Speaking of Pentax lenses...

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by 2bits, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. 2bits

    2bits Subscriber

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    I just got a nice Pentax 55mm 1.8 Asahi Takumar M42 from a guy, who had it laying around since his venture to digital. The lens appears sharp and crisp, all functions are fine. I will be testing it on my Spotmatic. Any opinions on this lens? I am not at all familiar w/ it. Sure seems nice! Has a very long focus range.
    Any info or insight much appreciated,
    2bits
     
  2. toro_mike

    toro_mike Subscriber

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  3. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I have a 55mm f/1.8 M42 Super-Takumar which I love.
     
  4. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I have the same lens, bought it in 1967, very sharp, great color, I still use for both film and digital, K5 and Sigma SD 9 and 15. Of all the normal lens I have the only lens that I tested to be sharper is the Konica 55 1.4, it tested out as sharper than my Pentax K 50 2.0.
     
  5. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    The 55mm was made for years with tweaks, the final version being the SMC Pentax one with a K mount which was sold with the K series bodies (KM/KX/K2).

    The f1.8 and f2 versions are optically identical - Pentax merely added a baffle to reduce the maximum aperture on the f2. They're now pretty sought-after as portrait lenses for digital use and obviously by those who collect and use vintage film gear. The K 55mm f2 was only sold with the K1000 and then only for a year or so, the f1.8 version lasted 1975-77 with the rest of the K lenses.

    Pentax abandoned the 55mm focal length when the M series came out in the late '70s, the lens was replaced by the M 50mm f1.7. The 50mm f2 was a slightly later addition intended to provide a cheaper kit lens, and while it's no embarrassment the f1.7 version is better.

    The link to the Pentax lens database above covers the M42 versions, they also have pages for the f2 and f2.2 versions. If you look under "K series primes" you'll find the K versions.
     
  6. 2bits

    2bits Subscriber

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    Thanks for all the info everyone. I plan on putting that lens to good use. I was surprised that it has a little radiation content. But so does another lens I have. I guess when they are that good they are hot!
    2bits
     
  7. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    I don't think the f/1.8 lenses used thorium oxide, only the f/1.4 (and a few others).
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    It's a wonderful lens. With all my Pentax lenses it's never the lenses that disappoint - only my abilities.
     
  9. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    Those screw thread Super-Takumar lenseswere some of the best lenses I've ever used. They easily outclass some current AF lenses in my opinion. The 35mm 3.5 and 105mm 2.8 were superb performers, and beautifully made...no cheap plastics then!
     
  10. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    In those days, 60 and mid 70s Pentax, Nikon, konica Canon and the other folks did not make consumer grade lens, the only differnace was speed. Build quaility of a Pentax Tak 135 3.5 was good as the the 2.0. I think the late 70s and 80 saw the concept of a consumer grade lens, Nikon E and Konica Hexar comes to mind.
     
  11. 2bits

    2bits Subscriber

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    rolleiman the 35mm is next on my list to get!
    PDH, I have to agree w/you regarding the consumer grade lenses. For me, the late 60's and early 70's were a great time for good quality lenses.
     
  12. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    I had an early screwmount version and I remember how stunned I was when I examined the first roll I shot with it.
    Very sharp. Excellent small piece of glass thats for sure.
     
  13. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    Pentax essentially carried on the SMC Takumars as the first K lenses - just with the new mount and aperture coupling. I have several of these including two rarities - the 100mm f4 macro and 120mm f2.8 which I adore. It's a much better focal length than 135mm as you can shoot at 1/125 with no shake providing you have reasonably steady hands, add the f2.8 part and you have a superb lens for grim winter days without needing particularly fast film.

    I also have the 28mm f3.5, 55mm f1.8, 50mm f1.4, 135mm f3.5 and 200mm f4. And a few oddments like an 85-210mm f4.5 which needs professional attention for a mould spot and a 28-50mm I stripped, cleaned and rebuilt from a similar state. Most recent find was a helicoid extension tube which is an incredibly handy bit of kit - it gives you an infinitely variable length extension tube between 26mm and 46mm.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2012
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  15. Phalbert

    Phalbert Member

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    Hi PDH, There doesn't seem to be a Konica 55 F1,4; but 50, 52 or 57. (there's the 55 macro) I'd be interested to know which one you mean. According to the web, the 50 F1,7 seems to be sharpest. Thx a lot.
     
  16. kbrede

    kbrede Member

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    Don't forget the Pentax DA * 55mm f1.4. Although not many here would have use for that one. :wink:
     
  17. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    There was a 52/1.4 in the earlier Konica F mount. The 57/1.4 in AR mount is a six element lens. The later 50/1.4 Hexanon lenses have seven elements. The first version was made by Konica and goes down to f/16. The second version had elements made by Konica and a barrel/aperture mechanism made by Tokina. It goes down to f/22. I agree that the 55/1.8 Takumars (Super, S-M-C-T and SMC) are excellent.
     
  18. jochen

    jochen Member

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    Hello,
    the focus length which is engraved on a lens is not necessarily an exact value. There are tolerances of up to plus/minus 10% of the nominal length. Many Leitz 50 mm M-Summicrons have for example a focus length of about 52 mm, I think all were above 50 mm and none under. With SLR's there was the problem to get enough space for the return mirror. Many old f/1.4 standard lenses had 8 lenses (see first Super Takumar 1.4/50 type) and with exactly 50 mm the lens was too deep in the mirror box. Therefore the designers choose 55 or 58 mm. These were the years, a 28 mm lens was called a super wide angle. Lateron new glass types and the growing use of computers led to more sophisticated lens constructions. Maybe even such things as import taxes for imported lenses with a certain focal length had an influence in certain countries like the U.S.
     
  19. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    I have an assortment of Pentax/Takumar lenses in 42mm and K-mount and for my purposes they are all excellent. Apart from the optical aspects, the mechanics of the feel of the focussing mechanism and aperture ring are (or should be) silky smooth. Not so the later K-mount Pentax-A lenses, where the mechanical build quality seems rather crude by comparison. My only reservation with the earlier lenses is that I find that the angle of view between 50mm and 55mm often has a greater effect for my subject matter than I'd expect and I always prefer the slightly wider angle of the 50mm variants for my purposes. I recall the days of my old Zenit E when I would go out with its 58mm Helios lens and was forever irritated by having to get further away from my subject (not that that mattered, as I'd often forget to use the manual stop-down ring and the shot would be wasted anyway!)
    Steve
     
  20. Photo-gear

    Photo-gear Member

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  21. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    A good friend uses screwmount Pentax lenses exclusively, when one looks at his prints it's easy to see why.:smile:
     
  22. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    In my experience the K and M lenses are every bit as sweet to use as a good screwmount Takumar. The A series lenses however aren't as nice to use in manual mode as they generally have a plastic aperture ring which makes them difficult to operate precisely - it's very easy to turn it three stops when you only wanted one.

    I have the A 50/1.7 and 200/4 but tend to use my K 50/1.4 and K 200/4 instead. The only auto mode I use is Av, and all K mount lenses will do that on the right bodies.

    The DA* 55mm might cover full frame but thanks to using SDM it'd be manual focus only on film bodies able to control the aperture (these lenses lack an aperture ring). I've seen people get good results with the DA40 and DA35/2.4 on film, which seem to be derived from the M 40 and FA 35.
     
  23. 2bits

    2bits Subscriber

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    In response to Photo-gear. Interesting article on the lenses with thorium. I saw where kodak was one of the biggest users of it. I guess my 50's Brownies didnt get such treatment. They could have been
    "Super Brownie", hottest lens on the market! Oh well...
    2bits
     
  24. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    For those not familiar with Pentax, the K series lenses, called SMC Pentax, are the same as the screwmount Takumars except for having the K-mount. The much newer lenses called Takumar Bayonet are NOT the same, and are a disgrace to the Takumar name, IMO.


    Yet even so, I've found them nicer than several other makes' plastic aperture rings. With the A series I think Pentax did one of the better jobs with the whole plastic lens parts thing. They retained some metal where it mattered most.
    [/QUOTE]
     
  25. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    The Takumar Bayonets are a bit of a mixed bag. The 28mm f2.8 isn't bad, mostly as it's the same as the later Pentax-M 28/2.8 but with different coatings. My experience is that it's reasonably sharp but the colours are a bit muted. If you see one cheaply then it isn't a waste of money.

    The 135mm f2.8 and 70-200mm f4 seem to have reasonable reports too. Thing is though, with prices not that different to far better lenses they're only worth bothering with for collectors. The 28-80mm Pentax-A/Takumar-A has to be the low point of their production for that era, my copy is the only two touch zoom I've ever found which extends on its own if you point it downwards and feels like it'll fall apart at any moment!
     
  26. 2bits

    2bits Subscriber

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    Personally I will stick with the old lenses, which is what my original post was pertaining to.