A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Community > Forums > Classic Manual Cameras > Meyer Domiplan 50/2.8 - is it...

Meyer Domiplan 50/2.8 - is it this bad?

Laurentiu Cristofor , Jan 21, 2010; 03:03 p.m.

I just got a Domiplan yesterday - I was curious to sample East German optic but it seems I picked the wrong lens model to start with. My copy is in very good mechanical condition and the glass is clear, but the IQ wide open is just horrible. Stopping down the lens seems to produce small progress towards acceptable IQ, but I've never seen a lens so bad.
Is this the way this lens was meant to behave optically? Or am I missing some tiny adjustment? The rear element can be removed easily as it is only kept in place by those three screws - I'm wondering if it got misaligned, or if tinkering with it may make the results better. I tried a bit, but I don't see much improvement and I don't think there are really too many ways of mounting it. I'll probably try placing it in reverse position, just for fun, to see if things can get even worse optically.


    1   |   2   |   3     Next    Last

Jeff Adler , Jan 21, 2010; 05:49 p.m.

I had one of these for a few hours and traded it for a 50/2 Zeiss Pancolar. The Domiplan has a terrible reputation. It is not one of the better East German lenses. The 50/2.8 Tessar is supposed to be good and the Pancolar was surprisingly good.

Subbarayan Prasanna , Jan 21, 2010; 06:13 p.m.

The Domiplan can be quite sharp. It is also in demand [by the DSLR adapters] for the way it renders the OOF planes in the image. However, it was mass produced as a low priced triplet. So the Quality Control was not consistent. You may try collimating the lens. I have two Domiplans that produce excellent results. See my earlier posts here on PN. You may also want to look into MF lenses website for their sample pictures in color using the Domiplan. Its mechanical construction was not very durable compared to other DDR lenses, in many cases. Optically, it was/is as good as the other triplets, such as, the Ludwig Meritar. I won't throw it away; I would try and restore it. Regards, sp

Laurentiu Cristofor , Jan 21, 2010; 06:42 p.m.

I got this lens to use with a DSLR, indeed. At 2.8 it seems almost incapable of rendering fine detail and it looks as if it has not focused anywhere - even in the viewfinder the image never gets to look properly focused. There may be some use for it stopped down, but I'm not sure why I should bother carrying around an f/11 lens, other than to prove it could be used.
Do I have to do anything special when fixing the rear element back in? I don't have any special equipment for collimating the elements, and taking it to a shop would cost more than I paid for it. I imagine the distance between it and the front element is not an issue, only the orientation (parallel to front) and the centering should matter ,right?
I've seen some pictures taken with the Domiplan before purchasing it. I'm not getting results anyway close to their sharpness - even when stopped down to f/5.6.

Subbarayan Prasanna , Jan 21, 2010; 06:59 p.m.

These are 40 to 50 year old lenses. You always take a gambler's risk on the sample you are bidding for or buying. Who knows how many previous owners used or abused it in how many ways? sp.

Professor K. , Jan 21, 2010; 11:13 p.m.

'My copy is in very good mechanical condition and the glass is clear" You can't rule out the possibility that the glass is clear because a previous owner took it apart to clean it. "I'll probably try placing it in reverse position, just for fun" Perhaps a previous owner has already done exactly that? Which would explain a great deal.

Mark O'Brien , Jan 21, 2010; 11:38 p.m.

That's the lens that was on my first SLR, and Exa 1a, back in thr 1970s. I got reasonably good results from it.

Laurentiu Cristofor , Jan 22, 2010; 12:09 a.m.

Yes, the lens is old, but it is clean and the aperture and focusing are working fine. There's no sign of abuse and it's not solid enough that it could withstand much. The optical design is simple enough - there are only two groups - there aren't that many things that can go wrong with it. So, I tinkered with it a bit more. And somehow it seems to work better now. It's still not impressive wide-open, but it's reached an acceptable level now.
I've removed the rear element and mounted it backwards and then I discovered it cannot be used this way - that element is not symmetric. So there's only one way to assemble it.
So, I've put it back again and I tightened the screws back slowly trying to keep it concentric to the hole in which it sat. Then I tried it again and this time it looked better. I'll try it out this weekend if the weather will be nice and I'll post some results.

Alex MacPhee , Jan 22, 2010; 07:46 a.m.

The Domiplan has a terrible reputation. Oddly enough, it was my first lens, in the late sixties, and looking back at my negatives from then (I'm in the process of a big scanning project for all my neg and slide files), the images from that old Domiplan are remarkably sharp and contrasty. From what I've seen from others in the this and similar forums, the poor reputation is warranted, and I think I have been simply very lucky in getting a good one out of a pretty shoddy quality control system. You've a better bet in the Tessar that's been recommended.

John Layton , Jan 22, 2010; 08:40 a.m.

Do check to see if an element has been reversed. I recently diagnosed and then very easily repaired an otherwise top flight enlarging lens - which a good friend had recently acquired at the auction site for a song. This lens seemed completely un focussable...until I unscrewed the rear element retaining ring and flipped the glass around - after which all was well! My guess is that the previous owner of this lens was not the original owner...and had no idea of this lenses true capabilities, nor of its easily fixable malady...hence the great price!

    1   |   2   |   3     Next    Last

Back to top

Notify me of Responses