Overview of the MC Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Pancolar auto 1.8 / 80 lens and sample photos from it specifically for Radozhiva, prepared Rodion Eshmakov.
CZJ MC Pancolar 80 / 1.8 is a rather rare portrait lens, in fact it is a replacement for the outdated Sonnar 85/2, Biotar 75 / 1.5, Biometar 80 / 2.8. This is one of the latest lenses designed and manufactured by Carl Zeiss Jena, one of the latest lenses in the German Democratic Republic (DDR in the lens name). Its history ended with the unification of Germany. There were two lens modifications: for the Praktica B mount and for the M42 thread. Modifications differ significantly in appearance, have different mechanics - and characteristics. The review presents the version for the M42 thread.
Features of the MC Pancolar 80 / 1.8:
Optical design: Planar (6 elements in 5 groups)
Enlightenment: multilayer (MS)
Filter thread: 58 mm
Minimum focusing distance: 0,83 m
Aperture device: automatic ("blinking", there is an M / A switch), 6 blades, aperture limits: F / 1.8-F / 16
Weight: ~ 300 g
Features of the construct Pancolar 80 / 1.8
The lens got me in a very scary look. However, the puzzle of its repair and assembly was successfully solved. Only one shank screw and two diaphragm rattle balls were lost.
During the repair, it turned out that the lens is quite easy to disassemble - you need to start with the shank and with a glass with a thread for the filters in front. The lens diaphragm assembly also does not look like a nightmare of a gloomy Teutonic genius, although the diaphragm drive contains two thin springs that do not seem durable.
Pancolar 80 / 1.8 is very light. Its body is made entirely of metal, with the exception of the diaphragm mode switch - it is made of plastic.
With its exterior design, the Pancolar 80 / 1.8 closely resembles the later Pentacon lenses: PENTACON auto 1.8 / 50 MULTI COATING, PENTACON auto 2.8 / 29 MC, Pentacon auto 2.8 135 MC. Apparently, he was also produced by this company under the brand name Carl Zeiss Jena (like Prakticar 135 / 3.5 - which is Sonnar 135 / 3.5 for Praktica B).
Focusing at Pankolar is carried out by moving the entire lens block, while it does not rotate, which is important when using filters. The lens unit extends a distance of about 15 mm. When focusing on infinity, the rear lens protrudes near the lens (about 2 mm beyond the plane of the EF mount), there is information that on full-frame SLR cameras (Canon 5D Mk2, for example), the lens catches a mirror. The minimum focusing distance is 0,83 m - this is quite a lot and will not allow you to shoot small objects without resorting to additional devices such as macro lenses or rings.
The Pancolar 80 / 1.8, like any old lens, has distance scales (in meters and feet) and DOF, with a mark for shooting in the IR range.
The biggest disappointment is the diaphragm. Not only is it six-petal - it gives nuts with ~ F / 2.5 and circular saws up to ~ F / 2.5. It is also not blackened, shiny - like some Helios-44M's. Of course, this does not at all benefit the picture of the lens.
The lenses on the lens have a multilayer coating (of course, no T *) purple hues. For such a lens, the presence of multilayer enlightenment is very important - because it has as many as 10 glass / air boundaries.
In general, the impressions were good: light weight, compactness, fairly modern design, ergonomics - this is about the Pancolar 80 / 1.8. However, there is a very significant drawback in the form of a shiny nut-shaped diaphragm, which often spoils the picture.
Optical properties of Pancolar 80 / 1.8
As noted, my lens is by no means new. Of the damage to the optics, it has one point (r <0,5 mm) chip of the front lens and several microscratches on it. However, this kind of damage does not have any significant effect on sharpness or contrast, i.e. do not degrade the performance of the lens.
In more detail and in comparison with other lenses (RO500-1, Jupiter-9), you can evaluate the optical characteristics of Pancolar 80 / 1.8 by reading the article: http://lens-club.ru/reviews/item/c_55.html.
As expected by Zeiss, the lens forms a high-quality image with an open aperture - sharpness is more than enough with F / 1.8. Of the aberrations, one can note a small residual software, a high level of chromatism (fringing — bright purple and green halos in the defocus zone) —and Pancolar 80 / 1.8 fringing is rather poorly cleaned in the editors — because the red part of the spectrum is affected. Let's say for RO500-1 all the prefocal chromatism was in the blue-violet region and there were no problems with its destruction. Closer to the edges of the frame you can see a coma. The lens has vignetting, which will appear in full frame.
Contrast is excellent under normal conditions, but in the backlight, the lens catches a variety of rabbits, rainbows, "sunny rain" and, if the aperture is closed, then also a gray filling veil that kills the contrast. Sometimes a large, lentil-shaped rainbow gets in the way.
In terms of art, the lens is very good. It has a typical Planar bokeh: circles of blur at the edges turn into limonchiki. The distribution of brightness in the circle of the out-of-focus is quite uniform, but there is a bright edging, because of which the bokeh sometimes turns out to be rather colorful. With F / 2.8, nuts are observed in the bokeh. The color rendering of the Pancolar 80 / 1.8 is correct, the colors are juicy and bright.
From the point of view of optics, Pankolar turned out to be a rather peculiar lens. The advantages include excellent work under normal conditions and a beautiful picture, and the disadvantages are strong and “uncomfortable” chromatism, a sharp drop in contrast in the backlight with the appearance of numerous artifacts.
Sony A7s full-frame camera examples:
Pancolar 80 / 1.8 is one of the best Carl Zeiss Jena lenses. Very rare, which is why prices in the secondary market are high. Lightweight and compact, has high optical and mechanical quality, has a typical planar pattern. However, the lens has a number of very significant drawbacks, which, given the price, make it far from the most attractive manual 85/2 class lens.
You will find more reviews from readers of Radozhiva here.