The second of my four part series is about a 35mm lens, slightly wide it has a wonderful range of applications, quite fast for lower light, wide enough for an everyday lens but not too wide to be specialist.
The Flektogon was the first wide angle lens of its kind with short focal length and long back focal length. This remarkable stunt allows me to focus from (and I am not joking) 0.18 of a meter, to infinity!
Sadly, I don’t have any pictures quite that close, but my most liked image goes some way to demonstrate how close you can get to a subject.
Production began in 1950 by Carl Zeiss Jena (in East Germany) Zeiss optics plant. The first variant was the Flektogon 2.8/35 for 35mm SLRs. This is mine, but mine would have been purchased in the 70’s.
- Focal Length: 35mm
- Aperture Range: f/2.8 – f/22
- Minimum Focusing Distance: 0.18m (more than close, you can almost touch your subject)
Unlike the Helios, focussing is very easy, you can get tack sharp images with very little effort.
The angle of view allows you to squeeze a lot of people or a landscape in well, but isn’t too wide to start distorting anything or make you feel like you have to stand in front of your subject in order to fill the frame. It’s almost the perfect focal length if you can only take one lens with you.
Having gotten used to an f/1.8 50mm lens, I find the f/2.8 limits what I like to do without a flash, but that’s me being very pedantic.
If I have one criticism of the Flektogon, it has a truly horrible bokeh. The apertures is a five blade configuration, so when it’s stopped down to f/2.8 you can very clearly see distracting pentagons in lit areas, when it’s not that obvious it is still very jarring.
To finish, I have used this lens probably more than any other in my collection purely for its flexibility. I can live with the terrible bokeh for the ability to get right up to my subject and because of its focal length. Is it my favourite? Certainly not, but it is my most useful.