Meyer-Optik Görlitz Lydith 30mm F/3.5 II Review – A Legend From The Past Brought Back To Life
Photographers who enjoy lenses with wider angles or are using a camera with a cropped sensor will love this small, compact, and non-intrusive lens. The Meyer-Optik Görlitz Lydith 30mm 3.5 II has undergone a complete mechanical redesign. Haptics and handling could be improved, and at the same time, the compact construction could be maintained.
The optical improvements support the brilliant sharpness over the entire image, as well as the faithful color reproduction of the photographed subject.
A Bit of History
Founded in Germany and based in Görlitz, Saxony, Meyer-Optik Görlitz can look back on an eventful history since 1896. During this path, the company designed and manufactured exceptional lenses that have been accompanied by photographers for over 120 years.
Designed in the late 1950s and introduced in 1964, this objective remained very popular in 1970-1980 as a wide-angle lens (M42 and Exacta mount) due to the unique contrast and color rendition.
- Mounts: Canon EF, Fuji X, Leica L, Leica M, MFT, Nikon F, Pentax K, Sony E
- Aperture: f3.5 – f16
- Focal length: 30mm
- Optical Design 5 Elements in 5 Groups
- Diaphragm Blades 12
- Focus Type Manual Focus
- Filter Size 52 mm (Front)
- Weight 7.76 oz / 220 g
- Minimum Focus Distance 6.3″ / 16 cm
- Price –$899 – B&H
As with all manual lenses with no electronic contact, there is no transmission of the lens name, the focal length, the aperture, or the focal distance.
The build quality is excellent, the lens is all in metal. Both focusing ring and aperture ring are well dampened allowing for precise and smooth operations with the aperture ring been a little bit less dampened than the focusing ring.
The aperture ring has no stops and is click-less. Might be pretty good for video shooting, but for photography, it is not that good, as the aperture can be easily changed without noticing it.
The optical quality is probably the greatest surprise. It is pretty good. The lens is quite sharp across the whole image area. At f3.5 it is a bit soft in the center, but nothing really to worry about. Stopped down the lens becomes sharp. At f16 it is getting soft again and at f22 it is noticeable soft in the center. In my opinion, the best sharpness performance is at f8 and f11, at these apertures the lens is sharp from corner to corner. Of course, you should shoot under bright conditions to get good results through these apertures.
Emphasis on the foreground at a high depth of field
The Lydith 30 f3.5 II can produce a 3d-like effect. The object focused in the foreground almost jumps out of the watercolor-like bokeh in the background. In combination with its outstanding color reproduction properties, it creates a unique effect that is characteristic of this lens.
Bokeh and vintage look-like
If you invest in this lens, it is mainly to get a special bokeh and a vintage effect.
- Interesting results when choosing the right conditions: subject around 0,5-1,5m and background >1m to get some nice “soap bubbles”.
- The aperture of f3.5 may seem inappropriate to get nice bokeh spheres, but as the minimum focusing distance is very short, it can render those bokeh circles easily by focusing at less than 30cm.
- The color rendering is good with a marked contrast, which is quite rare on such vintage design lenses. It also offers a tint of vintage color rendering
Wider and macro
It might not seem to be too much, but this objective has a bit wider aperture than a regular 35mm, which gives you the opportunity to cover more ground in the shot.
Also, the short focusing distance of 33cm even gives you “macro photography” capabilities.
As stated before, this lens gathers all the characteristics to be used for landscape and street photography. Also, it performs correctly for portraitures and macro.
The Lydith 30mm f3.5 II is capable of producing beautiful images of very different styles, all sharp, very contrasty, and with a characteristic color signature. It is also small and light, which suits very well as a compact set-up for doing street photography.
Things That Could Be Better
The main disadvantage is its’ slowness of f3.5, making it unsuitable in most cases for indoor photography or under low-light situations.
Flair during daylight is not visible, but for night shots it can be a problem. Especially when the light sources are pointing directly to the lens. However, once you are aware of it, it is easy to control and avoid.
This is what some users say about the bare new Lydith 30mm f3.5 II from Meyer-Optik Görlitz:
“I first heard about Meyer Optik when looking for old glass with some specialty to it, like the bubbly-bokeh of the Trioplan. The Trioplan is well-known for its bubbly bokeh, but not so much for its sharpness. I read on, going through reports about the different lenses Meyer Optik produced over time, for the film area – and there was this lens called Lydith which offered some decent sharpness at a focal length I really like, and at a max. aperture that is interesting for me: 30mm, F3.5, closest distance to objects: 15 centimeters… and the best: there’s a new edition out this year, completely rebuilt, German-made with quality glass to
30mm is a bit wider than what is supposed to be the traditional focal length for reports and street, but all in all, I really like that focal length for shooting street, nature and also portraits.
In case you want to have something else than just clinical sharpness and perfectly rendered colors which modern lenses offer – Lydith is for you. Sharpness is impressive, even shot wide open. Colors render beautifully, the bokeh is unique and makes the picture look special. For me, the Lydith has come to stay.” – Florian Dehn
“I love to shoot with manual lenses on digital cameras to get a very special, old fashioned look. So personally, I use the Nikon D850 with some Meyer Optik and Zeiss lenses. I love the Lydith 30mm II because of its straight new modern and compact design, but at the same time having this dreamy, a bit surreal characteristic of my looking through its lenses. On the one side you have extreme sharpness in the focus but on the edges a beautiful softness. I don’t know any other lens which can produce a similar result” – Benedikt Ernst
It is fair to say that most lenses with a vintage design show poor performance in terms of sharpness and contrast. This is not the case for the Lydith 30mm f3.5 II.
This objective assembles excellent sharpness, very good contrast, saturated colors, soap bubble bokeh, and a short minimum focusing distance.
It is highly recommended to photographers who are seeking a vintage look with an artistic trace.
Check Pricing & Availability Here
$899 – B&H