Meyer-Optik Görlitz Telefogar 3.5 / 90
The Meyer-Optik Görlitz Telefogar 3.5 / 90 is a 90mm prime lens that was manufactured for the Altix cameras between 1957 und 1960. As the Altix cameras were meant to be very compact and light cameras, the Telefogar is very compact and handy for its’ focal length of 90mm. The Telefogar is a very compact protraiture lens that offers outstanding built quality and good ergonomics.
- excellent build quality, feels very solid
- compact portraiture lens
- sharp when stopped down
- good colours
The Telefogar has two neet features that immediately strike you when you first use it.
First of all the lens is rather small compared to similar lenses. As it was designed for the rather compact Altix camera, the engineers tried to build a compact lens. Yet it still feels incredibly rigid and solid. The Telefogar lens is a superb example of vintage lens craftmanship. You really feel that the lens was build out of metal and glass – and the lens has no cheap plasticky feel to it whatsoever. The ergonomics are simply superb. The lens shade is a tiny metal ring that really protects the front glass element and offers an optimal balance with the lens. This is actually the first time I used a lens where you could simply leave the lens shade on at all times – not because the lens is particularly prone to lens flare but because the lens hood is marvellously well incorporated into the lens and is therefore not cumbersome at all. The aperture settings feel incredibly solid and each setting is felt by a major click. I also really like the bright and clear red and white markings on this pretty lens. Meyer-Optik lenses always feel incredibly nice to use but the Telefogar is really a rock of a lens in that regard. It is hard to believe that this lens is 50 years old – a real marvel!
In order to shoot the lens I used a semi-permanent adapter from rrlens.com. As far as I know this is the only place where you can obtain Altix adapters – and they do work very well.
The Telefogar offers cracking colours and decent contrast. It lacks a bit of sharpness wide open but is reasonably sharp when stopped down. Finding the optimum focusing distance can be a bit tricky at times. Although the bokeh is not out of this world, the Telefogar is a very compact protraiture lens that offers outstanding built quality and good ergonomics. It will probably never become one of my favourite lenses but I can understand why it is highly praised and loved by some photographers.
- Soft when shot wide open
- Altix mount – limited useability
- value for money
The Telefogar needs to be stopped down to offer optimum results. Images tend to be a bit soft and there is always a certain glow. This is obviously great for portraiture and artistic photography but if you want to show sharp details you might want to look elsewhere. It reminded me a bit of the Meyer-Optik Görlitz Trioplan 100 2.8, unfortunately without the amazing Bokeh of the Trioplan (but at a fraction of its’ price).
At f3.5 it is certainly not the fastest lens neither. It really is more of a “good weather” lens and it can struggle with available light photography.
The Telefogar has been “rediscovered” by photographers in recent years and its’ price has been soaring accordingly. When it comes to value for money you can get a better deal somewhere else in my opinion.
Meyer-Optik Görlitz Telefogar 3.5 / 90 Versions
The Meyer-Optik Görlitz Telefogar 3.5 / 90 was mainly manufactured with a black and silver finish with horizontal stripes. A few rare copies were also manufactured with vertical black and silver stripes.
The Telefogar lenses were manufactured for the Altix camera. As the Altix did not have framelines in its’ viewfinder, the Telefogar was sold with a speical 90mm viewfinder (that offered an exchangeable mask for 50mm frames too) that you could mount on the hotshoe of the camera.
Lenses marked with a red V are coated.
- Altix mount
- Weight: 250 gr
- Minimum Focusing Distance: 150cm
- Filter Mount: 46mm
- Made in East Germany
- Aperture: 3.5 – 22
- 4 elements in 3 groups
- Aperture blades: 12