Most reading this review won’t need a new lens. And most probably don’t need a camera more so than we want one. Knowing this, the Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II is the lox on your bagel and cream cheese. It won’t replace a single lens in your camera bag, but will surely give it the spice your photography perhaps lacks.
There has been a trend toward using vintage optics for many years. But in recent times, it’s become more prevalent than in the past. The pandemic and resulting worldwide recession have made us yearn for better times. Thankfully, the Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II can deliver a similar experience. Based on their lens made many moons ago, this lens returns in a modern format. This time around, it reminds us of relatively recent Zeiss glass. You’ll really love this if you were a fan of Zeiss lenses before the Otus, Milvus, Loxia, and Batis lenses came about.
Too Long, Didn’t Read
The Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II is a really satisfying lens that fulfills all the desires of photographers who want a vintage look. Shutterbugs not used to manual focus or vintage aesthetics will definitely want something different. But we’re not so sure about the $899 price tag.
Pros and Cons
- Nice metal build
- Beautiful focus render, though the soap bubble look isn’t as strong with this lens as with longer focal lengths.
- Reminds you of how to shoot in the old school way.
- Gorgeous colors
- Star-shaped lights, when stopped down, are dope.
- I wish it had weather sealing.
- Focus confirmation contacts would make this so much easier.
- Aperture clicks would’ve been appreciated with this lens.
We tested the Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II with the following:
The Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II doesn’t have anything innovative. It’s a modern take on a classical lens put out by Meyer Optik. But where it stands out from Japanese lenses is with a slightly more muted and classical render. However, a few Chinese lenses and German lenses also do this.
The Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II front has a 58mm filter thread. Since this lens isn’t weather-resistant, it’s a good idea to give it a UV protective filter.
The exterior is made of metal and, overall, very well built. The controls on the lens are an aperture ring up front and a focusing ring in the back.
Also, note a depth of field scale with the focusing scale. This will be important for candid photography.
Let’s start with the bad. Unfortunately, the Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II doesn’t have any sort of weather resistance. This is incredibly sad as the company has been around for many years. It’s about time they started to add a few modernizations to their revived optics. While it would translate into the lenses being a bit larger, they’d also last a whole lot longer.
Through and through, though, the Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II has a solid metal exterior. In the hand, this feels very nice. The focusing ring turns with the equivalent silkiness of a brand new tub of fresh hummus. This is an equally tasty experience when shooting. If you’re shooting video, you’ll experience more or less the same thing with the aperture ring. Fellow photographers may be annoyed by the unclicked aperture settings, as I was.
Ease of Use
Neophytes are bound to be perturbed by the gospel the Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II spews. In a world of autofocus, where everything is done for you by a machine, it’s easy to expect this. However, this lens can teach you something about your own skills. Using this lens is entirely divergent from other modern lens options. Thus, you have to be more receptive to what’s happening around you.
In contrast, vintage enthusiasts will adore this experience. Using features like zone focusing, manual aperture clicks, manual focus, and more will feel right at home. This lens is a tactile experience. If all you desire is to get the image, you’ll be sorely missing out here.
Both types of photographers will really appreciate a camera with a pixel-dense viewfinder and a sound focus peaking system.
When the light hits just right, the Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II induces a rush that elevates the heart rate and quickens the breath. It’ll prompt a smile from even the most hardened photographers. That’s because this lens finds a way to get rid of many modern aberrations while balancing a classic reproduction. If anything, I’d liken it to old Zeiss lenses from the 2000s and early 2010s before the Milvus and Otus lines came out. And if that sounds appealing, keep reading.
The Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II is said to have a soap bubble render, according to their website. While nice and smooth, the soap bubble render isn’t as apparent as it is with longer focal lengths. This makes sense; we didn’t see much of it with their 30mm f3.5. It’s very apparent with their 100mm lens, though. Personally speaking, I prefer the more swirly render of their 59mm lens. But again, the look this lens gives is quite pleasant due to its 12 aperture blades.
We used this lens on the Canon EOS R and EOS R5. Each camera has its own custom color profiles loaded on them. Overall, the colors looked first-class. They walk the line between serene and lucid. It does skin tones justice while also making random scenes look picturesque.
If we’re talking about all the traditional lens flaws, then the Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II avoids most of them. We found no color fringing, but there is an undoubtedly lens flare. However, we love lens flare.
The Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II delivers a pretty sharp photo when you stop it down to around f4 or f5.6. Wide-open, it’s still quite sharp while also giving a very delicate look to the colors. I’d go so far as to argue that this lens can be too sharp for portraits, even with the older sensor on the Canon EOS R.
Extra Image Samples
From day one, The Phobographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. They’re not showing what the lens can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.
- Beautiful image quality
- Metal exterior
- Nice bokeh, that’s just a bit different
- No weather resistance
The Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II is a beautiful lens that can surely give you gorgeous photographs. It’s a good option for the vintage enthusiast, someone who wants a different look, or a passionate photographer who just wants a new experience. It won’t replace the lenses in your camera bag, but it will offer a complimentary look most other optics can’t provide. With that said, no one needs this lens. If you’re the type that, metaphorically speaking, doesn’t butter the top of your popcorn, you’ll probably steer away from this lens. But the rest of us will enjoy the creamy bokeh and buttery smooth focusing ring.
The Meyer Optik Trioplan 35mm f2.8 II receives four out of five stars. Want one? Check out Adorama.
Specs are taken from the Adorama website listing:
- Soap-Bubble Bokeh
- Manual Focus
- Metal housing
- 52mm filter diameter
- Made in Germany
- Fixed Focal Length: Focal Length: 35mm
- Lens Type: Wide Angle Lens
- Image Stabilization: Image Stabilization: No
- Special Features: Bokeh Effect
- Filter Size: Focal Length: 52mm