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Pentacon MC Auto (M42) 29mm F2.8 Review RSS Feed

Pentacon MC Auto (M42) 29mm F2.8

Reviews Views Date of last review
17 184,677 Thu November 30, 2023
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
88% of reviewers $46.42 8.00
Pentacon MC Auto (M42) 29mm F2.8

WA lens made in Germany (the former GDR).

Focal length : 29 mm
Max. aperture : f2.8
Min. aperture : f22
Iris : 6 blades
Half click-stops available
Auto/Manual sliding switch
Multicoated glass
Min. focus : 0,25 m
Filter diameter : 55 mm
Weight : 204 g
Mount Type: M42 Screwmount
Price History:

Add Review of Pentacon MC Auto (M42) 29mm F2.8
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 17
New Member

Registered: November, 2023
Posts: 1
Review Date: November 30, 2023 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Fujifilm x-h1   

I picked up this lens for a crazy £20.00, and was gobsmacked at how a lens of this price could achieve the results, probably no modern glass could achieve the same character to the images!
It was bought mainly as a shorter portrait lens, one to use in the field for street, allowing for the subject to be seen in a context of environment.
The lens is tack sharp, and produces a nicely balanced ethereal swirl to the background, not to busy or distracting, if used at f4-f5.6
Amazing to play around with this.
Will make you a better photographer if you put in the effort!
New Member

Registered: December, 2022
Location: North-west of Italy
Posts: 11
Review Date: December 5, 2022 Recommended | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very nice results with fine grain films
Cons: Ghosting and flares, but a simple lens hood should solve this
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: Olympus FTL   

I've used this lens for 3 years now. I use it on an analog camera, an Olympus FTL, and I tried it with different film rolls.
I thought I'd add a contribution that may be useful for analog photographs, without going into the detail of pixel analysis on different digital cameras.

I find it a very fun lens to have with me. I really enjoy taking wide shots, including portraits of people with context around, and this became my primary lens to bring with me over my 50mm. The perspective distortion is very well handled and never disturbing. Vignetting is present but barely visible if you don't really pay attention to that, and limited to the very corners of the image.
It's not the sharpest lens, but I noticed big differences when using bigger grain films, such as Ilford HP5 400, vs lower ASA films. I obtained satisfying results using an 400 asa film like Ilford Delta 400 (here is an example:, and I can't wait to try the lens on more detailed films like Pan F.
I also shot some color photos with Kodak Portra 400 and the results were amazing. A little +contrast was enough to get great results when scanning the negatives. Examples here and in the following photos from Colombia I'm posting these days:

The big issue with the lens is ghosting and flares. I noticed them a lot when scanning my first color films in photos shot outdoors in bright sublight. Before I had only used B&W films until then and those flares got a bit lost in the "vintage" look of the B&W analog picture and I didn't mind them at all, but it can get annoying in color. I now bought a lens hood for wide angles to use outdoors and this should solve it. I guess it's something you should have on any lens outside, anyway.

Bokeh - I'm not judging it since I rarely use it in my photos. I love wide lenses for their capacity of including wide scenes in focus, and I don't particularly like the bokeh effect in pictures, so I don't really have any ground to judge it on my experience.

I recommend this lens overall, taking note that a lens hood is recommended in bright sunlight.
You will have fun and you get a good 2.8 wide angle lens for less than 80-90€.
New Member

Registered: March, 2019
Posts: 1
Review Date: March 1, 2019 Recommended | Price: $13.00 | Rating: 7 

Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

Got this lens in M42 mount for a bargain £10 off eBay.
It's a fairly chunky lens for 29mm focal length. Like most M42s it's very solidly built.

Wide open this lens is very useable but not particularly sharp. Stopped down it does sharpen up a lot but I still wouldn't describe it as tack sharp and not as sharp as its big brother the 1.8/50.

Bokeh isn't particularly pleasing to my eye. Quite swirly.

I haven't noticed any CA to be overly concerned about.

Contrast is pretty good, 8/10. Saturation seems slightly flat but setting my camera to Vivid corrects this and brings it from a 6 to an 8.

It's easy to focus and handles pretty well.

The biggest plus for this lens is how easily you can take it apart to clean the elements.

For £10 I can't complain.
New Member

Registered: September, 2016
Posts: 3
Review Date: November 21, 2016 Not Recommended | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Inexpensive. Certain retro-look to images.
Cons: Next to useless in bright sunlight
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 4    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 6    Value: 7    Camera Used: K-30   

  • It's got barrel distorsion.
  • My copy is not sharp at f2.8 but ok above that.
  • Flares enormously in brigh light with both ghosting and veiling (pic 1)

  • "Made in the GDR" spelled out in large writing on the bezel adds to the hipster factor
  • Because of the abberations your pics get a certain retro look that's not as clinical/neutral as modern glass.
  • Nicely saturated colors except in bright light.

  • Bokeh seems to differ depending on lightning and motive, it's not uniformly creamy but can be pleasant at f2.8 (pic 2). But it doesn't calm down too busy pf a background ie foilage, city street.
  • Handling is ok, not Pentax manual lens quality but certainly robust. My focus ring offers a lot of resistance but I think that is due to years gone by.

It's fun to play around with the flares sometimes but for any other use I'd pick any other 28-30 mm lens over this one.

New Member

Registered: April, 2016
Posts: 4
Review Date: April 21, 2016 Recommended | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness, color rendition
Cons: flare
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Samsung NX / Pentax K-r   

Bought it with a 135mm (Pentacon auto, not preset) and a Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 to complete my beginner set
And i absolutely love has a don't-know-what "vintage" effect that gives something special. My copy is tack sharp, i did some nice macro shots with it, and mostly use it for family and street purpose

Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2013
Posts: 456
Review Date: April 8, 2016 Recommended | Price: $52.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great color, effective closeup lens, sharp with smooth bokeh stopped down
Cons: flare, squirrely bokeh wide open, not sharp until really stopped down
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K30   

I had somethings specific in mind when I bought this lens - getting to bubbly bokeh with some degree of sharpness. As it turns out, you can't have both at the same time. The lens simply is not sharp even close to wide open when the bubble factory is in full swing. As a normal lens for everyday shooting, it is fairly ho-hum. And if that were the whole story, I would probably consign it to ebay and try for something else.
Why I'm keeping the lens if for it's closeup capability. Not a macro, but it is possible to get really close. With a 45mm 35mm equivalent FOV this can produce some engaging pictures. If you shoot at f10 or so it provides a real sense of foreground depth (dare I use the term 3D) and the background blur is completely smooth. The colors are nice too, even when I haven't done a little LR manipulation. This picture (click url), while not great art, illustrates the point.

So this lens has a niche use in giving small things like flowers a sense of vitality from a slightly unusual perspective. For that its worth keeping in my bag. Overall an inexpensive lens to have some fun with.

Mine is the m42 auto version. Just as a note, you need an m42 adapter that will depress the auto switch or you can glue tape or surgerize the lens. I'm using the Kipon adapter with auto aperture depress that seems to do the job.
New Member

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 6
Review Date: August 12, 2015 Recommended | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: warm tones, romantic stills, balance, handling, good construction
Cons: none
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

It is a decent lens. It has its own personality and performs very well in short distance romantic, land/sea-scape and flower photography. It creates a slightly diffused and warm effect. I have used it on two Nikon DSLRs and a Minolta SLR (film shooting). It offers good balance and handling, it is not extremely sharp but I like it!
New Member

Registered: February, 2015
Posts: 7
Review Date: April 23, 2015 Recommended | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness
Cons: Nothing really
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I got this as part of a bundle, and only got round to using it today. I have to say it's incredibly sharp on my GF1. Here is a 200% crop straight from the camera, no editing at all other than the crop. It says it better than I could.
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 14
Review Date: March 12, 2015 Recommended | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: stopped down good sharp
Cons: CA's flare
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 6    Camera Used: spotmatic   

the Zeiss 1.8/50 and even 2.8/50 are much more better

stopped dowt to f8-11 it is a good performer, but flare and CA's are its problems.

not so content with it. I sold it.
New Member

Registered: February, 2015
Posts: 5
Review Date: February 24, 2015 Recommended | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, nice bokeh, cheap, close focus
Cons: flare, soft on corners
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Fuji X-M1   

Il don't own the same one. I have this one :

I really like this lens. Short focus, quite sharp. I don't regret my money

(clic to enlarge)

my complete review (in french) with all the pics here
Forum Member

Registered: December, 2012
Posts: 94
Review Date: December 29, 2012 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 


Image quality filming
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Frankfurt am Main
Posts: 1,241

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: November 14, 2012 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 

Pros: See Review
Cons: See Review

I don't own this lens, but want to add some missing information.

This lens is based on the "Meyer Görlitz Orestegon 2.8/29". When the East German Government melted all the smaller optical companies into one, they renamed most of the lenses to "Pentacon". Only what was seen as premium lenses got (or stayed with) the label "Carl Zeiss Jena".

As an Orestegon, the lens had not been multi-coated. However, the general opinion here in Germany is, that - despite the added multi-coating - IQ had suffered as a Pentacon lens. I cannot judge myself, but in German photo blogs many say quality control had become worse, and some also think they started using a cheaper quality of glass.

Most (or all?) of the Orestegons are in "Zebra" design.

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 18,076
Review Date: October 13, 2012 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: WA, Solid build, Inexpensive, Close focus, Sharp enough ...
Cons: Flare, Soft corners
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10   


I picked up a good copy at my favorite thrift shop for next to nothing and quite happy with this find.

Previous reviews are correct, thus I would add too much other than to mention that this lens will "close focus" relatively well (see image below). Minimum distance is at 0.25m and works well here IMHO.

If you find a copy "cheap" then do not hesitate, a good solid performer from what I seen thus far ... worthy of an "8" in my books.

Allez et salut, John le Frog

K-5, No flash ...

K-5 with pop up flash ...

New Member

Registered: November, 2011
Posts: 2
Review Date: December 5, 2011 Recommended | Price: $52.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, solid, smooth focus ring, cheap, good colors...
Cons: Prone to flare, soft on the edges, a tad difficult to focus on infinite because it goes beyond infinite...
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

"PENTACON auto 2.8/29 MULTI COATING", m42 mounting, serial: 8098xxx

I brought this lens on ebay, front coating has a pinch but its very small, in the second group of lenses 1/6 of the lens had a small translucent colony of fungus, but made the image a lot more soft on the edge, after cleaning and a small tightening on all screws and lenses holders, it has become a very nice lens...

I love the bokeh, not perfect as it big brother, Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 (preset), but really nice.
At center and wide open is very sharp but a tad soft on the edges, even in small apertures this problem remains.

This lens is so easy to use and focus that even a 8yo girl can literally with ease obtain a focused portrait using the live view on modern dslr (with m42 mounting adapter).

P.S.-sorry if my English it's not clear ...
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Strand
Posts: 1,366
Review Date: November 22, 2011 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp and good lens, inspite of bad reviews
Cons: A bit difficult to focus near infinity
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

The text imprinted in my lens: "PENTACON auto 2.8/29 MULTI COATING". in M42 mount.

I got this lens in a lens lot. The lens was in bad shape: loose base, dirty, scratches, loose front element.
After cleaning, tighten all screws i can find, clean and tighten the front element, it turns out to be a totally different lens.

In spite of bad reputation of the lens, I found mine is good, and better than the Tokina 28/2.8. It is ok sharp wide open, sharper one click down.
In longer distance, 3+ meters, it is a bit difficult to have exact focus. Mine is going slightly beyond infinity.

Bokeh at 2.8, f4, f5.6 has insignificant different at closer distance. The lens is usable/good at f2.8-f4-f5.6. While the Tokina 28/2.8 is soft wide open and still get soft one or two click down, this lens delivers higher contrast, not as soft, and sharper step down one click. Generally good enough for indoor use.
Add Review of Pentacon MC Auto (M42) 29mm F2.8

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