TAIR 135 2.8, I also like my Pentax M42 SMC 55 1.8.
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Vivitar makes some nice M-42 glass. I have a 135mm f/2.8 and also the Chrome Nose that do very nice photographs
As noted by many others M 42 glass as really gone up in the last couple of years. Just last week I was shooting at the Phoenix Zoo and someone offered me way too much money for my Super Tak 120mm, almost took it but I hate to sell off any part of my kit. Chinon made some nice basic M 42 that does not appear to have gone up all that much as Pentax, 28mm 2.8 35mm 2.8 50mm 1.7 135mm 2.8, Vivitar and Soligiar seem to hit and miss, some were very sharp others not so much. Yashica also make some sharp lens as did Fuji. Fuji line up was very good, I think they made as many M 42s as pentex.
Super Takumar/SMC Takumar 28mm f3.5 - one of the finest 28mm lenses out there on any system.
Super Takumar/SMC Takumar 35mm f3.5, there is an Auto Takumar version but those are harder to use on non-M42 bodies due to the way in which they stop down. Basically they're semi-auto - you pull a lever down to cock the aperture, then when you press the shutter the paddle in the lens mount stops the aperture down, you then have to re-cock it manually. The Super Takumar and later lenses have an instant return diaphragm, so you can set the aperture you want and then use the auto/manual switch to stop down to your preset.
The Super Tak/SMC Tak 55mm lenses are sharp and lovely, don't worry too much about f1.8 or f2 as they're the same lens, the f2 just has a baffle to stop the aperture opening as much. There was an oddball 55mm f1.8 badged as an Auto Takumar but with the instant return diaphragm of the Super Tak, it also has an aperture ring which rotates in the opposite direction to that of later models. It's a bit rare and performs well, so if you see one cheap then go for it. Mine has a 2mm gouge in the front element and still takes perfectly acceptable photos.
SMC Takumar 120mm f2.8 - I have the K version of this and it's brilliant. Relatively tiny with a good reach, you can go down to 1/125 without worrying too much about shake and thanks to the f2.8 part it often allows you to shoot distant subjects in poor light.
CZJ Flektogon 35mm f/2.4 and Takumar 17mm f/4 are the best M42 lenses I ever had.
Edit: forgot to mention CZJ Sonnar 180mm f/2.8. It´s a Pentacon Six lens but there is an adapter to M42. It´s HUGE and HEAVY but delivers fantastic results.
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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.
Last edited by Yashinoff; 11-19-2012 at 11:25 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Anyone familiar with CZJ Flektogon 4/25? Is it bad, ok or good?
This lens dropped into my lap about a year ago, together with six or seven other M42 lenses (including the behemoth Jupiter 6-2 180/2.8). I wanted to get a body to try them out but a) F3 does everything I want, and b) I am lazy.
Here's a notable one: http://bit.ly/Wic239
Super Takumar 85mm f/1.9 is built very well and does it's thing quite well.
SMC Tak 300/4 is a tank and fringes in high contrast situations, but is sharp.
SMC Tak 35/3.5 is tiny and has great IQ
Super Tak 55/1.8 is light, cheap, best sharpness (even on macro tubes past 1:1) of anything I own
Super Tak 50/1.4 is quite good (especially after UV bath) but is 1/3 to 1/2 stop slower than modern glass
Super Tak 200/4 is forgettable
Super/SMC/Auto Tak 135/3.5 is forgettable/reliably good
SMC Tak 28/3.5 is forgettable
Vivitar 28/2.5 is great value (especially the close focus versions) but low contrast
Vivitar 135/2.8 is good and cheap, colors were good
Fuji 55/1.8 is great IQ but funky colors in skin tones
tldr: Experiment, copy variation is prevalent, and trying new stuff is half the fun of the old glass.
It´s a great lens. I had one for a few time and sold it because I got a Contax 25/2.8.