Revival of a Classic: Using the Meyer Optik Görlitz Trioplan 100mm f/2.8 II

Very few photography brands can sustain a legacy full of history. Meyer Optik Görlitz has brought back a 100-year-old design with modern quality construction that renders a vintage unique style that endures artistic at this modern age.

A Glance Into the Past

Founded in Germany and based in Görlitz, Saxony, Meyer Optik Görlitz can look back on an eventful history since 1896. The company designed and manufactured exceptional lenses that have been accompanied by photographers over 120 years.

Besides standing out for its quality construction standards, Meyer Optik Görlitz has emphasized a great endeavor into research and development. For instance, in 1920 there was a partnership with former Zeiss developer Paul Rudolph to produce the Kino-Plasmat, the world’s fastest lens at the time.

After Meyer-Optik was into the company VEB Pentacon in 1968, the Meyer brand disappeared after 1971. In the mid-1980s, Carl Zeiss Jena took over VEB Pentacon and thus also Meyer-Optik.

The Meyer-Optik-Görlitz brand entered the market again in 2014. After a successful start, the brand fell victim to the insolvency of the owner company at the time and shut its doors once again.

A New Beginning

The experience with the previous owner, a company called net SE, resulted in disastrous Kickstarter campaigns. The brand’s re-rebirth began in 2018 when German company OPC Optics bought the brand from net SE during insolvency proceedings and began the hard work of earning back the public’s trust with the promise that crowdfunding won’t play a role in the brand’s future.

OPC Optics is a specialist in aspherical and spherical glass lenses produced with top-notch technology. Efforts are being made to optimize classical designs and work on completely new developments.

After some years of hard work, and reorganization, OPC Optics is now ready to clean the name and start a new beginning for Meyer-Optik-Görlitz with the introduction of their first lens: the Trioplan 100mm f/2.8 II.

About Trioplan 100mm f/2.8 II

The new Trioplan 100 II shows exactly the same characteristics that made the original so desirable during the ’50s. It achieves a balanced sharpness with a wonderfully soft texture in out-of-focus areas. By revising the optical design, the new Trioplan 100 II now offers updated glasses, different geometrics of the lenses, optimized mechanics, and some other advantages of modernity. At the same time, the image language, for which the Trioplan 100 with its unique bubble bokeh stands, is retained.

Specifications

Mounts: Canon EF, Fuji X, Leica L, Leica M, M42, MFT, Nikon F, Pentax K, Sony E
Aperture: f/2.8 – f/22
Focal length: 100mm
Filter diameter: 52mm
Minimum object distance: 0.9 m

Image Quality

The Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f/2.8 II lens is known for its soap bubble bokeh, which is really nice. But the bokeh otherwise is also pretty good. The image quality from this lens is soft overall, but it makes up for it with pretty standard colors and some pretty funky effects like the lens flare you’re bound to get.

Bokeh

One of the main drawing points for the Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f/2.8 II is the soap bubble bokeh you’re bound to get that is possible thanks to its 15-blade diaphragm. It’s beautiful, unique, and hardly seen in any other lens. The objective doesn’t have color fringing or chromatic aberration to complain about.

How to Get That Unique Bubble Bokeh

To achieve the perfect soap bubble bokeh, it is important to position the subject at close range while keeping enough distance to create a high-contrast background. This effect is produced only at a maximum aperture. You should, therefore, use f/2.8 for the strongest bokeh or f/4.0 for a weaker effect. The focused main subject should be approximately 1m to 5m away. The distance between the subject and background should be at least 5m to 10m.

The closer the focus point to the camera, the greater the bubbles in the background. The stronger the background contrast, the more bubbles appear. Ideally, you should opt for a busy background with strong backlighting such as light-filled trees, lights on a skyline at night, or fairy lights.

Also, the Trioplan 100mm f/2.8 II is the perfect lens for use with an extension tube. The much shorter minimum focus distance enlarges the soap bubbles in the background several times over. In addition, the lens shows close-range subjects in an extremely high resolution.

Ergonomics

The Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f/2.8 II lens is a pretty long and skinny lens that has some very nice retro-modern good looks. The aperture ring is near the front of the lens while the back of the lens has the focusing scale. Most of the lens is characterized by this smooth texture with only the rings having any sort of gripping power.

Construction

The Trioplan 100mm f/2.8 II lens is made of all metal. So, in that regard, it’s built very solid and feels nice in the hands, but it doesn’t boast weather sealing of any sort.

Focusing

This lens requires the user to manually focus. Because the image quality overall is very soft, you’re best off using the magnification and focus peaking feature on your camera to get the best focusing accuracy. Therefore, it is a very desirable option for portraiture.

Mechanics for Stills and Video

The stops of the aperture and distance rings have been optimized for the new Trioplan 100 II. The continuous and noiseless adjustment of the aperture and distances is particularly popular with videographers.

Also Works for Macro Photography

The minimum object distance (i.e. working distance) of the new Trioplan 100mm II is 0.9m (2.95ft) and can be reduced even further by using extension rings. This is especially interesting for the many fans of macro photography.

Final Thoughts

This lens will suit great to well-experienced photographers that have been using Meyer Optik Görlitz optics in their past and are aware of the unique quality of their glasses. However, for those vintage-photography lovers that didn’t work with film, but in digital, that beautiful “soap-bubble bokeh” is going to leave an exceptional effect when shooting portraitures or nature.

What’s Coming Next

Meyer Optik Görlitz will release this year some other iconic lenses such as the Lydith 30mm II, Trioplan 50mm II, Primoplan 75mm II, Primoplan 58mm II, Trioplan 35mm II, and some other objectives that remain confidential at the moment.


Special note: In combination with the Trioplan 100mm f/2.8 II, I did this shooting with PolarPro VND and CPL filters, Godox AD200 Pro and AD300 Pro, Magbox, and other MagMod tools. This a set-up I recommend personally without hesitation for portrait photography.


About the author: Manuel Delgado is a photographer based in Düsseldorf, Germany. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Delgado’s work on his website, Facebook, and Instagram.

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