[Lens Review] Auto Makinon 28mm f2.8 M42 Mount

MARCH 29, 2022
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[Lens Review] Auto Makinon 28mm f2.8 M42 Mount

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.

Image Quality

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.

Final Verdict

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.

More Samples (digital)

More Samples (film)

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About the Author

Jerfareza Daviano | Photographer in Sendai, Japan
Jerfareza Daviano

Jerfareza is a freelance photographer from Indonesia currently based in Sendai, Japan, offering wide range of photography service especially profile portraits, couple or family photos, and wedding photography. Should you wish to hire him you can check here for more details.

Visit his website for articles about travel in Japan especially Tohoku area and interesting bits about photography.

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