Retro Lens Review – Pentacon Auto 2.8 / 135

Apart from cracked lips, February days often only leave a mild impression and the impression of winter on the descending branch. A sky that reflected the most average shade of gray in the color palette hung over the Furtnerteich and the blanket of snow that was still continuous a few days ago has given way to a white and brown patchwork carpet. Conditions that I couldn’t really get out of that day. But ideal conditions would not be a challenge for a lens. So I tried to make the best of it and put the Pentacon Auto 2.8 / 135 mm to an endurance test. But let’s take it easy and take a look at the specifications:

Focal length: 135mm
Open aperture: f / 2.8
Maximum aperture: f / 22
Closest focusing distance: 1.7m
Weight: 470g
Filter diameter: 55mm

Fortunately, I had a very good model in front of the camera. Johanna not only brought a good portion of fun into the day, but also did not let herself be disturbed by the unusually long time to focus. With a focal length of 135mm, focusing with live view is difficult, as every wobble, no matter how small, makes it difficult to focus. So I often used my monopod or a support surface to help. If I did not have any of these help, the number of slightly blurred images immediately increased. Apart from these difficulties, the sharpness and the contrast in the center of the image are very satisfactory even with an open aperture. The sharpness fell towards the edge of the picture, but that didn’t bother me with the portrait shots.

The strong violet chromatic aberrations that came to light on the hard contrasting edges were more of a criticism of the lens. Fortunately, these could be easily eliminated in post-processing. This was also the biggest negative point I noticed while testing the lens. Otherwise the lens did what it should. I especially like the calm bokeh for portraits. I found the retractable lens hood to be a cool feature, even if I couldn’t verify that day whether it was a real advantage. Especially since it turns out to be very small for a 135mm lens, I somewhat doubt the real benefit.

During the photo walk around the Furtrnerteich I tried to find as many different photo spots as possible with Johanna. So we stopped at a rowing boat, the winter reeds and an avenue of conifers. Even if the photo spots were not very fancy that day, they were well staged by Johanna’s natural sympathy and she looks good in front of the camera. This left an interesting and beautiful set of photos as a souvenir of them

Since you can buy the Pentacon 135mm f2.8 very cheaply on second-hand stock exchanges (I would say for 25 € you will get a good one), it is absolutely worth the money. The photos are sharp, the contrast and color rendering are good, only the chromatic aberrations bothered me. Focusing with this focal length also needs to be practiced. But if you want great photos, you can get them with the Pentacon.

+ Nice bokeh
+ Fold-out lens hood
+ Sharpness in the center of the image
+ Cheap purchase possible

– Difficult to focus
– Severe chromatic aberrations

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