Review: Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens (Sony E Mount)

The revamped Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens has been around for a little while, and it will mostly appeal to the photographers who like the look of old vintage lenses. Indeed, these lenses have different coatings and construction than many modern optics which are designed to be super sterile and sharp. But older lenses have character that takes those modern ideals and slaps them in the face. Personally, that’s what I prefer. It’s one of the easiest ways to make digital photos look a bit more film-like beyond changing your white balance, but it also gives me a look with portraits that clients and collaborators tend to really enjoy. The Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens is based on the older design but updated for modern cameras.

Crazy enough, despites liking lenses like these, I’m only lukewarm about the Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the focal length and the aperture.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Metal construction
  • Clickless aperture for video
  • That soap-bubble bokeh is dope
  • Smooth rings to turn
  • Nice looks
  • Pretty fun and enjoyable image quality that I feel is best reserved for portraits

Cons

  • I’m personally more of an 85mm type of guy.

Gear Used

We tested the Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens with the Sony a7 and Adorama Flashpoint Zoom Lion flashes.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the product page listing

Ergonomics

The Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens is a pretty long and skinny lens that has some very nice retro-modern good looks. The aperture ring is near the front of the lens while the back of the lens has the focusing scale. Most of the lens is characterized by this smooth texture with only the rings having any sort of gripping power.

Turn to the front of the Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens and what you’ll see is this front element. This is the view without the small lens hood.

As you can see, the only controls on the Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens are the focusing and aperture ring. Additionally there is a depth of field scale, but at 100mm it’s tough to really rely on a scale like this. Considering the lens is so soft, you really need to use focus peaking and magnification.

Build Quality

The Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens is made of all metal. So in that regard it’s built very solid and feels nice in the hands. But it doesn’t boast weather sealing of any sort. In fact, the version I tested has made the rounds and the focusing gears feel a bit grainy at this point. If it were a brand new optic, it would be smooth as butter.

Focusing

The Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens requires the user to manually focus. Because the image quality overall is very soft, you’re best off using the magnification and focus peaking feature on your camera to get the best focusing accuracy. I’d recommend using this lens for more stagnant subjects. I love it for portraiture.

Ease of Use

Photographers who don’t know or understand how to use manual focus lenses and don’t understand how they can be faster than any autofocus on earth may want to stray away. Either way, this is a lens you have to be slow with at times unless you’re just shooting out to infinity like you would with landscapes. You have to be careful but once you learn how depth of field with the lens works you’ll understand how to use it. I didn’t totally trust the depth of field scale because, again, this is a telephoto focal length and at a given aperture the depth of field is so narrow.

Image Quality

The Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens is known for its soap bubble bokeh–which is really nice. But the bokeh otherwise is also pretty good. The image quality from this lens is soft overall, but it makes up for it with pretty standard colors and some pretty funky effects like the lens flare you’re bound to get. It’s a fun lens to work with and surely can be considered a boutique optic.

Bokeh

One of the main drawing points for the Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 is the soap bubble bokeh you’re bound to get. It’s beautiful and unique. Just imagine it for cinema! But with that said, it tends to give your images a very cinematic look.

Chromatic Aberration

I think that if you’re buying the Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 then chromatic aberration will be the least of your issues. It’s going to have lens flare, but there was no color fringing I was able to really see or complain about. So let’s move on past this.

Color Rendition

The colors are, well, standard. In some ways, when I mount it to my Sony a7, the colors look like something akin to the old Kodak sensors made for the Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras back in the day. That isn’t bad, but instead I’d say they’re standard because that CCD was able to create some really gorgeous colors.

Sharpness

This isn’t a sharp lens when shooting in natural light. If you want sharpness then stop the lens down and shoot with it using a flash to get the specular highlights.

Extra Image Samples

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Conclusions

Likes

  • Soapy bokeh

Dislikes

  • I wish it had a faster aperture

The Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens is a great lens, but I feel like it’s limited to only working best for portraits. The biggest selling point is the bokeh. That bokeh is beautiful and the images it produces are really nice. But I’d prefer a lens with more versatility; that’s tough to get because of so many factors. Part of it is the standard coloration and the other part is the fact that it’s such a soft lens it’s difficult to focus with using focus peaking. But when a flash is added to the scene, this lens sings.

Maybe this one particular lens isn’t for me though the Lensbaby 85mm f1.6 Velvet lens is one I’m smitten with. But that has very close focusing, an f1.6 aperture and very unique colors in addition to everything that the Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens does with the exception of the bokeh. Again though, maybe it’s not for me. I’m far more interested in lots of the other lenses they’re making.

The Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens receives three out of five stars.