Updated: I have tested this lens on a film camera! See the new photos!
Table of Contents
It’s been a while since my last blog article. I want to review another vintage lens from the M42 mount: the smallish Auto Makinon 28mm f2.8.
A Super Short History Lesson
Makinon-brand lenses were first introduced by Makina Optical Co. Ltd, a small Japanese lens maker, in the 70s. Though the lenses offered were not groundbreaking or remarkable in any way, they were pretty popular due to the impressive build quality and their low price tags.
The 28mm was one of the lens selections offered at the time.
Build and Handling
This is where I would give a high score for Auto Makinon 28mm. It’s solidly built from metal, and it feels comfortable to hold. The extended focus ring gives a pleasant tactile touch while the front element moves outward for a minimum focusing distance of 30 cm.
Though larger than a Takumar lens of the same focal length, it’s still on the smaller side and fits right into your pocket.
Honestly, I was rather disappointed when I used this lens for the first time.
It has all the makings of a ‘weak lens’ of its age: strong vignetting even when stopped down, softness when wide open, plenty of softness at the corners, and so on. It’s just okayish, and it’s not remarkable. Coming from a rather small lens manufacturer, this is not surprising.
But the more I took photos with Auto Makinon 28mm, the more I came to love it for its shortcomings. You must put in extra effort to get the best out of this lens. For instance, you might get great results by stopping down the aperture to f8 and practicing zone focusing.
5/10 (I wanted to give a 6, but the image quality performance hurts a lot).
I would not recommend anyone to own Auto Makinon 28mm as their first foray into vintage lenses. Other 28mm lenses like Pentax Takumar have better performance and are, therefore, more suited for beginners.
However, if you’re an avid vintage lover, especially an M42 mount like me, this lens will suit you just fine. It won’t be my first pick, but there’ll be times when you enjoy taking photos with it and appreciating its solid build for days.