestor 2.8 135mm. It in such a good condition that it is practically impossible to judge its age, many thanks to Maziar Moarefi for this fine work.
My edition of the Meyer-Optik Görlitz Orestor 2.8 135mm is manufactured with the M42/Pentax mount, which makes it perfect for my A-Mount Sony Alpha A99V camera. It is one of the earlier versions with the typical zebra look (black and silver stripes). The lens was produced by the Meyer company in Dresden East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic, in the 1960ies. It is the 15 aperture blades iris.
It’s solidly built, with a no-fuss preset aperture and satisfyingly smooth and very long-travel focus action. I like the long focus travel, while it makes for an easy manual focus. The focus seems very accurate compared to the Pentacon. It’s quite compact, and again compared to the Pentacon, about half a centimeter shorter.
I do not buy lenses as an investment, though in this case the glass will continue to increase in value as they are not very simple due limited availability in good condition. It has therefor become a bit of a collectors item and the price of these lenses has gone up significantly in recent years, I forsee this trend to continue.
Why I got it
I was looking for this lens due to its attributes. It is renowned for its amazing bokeh which should spectacularly good at pretty much any aperture, due to that beautiful, perfectly circular 15-blade iris, it carries a hell of a good contrast with soft tonal transitions. These attributes is surely the reason why it earned its nickname “Bokeh Monster” and the “Bokeh King”. The lens highly loved as a portrait lens, but due to its flexibility it has many other appliances as it fit for all types of artistic photography where shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh are key.
A first few shoots
If you followed my last blog posts on using inexpensive lenses like the Carl Zeiss Jena 35 on my A99V you might have been wondering on how to make it fit. The way you pull this off is with a M42 to A-mount adapter. The adapters is fairly inexpensive, ranging from a flat piece of thin piece of metal with a Sony/Minolta A-mount bayonet fitting and a threaded opening for a M42 lens to .. yes the same with confirmation chip glued to them.
The benefit of using the slightly more expensive chipped versions is that the confirmation chip communicates with the camera, telling it that there is a real Sony lens attached. The camera then reads the information from the chip, and applies this knowledge when it determine how to react. The direct effect is that camera will let you use Aperture Priority automatic exposure, so you can select the aperture and the camera will select an appropriate shutter speed. The draw back is that you cannot just use any chipped adapter with any particular lens. The chips information on focal length has to correspond with the lens focal length and f/stop. That’s why I usually end up using a cheap non-chipped adapter, where I can use any M42 lens.
I got 5 different adapters, and each just slightly different in thickness. The cheaper versions has no chip but to be honest it is not the chipped I prefer. You might also be able to see that one of my adapters was a few thousands of an inch to thick. Causing the lens to move too far away from the focal plane, with the loss of infinity focus as an result. The problem got solved by sanding the adapter until it brought the lens close enough to the sensor to focus at infinity. My Chipped Lenses tells the camera that a 50mm f/1.7 lens is attached to it, only problem that its rarely the case.
The adapter attaches neatly to the camera, and is almost invisible once the lens is attached.
Your are about to step into a world of inexpensive, high quality M42 optics. Lenses for this mount has been produced for more than 70 years. There is communities on Facebook that offers clean and restoration of lenses if needed. All it takes is that you are willing to forget modern convenience, become a better photographer by mastering your camera in total manual mode and forcing yourself to think carefully about each frame.
Word of warning
Be very careful when selecting a lens, even though T mount lenses also is 42mm, is not the same, forcing it can result in damage to either the lens or the adapter.
Some lenses has a aperture pin which comes dangerously close to the mirror or connector pins in the A-Mount. On any account this pen has to be pushed down since the aperture control won’t work unless the aperture pin is pressed. For me the solution has to super glue this pin.
Working with russian vintage lenses, broke me in on using vintage lenses on my Sony Alpha A99V camera. To my surprise was the quality of these old wonders amazing both in terms of sharpness and the way they treats light. Colors, Bokeh wow. Having seen the good light I wanted more, and I swapped myself to a Pentacon 135mm f/2.8. This lens is easy adaptable to the A-Mount while it has a M42 Mount.
When heading out on the vintage road, then the Pentacon 135mm 2.8 seems to be a good option. Let me start out with a word of warning, there is two editions of the lens, one cheap with 6 aperture blades and the original with 15 aperture blades, the last one is widely more popular among hipsters 🙂 , and therefore much more expensive than the newer edition. The more expensive 15 aperture blade is also known as the “bokeh monster”. It is softer wide open than the cheaper 6 blade version. Both of them offers a really nice bokeh. Both editions is manufactured in East Germany and are copies of a Carl Zeiss Jena. Optically they are identical, the lens i got is the cheaper version and it’s a very nice lens. It is reasonably sharp at f/2.8 but quickly getting sharper when stopped down.
The sharpness of the lens is undeniable, and comes over really clear. I usually use my Araucaria Araucana tree which stands proud in my garden. Light falls nicely in its sharp leafs. The colors stand very vibrant and well defined and look at separation qualities, this is what thrills me. The photo here is taken at a very overcast day, and the traditional bokeh bobbles isnt there.
Another flower I like to photo is a Peony which blossoms in my garden. Besides having very organic and interesting forms, then it has a deep red color. Usually with Minolta lenses the colors comes over too pinkish, but with this lens we are closer to the true color of the flower.
The bokeh of this lens is simply lovely, so round, simple and smooth. It makes bobbles almost without any effort from my side. To take this photo I placed a festoon hanging on my television (which also causes the strange double effect) the television and festoon is some 3 meters behind my subjects (the candles) and it bubbles so nicely, with a round and smooth bokeh. With intent is the bokeh not very busy, this gives the opportunity to enjoy how the forms is distributed over the image.
Moving the festoon in closer to my subject reveals why the 15 aperture blade edition is more sought after than the 6 blades. The form of the bokeh becomes a pentagon, and looses its smooth round form.
Here is another picture showing the difference in distortion over the photo.
And another one showing how sharp and well defined the lens can be. Look how well 3 dimensional the result becomes. Its simply outstanding.
Here is a shoot from Rebild bakker, Denmark. taken late in the day, handheld at f/2.8, I adore the bokeh of this glass, it has a very smooth expression. Its ability to separate the background from the motive is perhaps what I love the most of this piece. It is almost like fern is photo shopped onto the background.
From Thorup, near Fjerritslev, North Jutland in Denmark. An historical trade village on the northern coast. Today its fishing which is carrying the activity on these shoorts, and to this day fishing boats is still being hauled directly up on the beach. Thorup Strand is one of Europe’s largest coastal landing places, with up to 20 fishing boats.
Not far from Thorup is cliffs of Bulbjerg. Facing Skagerrak this limestone cliff the breeding place of the black-legged kittiwake. It is a wonderful place to bring your camera. This photo is a construct of 3 pictures, as i was shooting 135mm. Usually a more wide lens is recommended, or a really long to enjoy the bird, but as it turned out was the 135mm a really good match of the day.
addling down on the same interesting stream usually leads to exciting new waters. Last week I posted a blog on my Tayir 33, a wonderful 300mm Russian lens, brought to renewed life on my Sony Alpha A99V. This week I am going wide, focusing on the Zodiak-8B, a 30mm lens which equals 16mm focal length in 35mm format.
The first glance at this beast tells you that we are dealing with an impressive piece of glass here, weighing in at 1kg of pure evil glass and iron, and without doubt one of the best constructed lenses from the Arsenal factories.
Three lenses almost the same, but not quite
The Zodiak-8B, MC Arsat and the Carl Zeiss 30mm Distagon from Oberkochen for Hasselblad bears a remarkable resemblance, but they are very different from each others. I guess their use drives the outer design, so it would be difficult for them to look very much apart. Comparing MC Arsat to Zodiak, then the biggest difference is to be found in the coating. Zodiak is single coated, where MC Arsat is multi coated. It seems clear that the MC Arsat in many respects, from the coating to the rear cap is an improved design. Comparing the diagrams between the Arsenal Zodiak/Arsat to the Carl Zeiss 30mm Distagon also shows a big difference in lens design, the Russians did not simply copy the West German Zeiss Design
Studying distortion and sharpness frame to frame, then it is clear to me that Carl Zeiss Distagon outperforms both Arsat and Zodiak on both parameters. The question does it outperform it sufficiently to justify the price difference as well? There is a huge difference in price between the Carl Zeiss (ranging from 2000-6000 usd) and the Arsat/Zodiak (200-400 usd). To me, I wouldn’t spend the extra cash to gain this small advantage.
Shallow DOF and beautiful Bokeh
One of the trees i love most in my garden is a Chilean tree an Araucaria araucana. The leaves are thick, tough, and scale-like, triangular, broad at the base, and with sharp edges and tips. My wife might think I adore the tree, but in reality they are great for testing lenses. This shot was late in the day, overcast, and really close up with shallow DOF. the Bokeh formes nicely and with round textures.
Very few objects is so captivating as a deflowered dandelion awaiting it seeds to be carried away by wind. I took this photo quite close, backlit and handheld with the intention to see how well the lens would handle flairs. You can see bubbles forming to the right, I was surprised I didn’t get more of them, given the reflecting light.
It is clearly impossible to attach filters to the front of a fish-eye lens without cutting off the edges of the frame. The genius of this lens is that the filters is situated within/behind the lens. I would have loved if Samyang had shown same ingenuity with their 14mm. The lens comes with 4 light filters: blue, orange, green-yellow and the fourth neutral (protective, already mounted on the lens); front and rear cap; protective leather case.
Colors and detail
I love this lens ability to go close. Combined with its sharpness and amazing colours is this really a fun lens to work with.
The quality of the lens is also remarkable, I was surprised to see how sharp it was at all stops
The huge price difference between Zeiss lenses and Kiev, Arsenal and other Russian made lenses makes the russian lenses to be an appealing alternative to expensive Zeiss lenses. The downside of Russian lenses is often their quality control. Optically is Russian lenses often fantastically superb, but then they can also be very bad if you get a bad edition.
Tayir-33 is a medium format lens for cameras the hasselblad 1000f/1600f screw mount. You can find other versions for Pentacon Six (usually with a B in their name) or V for Salyut. This blog post is about using this lens on A-Mount Cameras using the adapter I described in my last blog entry. a 300mm Medium format lens on a A-Mount is for practical measurements around 180mm on A-Mount.
I am not going to dive into comparing the lenses head to head, to prove my argument, but simply show you my love for his glass through some snaps ive taken. The absence of colour fringing from the TAIR at all apertures is very impressive. Where other lenses might show problems with fringing when shooting totally open, then the Tair has no restrictions.
The Tayir is not expensive, you will be able to find it at NatCam for 140$, it’s a bargain that yields hours of good photography.
Wow yes, we are talking a beast of a lens. Metal outside, glass within, and the weight confirms that with its 1875 g. I love the zebra design of this lens, and it does look well on the A99V body.