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03-03-2011, 02:36 AM   #1
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Best 135mm manual lens

Which one of these 135mm manual lenses is the sharpest of the lot?

Auto Focal MC f2.8
Special Revuenon f2.8
Auto Rikenon f2.8
Auto Pentacon MC f2.8
Auto Quantaray MC f2.8
JC Penney MC f2.8
Super Tak f3.5
M135 3.5

Thanks in advance

03-03-2011, 03:31 AM   #2
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I am leaning towards the M135, Super tak and Revuenon. I dont have any idea about the IQ of the others, please help me select from one of these lenses.

Need to buy soon to complete my desired focal length.

Again, thank you and appreciate your ideas...
03-03-2011, 04:03 AM   #3
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It probably won't make any significant difference - 135mm is not a difficult focal length by any means.

I would choose either of the pentax, just for the reliable colour rendering. The m series in particular is a tiny lens with wonderful rendering.

Sam
03-03-2011, 04:07 AM   #4
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AFAIK the takumar and the M series lens are identical optically though the M series lens will be much quicker to use due to it having a K mount attached without having to use the frustrating M42 adapter, The two pentax lenses are likely to be the best of the lot even though they are a 1/3rd of a stop slower.

03-03-2011, 04:38 AM   #5
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As Digitalis said, the SuperTak and the M135 will be the best, and are optically the same. The Pentacon (if made in Germany) is reputedly good and is desirable, but if you like the Revuenon better, so be it. The others will likely all be fairly competent. The Focal (K-Mart), Revuenon, Rikenon, and JC Penny are possibly from the same lensmaker -- all those labels took the same sources as Vivitar, Sears, other distributors. The Quantaray is by Tamron. The common wisdom holds that it's hard to find a bad 135. But my picks would be the Pentaxes and the Pentacon.

PS: If you don't want the Pentacon, let me know, I'll take it off your hands, no problem.
03-03-2011, 05:23 AM   #6
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I did a comparison of an SMC tak F3.5 an auto rikenon f2.8 and a tele lentar F2.8

I found the lentar to be equal to the tak with the rikenon a disappointment being a stop slower at any aperture having a serious color cast and suffering from internal reflections off the sensor from shiny parts mounting the rear element

Check the 135'mm club too

Edit notes,

Just a dumb question, but do you have access to all of these lenses? Comparison shots would be great.

With respect to the Rikenon lens,. Although my comments are rather harsh, it is important to note that there are many variants of this lens and not all (obviously) behave the same way.

My copy is labelled as follows:

AUTO RIKENON LENSE MADE IN JAPAN 1:2.8 f=135mm No. 82xxx P

The lens weighs 446 grams, measures 90.5mm long (excluding mount) and 68.25mm in diameter with an integral hood that extends 14mm

Focusing collar is 200 degrees from min focus of 1.4 meters to infinity
aperture ring has full stops only and the aperture has 6 blades that collapse into hexagonal shape with 3 long and 3 short sides (i.e. approaching a triangle)

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 03-03-2011 at 07:03 AM.
03-03-2011, 10:23 AM   #7
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The Pentax-M 135mm f3.5 is really good on two non-IQ points. It's the smallest I've seen, nearly identical to the kit lens and smaller in diameter. And it's easy to sell.

It certainly has the best lens coatings of this group.
03-03-2011, 11:01 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
AFAIK the takumar and the M series lens are identical optically
I believe it is the K series lens that is identical to the takumar. The M series has a different design.

While the K series short telephotos tend to be sharper than their M series counterparts, I'm not sure whether that is so in the specific instance of the K and M 135/3.5s.

03-03-2011, 11:22 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
I believe it is the K series lens that is identical to the takumar. The M series has a different design.

While the K series short telephotos tend to be sharper than their M series counterparts, I'm not sure whether that is so in the specific instance of the K and M 135/3.5s.
I think the big difference is the K135F2.5 which is an incredibly sharp lens at all apertures.

BUT, that lens is a league all it's own compared to those posted by the OP.

There are lots of F2.8 and F3.5 135's out there for $50-100 including SMC takumar's which are pretty good value for $
03-04-2011, 12:41 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
I believe it is the K series lens that is identical to the takumar. The M series has a different design.

While the K series short telephotos tend to be sharper than their M series counterparts, I'm not sure whether that is so in the specific instance of the K and M 135/3.5s.
Yes, it is indeed the "K" 135/3.5 which is identical to the SuperTak (apart from the coatings) - BUT only if the SuperTak in question is the "Mk2" version...

I'll explain: the SuperTak first appeared in the early 60s, had single-coating and 5 elements in 4 groups. A few years on and the design was changed to 4 elements in 4 groups. A few more years, and the same optical design became the S-M-C Tak, which had multi-coating.

Then came the K-mount and SMC designation. The first of these was optically identical to the S-M-C Tak, and is known as the "K" 135/3.5. This was replaced a couple of years later by the M 135/3.5. This was an entirely different optical design, with 6 elements in 6 groups. It was notable for its small size.

Now for how they compare: obviously, the multi-coated versions have superior flare resistance, and probably contrast. I have both the "Mk1" SuperTak and S-M-C Tak. I find my SuperTak (distinguishable from the "Mk2" version by the presence of a "4" - i.e. f4 - marking on the aperture ring) to be softer than any of my other 135s. This may or may not be true of other examples of this lens, but I personally would steer clear of the "Mk1".

Both my S-M-C Tak and "K" are nice sharp lenses - even wide open. My M 135/3.5 is probably not as sharp, but tends to be preferred because it's so beautifully compact (but then I do like small lenses!).

As has been pointed out before in this forum, many (but not all) lenses of this era will show colour fringing, and the Taks/Pentaxes are no exception. (I believe the consensus is that the German and Soviet lens are superior in this respect.)

So, from the OP's list of alternatives, I would be tempted to go for the SuperTak IF (and only IF) it doesn't have an f4 marking on the aperture ring. This assumes that sharpness is the ultimate priority, but if size and convenience are important, I would suggest the M.
03-04-2011, 01:05 AM   #11
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El M 135 f3,5 tiene una magnífica relación calidad-precio, tiene muy buena calidad óptica con nitidez y color excelentes y se encuentra a precios muy buenos. Después del K 135 f2,5 es posiblemente el 135 manual mejor de Pentax.

Saludos.
03-04-2011, 09:33 AM   #12
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pricewise, the best bang for your buck is the sears 135mm 2.8

~$15 on kmount!
03-04-2011, 09:40 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Prox-iee Quote
pricewise, the best bang for your buck is the sears 135mm 2.8

~$15 on kmount!
I would not disagree, if you have no 135 at all the sears is a pretty good start.

What I have not yet been able to figure out in this thread is the purpose?

Doe the OP have the lenses he posted, are these his current "shopping list" or is he looking for a certain price / performance trade off.

If price is no object, the answer is simple, get the K135F2.5 and be done with it.

Depending on what he wants, other than that, it is very complicated.

The M135F3.5 and the SMC Tak 135's are all very good lenses, if he wants some different bokeh, then he should go with a preset, which is what I did,

the tele lentar is just as sharp and has the same color rendition as the SMC Tak 135F3.5 but it also has a perfectly round aperture at all F stops, and seems, due to the smoother bokeh, produce a better separation of foreground and background. I attribute this (but I could be very very wrong on this point) to the difference in the location of the aperture on preset lenses, compared to newer auto aperture lenses.

we still need the answer to the question, what is he really looking for in a 135mm lens?
03-04-2011, 01:24 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I think the big difference is the K135F2.5 which is an incredibly sharp lens at all apertures.

BUT, that lens is a league all it's own compared to those posted by the OP.

That is my pick, and it has spoiled me for all others. It is sharp at every aperture. Part of its apparent sharpness comes from how easy it is to focus precisely at that max aperture even in low light.
03-04-2011, 01:33 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
That is my pick, and it has spoiled me for all others. It is sharp at every aperture. Part of its apparent sharpness comes from how easy it is to focus precisely at that max aperture even in low light.
It was my first 135 too, but that did not stop me from looking for more. God but LBA is a real bitch at times

Actually, I kind of fell into LBA after being really really good for a long time.

I started by adding MF primes to supliment my AF zooms but would only buy a lens if i did not already have something faster at the same focal length .

this limited purchases quite a bit, and worked well, but then I had a couple of M42 lenses, and thought, maybe I should make an M42 kit.

One criteria I set was limit the number of SMC tak's because many were so similar in design to the K mounts. So I went looking for things that were different, that's where I fell upon the tele lentar. nice sharp preset lens, with good colors and boketh that is different from the tak's. Its not all about sharpness, but if it were, the K135F2.5 clearly defines it.
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