The Meyer Optik Gorlitz Biotar 58mm f/1.5 II Revives a 1930s Lens Design

Biotar 58mm

Meyer Optik Görlitz has announced the Biotar 58mm f/1.5 II, a new edition of a lens that was originally released in the 1930s, was made available for 25 years, and was the longest and best-selling Biotar lens ever.

Meyer Optik Görlitz is a German manufacturer of camera lenses that was founded originally in 1896, though its more recent history has been a bit rocky: it has been disgraced, purchased, and reborn all in the last decade. The company, which was spun off, liquidated, and then resold in between 1990 and 2014, failed to deliver on a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. But in August of 2021, the company reformed as an independent brand and in its own words, became “a real company again.”.

Meyer Optik Görlitz says that this new version of the lens continues on in that tradition and delivers the same charm and imaging characteristics of the original but has been updated for modern cameras. Meyer Optik Görlitz says that it has been significantly improved in terms of light intensity, sharpness, and contrast without removing the characteristics of the original that were so highly sought after nearly a century ago.

The original lens from the 1930s was fast, but the new lens is faster. The first Biotar 58mm was an f/2, but Meyer Optik Görlitz says that after redesigning the optics it was able to increase that to f/1.5, making it the fastest Biotar ever made and the fatest lens in the company’s lineup.

“Biotars have always been appreciated for their wonderful bokeh options, a creamy image look, particularly harmonious focus gradients, and good sharpness performance. In the out-of-focus area, with the right setting, a swirl of light circles can be created (also called ‘Swirly-Bokeh’), which particularly emphasizes the focused main subject,” the company explains.

“The captured light points near the center of the image appear circular and take on a more elliptical shape toward the edge of the image (also called ‘cat eyes’). The Biotar 58mm f/1.5 II is already characterized by high image sharpness at open aperture and at the same time delivers the beautiful effects in the out-of-focus area of the image.”

At the same time, Meyer Optik Görlitz says the Biotar 58mm f/1.5 II performs well in challenging lighting situations and images display little to no color fringing even when subjects are strongly backlit. The company adds that it works well in low light thanks to its fast aperture. Taken together, the lens is touted as ideal for a variety of photo and video applications.

The Biotar 58mm f/1.5 II uses a 14-bladed silent and stepless aperture system, features a 52mm filter diameter, and has a minimum focusing distance of 0.7 meters (about 28 inches). The company has not disclosed the optical construction of the lens.

Below are a few sample images taken with the lens, provided by Meyer Optik Görlitz:

Biotar 58mm f/1.5 II

Biotar 58mm f/1.5 II

Biotar 58mm f/1.5 II

Biotar 58mm f/1.5 II

Biotar 58mm f/1.5 II

The new Meyer Optik Görlitz Biotar 58mm f/1.5 II is available directly from the company for €1,199 (about $1193) and 11 camera mount options.