Steve Cushing Impresionist Fine Art Photography

Steve Cushing Impresionist Fine Art Photography

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

Pentagon AV 80 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.

But 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 80mm f2.8 is projection lens for 35mm Slide Projector. If you like bubbles for Bokeh you want this lens. Unless of course you have money to burn in which case buy the Meyer-Optik Görlitz Trioplan 100 mm f/ 2.8 for a few thousand dollars on eBay. OK this version is plastic (apart from the glass) and you have to fix it to a mount (I just glued an 42mm Chinese step up ring to it, total cost with the lens 30 Euros.)

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.

No filter mount, no aperture and no helicoid. It was used in 35mm slide projectors with 42,5mm mount. Its optical design is Cooke Triplet and the Bokeh similar to the Trioplan 100mm f2.8, but with smaller bubbles. If you want big bubbles get the Pentacon AV 100. I prefer the smaller focal length of this one, but have both.

Its predecessor was the Diaplan 80mm f2.8 AV but then you don't get the same bubble bokeh.

Lens In Use

  • Optical design: 3 glass elements in 3 Groups (Cooke Triplet) made by the same company as the expensive Meyer-Optik Görlitz Trioplan 100 mm f/ 2.8.
  • No filter mount.
  • No aperture - but who wants one when you want the bubbles. Any aperture will change the shape and clarity of these so wide open is the only way to shoot with a Cooke Triplet!
  • 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 bubble bokeh 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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