Some time ago I wrote about the best commie glass I had encountered thus far, the Meyer-Optik Görlitz Orestron 50mm f1.8. That lens was the sweet spot of sharpness, good construction, and ridiculously low price. When a Meyer-Optik Görlitz Orestegon 29mm f2.8 came up, I clicked buy it now and wanted to see what it could do. The seller indicated it had a very faint cleaning mark, but I can’t see it. The focus is a little bit stiff, but for $40, I figured if it worked at all it was a win.
I ran a couple of rolls through and realized, yet again, that those East Germans had not let me down. The build quality was just as fantastic on this lens. It’s a solid, all metal construction with a nice looking zebra paint scheme. It’s a good sized piece of glass, the fattest M42 lens I’ve bought. But the results, though, really appealed to me.
The only review I’d found of the Orestegon before I bought it sung the praises of how it handled color reproduction. And yes, it does very well with that, giving a nice vintage look that is not terribly surprising given it is a nice vintage lens. But black and white is where the Orestegon shines most strongly. It gives a nice contrast to the images, and the light fall off in the corners works for me. Even though it’s a wide, the distortion isn’t all that noticeable. It is a multi-coated design, and it resists flare very well. The close focus distance, just like the 50mm, is very close. Really, I can’t find much to dislike about the lens, especially at the price.
It has exposed a couple of problems with the M42 body I own, namely an annoying light leak and a meter that has gone less than accurate. But having good M42 lenses to shoot with makes me certain to replace the body with something better. So there’s a bit of shopping going on there.
Of course, I am now also interested in the Meyer-Optik offerings in 35mm focal distance, since it’s my favorite. The hunt for that lens is on the horizon. Communist lenses with great build quality, consistent performance, and multi-coating. Sure, they have some imperfections, but they are ones I find attractive. I find perfect lenses sterile and boring anyway. Given the price is absurdly low to boot, there’s nothing to dislike.