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11-19-2017, 01:43 PM - 1 Like   #1
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(Rare?) Meyer Optik Görlitz Primotar 50mm f/2.8 (M42)

Hi everyone, I picked up an old Praktica IV at a flea market the other week, which I was drawn to for the strange lens I saw attached to it (which looks like a NASA landing pod!) I'm relatively familiar with Meyer Optik but have never heard of the Primotar 50mm f/2.8, and have found very little online about it. The serial no. dates it to 1959 and my first thought was that it may be an early version of the infamous Domiplan 50mm f/2.8. Has anyone had any experience with the Primotar, or come across it at all? I've yet to do any proper tests, but I've included below a shot in raw, f/8, with no post processing.









11-19-2017, 02:40 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums

When I first saw your lens, I was convinced it was the E. Ludwig Meritar 50mm f/2.9, which is a "Cooke triplet" design and looks almost identical externally.

I've never seen this particular Meyer-Optik lens before, but a quick read up on it suggests it is, indeed, quite rare. Unlike the Domiplan (which is, like the Meritar, a Cooke triplet), the Primotar has four elements in three groups. It should be able to produce the (in)famous "soap bubble" effect on out-of-focus highlights

Nice find!
11-19-2017, 03:47 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Thanks! I've been a lurker on here for a good while and figured this would be a decent excuse for jumping in.

And cheers for the info, it's an interesting lens. Built like a tank, in surprisingly good condition, smooth operating and does indeed produce the love/hate bubble bokeh! A funny quirk with the aperture is that when wide open, the blades don't seem to fully retract, with the tips of the blades still slightly visible at the edge.

I'm not sure how many were made, but mine has a min aperture of 16, where I've seen some photos of an otherwise identical version which goes up to 22. I wish there was more information on it, with the 50mm f/3.5 version seemingly more common (though I have no idea which was considered better).
11-19-2017, 04:02 PM   #4
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Definitely a good way to jump in, and glad you did I always like to hear about lenses I'm not familiar with

Does it have the push/pull action for setting the aperture? This is a feature of the E. Ludwig Meritar, and I confess it had me a little baffled to begin with

As for the non-fully-retracting aperture blades, I suspect it's part of the design. I have a Soviet-era Orion-15 28 mm f/6 rangefinder lens that has this same quirk, to quite a noticeable extent, but it's a perfectly normal property of the lens.

If you're interested in vintage lenses and not already a member at mflenses, I'd suggest you join them. I prefer PentaxForums for Pentax-specific and general photographic chat, but mflenses is a great place to find out information on older glass. It's been invaluable for me with some of my Soviet lenses

11-19-2017, 04:40 PM   #5
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Yes, the mount end of the lens can be pulled back to pre-set the aperture on this too. I was also at a bit of a loss, but its use clicked eventually and I was probably more impressed at the feature than it probably warranted, but hey, I only recently started delving into old lenses, so it was new to me! A very cool feature though, and so useful for composing in those old lumps like the Praktica. The aperture can be pre-set beyond f/16 too, which seems to close the blades slightly further – another funny little quirk. I'll probably throw a b&w film in the Praktica at some point soon and see what they can do together.

Thanks for the tip on mflenses, I'll definitely be checking that out
11-19-2017, 10:49 PM   #6
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It is a Tessar type lens.

The Meyer-Optik Görlitz Primotar 50 mm f/ 2.8 Lens. Specs. MTF Charts. User Reviews.

If the lens is in a good condition, you can experiment with it.
11-19-2017, 10:51 PM   #7
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I love this kind of livery!
Few lenses have it.
It seems it was an intermediate step between the old aluminium barrels and the successive "zebra" style, but it didn't have much success. Only a couple of lens makers used this solution, and for a short time.
I'd like to own one, but both the Primotar (E version f/3.5) and the Meritar have a more conventional livery.

I'm a fan of Meyer Prim* lenses, all I've tried have great bokeh and very nice rendition.
With the price of Trioplan's spiralling out of control, a Primotar 135mm is a good alternative. Optical design is different, but rendition is not. It doesn't bubble bokeh with the same ease, though.

Browsing this forum is not a cure for LBA, that's for sure!
After seeing the pics of this nice lens I asked myself why I don't have one with this kind of design...

Cheers

Paolo

12-03-2017, 11:17 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Helix Quote
Hi everyone, I picked up an old Praktica IV at a flea market the other week, which I was drawn to for the strange lens I saw attached to it (which looks like a NASA landing pod!) I'm relatively familiar with Meyer Optik but have never heard of the Primotar 50mm f/2.8, and have found very little online about it. The serial no. dates it to 1959 and my first thought was that it may be an early version of the infamous Domiplan 50mm f/2.8. Has anyone had any experience with the Primotar, or come across it at all? I've yet to do any proper tests, but I've included below a shot in raw, f/8, with no post processing.







I have one of these and it's my favorite 50 in large part because of how cool it looks and how rare it is, but also because it's basically a Tessar that focuses the Pentax direction. Even thought the front element is recessed way in there, you'll find you still need a hood for almost any situation... Unless you're going for lens flare, which is awesome from this lens. I've sold this lens, then re-purchased one twice because it's that good, even though I have other 50's. I use it pretty much wide open whenever I can to maximize the effects for night photography and low contrast (very low ONLY) situations where it excels at rendering fine contrast and poppy colors. I also have the 2 in 1 adapter and extension tubes that I bought mostly to use with the Primotar. However, it gives a lot of barrel distortion when using macro, so has to be kept in mind. It doesn't focus as close as your typical 50, as you may have noticed already. The 2 in 1 adapter is the handiest thing ever for this lens. If you take the helicoid apart, be careful as the aperture ring is spring loaded with 3 springs, and getting those springs back in all 3 at the same time nearly drove me mad. Not impossible, but not advisable either. If you need to clean an element, you can reach them all through the front and is no big deal with the right tools. I had to clean one element on one and re-grease two of them out of 3. The beauty of this lens is that the lens elements are very thin, small, and uncoated resulting in maximum light transmission. Ok, a triplet has potential to allow more light, but the 4 elements/3 group Tessar design is, in my opinion, a good balance for overall unique image quality. Edge falloff is very soft and glowy, and makes the bokeh look better than many faster lenses, or at least in a different, unique way. I'm half expecting the new Meyer Optik Gorlitz company to re-release this lens, as it would be a really nice lens to be able to buy new.

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
ILCE-7S  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
ILCE-7S  Photo       

Last edited by vyoufinder; 12-04-2017 at 03:52 AM. Reason: adding photos
01-01-2018, 06:53 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Helix Quote
Thanks! I've been a lurker on here for a good while and figured this would be a decent excuse for jumping in.

And cheers for the info, it's an interesting lens. Built like a tank, in surprisingly good condition, smooth operating and does indeed produce the love/hate bubble bokeh! A funny quirk with the aperture is that when wide open, the blades don't seem to fully retract, with the tips of the blades still slightly visible at the edge.

I'm not sure how many were made, but mine has a min aperture of 16, where I've seen some photos of an otherwise identical version which goes up to 22. I wish there was more information on it, with the 50mm f/3.5 version seemingly more common (though I have no idea which was considered better).
Hi,

I have the same lens, m42 mount. See photos.

Question, does your lens have the rear aperture pin like mine? The m42 to pk Adapter does not actuate this pin when it is attached to the camera. So, it takes good pictures, but there is no aperture control. So, it is always wide open at f3.5.

Do you have the same issue?

Please advise.

Thanks.

Don

---------- Post added 01-01-18 at 09:13 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Definitely a good way to jump in, and glad you did I always like to hear about lenses I'm not familiar with

Does it have the push/pull action for setting the aperture? This is a feature of the E. Ludwig Meritar, and I confess it had me a little baffled to begin with

As for the non-fully-retracting aperture blades, I suspect it's part of the design. I have a Soviet-era Orion-15 28 mm f/6 rangefinder lens that has this same quirk, to quite a noticeable extent, but it's a perfectly normal property of the lens.

If you're interested in vintage lenses and not already a member at mflenses, I'd suggest you join them. I prefer PentaxForums for Pentax-specific and general photographic chat, but mflenses is a great place to find out information on older glass. It's been invaluable for me with some of my Soviet lenses

"Does it have the push/pull action for setting the aperture? This is a feature of the E. Ludwig Meritar, and I confess it had me a little baffled to begin with "

Hi,

My Primotar 50mm f3.5 lens has an aperture pin at the rear of the lens, which, since nothing actuates it when it is mounted with an m42 to pk adapter, leaves the lens aperture wide open, unable to be closed down. Is that what you are referring to above, and, if so, what is the process to get the aperture to open and close. Depressing the pin, when the lens is not attached allows the opening and closing of the aperture.

Btw, my blades are also partially closed at fully open position.

Thanks,

Don
Attached Images
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ONEPLUS A5000  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
ONEPLUS A5000  Photo 
01-01-2018, 07:44 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rad291 Quote
"Does it have the push/pull action for setting the aperture? This is a feature of the E. Ludwig Meritar, and I confess it had me a little baffled to begin with "

Hi,

My Primotar 50mm f3.5 lens has an aperture pin at the rear of the lens, which, since nothing actuates it when it is mounted with an m42 to pk adapter, leaves the lens aperture wide open, unable to be closed down. Is that what you are referring to above, and, if so, what is the process to get the aperture to open and close. Depressing the pin, when the lens is not attached allows the opening and closing of the aperture.

Btw, my blades are also partially closed at fully open position.
Hi Don

No, the push / pull action I'm talking about is with the pre-set aperture setting ring. A couple of Soviet lenses I own - the Industar-61L/Z and Volna-9 - use a similar (though not identical) mechanism.

The pin on your lens suggests to me that it may be auto-aperture only, and probably doesn't have a manual or pre-set aperture capability. If that's the case, it may be possible to modify the lens such that the pin is held down. This is often done by fitting a sleeve around the pin, such as a short length of BIC pen refill, behind the mount. I've done this on a number of my Soviet lenses... It's fairly simple to do (depending on the lens) and is easily reversible, so no permanent effect on the lens. With the mod done, the lens diaphragm operates manually

This helpful video shows how to carry out the modification on a Helios lens, but the procedure should be fairly similar for yours:


Last edited by BigMackCam; 01-01-2018 at 01:49 PM.
01-01-2018, 11:44 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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Hi, BigMackCam,

Perfect solution. Thanks very much for the quick response and great solution!

Best regards,

Don

---------- Post added 01-02-18 at 02:33 AM ----------

Hi, BigMackCam,

Update on fix. The Meyer Gorlitz has a much more complex rear than the Helios lens demonstrated in the video. Since I don't intend ever to use my lens on other than a common M42 + adapter for whatever current mount I am working with, ie, Pentax, Sigma, Sony, none of which could actuate the aperture as the lens is designed, I took the quick and dirty way out and placed a small amount of super glue on the pin, and voila fixed. A little test shows the lens to be super sharp at 5.8. Haven't checked the other stops yet, but M G seems excellent having used several.

Best regards,

Don
01-02-2018, 01:37 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by rad291 Quote
Perfect solution. Thanks very much for the quick response and great solution!
...
Update on fix. The Meyer Gorlitz has a much more complex rear than the Helios lens demonstrated in the video. Since I don't intend ever to use my lens on other than a common M42 + adapter for whatever current mount I am working with, ie, Pentax, Sigma, Sony, none of which could actuate the aperture as the lens is designed, I took the quick and dirty way out and placed a small amount of super glue on the pin, and voila fixed. A little test shows the lens to be super sharp at 5.8. Haven't checked the other stops yet, but M G seems excellent having used several.
You're most welcome, and great news on the modification. Enjoy
01-02-2018, 06:50 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
You're most welcome, and great news on the modification. Enjoy
Thanks much 👍
01-03-2018, 02:35 AM - 1 Like   #14
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The master who converted some of my lenses to either PK or 6x7 mount once advised me to never use superglue for the "auto" pin.
It's very difficult to remove if you ever need to work on the lens again, and compromises the the value of collectibles.
Better use the kind of glue used by shoe makers. It's brownish, rubber-like after it dries, and is a breeze to remove.
Until it sets, if the spring is too strong, it's possible to keep the pin depressed with some masking tape, that can be easily removed afterwards. If there is some dirt left, it can be cleaned with a microfiber cloth and a drop of water with some dish soap.
I found a super strong black tape that can be cut to size, and does not cause reflections. It's not dissimilar from the silver cloth-based tape that is generally called "American" in Italy.
The Bic ball pen trick is the most elegant solution, but unfortunately it's not always possible/easy.

Cheers

Paolo

01-03-2018, 08:07 AM   #15
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Thanks, Paolo!

I will keep that in mind for the next repair. The point is a very good one.

Kind regards,

Don
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