Pentacon 135 2.8
Pentacon 135 2.8 lens review
The Pentacon 135 2.8 is a very compact telephoto lens which offers good image quality at a very reasonable price. It was the standard telephoto lens from Pentacon and was manufactured extensively in east Germany by Pentacon. Two very distinct versions of this lens exist. Bookehlovers will love its’ creamy, smooth bookeh. At its usual selling price this lens is a bargain.
Pentacon 135 2.8 versions
Some Pentacon 135 lenses are branded “electric” or “auto”. Coated lenses are marked “MC” or “multi coating”. The markings can have different colours (I have ssen white, green, yellow, red and orange).
- Mounts available:
- Made in GDR
- Lens elements: 5
- Weight: 470gr
- Filter mount: M55 x 0.75
The early version is based on the Meyer-Optik Görlitz 135 2.8 Orestor. This version is often referred to as the “king of bookeh”. With 15 blades, the diaphragm can close to f/32. This helps the bookeh and the overall performance. The minimum focusing distance of 150cm is 20cm shorter than the that of the later model.
The first generation also feels more solid and balanced. Compared to the later model the focus ring is wider and the aperture is set further up the lens. The first generation is my opinion actually better than the second version. Early models are rarer and hence are more expensive.
Later models are very different from earlier versions. They have 6 blades and an integrated lens shade that you can twist out out of the lens body. Ergonomically it handles a bit like a 50mm Pentacon with a giant lens hood attached to it. It feels a bit cheapish a times. The advantage was that you now had the AUTO setting (which does not make a difference when you use it on a modern camera). The diaphragm “only” closes to f22 and the minimum focusing distance is 170cm.
Pentacon 135 2.8 recomendation
- good bookeh for a lens in that price range
- build quality is very good
- integrated lens hood
- compact lens
If the Pentacon auto 135mm f2.8 lens was branded Carl Zeiss, it would not be underestimated and underpriced as it is today.
I have always been positively surprised when I used this lens. The Pentacon auto 135mm f2.8 lens is a undervalued telephoto lens that was build by Pentacon in the GDR. It’s a solid all metal construction with an integrated lens hood (which can come in quiet handy). It performs superbly for a lens in its price range. The Pentacon auto 135mm f2.8 lens can be soft when shot open at f2.8 but performs much better when stopped down. The bookeh is is amazing for a lens in that price range.
- minimum focusing range
- a bit soft when shot at f2.8
The minimum focusing range of 150cm (1st Version) and 170cm (2nd Version) is a let down (compared to the 100cm of the Carl Zeiss 135mm f3.5 MC).
Pentacon 135 2.8 Video
Here is a short example video shot using a full frame Canon at f2.8.