A few weeks ago I bought a Praktica IV 35mm slr which came fitted with a Mayer-Optik Primotar M42 mount, pre-set lens. As is my usual practice when I discover a new lens, I like to try it on a modern digital camera to see how it performs, so I attached this one to my Ricoh GXR A12 M Mount with a suitable adapter, and took some pictures during one of my morning walks about Stevenage.
The Primotar is an aluminium construction lens of un-spectacular appearance and only a limited set of aperture values. There is no auto diaphragm (admittedly of limited use on a digital camera) and the aperture is not particularly round being a 6 blade design. It does however have a few things going for it when connected to a digital camera. It’s light-weight, small and very simple to operate having only two controls for aperture and focus. Although the maximum aperture of f/2.8 is not very fast for a prime lens, it’s still a stop faster than the standard slow zoom which is normally supplied with modern cameras. Also the crop factor of 1.5 on the APS-C ricoh gives an equivalent focal length of 75mm which allows some nice background defocus when opened up.
My copy has a few paint spots missing from the inner barrel, the aluminium is a bit dull and tarnished and the lens itself has some marks and spots so I was interested to see how the lens performed in relation to the other Meyer-Optik lenses I have tested, a Domiplan and a Lydith. The results of this walk round with the lens are below – most of these shots were taken in Aperture priority mode with auto ISO which allowed me to select both the shutter speed and the aperture and allow the camera to set the iso. They have all been post processed in Lightroom CC which was basically only to tweak the levels and adjust sharpening etc.
I think the results place the Primotar above the Domiplan and below the Lydith in quality which is another way of saying it’s a pretty nice lens. (To view these pictures at full size use this link – navigate with the keyboard arrow keys or click each picture for the next)