Quote Originally Posted by Yashinoff View Post
The Yashinon 2/50 and Mamiya 2/50 are both really great lenses. People usually overlook them for the faster lenses, so they sell for under $20 all the time. The Meyer Orseston/Pentacon 1.8/50 is also a good performer and usually cheap.

I frankly would steer clear of west German lenses, their prices have sky-rocketed as many under-informed buyers assume that all German lenses are wonderful. Some of the worst lenses I've owned have been German, and come from reputable companies like Steinheil et al. The problem is the bad ones sell for prices approaching those of the best. The few m42 lenses made in west Germany that may be worth their prices are the Xenon 1.9/50 and the Icarex Ultron 1.8/50 - both of which are expensive these days, but also among the best normals ever offered in M42.

Mamiya's 28mm lens is excellent, and the CZJ Flektogon 4/20 is also excellent.
Surely you mean East German/DDR lenses? I'm seeing frenzied bidding on anything with "Zeiss" on, even the generic '80s lenses that a UK importer slapped the brand name on (they owned the rights to it in the UK, and applied it to some mediocre lenses which people now seem convinced to be genuine Zeiss).

As the last post states, you can get a good or bad copy of any lens, especially now when you've no idea how they were treated by previous owners. I have the K series (essentially SMC Takumars with a K mount) versions of that 28mm f3.5 and 200mm f4, I rate the 200mm higher than the later M or A series versions. It produced a moon shot a couple of weeks ago which showed plenty of detail after considerable enlarging.

The 28mm in my experience is just a brilliant wide angle lens, very little distortion and not horribly soft wide open. Shoot it around f8 and it's pretty much focus free. My 200mm is minty while the 28mm has a fair bit of paint wear but perfect optics.