My Fuji and … a Meyer Optik Gorlitz Primagon 35mm f4.5

No sharpness tests, pixel counting or other technical mumbo jumbo, just everyday pictures with the intention of showing the view angle, color pattern and character, and my thoughts of the lens.

The Meyer Optik Gorlitz Primagon 35mm f4.5 is probably one if not the most beautiful lens I own. Featured picture above of the lens on my Voigtlander Bessa L 35mm film camera, with Russian Turret viewfinder. All digital pictures taken with Fujifilm X-E1, X-T10 or X-T20.

The Primagon 35mm was made from 1952 to 1964
The newer models have a “red V” on the filter ring, which indicates that the lens is coated, the older ones are also coated, but only internally.
As far as I know they are all silver colored.
Made entirely of aluminum, the shape of the lens is barrel-shaped.
My lens is M42, but there are some with other mounts, such as Exacta and Altix.
Max. aperture f4.5 to f22 – Aperture has 10 blades – the aperture ring turns clickless.
Filter diameter 49mm
Focusing manually from 0.40m
Lens weight is 155 grams – lens length 58mm

My lens has serial no. 2188324, and according to a list of serial numbers and years, made somewhere between 1955 and 1960, no more accurate information can be found.
Serial nr lookup : http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Meyer_serial_numbers

As always and with everything you have pro and con’s, also with this Primagon 35mm.
The biggest complaint which many have is that the lens is “slow”, and yes, f4.5 is not very fast, but take any standard 18-55mm kit lens of any brand, and you’ll find that aperture is mostly from f3.5 to f5.6, and so for a 35mm lens that’s in the middle there, and with f4.5 it’s actually not that bad.
These lenses can only be focused manually, although, on a sufficiently sunny day, and making good use of the depth of field scale on the lens, this lens would just might surprise you.
At f11 you can set the lens in a way that everything between 1.5m and infinity is sharp, even on f8 you can still get a very nice depth of field, this way you have an old-fashioned “auto focus” lens, which can come in handy in some situations
But where the lens feels best is in low-motion situations, portraits, landscapes, architecture, flowers and … also for street photography, using the setting above.

Why would you use or buy this lens ? the only reason – besides budget or if you happen to own this lens – well, there are actually several reasons 🙂 : the color, the character, the bokeh, and knowing that you are capturing an image with glass that has seen a very different time.

When I use a lens to make a picture, then that lens is a tool to write an image by means of the camera as I see it.
But with a lens like this, it’s not just any tool, it’s like a very old family member, he or she has earned respect, and can tell stories that no one else can tell. So it is with this lens.

Correctly setting a manual lens in the Fujifilm menu is something I sometimes forget, so if other focal lengths are specified in exif data, I apologize.

With time more pictures will follow, below an in picture crop detail of 100% @ f4.5 and also at f16, gives you an idea how sharp the lens is :

@ f4.5
@ f16



Below some links to other fans of this lens.
https://hidekatsu.com/photoblog_en/archives/11196
https://hidekatsu.com/photoblog_en/archives/13748

I also liked this beautiful video made with this lens, couldn’t resist sharing it – Credits : manualautomatic https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVTjj13g41vqv1FctyfyE5Q

Published by Marc R.

Belgium Based and Retired Photographer, IT specialist, Technician and Bushcrafter - not necessarily in that order. A few years back I got a message on my PC : "The box said 'Required Windows 11 or better'. So, I installed Linux Kubuntu 20.04 LTS" :-) - My Photography software : RawTherapee, Darktable, Digikam, Luminance HDR, Hugin, Gimp and many other. Oh yes, the email address is still there, but I'm not a Pentaxian anymore - now i'am proud to be a Fujiian !

4 thoughts on “My Fuji and … a Meyer Optik Gorlitz Primagon 35mm f4.5

  1. That’s a beautiful lens that produces great photographs. You’re right about F Stops, too many people are concerned with “fast” lenses, when there is no need to be! I have used a lot of older lenses on my Fuji, they’re always great to experiment with. Keep up the good work, love reading interesting articles like this 👌

    Liked by 1 person

  2. With film maximum aperture was a big deal. I now enjoy using a number of lenses that I would not have touched before with the high ISOs (and still good quality) available on my Sonys

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes I wonder how we were able to take pictures in the seventies, with film up to a maximum of 400 ISO (which was then ASA),
      while today 800 and 1600 are considered almost “normal” ISO values, and even higher.
      Anyway, there are real gems between the lenses of the old days, and I love the imperfections.
      Thanks for the comment Kurt!

      Liked by 1 person

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