This $3,000 Lens Was Actually Just a Chinese Knockoff

This $3,000 Lens Was Actually Just a Chinese Knockoff

"You get what you pay for," they say. Well, not this time at least.

In October 2018, net SE declared bankruptcy, and with it, the Meyer Optik Görlitz brand it held. Then in December 2018, German-based OPC Optics did a takeover of Meyer Optik and began analyzing the portfolio it had acquired. What they found "shocked" Managing Director of OPC Optics Timo Heinze.

In a press release that outlines the planned developments for the future of Meyer Optik Görlitz under new ownership, it was confirmed that the $3,000 Nocturnus 50mm f/0.95 was actually a modified Chinese-made Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95, which you can get off eBay for less than $800 right now. Heinze said, "As a German manufacturer using the ‘Made in Germany’ quality seal, this is a shameful indictment." Worse yet, the supposedly German-made Somnium 85mm f/1.5 was found to be a modified Russian lens as well. "Their production methods and marketing goes against all our principles," said Heinze on the previous ownership.

Is the damage already done with the Meyer Optik Görlitz name? Do you think the company under new ownership can rise above the previous management's shameful past? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Lead photo by 422737 via Pixabay.

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24 Comments

The photography grift of a generation!

michaeljin's picture

I don't think that anyone is going to trust this brand again regardless of who owns it. It was better left in the grave.

Much like that whole Yashica Y35 debacle. It's a shame when some scumbags pick up these beloved brands and run them into the ground for a quick buck.

Is funny to read the previous review from people claiming the Meyer was so much better and it is totally worth it.

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

Priceless. It's very much like the Payless grift that they ran on IG influencers, Palessi. What people will do for a bit of fame and attention!

Thomas H's picture

They should change the name of the company. How can one prevent to get a knockoff lens at some time in the future.

michaeljin's picture

Presumably, you just avoid buying those models.

Thomas H's picture

But that implies that you will know about the issue at any time in the future, and know about which model exactly was a knockoff. This is not realistic. Sooner or later some collector of exotic lenses will end up with one of these Meyer lenses...

michaeljin's picture

They specified the two models that were copies from the Russians and Chinese. Just don't buy those lenses. Anyone who is a "collector" who can't do a basic Google search deserves to lose their money.

Thomas H's picture

As it seems, we disagree perfectly. Tinted brand has no value, that's my take.

michaeljin's picture

I don't understand. Samsung had phones that exploded in peoples' faces. Ford had cars that burst into flames when they got into crashes. There are plenty of companies that have been tainted by scandals, poor ownership, or released terrible products, etc. and many of them still have value despite these low points. Even Hasselblad at one point was just selling re-badged Sony cameras.

I personally think that this brand ought to remain dead, but there will always be people who see value in it.

Rifki Syahputra's picture

this is a good time to say... "told you so...."

Wolfgang Post's picture

Who said a knock-off has to be cheaper? :)

Simon Patterson's picture

Actually it wasn't a Chinese knock off. It was a German knock off!

Philipp Pley's picture

It's as if we are living in a parallel universe...

A German knock off of a Chinese knock off of a German lens?

Ryan Mense's picture

Let me off this ride!

Simon Patterson's picture

Nah, it was simply a German knock-off of a Chinese lens.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Of course most (if not all) who read the title will assume the Chinese knocked off a lens and sold it under another name, right?

Modified or not, were they any good? I understand claiming it to be original and being a knockoff and all... but were they any good? If they were as good as people claim them to be than just work with that. At the end, for most that would be the most important factor.

David Pavlich's picture

My son has a couple of the 'real' Meyer lenses. The tip off would be the number of elements in the above lens. Meyer lenses have very few elements which is part of their attraction. The first thing I noticed when looking at his lenses are the number of aperture blades. I believe the one I was looking at was a 75mm and it had 14 aperture blades. Makes for a smooth background blur. I believe the 75mm has only 5 elements. It's all metal and very well built.

Too bad they had to tarnish the reputation of the true Meyer lenses.

Adam Ottke's picture

This whole licensing and sublicensing and repurchasing of brand names has gotten quite out of hand. It's so hard for the average consumer to actually know (or even find out if they looked) which brands are actually using that company's historical patents/processes/genius, etc., to create a product and which ones were recently bought by another company, etc., just to be able to lie to people and prey on their assumptions. I can't imagine legislation for all this NOT coming out in the near future. But regardless, most brands don't blatantly and illegally lie the way this one did in claiming German-made, etc., etc... Very sad for the photo community and other small businesses as a whole. Each of these "infractions" just fractures trust in honest brands even more.

Still own that German car that deliberately cheated the emissions test. The trust in German makes of any kind will never be the same for consumers all over the world. Sorry, the trust is so hard to obtain but so easy to loose with such individuals and companies.

B&H has these on sale now for less than half price. Hahaha!
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?ci=17912&fct=fct_brand_name%7cmeye...

Ryan Mense's picture

I don't see them listing the Nocturnus or Somnium there, which are the "fakes." With how open the new management has been, I think it's safe to assume the other lenses are all what they said they were and are probably just clearing house with those price drops.