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My new old lens, promising a special bokeh: the Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Oreston 50mm f1.8 (test image gallery)

You know, I have a true passion for old vintage lenses and one of the reasons why I recently switched to the Leica SL is because this camera allows me to use almost any existing lens from the past.

I own already several vintage lenses, but not only for collection purpose. Anytime I prepare my bag for a trip around the world, I open my box and I chose one or two vintage lens to carry with me.

The advantage of a vintage lens is, most of the time, the size and the cost, as they are usually very compact and cheap.

But I love exploring the different characters and styles that each of these old pieces of glass brings with it.

The Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Oreston 50mm f1.8

  • Format: 35mm SLR
  • Type: Prime lens
  • Focusing: Manual Focus (MF)
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.33 m
  • Lens mounts: M42
  • Focus lenght: 50mm
  • Max. aperture: 1.8
  • Aperture blades: 6 elements in 4 groups
  • Filter diameter: 49mm

Meyer Gorlitz was a German optical company, founded by an optician, Hugo Meyer, in Görlitz, in 1896. The company made a key business decision in 1920 when decided to work with former Zeiss developer Paul Rudolph, who was previously significantly involved in the success of the Protar, Planar and Tessar lenses. (Source: Wiki)

In 1990 the company was liquidated, but then, in 2014, they have been back, producing new re-designed lenses, combining the background of a long history and modern innovations. Their vintage lenses are now quite popular among the photographer enthusiasts.

By the way, their vintage lenses are now quite popular among the photographer enthusiasts.

In particular, this 50mm f1.8 lens is known for its very unique “soap-bubble” bokeh rendering, warm colours and a distinctive vintage look. You can see some amazing example here and here.

Another very interesting Pros of the 50mm f1.8 Meyer’s lens is the minimum focusing distance of 33 cm that makes it handy for portraiture and close up shots, despite is not so sharp at f1.8.

A complete review of this lens can be found here:

http://vintage-camera-lenses.com/meyer-optik-gorlitz-oreston-1-8-50/

The lens I bought

Usually, I buy second-hand stuff at the flea markets around Luxembourg and France, but this time, as I knew what I was looking for, I bought it from eBay, winning an auction for a reasonable price, around 60€.

The Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Oreston 50mm f1.8 I’ve just bought and received is in mint condition, I was not expecting to be so clean and as new. Looks like has never been used before.
It has an M42 mount so I can use it together with the Novoflex adapter LET/CO (M42 to Leica SL)

A quick test

Thrilled to test, it I’ve quickly done few shots down the street, nothing special but still a good preview of what this lens can achieve.

And here comes the test pictures, all hand held (thanks to my yellow special model…)

N1 – Leica SL + Meyer-Gorlitz 50mm f1.8 – f2 – 1/400sec – ISO 100
N2 –Leica SL + Meyer-Gorlitz 50mm f1.8 – f2 – 1/400sec – ISO 100
N3 –Leica SL + Meyer-Gorlitz 50mm f1.8 – f5.6 – 1/100sec – ISO 100
N4 – Leica SL + Meyer-Gorlitz 50mm f1.8 – f2.8 – 1/250sec – ISO 100
N5 – Leica SL + Meyer-Gorlitz 50mm f1.8 – f2 – 1/640sec – ISO 100
N6 – Leica SL + Meyer-Gorlitz 50mm f1.8 – f5.6 – 1/125sec – ISO 100
N6 –100% Crop
N7 – Leica SL + Meyer-Gorlitz 50mm f1.8 – f2 – 1/800sec – ISO 100
N8 – Leica SL + Meyer-Gorlitz 50mm f1.8 – f2 – 1/600sec – ISO 100
N9 – Leica SL + Meyer-Gorlitz 50mm f1.8 – f2 – 1/600sec – ISO 100
N10 – Leica SL + Meyer-Gorlitz 50mm f1.8 – f2 – 1/125sec – ISO 400
N11 – Leica SL + Meyer-Gorlitz 50mm f1.8 – f2 – 1/200sec – ISO 400
N12 – Leica SL + Meyer-Gorlitz 50mm f1.8 – f2 – 1/160sec – ISO 400
N13 – Leica SL + Meyer-Gorlitz 50mm f1.8 – f2 – 1/200sec – ISO 400

Conclusions

Well, I knew already, the lens lack a bit of sharpness when shot wide open at f1.8, but stopping down already to 2, the quality improves.

To me, the most intriguing application would be a more creative shot playing with its dreamy “soap bubble” bokeh. In this test, the bokeh is not yet so “bubblicious”, but I also like the shapes in picture N3, at f5.6
And the relatively close focus of 33cm it’s a very good added value.

I’m curious to use it on a nicer set and for portraiture. Stay tuned…

Thanks for reading,

cheers,
Sabino

 

 

This post is also available in: Italian

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