Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 Review

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Introduction

The Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 is a modern version of the the original Primoplan 58 / f1.9 lens, which was developed by Meyer-Optik Görlitz’s designer Paul Schäfter 80 years ago and known for its extensive range of bokeh effects. This updated Primoplan optic is manufactured using high-end coated glass made by Schott and O’Hara, features an iris diaphragm of 12 steel blades for a near-circular aperture, has a minimum focuising distance of 60cm, and comes in 9 different mounts, including Canon, Fuji X, Nikon, M42, Micro Four Thirds, Sony E, Pentax K, Leica M and Leica TL. The Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens costs €1,599.00.

Ease of Use

With a maximum diameter of 60mm and a length of 64mm, the Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 is well-suited to Sony’s full-frame mirrorless camera bodies. Weighing in at around 220g, it’s a surprisingly light lens.

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9

The Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens mounted on a Sony A7R II body

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9

The Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens mounted on a Sony A7R II body

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9

The Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens mounted on a Sony A7R II body

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9

The Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens mounted alongside a Sony A7R II body

The Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 boasts superb build quality. The lens has an all-aluminium casing and it features a metal bayonet. With no need for a zoom ring, the manual focusing ring spans a significant width of the lens barrel and is exceptionally smooth to operate, complete with a useful depth of field scale.

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9

Side of the Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9

Front of the Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9

Rear of the Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens

At the end of the lens is the aperture ring, with the aperture ranging from f/1.9 to f/22. Note that this ring rotates smoothly throughout the range, with no actual hard stops (except at f/1.9 and f/22), which is perhaps better suited to movie recording than shooting stills.

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9

Side of the Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9

Side of the Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens

The Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 is a relatively simple lens with 5 elements in 4 groups. A 12-bladed rounded diaphragm, combined with the fast maximum aperture, helps provide incredibly smooth bokeh blur. There’s no optical image stabilisation, but the Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9’s short telephoto focal length and fast maximum aperture largely alleviate the need for it.

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9

The Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens in-hand

A small round metal lens hood that screws into the front of the lens is supplied in the box. The filter diameter is 35mm.

Focal Range

The diagonal angle of view is 40° 50, i.e. the same as that of a 58mm lens in a 35mm full-frame system.

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9

Field of view at 58mm

Manual Focusing

The Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9’s manual focusing ring is positioned at the end of the lens barrel and is exceptionally smooth to operate, complete with a useful depth of field scale. It also has a large rotation angle which enables precise focusing and moves smoothly without any play. The precise engravings in meters and feet help make manual focusing a veritable pleasure, especially in conjunction with the excellent Peaking feature offered by the Sony A-series cameras.

Chromatic Aberrations

Lateral chromatic aberrations, typically seen as blue or purple fringes along contrasty edges, are well controlled with the Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens. The crops below give you an idea of what you should expect in a worst-case scenario.

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9
Light Fall-off

Wide open at f/1.9, there’s some noticeable light fall-off in the corners, but this clears up quickly upon stopping down.

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9

Vignetting at 50mm

Macro

With a close-focus point of 0.6m, the Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 isn’t really a macro lens. The photo below shows how close you can get to your subject.

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9

Close-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. The Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens has an iris diaphragm with no less than 12 circular aperture blades, which has resulted in outstanding bokeh, as you can see in the crops below.

Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9
Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9
Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

Sharpness at 58mm

For this test, the Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens was attached to a Sony A7R II camera, which in turn was mounted on a sturdy tripod. The self-timer was used in order to avoid any vibrations that may result from tripping the shutter. Slight tonal changes are due to slight changes in natural light during the session.

The full frame

The full frame at 58mm

In the centre of the frame, sharpness is acceptable at f/2.8, improving at f/4 and reaching peak performance at f/5.6-f/16. Diffraction sets in at f/22, which is decidedly soft. The edges aren’t anywhere as sharp as the centre, throughout the aperture range.

Aperture Center Crop Edge Crop
f/1.9 f1_9.jpg f1_9.jpg
f/2.8 f2_8.jpg f2_8.jpg
f/4 f4.jpg f4.jpg
f/5.6 f5_6.jpg f5_6.jpg
f/8 f8.jpg f8.jpg
f/11 f11.jpg f11.jpg
f/16 f16.jpg f16.jpg
f/22 f22.jpg f22.jpg

Sample Images

The thumbnails below link to full-sized samples taken with the Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens mounted on a Sony A7R II compact system camera.

1/160s · f/0 · ISO 100

1/800s · f/0 · ISO 100

1/1000s · f/0 · ISO 100

1/125s · f/0 · ISO 160

1/125s · f/0 · ISO 400

1/320s · f/0 · ISO 100

Specifications

Optical design: 5 elements in 4 groups
Aperture: 58mm
Blendenlamellen: 12, steel, special anti reflex coating
Weight: ~ 220g
Light intensity: f1.9 – f22
Filter diameter: 35mm
Rangefinder Coupling: not supported
Mounts: Canon, Fuji X, Leica L, Leica M, M42, Micro-Four-Thirds, Nikon, Pentax, Sony E

Conclusion

Housed in the same body as the Trioplan 50mm f/2.9 that we reviewed a few days ago, the new Meyer-Optik-Goerlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 lens is equally capable of producing some wonderful bokeh effects when used in the right shooting conditions, while also proving to be a sharp nifty-fifty lens when stopped-down. We also liked the slightly longer 58mm focal length and faster maximum aperture, although this lens doesn’t have the same macro capabilities as the Trioplan optic, which can focus as close as 25cm, versus 60cm on the Primoplan 58mm.

Build quality is once again outstanding, although we did miss having hard stops on the aperture ring, and curiously there’s no marking for f/16 on the lens barrel either. It remains a specialist tool, however, that needs to be used in the right shooting conditions, both from a subject, distance and lighting point of view, even coming with a quick 4-step guide which you’ll need to refer to to get up and running.

Priced at €1599, the Primoplan 58mm f/1.9 is even more expensive than the Trioplan 50mm f/2.9, but if you can’t source an original 1960’s Primoplan, then this modern version is certainly worth considering.

(photographyblog.com, https://goo.gl/Fb38JQ)

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