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07-13-2011, 01:54 PM   #1
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Advice for an easy to use telephoto lens

Hi, well I already have a Russian market model Jupiter 37A, which I cannot get to achieve proper focus and be sharp, so I suppose either that its slow aperture (f/3.5) won't let me focus well, either something is wrong optically with it. So I am looking for another M42 tele lens, for my camera of choice is a Spotmatic. I have heard of the Takumar 200/4, but won't those lenses be in fact even harder to focus? I have also heard of Vivitar Series 1, and searching on Ebay, I have found something interesting. What is wrong with that lens, as it's listed for only $20?

07-13-2011, 03:54 PM   #2
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The important problem for you is, it isn't an M42 mount. But you should be able to find an M42 version. When I got mine, I had several to choose from, all for the minimum bid+shipping. (It might be easier to find old Vivitars in the US, I don't know.) It should be at least close to the Takumar in performance, except it's not as long or heavy. I don't know how it compares to the Jupiter.

There is a Series 1 lens that I think is f3.0, but sells for a lot more.
07-13-2011, 07:48 PM   #3
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FWIW, I did not experience any particular difficulty focusing the SMCT 200/4 on my Spotmatic F.

Paul
07-15-2011, 04:46 AM   #4
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So, what kind of bayonet is that lens, in fact? I don't think it looks like a K mount either.
About the 200mm f/4, is it a good performer then? How sharp is it wide open, how shallow is the DOF, is it usable as a walkaround tele lens, or would you suggest something better? Maybe something faster than f/4?

And what price should this lens command, with both caps, a carrying case and a hood?

07-15-2011, 05:18 AM   #5
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I have 3 different MF lenses at 200mm. All 3 are well regarded, and all perform well.

the three are

vivitar Series 1 70-210mmF3.5 (first version of the lens)
Takumar 200mm F3.5 preset
S-M-C Takumar 200 F4

overall, the sharpest may actually be the series 1, and it clearly is equal to the others in terms of coatings as well.

the big difference between the series 1 and the two taks is the focusing. the series 1 is a single ring zoom (push pull for zoom - turn for focus) with a 180 degree focus throw. this means it is relitively easy to get quick focus when changing focusing distance.

the two taks have a 330 degree focus throw, which is more accurate, but you need to anticipate focus, set it roughtly using the focus scale and then fine tune when looking through the view finder.

I use all 3 with split image ficusing screens and have no problems with any.

I like the tak preset the best from th epoint of view of bokeh and sharpness, but the vivitar is better in terms of CA than either of the taks.

any of the lenses I have mentioned should go for less than $100
07-15-2011, 09:46 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcobain1992 Quote
So, what kind of bayonet is that lens, in fact? I don't think it looks like a K mount either.
About the 200mm f/4, is it a good performer then? How sharp is it wide open, how shallow is the DOF, is it usable as a walkaround tele lens, or would you suggest something better? Maybe something faster than f/4?

And what price should this lens command, with both caps, a carrying case and a hood?
It's one of those notched bayonets, Konica or Minolta. I just skip them all so never learned the difference.

My M42 Vivitar 200/3.5 is about 650 grams. Version 1 of the Series 1 70-210/3.5 is about 960 grams. If my Series 1 wasn't broken I might have an opinion about image quality. The zoom has a better minimum focus distance, I think.

To get something faster than f3.5 at 200mm might be expensive.
07-15-2011, 10:37 AM   #7
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Dave is quite right. And no, you can't use ANY bayonet lens on your Spotty! But keep looking for Vivitar and Lentar and Albinar and Suntar and all them other -TAR 200/3.5's, and Sears and Focal -- they often front for the same few lensmakers, supplied in M42 mount. My prizes in that area are Focal-Cimko, Lentar-Tokina, and Vivitar-Komine (18 iris blades!) at f/3.5; Super-Takumar and the superb but monstrous Jupiter-21M at f/4; and the tiny, slow, but ultra-sharp Tele-Takumar 200/5.6, as well as the nifty lightweight Meyer Telemegor 180/5.5. All M42, and none cost me very much. Going faster than f/3.5 gets pretty damn expensive.
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