Would the Pentax 135 2.5 Make a Good Portrait/Long Lens?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by momus, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. momus

    momus Subscriber

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    I've had a run of bad luck trying to find a really good (and budget priced) portrait/long lens. Three Leica R 90 2.8 Elmarits had to go back to the sellers due to haze and fungus. Focal Point wants a fortune to clean these things (although I'm sure it's worth it, as John knows what he's doing).

    I then tried the Canon FD S.C. 135 2.5 and an R 100 2. Both are outstanding, and the 135 is truly a great lens for so little money, but I really don't like FD mount cameras. The F-1 is too big and heavy, and the A series cameras feel and are cheesy. The two AE-1 P cameras I bought were squealers too. Having a top shutter speed of only 1/1000 is also an issue, and the F-1's 1/2000 alleged speed is mitigated by age, as it really tests out at 1/1000. No shooting wide open in the sun w/ my Tri-X.

    The last lens I tried was a Nikon non A.I. (ai'd) 85 1.8 lens. Oh, it's sharp and the build quality is superb, but it's pretty soft at 1.8. That's no big deal as it's fine at 2.8, but I am not impressed w/ the bokeh and IQ. There were shots that had some very unattractive hexagonal highlights. I guess many years of shooting Leica R glass has spoiled me. I want smooth, and no weird stuff in the background.

    Having lost a bundle on ship back fees on the Leicas, I'm done w/ them. I'm currently thinking of one of those Rokinon/Bower/Vivitar 85 1.4 lenses, or a Pentax 135 2.5 in m42 mount, which will fit my Nikon w/ a cheap adapter (stop down mode). The Nikon is the smarter way to go. $20 got me a N8008s w/ spot metering and 1/8000 top shutter speed. Deal of the year if you ask me. So, is there a LOT of difference between the various versions of the Pentax 135 2.5 lenses? Everyone says to get the SMC version, but the prices are considerably different.
     
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  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    You might try the T90. To me it feels much better than expected due to ist size and weight.
    But, chosing a camera has a lot to do with affinity (often overlooked in postings advising a certain model). You should have the feeling "That's it".
     
  3. jochen

    jochen Member

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    a M 42 lens can only be used on a Nikon with an adapter with a lens in it because of the shorter register of M 42 and this reduces the image quality. Otherwise the latest SMC version of the 2,5/135 (this latest version is said to be the best of the 135 mm Pentax M 42 lenses) is a quite heavy but superb lens, sharp to the edges even wide open and very well built, smooth focussing. It uses a rather unusual 58 mm filter thread and you should look for the original lens hood. It is not so often offered and the price is rather high. Very often you will find the ubiquitious 3,5/135 for small money, a very good lens too with 49 mm filter thread.
     
  4. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    I can't comment much on the Pentax 135/2.5 (except that I'd also like to know if it's any good).
    If you don't like FD cameras, how do you feel about EF cameras? I love my EF 85/1.8 and 100/2.0, both great. Or if you've already got the FD lenses, you can always put an EdMika adapter (I use my FL55/1.2 on my EOS 3 up to 1/8000s no problems).
     
  5. blockend

    blockend Member

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    135s make fine portrait lenses, so long as you have the space to operate one. Most studios are a bit cramped for that focal length at anything wider than head and shoulders, so 80 to 105 dominate. The 135 focal length also suffers from popularity scorn, as it, along with 28mm, was the first lens to be bought after the 50mm, as it's a relatively simple design and therefore inexpensive, again relatively speaking.

    Not sure how the Nikon N8008s is any less cheesy than an A-series Canon (I have both, as well as 135 lenses for each) but feel is everything. I agree the T90 may be the answer, so long as weight isn't a factor.
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The Tamron Adaptall 135mm f2.5 is a superb lens with the advantage that it'll fit most older cameras with the relevany Tamron mount, they are worth looking for.

    Ian
     
  7. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    The SMC Takumar 135mm 2.5 is a very good lenses in any of the 2 versions made. Half way through production the optical cell was changed and results in a more crisp lens f2.5.
    I urge you to use the cameras for which lenses were made for. This modern mentality of using adapters for everything is a bad attitude.
    I'll suggest a Pentax Spotmatic F with the SMC Takumar lenses. That camera allows full aperture metering with said lenses.
     
  8. momus

    momus Subscriber

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    I forgot about the need for a lensed adapter w/ the M42 on a Nikon. Thanks for the heads up jochen. That won't do. I got confused because I used to shoot Nikon and M42 lenses on FD cameras, and mixed that up w/ the Nikons.

    I thought about the T90 actually, but it's a very old, all electronic camera, and I don't trust one. The Nikon N8008s cameras (and the N90s) seem to be indestructible, so I'd better get a lens for that. It's a shame, as the FD glass is just wonderful. Sharp but not harsh, w/ great, smooth bokeh, especially the R 100 2. The FD 85 1.8 is a killer too. Too bad they don't adapt to other film cameras. I am pretty amazed at all the glowing reviews I've read on the early non ai Nikon 85 1.8 lenses, because my sample has very harsh IQ stopped down, and far too many little hexagonal highlights wide open. But, we all see things differently. I'm going to go w/ either another 90 R Elmarit (real glutton for punishment, but when they're clean they're perfect) or one of those Bower/Rokinon 85 1.4 lenses.

    Thanks for your 2 cents on adapters Ricardo, but I strongly disagree. I have been shooting Leica lenses on Nikons for ages, and they are a superb combination. No loss of image quality, the Nikons are 10x better than the R cameras (heavy, clunky beasts), and stop down metering is a breeze, especially w/ an AE camera. To each his own, that's my motto. If we all saw things the same way, we'd all drive the same car and marry the same gals. Shudder.
     
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  9. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Or the same boys! :wink:
    BTW, the 135mm F2.5 is perfect for portrait. That's what I used mine for.
     
  10. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    If you're looking for a really good, not expensive, portrait lens, with excellent image quality (including bokeh), to use on a Nikon...

    why not get the legendary Nikkor 105mm f/2.5?
     
  11. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Indeed. Hard to improve upon... either version.
     
  12. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    How does one get hexagonal highlights wide open?
     
  13. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Hexagonal lens elements. I want one...:laugh:
     
  14. blockend

    blockend Member

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    A number of pros used the Russian Helios 85 on their Nikons back in the 70s. One stop down it hit the right mix of soft and sharp.
     
  15. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    I've got the aperture-less Cyclop which has the same glass, makes for good portraits. There's a decent review here. They were going for up to $6-700 a few months ago, but the factory has just started up production again, you can get them for $4-500 brand new.
     
  16. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Its only vice is a tendency for the shutter to stick if left in storage for extended periods, but that can be eliminated by an occasional burst on the motordrive. Apart from that, the T90 is a solid piece of design. It has three coreless motors instead of the usual one and great metering modes. At the price they sell for the T90 is a steal, and the most advanced FD platform outside a mirrorless digital camera. I bought a mint example and paid for a CLA last year for under £100.
     
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  17. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    The lens is cursed. It had a hex put on it.
     
  18. Zathras

    Zathras Member

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    I think that the 135 ƒ2.5 SMC Takumar is a beautiful portrait lens. Bought one for a good price on Ebay a few years ago and was pleasantly surprised that it had a WORKING black Spotmatic SP body attached to it when I got it. Thinking that the seller made a mistake, I contacted him and he told me that it was part of the deal, but he forgot to mention it in the listing. I still have that Spottie, she's been very good to me.
     
  19. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    If the Nikkor 85mm f1.8 lens isn't a good enough portrait lens for him, this man must be a hell of a portrait photographer.
     
  20. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    I don't like using 135s for portraits unless they have reasonably close focusing. Some 135s with close focusing include the 135/3.2 Konica Hexanon, 135/2.3 Vivitar Series 1, the already mentioned Tamron (all of these lenses focus down to about 3 feet), the Promaster 135/2.8 which reaches 1:5 and the Vivitar 135/2.8 Close Focusing which reaches 1:2. The last one must be my favorite 135 for its versatility and good image quality. The Canon 135/2.5 FD and 135/2.8 Nikkors (Q, QC, 'K') are very nice lenses but they do not get very close. The same is true of the 135/2.5 Super Takumar and SMCT and the 135/2.5 Konica Hexanon. There is no shortage of good 135s. Another favorite 135 of mine is the f/2.5 Canon FL. I still don't like it for portraits but for everything else it's very good. I have many lenses in the 85-105mm range, both macro and general purpose. These include the Canon 85/1.8 FL and New FD, Canon 100/3.5 FL, Canon 100/2.8 FD, Canon 100/2.8 FD SSC, Canon 100/2.8 New FD, Konica Hexanon 100/2.8 and 85/1.8, 85/2 AI Nikkor, 105/2.5 Nikkor (various versions), 105/2.8 Super Takumar, 100/2.5 Minolta Rokkor (various versions), 100/3.5 Minolta MC Rokkor and others. All of these lenses are capable of excellent portrait results if they are used carefully.
    On a recent vacation I used a 35-105/4.5-4.5 Canon New FD at the 105 end for some nice portraits.

    Nikon gradually changed its lenses over from five blade and six blade apertures to seven. Some had nine. My 45/2.8 GN Nikkor has nine blades. You will only get out of focus hexagons in the highlights from the earlier lenses.