This week I present the last Takumar lens of my collection. I used to have some more but sold the others – something that I regularly do in order to pay for new gear. 😉
This Takumar 3.5/135 looks like a typical Super-Takumar lens and offers the built and handling quality that each of this series provides. Focus is smooth, the lens feels well constructed and manufactured. You never get the impression that it might let you down.
It’s optical performance is being discussed a lot in all those internet boards and forums. Some say it’s a great lens, others complain about certain flaws. Often a bad bokeh is mentioned. I cannot agree to that. OK, I do have lenses that generate a much smoother bokeh, but the Tak 135 has yet to disappoint me.
This image shows that even with nasty twigs in the ooF areas the lens behaves well. Bokeh highlights, though, could be rendered a bit more pleasant, I’ll grant you that.
Sharpness and contrast are very good – this is kind of characteristic for Takumars.
With a maximum aperture of f/3.5 this 135mm lens is not really fast, but it’s not far away from the widely spread 2.8/135 lenses and the f/3.5 makes this lens a little more affordable. This Takumar is an underrated lens. You can find it for rather little money regularly. Thus it’s a fantasic lens for those who want to start a collection or those who want to try shooting with a 135mm lens, as long as you can cope with the minimum focus distance of 1.5 metres. The M42-screwmount is easily adapted to EOS, Sigma, Pentax or Olympus DSLRs.
After a bad week with bronchitis and conjunctivitis, I now – finally – can add a new lens report to this blog. This time it’s about the Super-Tak 2.8/105.
The second Takumar lens in this blog. Takumars are generally very good. I hardly know bad models and still they are rather affordable, unless you want to buy one of the really rare ones. This 105mm lens is already one of the more expensive lenses and a precious one it is.
It works adapted to an APS-EOS, a fullframe EOS and a Sigma DSLR, thus I can use this lens on all of my digital SLR cameras. Even on my dad’s Fuji S2 Pro it can be used, but you won’t get focus on infinity on a body with Nikon mount. (Well, you can, but then you need to use an adapter with a correction lens.)
One great think about the Takumars is their great built. As long as they are in decent condition they really feel good in your hands. There are different versions of this lens, but in order to find information about these Pentax lens predecessors, I’d recommend the Taunusreiter pages – an excellent source!
This Takumar is a really nice lens. It’s sharp and can resolve some fine details. There is no distortion visible and vignetting is very low even wide open. The bokeh it produces is velvety, but can get a little grumpy with complicated structures such as twigs and branches in the out-of-focus areas. And it neither is the best lens to render those smoothly shaped bokeh highlights, the Tak 105 clearly shows a ring. It is, however, much better than most other lenses. Colour rendition is very pleasant and neutral. If f/2.8 is fast enough for you, there is not much left to be wanted.
Here are some shots, taken with the EOS 5D:
And some images taken with the Sigma SD10:
And finally some taken with the EOS 300D:
The Asahi Super-Takumar 1.4/50 is one of the classic lenses that finds its way into many bags and cabites of lens collectors or freaks. It has a certain reputation of being extremely sharp and rendering a nice bokeh.
Well, one thing is true for sure: it is very well built and feels great when used. And yes, even wide open it is one of the sharpest 1.4/50 lenses I know (and I know several). Although my copy is not in best condition and shows some tiny scratches on the glass elements, it produces very nice images with nice out-of-focus areas.
I used the chance to take some photos with it on my 300D during a lunch break on Monday. I chose the 300D because the rear element of this Takumar protrudes too far to be used on a 5D. The mirror of the 5D would hit the rear part of the lens – something that is not a very nice experience.
Being a f/1.4 lens it can be easily used to generate narrow DoF even on an APS-crop cam. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of this Tak is that it is already sharp at f/1.4, this aperture is not only a marketing gag, it is definitely usable.
Now, look at this 100% crop of the image above:
Honestly, I wouldn’t know what a modern lens could do better here!
So, haptics are great, image quality is fantastic, aren’t there any disadvantages?
Well, this lens is kind of prone to “yellowing”, an effect that makes glass elements turn yellowish, amber coloured. This effect does not have any negative influence on image quality but it might cause the actual “speed” (=how much light arrives at the sensor) to reduce a little. Anyway, if you can find a copy in decent condition, don’t hesitate. Its M42-mount makes it a highly versatile lens. If it only were adaptable to a regular EOS 5D without lens surgery or mirror shaving…