Bokeh is a topic that often sparks debate and is seen by some as subjective. In a vast sea of endless options for gear, there is nothing that excites me more than a truly special lens with excellent character. Today I'm very excited to share another of my favorite classic lenses being reborn via Oprema Jena, the legendary Biotar 2/58.
Hot on the heels of a recent and wildly successful Kickstarter campaign for the also legendary Biotar 75, the folks over at Oprema Jena are on pace to have a repeat performance and revive another wonderful piece of glass that many younger photographers haven't had the chance to love yet. Using these legendary lenses can offer some incredible looks that aren't regularly seen with today's refinements on element design and for those that are patient enough to work within manual focus, you'll be rewarded with some very impressive bokeh.
These types of classic glass are even easier to use with the features of some of the modern cameras, such as the D850 with it's live view focus peaking and pinch to zoom ability on checking focus. This is something that I feel many overlook, since the peaking is obviously geared towards video. But this feature has a nice little side benefit that further increases the usability and awesomeness of the classics like Oprema Jena has planned to produce.
Modern technology has removed a lot of the characteristics of these classic lenses, as sometimes there were very negative effects mixed in with that awesome character. Oprema Jena has carefully designed both the 75 and 58 Biotar to keep the elements that we all know and love, but to mix in a few modern refinements to give us the best of both worlds.
History of This Legendary Lens Family
Carl Zeiss in Jena, Germany produced the 58mm and 75mm classics which are now in very high demand on the vintage market, and those that have adapted them to work on modern cameras.
They are very highly regarded by those in the know. Oprema Jena Has now written a new chapter in this family's history with the campaign to revive the Biotar 2/58. I have zero doubt this campaign will be a wildly successful as the campaign for the Biotar 75 was, as it easily met the goal and soared past the requirements to make it a reality.
What Makes This Lens Different?
How does the Biotar 58mm f2 keep the awesome character? Part of this awesomeness is a standalone feature not known in any other modern lens on the market today... a remarkable 17-blade aperture which is not done on modern glass due to the torque required to open and close so many blades. Most modern lenses have 10 or fewer blades which aid in quiet and efficient autofocus operation. The Biotar doesn't have to adhere to these requirements, giving it the opportunity to focus on character.
This gives the Biotar a one-of-a-kind background blur that many including myself have long sought after.
How Does This Translate to Real Images
Here are some samples from the Biotar 2/58 that showcase some of it's very unique characteristics.
Although I am not big on pixel peeping and technical data on a lens that is intended to produce character, such as this but here it is for your viewing:
When and How You Get One
The Biotar 58 is expected to be market ready October of 2018 with an expected retail price of $1999, which will keep this lens in the hands of the serious folks. I for one am incredibly excited to get one of these in my hands to compliment the other manual lenses I use in my current work today.
Backers on the Indiegogo event will be the first in line.