Meyer-Optik Görlitz 4/300 Orestegor – Pentacon 300 f4
The Meyer-Optik Görlitz 300 4 Orestegor (also branded as Pentacon 300) is a 300mm prime tele lens initially manufactured by the Meyer-Optik Görlitz company in East Germany. The Orestegor was introduced in 1967 as a succesor to the Meyer-Optik Telemegor 4.5 / 300. The Orestegor was later re-branded as Pentacon 300 f4, after the Meyer-Optik Görlitz brand was discontinued.
The Orestegor 300 was manufactured both in M42 screwmount, Praktina and EXA/Exakta bayonet mount for 35mm SLRs and in Pentacon Six mount for medium format cameras. This is also the reason this lens is so large. As with many other Meyer lenses, you can unscrew the mount and add an adapter so that you can shoot on a different format camera. This interchangeability from a medium format camera to a 35mm format meant that the lens has to be able to illuminate the square medium format. Hence the Orestegor has the size of a medium format lens – and not a classic 35mm lens.
The production stopped in 1990, when the Pentacon brand (who continued building Meyer-Optik lenses under their name) was dissolved after the fall of the Berlin wall. The production shortly restarted in 1991 when the Meyer-Optik brand reemerged. Unfortunately only a few hundred lenses were manufactured before Meyer-Optik went bankrupt a few months later.
- Built quality
- No vignetting
Yes it is heavy, huge and cumbersome. But the Meyer-Optik Görlitz 300 4 Orestegor is one fine lens! Images are very sharp even when the lens aperture is wide open. Remember this lens can be used on a medium format camera, so when used on a full frame camera you will not have the lack of sharpness in the corners. What you will basically obtain on a 35mm format is the center goodness. The images turn out sharp from corner to corner. Some people argue it is even better than the Sonnar 300 f4 from Carl Zeiss.
Also there is no vignetting. While most (vintage) lenses will have a sharp center of the image and vignetting in the corners, the Meyer-Optik Görlitz 300 4 Orestegor is simply constantly good, from corner to corner. So if you use a full frame sensor and want this type of look, that is a huge advantage.
All in all this is a very good lens that many people, especially those who like tele lenses will enjoy. It is not a surprise that the Orestegor 300, along with its bigger brother the Orestegor 5.6/500, are regarded as the best lenses that Meyer-Optik produced for the Pentacon Six system.
The image quality is really very good. Nice contrast, good colors, and a very reasonable overall sharpness. That’s already pretty amazing in itself but there is more to it. The Meyer-Optik Görlitz 300 4 Orestegor has 19 secret weapons: the aperture blades. That’s right, 19 blades for a very circular, unique aperture. That means you get a pretty awesome bokeh, creamy, subtle yet present. Pictures are therefore sharp but thanks to the bokeh also obtain a lot of character.
The built quality of the Meyer-Optik Görlitz 300 4 Orestegor is simply amazing. All metal, heavy, aperture preset, tripod mount, exchangeable mount, integrated lens hood, this thing is a beast. It actually feels much more like a 500mm than a 300mm. The lens barrel is very long but hats of to the engineers for still creating an ergonomically sound lens. The aperture settings and focusing ring is well made and you do get a good feeling with this lens rather quickly once you start to use it.
You can actually attach a tripod and then unscrew the lens so that it can rotate along its own axle. That is a very nice touch and it comes in very handy when you are handling such a beast. Because let’s face it: you will use a tripod with this one. At of over 2 Kg it is not much fun handheld in the long run. When a lens comes with its own tripod attachment it really says it all.
All in all this lens is fun. I am not so much a tele shooter but I much appreciated the Orestegor. It certainly is not a lens I would take for a holiday somewhere but for nature or portraiture photography it is pretty amazing.
- Requires a tripod for best results
- Chromatic aberration
Let’s start with the elephant in the room: the Orestegor is a huge beast of a lens. The lens comes with its own tripod mount for a reason: it is super heavy. The all metal construction, the huge glass elements and 19 aperture blades make for one very hefty lens. Shooting the Orestegor is always a bit of a body building workout. You will most certainly not go for a casual stroll down the park with the Orestegor. Shooting it handheld is a bit tricky, I would recommend using a tripod.
Image quality is good but certainly not on par with a modern zoom lens. There is some chromatic aberration. The front glass element is huge so the lens tends to create flares when light sources are in a certain angle.
All in all it still is a great lens. If you can live with the extra weight and you like tele lenses, then the Orestegor is certainly worth a try.
Meyer-Optik Görlitz 300 4 Orestegor Versions
The Orestegor in essentially available with two different finishes before being rebranded Pentacon 300.
- Optical elements: 5
- Angle of view:
- 8° (35mm full frame)
- 16° (medium format )
- Aperture: 4 – 22
- Mounts: M42, EXA/Exakta, Pentacon Six, Praktina
- Made in East Germany
- Aperture blades: 19
- Weight: 2.18 kilograms
- Length: 217mm
- Filter diameter: 97mm
- Minimum focusing distance: 3.6 meters
First Version – Meyer-Optik Görlitz 300 4 Orestegor
The first version has focusing and aperture rings that are striped. The lens is multi coated. Most of the lenses of this type have red markings.
Second Version – Pentacon 4/300
The Orestegor lens was rebranded Pentacon 300 after the Meyer-Optik brand was dissolved. Some of the lenses of this type have green markings while others use the standard red. Some later versions have focusing and aperture rings that are dotted. In the last stages of its production run, this version was also rebranded as Pentacon 300 F4.
Snowy pictures above where kindly provided by Ionut-Cristinel Ignat. Make sure to check out his pictures!