Sunday, March 18, 2012

Playing with the Meyer-Gorlitz Primotar 18cm f3.5

Bokeh -- NEX-5N & Meyer-Gorlitz Primotar 18cm f3.5

If there is anything that seems to be in abundance in camera shows, it's old medium format lenses.  Or it used to be any way.  I picked up quite a few of them over the years, because they are quite cheap for the likes of Meyer-Gorlitz and some very old no name ones.  All of these lenses are uncoated, and require a shutter to work if you want to shoot film with them.  Making them to work on DSLRs are not exactly easy either, especially for the long focal lengths.  In the case of this Meyer-Gorlitz 18cm f3.5, the extension tubes required is very long, consisting of two digcam adapter rings and five 55mm filter rings and the Vivitar 2X macro focusing helicoid.

First picture turned out like it was shot in a thick mist.  I knew immediately that a hood is required.  Put on an old 55mm Minolta 135mm hood on, and the contrast improved quite a bit, but I ended up using two of them taped together in order to provide enough shielding to stray lights.  Still, contrast is pretty low.  In fact, peaking level shows almost nothing even in contrasty objects until dialed down to f5.6.  But I like the rendering from this lens.

I see optical similarity from this lens and the Wollensak 209mm f4.5, although the Wollensak is sharper wide open than the Gorlitz.  Both lens have very good resolving power and render pictures with excellent details.  They also produce yummy bokehs.  Check out a similar shot with the Wollensak 209mm f4.5, taken more than three years ago:

Bokeh -- Canon 1Ds & Wollensak 209mm f4.5.

I think I will spend more time with the Gorlitz 18cm f3.5, especially when we have more colours that spring will bring.


  1. Wow, the lens must look huge with all the rings the helicoid and the hood, specially on the 5N ^^

  2. Oh yeah. It's long and ugly. Today I took it out for a spin and got dirty looks from people :)