A few weeks ago I traveled back to Germany to visit family and friends. There I had the chance to have a closer look on the old camera gear of my father. These are different Exa cameras as well as lenses from Carl Zeiss Jena and Meyer-Optik Görlitz (all in Exacta mount). I made my first steps in photography with this equipment. So I was really looking forward to try the lenses on my Olympus E-M10 camera. I was also curious how such old lenses will perform on a digital camera, and if they still can compete with modern lenses. Not all of the lenses were really useful to me. For example the Telemegor 300 mm f/4.5 from Meyer-Optik is just too big and heavy. In the end I brought three lenses back. Already during my holidays I tried them in several occasions. But it was not enough time to have a closer look on the lens properties. Here I will briefly introduce the three new members of my lens family. Later I will write more details about each of the single lenses. In part 1 I start with the:
Meyer-Optik Görlitz Lydith 30mm f/3.5
Probably less well-known these days, but in the past Meyer-Optik was a leading manufacturer of lenses. It was founded in 1896 in the German town Goerlitz. They developed different kinds of lenses and quickly grow larger. In the 1930s they offered a large selection of high quality interchangeable lenses equivalent to lenses from Zeiss, but sold a bit cheaper. After the Second World War, the company was re-established. But in the end of the 1960s Meyer-Optik together with Pentacon and Ihagee were united into “Kombinat VEB Pentacon Dresden”. Later in 1985 they were incorporated into Carl Zeiss Jena.
The Lydith 30mm lens appeared in 1964 on the market and in 1971 Meyer-Optik was rebranded into Pentacon. Therefore this lens here is something between 44 and 51 years old. The lens is quite compact with 5 cm length and a diameter of 5.5 cm. It is made of metal and weights 177 g. It has 5 lens elements in 5 groups, a closest focusing distance of 33 cm, and the front element doesn’t rotate when focusing. The diaphragm has 10 blades, the f-stops range from 3.5 to 22, and the aperture ring has no stops. It is possible to choose any aperture between the f-numbers. For video shooting this might be interesting. The 30 mm focal length is a bit unusual, but on a micro-four thirds camera this lens gives an angle of view equivalent to a 60 mm lens. Therefore it is an interesting alternative for a normal lens. First photos I made look good and I am quite surprised about the optical quality of such an old lens.
Here are some photos I took with the Lydith. A full review and more example photos can be found here.
All example images are taken straight out of the camera. No post-processing involved.