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Bubble bokeh and wonderfully soft portraits — my Trioplan 100/2.8

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

Ever since I first saw a picture taken with a Trioplan 100/2.8 of the German lens manufacturer Meyer-Optik Görlitz for the first time, I wanted a lens like this! 'Bubble bokeh' – so very special, that it gives pictures a distinctive touch. I am a fan of a nice bokeh anyway, those creamy rings that can form in the blurred background of a photo under suitable conditions. Different lenses produce a different type of bokeh and that of the Trioplan 100/2.8 is a very special one. I directly thought that 'bubble bokeh' could go well with my kind of brightly coloured photography 😉.

I quickly found out that the original Trioplan 100/2.8 can be used on my Fuji using an adapter and can be bought all-over the internet, mainly on Ebay. Problem: The offered lenses are very old. Unfortunately there is a risk of damage and fungal infection, which not only can make the lens unusable, but can also be dangerous for the rest of the camera equipment due to the risk of contamination. One of my father's old Pentax lenses, for example, turned out to be so milky that I couldn't use it. In addition, I had bought the wrong adapter, focusing was only possible at close range and not in the far background, missing infinity focus. Well, well, you can of course prevent that by exchanging experiences before buying, but since such a Trioplan 100/2.8 is now traded on the Internet at prices of 400 to 500 euros, the investment with the existing risks was too high for me.

Meyer-Optik Görlitz has kindly developed a new edition of some of their lenses a few years ago, for just as risk-averse photographers as I am, among them the Trioplan 100/2,8! I excitedly checked it up: With a price of 1.600 Euro not affordable for me... For the coming two years I put 'Project Trioplan' on ice and played in the meantime with my Fuji, Lensbaby and other manual lenses.

In February this year then I saw an announcement on the Facebook page of Meyer-Optik Görlitz for their new website. Seems that in the meantime the company had gone bankrupt and had been resold... The new owner seemed to want to make a new start, which also meant that they wanted to get rid of the existing lenses at a third of the former price 😊. My chance! At Meyer-Optik Görlitz itself the lens for Fuji was already sold out, but I still found it for even less than the deal price at a German photo dealer.

Shortly thereafter I got my very own Trioplan 100/2.8 and asked myself if I had not spent too much money and if the photos would maybe not be so special, with a lot of take-outs, plus the effect boring me after a short while. But I can already say: It's fun & games! Having had a few cool times playing with it already. The 'bubble bokeh' is much easier to create than you might think from the instructions included in the box. Open the aperture wide, place an object not too far away in the foreground, choose an interesting, colourful background and focus manually. If the light plays along, that's it!

For me as an outdoorsy person, my main motifs taken with the lens are of course flowers and my dog 😉. But I also quickly found out that the Trioplan is great for wonderfully soft portraits, even pictures without any editing look great! I don't like taking pictures of people normally, but now I wish there would be more people willing to have the Trioplan pointed at them around!

Straight out of camera

In the meantime it was discovered that Meyer-Optik Görlitz cheated big time... Their alleged Nocturnus 50mm f/0.95 turned out to be a converted Chinese Mitakon lens... Who knows, maybe my Trioplan comes from China as well, but anyway, I like it very much and look forward to taking more photos as soon as the weather gets better (hopefully!).

My absolute bubble bokeh hero is Thomas Jahn, by the way. See here an article from him about the use of the Trioplan 100/2.8 including a comparison of the old and the new version. Apart from that it is definitely worthwhile to have a look at his other work, too.

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