Steve Cushing Impresionist Fine Art Photography

Steve Cushing Impresionist Fine Art Photography

Embracing imperfection, recording emotions, one impression at a time…

Pentagon AV 100 f2.8

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The Lens details of a series of images taken by Steve Cushing on mirrorless camera.

Fitting has no mount and has a 42mm Flange Distance - this lens will fit and achieve focus to infinity mirrorless cameras even on DSLRs.


Soviet lenses have a strange background in comparison with their German and Japanese counterparts. Some optical designs, such as the Helios 44 are direct copies of the Biotar and Flektogon series made my Carl Zeiss. The Jupiter 11-A has the Sonnar design. However, what makes them stand apart is that even if they are copies they still have a unique image rendering.

The names of the Soviet lenses often featured cosmic themes rather than optical design names such as Jupiter, Vega, Helios, Tair. In the Soviet era, everything that is connected with space was a trend. And they called the cosmic names of not only for their lenses, but other items such the tape player "Vega" motorbikes "Jupiter," and so many more products. Soviet lenses can be divided in two ways. Sometimes the name states the optical design (Helios, Industar, etc), The second way to clarify them is the brand of the manufacturer (Arsat, Zenitar, BelOMO).

The first way implies that the name of the lens attached specific optical design. This logic is likely to have been borrowed from the German company Carl Zeiss. Historically, after the WWII the Soviet Union brought the reparations of the optical factories from Germany, with raw materials and blanks, and also received the right to use certain optical designs, it is mostly the firm Zeiss.

Krasnogorski Mekhanicheskii Zavod (KMZ) – Mechanical Factory of Krasnogorsk was founded in 1942 in Krasnogorsk, a western suburb of Moscow on the base of evacuated optical-mechanical plant No.69, in order to produce optical equipment for the Soviet army. In total, in the period 1942-1945, the plant produced more than 400 thousand various devices for the needs of the Soviet army.

In 1946 the KMZ factory began making cameras, starting with the Moskva folding camera and Zorki which was a copy of the Leica II camera. In 1952, was started the production of Zenit cameras, which later became the most popular SLR cameras in the world. At the very start of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, many people worked in factories and research institutes who lived and studied in pre-revolutionary Russia and quality was high, indeed the first models of cameras and lenses produced at the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant were excellent examples of photo equipment. Unfortunately later the quality became more varied due to stagnation in science and technology within the USSR.

As the companies developed, Soviet designers took Zeiss lenses, produced them with Soviet types of glass and put them into production. So developed legendary Soviet lenses. Some optical designs were also invented by Soviet designers. For example Tair, Telear, Kaleinar etc.

Pentacon is the company name of a camera manufacturer in Dresden, Germany. The name Pentacon was derived from the brand Contax of Zeiss Ikon Kamerawerke in Dresden and Pentagon, as a Pentaprism for Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras was for the first time developed in Dresden. The logo is a cross section of a prism and has a pentagonal shape. Pentacon is best known for producing the SLR cameras of the Praktica-series as well as the medium format camera Pentacon Six, the Pentacon Super and various cameras of the Exa series.

Pentacon also produced slide projectors.

In 1959 several Dresden camera manufacturers, among them VEB Kamerawerke Freital, were joined to create Volkseigener Betrieb Kamera- und Kinowerke Dresden, which was renamed in 1964 to VEB Pentacon Dresden. In 1968, VEB Feinoptisches Werk Görlitz was integrated into VEB Pentacon. Accordingly, the former Meyer-Optik Görlitz lenses were now renamed to ”Pentacon“ .

After German reunification in 1990 Pentacon, as with most East German companies, came to be possessed by the Treuhandanstalt (the federal board concerned with the privatisation of East German companies) and was selected for closure instead of sale. It was deemed that company was grossly inefficient, employing six thousand staff when it could have sufficed with one thousand, and selling its cameras at a loss.

Production of cameras and lenses continues, but is now outsourced to South Korea.

Other parts of the former Pentacon company was sold to Noble and today belong to Kamera Werk Dresden, which, among other products, manufacture panoramic cameras under the Noblex brand, and cameras for industrial use under the Loglux brand.

This Lens

The Pentacon AV 100mm f2.8 is another projection lens for 35mm Slide Projector. It was used in slide projectors with 42,5mm and 52,5mm mounts. Its optical design is the same as the Meyer-Optik Görlitz Trioplan 100 mm f/ 2.8 and also the Bokeh is the same, it was made by the same company as Pentacon own MeyeOptic.

If you are using a trioplan it is for the artistic effect as this lens design is not pixel perfect, indeed sometimes even the focus peaking does not work on my camera when I use a Cooke triplet lens as the image is not short enough. But who cares, this is an Art lens.

Lens In Use

  • Optical design: 3 elements in 3 Groups (Cooke Triplet).
  • No filter mount.
  • No aperture.
  • No helicoid.
  • Plastic barrel.


Shooting with the lens reminds me of shooting with Helioses, since the light is unforgiving. Flare from wrong direction, and your shot is ruined. Little adjustment of positioning, that would make almost no difference with "real" lenses, and the shot is amazing!

The funny thing is I can't create creative images like this even with my expensive native super-sharp canon RF lenses.

Rarely is learning so much fun!

For general information on lens design and lens elements go to the homepage HERE


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Steve Cushing Photography