Auto Makinon 135mm 2.8

Front view of a lens.
Front view of a lens.
Auto Makinon 135mm 2.8 (generic lens image, forgot to take one)

Focal Lenght: 135mm
Max Apeture: 2.8
Lens Mount: M42
Min. Focus1.4 m
Filter Size: 52mm
Weight: null
Coated: MC

LENS STORY

My home town has one of the last few remaining flea markets in my country. It’s not a well organized spot with stalls and pavement, it’s more of a… I’ll throw a blanked or newspapers on the ground and then throw a ball of cables and a pile of broken stuff there. 

To sum it up: Imagine a beautiful park, the smell of soil and trees. Now put the bits I described above there every Sunday.

Now, don’t take that picture with all the bad – I love the place, there’s a chance you’ll find something weird and unique. Or a cheap lens, or two, or five.

I got this lens on a sunny or rainy day – I don’t particularly remember. I had just read up on older lenses and was excited to get my hands on some for a bargain. Actually, , I’ll be completely honest, it was an impulsive and silly decision – I didn’t even recognize the Minolta MD mount!

If you’re curious on the Makinon brand, let me point you in the right direction: they were a small company that made lenses in Japan. Lenses they sold were rebranded. Vivitar has them as a contractor for a bit, look for their serial (Makina) in the Vivitar lists online.

Condition: Not ideal, mechanically it’s all good. But the glass has a lot of flecks and dust, what appears to be thin tendrils of fungus, between cemented elements which I coudn’t get to.

HANDLING

Aperture : check, good enough

Focus ring: check, it gets the job done , nothing special

build in hood: it has one, it’s a bit shallow, so it’s not very effective

That’s about it, it isn’t anything special or superb, it gets the job done, but that’s about it. On a more positive note it does feel solid with it’s metal construction. 

OPTICAL PERFORMANCE

Wide open and stopped down, it’s like your using two very different lenses.

When shot wide open you get the smooth, not-in-your-face colors, I personally love. Bundled with a lowered contrast, it’s like you’ve slapped on a [insert social media you enjoy] filter. Some vignetting and a sharpness akin to a razor blade you used one too many times. I didn’t like it at first. But with each picture, I grew to appreciate it, and when used to it’s strengths, you can get some really, as they say, dreamy results. 

Stopped down, as expected things improve and by 5.6 to 8 you get a pretty normal experience. Colors get more vivid, contrast gets better and sharpness is a bit more acceptable, although it never gets to a level I’d actually take a second to write a long sentence about.

Flare resistance is mediocre and the hood doesn’t help that much. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall if I were to go back in time, tell myself to think more before buying lenses and do my research, I would miss out on the fun time I had shooting with this lens.

If I were to spot it while browsing lenses today, I’d most likely pass up buying it, but hey, that might just be me being narrow-minded in regards to lenses that don’t have a long and reputable history.