The Pentacon Auto 50mm f1.8 MC is the standard lens that comes with many of the late model L-series M42 mount Praktica SLRs. This particular model is the last of its own line before a slightly revised version in the newer B bayonet mount was released.
Although VEB Pentacon (name of the Praktica SLRs’ manufacturer) was one of the largest camera manufacturers in Europe, to the best of my knowledge, they had never made their own lenses. Most of their lenses were made either by Carl Zeiss Jena (East German “portion” of the original pre-war Carl Zeiss AG) or Hugo Meyer, two of optics gains in Europe at that time. The first version of the Pentacon 50mm f1.8 is named Meyer Oreston 50mm f1.8 without any indication of relating itself to the VEB Pentacon company. While “Meyer” is the name of the lens manufacturer Hugo Meyer, “Oreston” is a 6 elements/4 groups trademark lens design like the “Tessar” and the “Sonnar” from Carl Zeiss. As far as I know, all versions of the Pentacon 50mm f1.8 have automatic diaphragm with one of them fitted with electrical components to provide full-aperture metering when used on the Praktica LLC (and its variants). After some time, Hugo Meyer was acquired by VEB Pentacon and the second version of the lens started bearing the name “Pentacon”. The last version (the one in the photo above) has rubber skin over the focusing ring and its glasses are multi-coated for better optical performance.
The Pentacon Auto 50mm f1.8 MC, like many of the lenses produced in the same era across the globe, is durably constructed in metal. Beside being also optically sound, this lens stands out with its exceptional close focus capability. While many of the 50mm standard lens have their closest focus distance at 0.45m or even just 0.6m, the Pentacon 50mm f1.8 can focus all the way down to 0.33m, saving the user a low power close-up filter. Optically, as I said before, it is a very sharp lens as shown in sample photo below, taken with Kodak BW400CN.
Where is the serial number?
At first, I thought the serial number of the lens might just follow the serial number of the body because I could not find it on the lens. Later, I found out that the serial number is actually hiding beneath the focusing ring and is only visible when the lens is turned away from infinity to certain distance (see photo above). To me, discovering thee serial number of this lens is an interesting experience.
About My Pentacon Auto 50mm f1.8 MC…
This is the lens that comes with my Praktica MTL5. As I said above, it is nicely constructed and optically great. The only complaint I do not have the original lens cap with the brand name on it.