Meyer-Optik was a lens manufacturing company which was founded by Hugo Meyer in the 1890s. It was based in Görlitz, Germany. They produced mainly M42 mount lenses although they also used the Exakta mount.
After World War II, Meyer-Optik became VEB Optisch-Feinmechanische Werke Görlitz and one of the most important lens manufacturers in the newly created German Democratic Republic, DDR.
They partnered mainly with Ihagee Dresden, whom they provided with lenses in the Exakta mount while making M42 mount lenses for Praktica cameras.
Meyer-Optik was one of the first to develop the so called "zebra" design. In fact, this is one of the most distinctive external features for their lenses during the 1950-1960s.
The company created many lenses throughout its existence, ranging between 29mm (the Orestegon), 30mm (the Lydith) and 300mm, 500mm (the Orestegor), all of which have a very good reputation. However, it should be noted that Meyer wasn't a high-end lens manufacturer like Leica or Carl Zeiss. Nonetheless, mechanically and optically (and despite their age) Meyer-Optik lenses remain strongly desirable.
In 1968, when Meyer-Optik was merged with Pentacon some of their lenses were renamed Pentacon. With changes affecting the exterior design as well as some other upgrades (like the multi-coating), the lenses developed at Görlitz remained in production until the early 1990s.
Check our Meyer lenses:
The Meyer-Optik Lydith 30mm f3.5 lens is a hidden gem. This is the "zebra" version, with a preset aperture control.
The Lydith is a single coated lens, which has very good contrast and sharpness. It enjoys a very good reputation in terms of optical performance and manufacturing. Apparently they weren't build in large numbers, thus making Lydith a rather expensive lens. After Meyer Optik was absorbed into VEB Pentacon, the Lydith lost its name and was produced under the Pentacon brand.
It weighs around 200g, uses a 49mm filter and has a 0,33cm minimum focusing distance. Number of blades: 10 blades.
The 50mm f1.8 Oreston is a well known standard lens made by Meyer-Optik Görlitz. The Oreston is a fine lens that was preceded by several other versions, the earliest of them all being the zebra version. The lens is made entirely of metal and can be found in both the M42 and the Exakta mounts. After 1968, when Meyer-Optik merged with Pentacon, the single coated Oreston became the auto Pentacon. Later, Pentacon upgraded its line of lenses, both in terms of exterior design and coating and as such, the 50mm f1.8 MC Pentacon appeared.
Image wise the Oreston has a distinct vintage look generated by consistent, yet not overly rich color rendering, its pleasant softness at f1.8 and the lack of a multicoating layer. As a standard lens, the Oreston was built in large numbers, but nowadays newer Pentacon lenses dominate the market. The 50mm Meyer-Optik Oreston has a very good minimum distance of 0.33m, weighs 218g and takes a 49mm filter. Number of blades: 6.
The 50mm f2.8 Domiplan is an entry level standard lens made by Meyer-Optik. We have a later version (made probably under Pentacon), which is made of metal and plastic. The Domiplan is a tiny lens and probably one of the cheapest M42 lenses out there, so it is a good choice for those who want to explore vintage lenses without spending too much money.
A bit slow at f2.8, the Domiplan has a minimum focusing distance of 0.75m, weighs only 134g and takes a 49mm filter.