The Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 is a telephoto lens manufactured by VEB Pentacon in the GDR. Meyer-Optik Orestor 2.8/135 in the past.

Lens for SLR cameras with M42 screw connection. This lens is installed on modern SLR and mirrorless cameras through the appropriate adapter. Read the article about adapters.

Pentacon 135mm f/3.5 | review with photo examples

In order not to lose face in the international market, all Meyer telephoto lenses were modernized in 1960 under the direction of Hubert Ulbrich. The first upgrade was Orestegor 4/200 mm in May 1961. In the fall of 1963, they replaced the obsolete Telemegor 5,5 / 180. However, there was a rather large gap between the Trioplan 2.8/100 and the new Orestegor 4/200, into which something with a focal length of 135 mm had to be squeezed. They became Meyer Orestor 135 / 2.8. The photo shows a version of the lens already renamed after the merger of the Meyer factory with the VEB Pentacon conglomerate.

Pentacon 135mm f/3.5 | review with photo examples

Orestor 2.8/135 (and consequently, Pentacon 135/2.8) is a representative of the classic Sonnar type, since this scheme at that time had practically no alternative if it was required to minimize production costs.


sonnar 135 shema

Hubert Ulbrich's patented improvement to this widely used arrangement was that the converging part of the system behind the aperture was constructed from two separate components, consisting of a converging lens and a diverging lens. While Berthele's Sonnars of the 1930s had very thick lenses with a strong curvature behind the diaphragm, Ulbrich made do with thinner, flatter lenses that are much easier to manufacture. The Orestor has been designed from the outset to be as economical to produce as possible while still delivering the best possible image quality:

Orestor 135mm2

“The basis of the system built according to the invention is the task of creating a telephoto lens for 35 mm cameras, with aperture ratio of 1:2,8 and with a focal length of at least three times the diagonal of the format. At the same time, for the manufacture of lenses, little effort is required, or relatively cheap types of glass are used. Thanks to the reduced elements, the light transmission of the circuit has also improved.

Pentacon auto 135mm

With the heavy crowns and flints specified in the patent, only those types of glass that were available since the 1930s and were mass-produced were used. From the very beginning it was clear that with this use of material, you can get a good, but by no means overtly top-end lens, assembled using the latest technology. About two years earlier, a certain Eugen Hermann created the Elmarit 2.8/135 for Ernst Leitz GmbH, which was originally supplied for the SLR Leica, and later also for the Leicaflex. This Elmarit, assembled according to Bertele's scheme, used extremely low dispersion crown glass (probably heavy phosphate) in the two front lenses, which led to a significant increase in production costs. Elmarit-R 2.8/135 then cost almost DM 700.

In contrast, the Orestor 2.8/135 sold for a reasonable price of 191 East German marks. It was even cheaper than the Jena Sonnar 4/135, which remained available in parallel for some time. The Orestor had the great advantage of working with the same adapter system as the Orestegor 4/200. Thus the two were interchangeable and could be used with Praktica, Praktina and Exakta cameras. For a while, there was even an adapter for Altix cameras, though the combination didn't make much sense given the lack of a focus assist. Lenses could also be attached to the Pentaflex 8 using the same back.


In connection with the typical Sonnar design, it is worth mentioning that the Feinoptikes Werk Görlitz advertising literature for 25 years for Orestor and Pentacon 2,8 / 135 mm indicated the wrong scheme. The shape of the characteristic middle group, with its large glass thickness, shown in the sectional drawings does not correspond to that actually mounted in the lens. Probably the advertising department of the fine optics factory is to blame. Apparently, it was a drawing from Hubert Ulbrich's patent specification. The difference is minor and is only due to the fact that the mechanical requirements when installing lenses in a frame sometimes require a special shape.

In 1968, the Feinoptik Görlitz plant was integrated into the VEB PENTACON Dresden plant. As a result, the "Meyer-Optik" trademark disappeared from about 1970, and the confusing and fatally bad-pun naming confusion of proprietary lenses, such as Oreston, Orestor, Orestegor, and Orestegon, was replaced by the unified "Pentacon" label.

Orestor 2.8 / 135 was renamed Pentacon 2.8 / 135 and remained in the assortment of the Görlitz factory until the reunification of the GDR and the FRG. The price of this telephoto lens remained fixed at 191 marks for a quarter of a century. The transition from a single-layer anti-reflective version of the first half of the 1970s to a model with a multi-layer coating, which is externally characterized by the application of the so-called transverse knurling, happened around the mid-seventies. The scale was still colored red, but was changed to green in the 80s.

Initially, the Pentacon cost 220 marks, while its electric version cost 267 marks. With the introduction of the MC, prices have risen by 1976 marks since around 16. But it was still moderate compared to what the price of the Praktikar 2,8 / 135 mm with bayonet B approximately doubled in the early 1980s, to 468 marks, although the "content" did not change much.

Pentacon 135 Schnitt e1658099070700

Known lens variants

  • Meyer-Optik Orestor 2.8/135 zebra (preset aperture, 15 blades)

Orestor 2.8 / 135

  • Meyer-Optik Orestor auto 2.8/135 modified zebra (jumping aperture)

Orestor 135 auto e1658099721494

DSC 3907 e1658098203990

  • Pentacon Auto (Electric) 135mm f/2.8 (6 petals)

pentacon electric 28 135 mm 77093376

  • Pentacon Auto (Electric) 135mm f/2.8

DSC4352 e1658099933270

  • Pentacon Auto (Electric) 135mm f/2.8 MC red font

DSC4351 e1658099898794

  • Pentacon Auto (Electric) 135mm f/2.8 MC green font

m42 pentacon 135mm f2.8 71


  • Pentacon Prakticar 135/2.8 MC Praktica B mount

Pentacon 28 135 e1658099840562

They are available with and without multi-coating, with and without electrical contacts, with various mounting options for cameras (m42, Praktica B, Exacta). Lenses having a similar scheme:

Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 test

I got MC Pentacon Auto 2.8/135 for the test in good condition, with a factory kit (case, hood, no instructions). V.E.B. production Pentacon, markings used white and green paint.

Approximately produced in 1982. The case is made of metal, has a built-in hood. The hood is emblazoned with the inscription German Democratic Republic Pentacon Auto 2.8 / 135 and serial number 8280877. The hood runs along the outer diameter lens, has matting inside. In the stowed position, the hood folds down and does not hide the controls. One of the many German lenses of the Soviet bloc, which left a pleasant impression on itself.

The case of this Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 has the shape of an elongated tube, painted, metal. Multi-coated lenses have a brown or purple tint, depending on the angle at which you look at the glass. The lens itself is small. At the end of the housing closest to the camera lens there is a switch for the automatic iris operation, after which there is a control of the iris with a lock and a focusing ring.

The focusing and diaphragm rings are metal and have milled lugs for better grip. The rotation of the rings is soft and smooth. The diaphragm ring has a detent that emits a slight click when shifting. The inscriptions on the frame are engraved and filled with paint. The body is assembled flawlessly - no backlashes, no gaps.


Focus ring lens ribbed, rotates smoothly and almost 360 degrees for precise focusing. If the lens has not been serviced for a long time, the factory grease thickens and the rings become tanned in the cold. The front lens does not rotate when focusing.

Due to the shallow depth of field, focusing on cameras with a small viewfinder can cause problems. It is better to use LiveView mode or adapter rings with a focus confirmation chip. The protrusion of the leading edge of the lens barrel at the maximum focusing distance is about 1,3 cm. Minimum focusing distance lens - 1,5 meters, marking starts at 1,7. In fact, there is an overrun of the ring towards the minimum distance. I never managed to achieve infinity with my adapters - the focusing distance scale is so precisely adjusted. It literally wasn't enough. See examples below.

Aperture and depth of field

This Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 has a 6 blade iris diaphragm that hips not even circles are drawn from light sources at any f / value, but hexagons.

The relative aperture of this Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 is adjustable from 1:2,8 wide open to 1:22 wide open. The aperture preset mechanism is not suitable for use on modern cameras. Modern digital cameras estimate the exposure level in the frame at an open aperture lens (in fact, old films too). The final calculation of the exposure should take place at the moment of closing the electronically controlled diaphragm, just before opening shutter... For correct use lens on modern cameras, you need to use the exposure lock function, or adjust the exposure later, in post-processing.

Pentacon 135mm f/3.5 | review with photo examples

In modern digital cameras, the aperture is preset by software, the diaphragm is closed electronically immediately before opening shutter. This Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 is designed and designed for use with a mechanical iris push mechanism (Auto version). Fortunately, there is a switch on the frame to the “Manual” mode for use outside the nodes of suitable cameras. By activating this mode with a switch, the diaphragm mechanism is blocked. In automatic mode diaphragm by default, it is open, and a mechanical drive pin protrudes on the back. Depth of field is small, and does not increase much when stopping down, however, sharpness increases from f / 3,5 up to f / 8.

Image quality

The lens has good sharpness and color rendering. At an open aperture, there are slight color aberrations in contrasting transitions. In LiveView mode, they are purple, and in frames they are yellow or purple tinged. Not always and not in all frames. Mostly in the presence of strong light.

Aberrations are crushed without problems in the simplest photo editors. This Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 has multilayer coating, but the image quality drops in backlight or side light. Not always so much that it's impossible to pull the file out of RAW. Below is a visual representation of the work lens in backlight and side light

Flare is enhanced by the presence of unpainted lens ends lens (well, or, the effect of time is as follows) and the re-reflection of light from these raw ends:

Pentacon 135

At the same time, the lens copes well with flare. For example, the glare looked like a glare in my eyes, but through the camera lens it completely lost its appearance.

Nuances in working with the Pentacon 135mm f/2.8

  • Due to the small depth of field, when working with the viewfinder of a digital camera, there is a real opportunity not to hit the target. When working with a lens, it is advisable to use a focusing screen with a micro-raster or Live View mode.
  • Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 on a 1.6 crop (Canon EOS Ef-s) has a field of view (equivalent focal length) equal to 216mm f / 4.5 in terms of full-frame sensors.
  • It is possible to install a Pentacon 135mm f / 2.8 lens on Nikon through an adapter with or without a lens (but then infinity is lost).
  • When using manual "glasses" on a diaphragm other than open, you will have to enter exposure compensation. Shoot in RAW and aperture priority mode.

Use on modern cameras

On a camera with an APS-C matrix (kf = 1.6), the camera will have a field of view equal to the equivalent of 216mm focal length, and the aperture will correspond to the value f / 4,5... Why is that? Because, firstly, because of the narrow viewing angle, you will have to move further. Secondly, the camera's sensor receives 1,6 times less light than a full-frame 35mm sensor. Thirdly, although this does not apply to the previous two statements, the lens on the crop has a drop in sharpness due to the denser arrangement of pixels on the matrix and their concentration in the center of the lens.

On a full frame, the lens works as intended - it has a more flexible picture and characteristics corresponding to the declared ones.

The easiest way to shoot is in the mode Aperture Priority (Av), when the camera adjusts the required shutter speed based on the current aperture value and the light in the frame. To work on digital cameras, you will need an adapter from the M42x1 threaded connection to your camera. The Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 is easiest to mount on a Canon EOS with an EF(-s) mount due to the negligible difference in working distances. Adapters without focus confirmation chips on Canon are cheap.

To work on digital cameras, you will need an adapter from the M42x1. The easiest way is to put this lens on cropped Canon EOS with EF-s mount, especially considering that adapters without chips on Canon cost mere pennies.

By ordering things from the links below, you help the project cover the costs of site maintenance and development. List of adapters, systems and mounts (direct links for ordering)

When ordering, it should be borne in mind that cheap adapters of poor quality with a lens on bayonetf Nikon F spoil the picture significantly. Adapters without a lens reduce the maximum focusing range (due to the difference in focal lengths). Adapters with chips come across poor quality, exposure metering and focus confirmation on some Canon EOS models may suffer from this.

Sample video and photos Pentacon 135mm f/2.8

Sample photos Pentacon 135mm f/2.8

MS Pentacon Auto 135mm f/2.8 M42+Canon crop


The Pentacon 2,8/135 aperture preset and the Pentacon auto 2,8/135mm became one of the most popular interchangeable lenses for Praktica camera owners in the 70s and 80s. Three times the focal length compared to the diagonal of the image already gives a clearly visible "binocular effect".

The last price of this lens in 1994 was about 130 marks. Like the Prakticar 2,8/135, it was still on sale - either there were still large stocks, or production, which had been moved to Romania, continued long after the Görlitz precision optics factory was closed.

Probably out of a certain kindness, and apparently to support Praktica's production in Dresden, which was relaunched under Heinrich Manderman, the then-important "Photoshop" published in its July 1992 issue a sample of some Pentacon lenses. Anyone who reads the text that accompanies the test today will hardly be able to help smiling. Most of the tested lenses were already the cheapest Korean mass-produced products from Samyang, which were marked "Pentacon". Be that as it may, in addition to the Pentacon 2,8 / 29 mm, actually developed in Görlitz, and the Pentacon 4 / 300 mm, the 135 was also subjected to the standard test procedure of the time. And the aged lens here showed itself not so bad.

Test Pentacon 135

The evaluation said: “Aperture wide open, good to very good sharpness and brightness. After aperture (aperture 8) very good.” The score for the test was 8,4 for the optics and 8,8 for the mechanics. Whatever you think about such tests, it is always a confirmation of the excellent work of Hubert Ulbrich in 1962.

Pentacon Auto 2.8/135 loses contrast when shooting in backlight and side light. The lens is very sharp wide open, but draws a hexagonal lens flare in hips due to 6 petals. average price lens on the secondary market - 4000 rubles. Personal impression is pleasant, if there is an opportunity to use - use it.

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