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09-20-2007, 05:16 AM   #1
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Which first M42 lens?

As a foray into trying an M42 lens, I want to get something special. I currently have a K10d, Kit lens and 70ltd lens.

What I miss is doing artsy type shooting that is either limited depth of field or macroish in nature. In prior lives I've owned both D200 and 5d systems with various lenses, but changed over to a K10d to get bang for buck and liquidate equipment when we had our first child. So, not looking to spend the money of say a 31ltd at this point, I'm checking out bargains in the M42 world.

I'm looking at a Zeiss Jena Flecktogon 35mm f2.4 as an option because of it's close focus ability and reputed bokeh. Prices for this lens seem to run up to as much as $165 used unless you find a bargain.

Anything else I should be looking at for the type of shooting I'm describing? Basically, I love limited dof shots of single subjects and colors that produce more abstracted views. I know a 50 f1.4 KA lens would do well for this also, but my hope was that there was a bargain M42 lens that would maybe be another fit so that I can also try out shooting more manual.

Thanks for any leads or tips.

09-20-2007, 05:54 AM   #2
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i'd make you a great deal on a M42 super tak 50/1.4 but it's still in pieces and needs some aperture work.

09-20-2007, 06:16 AM   #3
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You can check out a similar thread over on the manual focus forums:
(almost) Perfect prime MF lens arsenal

I have (and love) my M42 Takumars. The Super-Takumar 50/1.4 was my first, and you can still find these pretty cheap. They're not perfect but they have charm.

My personal favorite M42 Takumars are my Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 28/3.5, 50/1.4, 85/1.9, and 135/2.5. You're right about the Flek 35 being a good lens, I never got one while they were cheap, so I don't like paying the inflated prices for it.

Now for something really different, try some of the Russian/Ukranian lenses, like the great Jupiter-9 85/2 or the even better Helios-40-2 85/1.5. If you want a heavy, huge, cannon-like lens, then try the Jupiter-6 180/2.8. It will help build your arm and shoulder muscles.

And some of the best M42 lenses are the Soligor C/D ultra-fast ones. The 135/2 is outstanding. Too bad I missed getting these gems, too, but I've seen lots of outstanding pictures. You can also look for some of the really fast Porst/Revuenon/Tomioka/Sears 50mm/55mm lenses. Any of the 50/1.2s or 55/1.4s are pretty neat and interesting.

I generally keep away from Vivitars, which are hit-or-miss (mostly miss for me) and some of the other manufacturers unless I find something really underpriced. Sadly, this is becoming rarer and rarer now that all those Canonites realize that they can use M42 lenses as well.
09-20-2007, 06:20 AM   #4
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The first I bought (and soon after sold, too limited in usage for me) was a Super-Takumar 135/2.5. Stunning build, great optical quality.

09-20-2007, 08:41 AM   #5
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The Takumar 55/1.8, despite having the stigma of having once been a kit lens, turns in some respectable images in my opinion. Having been a kit lens, it is as common as stupidity and consequently cheaper than dirt. One certainly can't go wrong having one lying about.
10-19-2007, 06:30 AM   #6
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Meyer lenses are good and also the Fujinon ones if you can find them.

Tim H
10-19-2007, 07:04 AM   #7
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haha those lenses are carrying quite the premium nowadays. The Helios-44 58mm f2 sells for dirt cheap and never lets me down. It would be a solid choice. (Just becareful, the later variants, they left the lens on auto setting so you'll need to find someway of taping the pin down, otherwise the lens will stay open. I actually have the K Mount variant, rare from what I've heard. They also seemed to have dumbed the aperture a bit. The older Helios-44M-2 used a circular aperture whereas later variants used a cheaper standard 6 blade aperture.)

I also have the Mir 1 37mm f2.8. Great lens as well. A tad old fashioned with aperture ring out front followed by a stop down ring and then the focus ring. Nice sharp and contrasty images. The focus ring on my copy was very stiff. I took off the metal focus ring grip (3 tiny screws?) and realized that the grip was some sort of rubber/plastic composite that rotated on a metal rim. I added some of that WD-40 type stuff to the rotating part and its as good as new.

My Jupiter-9 still on a boat somewhere. I hope it didn't get beached on some island with Tom Hanks. LoL

The Carl Zeiss Jena 135 is also a solid performer although I have yet to put it through its paces yet, the lens appears very sharp and the colours are great!

Oh yea, I did get a Super-Multi-Coated Takumar the other day. Pretty beat up with some fungus on the border of the front and rear element. Luckily it was on the surface so I literally wiped the crap off with some mcdonalds napkins. (rough and they seem lint free unless you tear them) Pics look great.

So yea lots of choice haha.
10-19-2007, 08:24 AM   #8
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I guess I should update.......

I actually had bought a Super Multi Coated 55mm f1.8 Takumar, set of matching takumar extension tubes, and a genuine pentax adapter.

I just sold and shipped it all out this morning though, because in the mean time I came across a fair deal on a 31mm Limited that I wanted, so I needed to offset the cost a little to protect the bank account.

I'll try again one day at the M42 stuff, but for now that 31 was calling my name.

I'll get to really give it some play time this weekend I'm hoping.


10-24-2007, 12:39 PM   #9
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I'd recommend the Super Takumar 35mm f3.5 - it's a very sharp lens, and usually available for about $30 - you'll generally pay a premium for the Super-Multi-Coated Takumars, and I don't think it's worth it. For about the same price, you can also get a Super Takumar 135mm f3.5, which is probably the sharpest lens that I have.

In general, go for the slower Super Takumars - in my opinion, they're underrated.
10-24-2007, 02:14 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by roy Quote
i'd make you a great deal on a M42 super tak 50/1.4 but it's still in pieces and needs some aperture work.


If you think of it, when you have it back together can you let me know.

There's a decent chance that I'll want it.
I rarely check the marketplace section.

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