Makinon or Makina Optical Co. Ltd. was a small Japanese lens and camera manufacturer. The company was founded in 1967 and at first sold lenses to third party companies, such as Vivitar or Hanimex. During the 1970s they began selling products under their own brand, so the Makinon lenses entered the market. The company had a pretty strong line-up, ranging from 24mm to 1000mm lenses, as well as a number of zooms. Our experience with Makinon lenses was a pleasant one, as they are well built, reliable and have decent optics. Most of the Makinon lenses out there are in the M42 (Pentax) mount, but we also found some in the Minolta MD mount.
Apparently, the company went out of business in the 1980s, as the market was shifting from manual to auto-focus lenses, mainly because it was difficult for a small company to develop and to market increasingly complex designs.
Check our Makinon lenses:
The Makinon Auto 28mm f2.8 is the standard wide angle lens of Makinon. The design features the classical colors of the company, with green markings and the yellow, red & green bars as a logo. As most Japanese lenses, the 28mm Makinon is well built and reliable.
The optical performance is on par with what you would expect from a non premium Japanese brand: ok, yet not remarkable. Most versions available today have multi-coating layers.
The lens is rather compact and has a good mechanical feel to it, so usability is also solid. 28mm Makinon lenses have low prices and may come in handy as an entry level wide angle lens.
Main mount: M42. The 28mm f2.8 Makinon Auto has a minimum focusing distance of 0.3m, it weighs 230g and uses a 55mm filter.
Makinon made quite a number of zoom lenses, like the Makinon MC Auto-Zoom 75-150mm f3.8, which featured multicoating, a constant aperture and decent optics. Mechanical quality and reliability were also good and as a result, today one can find a lot of Makinon zooms in very good condition.
The 75-150mm is an M42 medium zoom lens that covers the usual portrait focal length. It has an advancing zoom system and thanks to its constant f/3.8 aperture, the lens shows good performance across the range.
The design features the classical colors of the company, with green markings and the yellow, red & green bars as a logo. While zoom lenses are more versatile, their overall performance is lower than that of prime lenses.
Main mount: M42. The 75-150mm f3.8 Makinon MC Auto-Zoom has a minimum focusing distance of 2.5m, it weighs 590g and uses a 58mm filter. Integrated lens hood: Yes
The Makinon MC Auto-Zoom 80-200mm f4.5 is another example of a zoom lenses made by the company. It features multicoating, a constant aperture and decent optics. Mechanical quality and reliability were also good and as a result, today one can find a lot of Makinon zooms in very good condition.
This lens has the Minolta MD/MC mount, but it can also be found in M42 and Pentax K mount. The lens is large and rather heavy, so its usability of small cameras is not so great. As most vintage zoom lenses, the Makinon MC Auto-Zoom 80-200mm f4.5 offers constant aperture which makes things a lot easier.
The Makinon MC Auto-Zoom 80-200mm f4.5 weighs 612g and it has a minimum focusing distance of 1.7m. Filter diameter: 55. Mount: Minolta MD/MC, Pentax K, M42.
The Makinon MC Auto 300mm f4 is a long telephoto lens made by Makinon. The design features the classical colors of the company, with green markings and the yellow, red & green bars as a logo. The 300mm Makinon is well built and reliable. Usability is good, but there's a niggle, as the lens does not come with a standard tripod ring.
The lens is surprisingly good from an optical point of view, sharp and with good contrast; it is also multi-coated. 300mm Makinons are rather hard to find, but have very decent prices, so they are good overall value.
Main mount: M42. The 300mm f4 Makinon MC Auto has a minimum focusing distance of 4m , it weighs 1050g and uses a 77mm filter. Integrated lens hood: Yes
The Makinon Reflex 500mm f8 is a long telephoto lens made by Makinon. The lens has the Minolta MD mount and uses the reflex system. That means it has a fixed aperture (f/8), as the mirror design doesn't use aperture blades. It is also very compact and lighter. Design wise, the 500mm Makinon is very similar to the 500mm Minolta Reflex, it is well built and feels very solid.
Usually, the lens comes with three different filters: ND, ND 2X and a skylight 1A filter. Note that on this system, filters are mounted on the back element, not on the front element of the lens. The 500mm/f8 Makinon Reflex has a minimum focusing distance of 4m and it weighs around 500g, Main mount: Minolta MD