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01-10-2012, 02:24 PM   #1
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Which 50mm?

Pentax A 50mm 1.4 or 8 element M42 Super Tak 50mm 1.4? Both are the same price and I have an M42 to PK adapter already. Which would you recommend? Sorry if this has been asked before

01-10-2012, 02:29 PM   #2
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Do you want aperture control and matrix metering? Or are you fine with center weighted metering and M mode?

Also consider the A has 8 aperture blades to the Super Tak's 6.

I own both and wouldn't give up either, but I use the A a lot more.
01-10-2012, 02:31 PM   #3
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The A lens will probably be more convenient, and any difference in IQ shouldn't be noticeable (though the A lens should in theory be better as it's much newer).

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01-10-2012, 02:32 PM   #4
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Good questions to which I dont have a definite answer. More than likely this lens will be used as a walk around lens for car shows and city scenes. I shoot with an ist DS and use it only in M mode and I have it set to center metering anyway. What is the number blades going to do?

01-10-2012, 02:59 PM   #5
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At the same time, I had three 8 element 1.4 50's, one 7 element M42, one M version and an A version. I kept the A and the others are gone. The A version was as sharp as the M in my own static testing (same image frame with the camera on a tripod focused to infinity). Also, it does not yellow like the 7 element version. Not all the 8 element lenses were exactly the same in sharpness. The "youngest" of that group, with a serial number starting with "157", was better in sharpness but distinctly less sharp than the M or A version. The 7 element version was about the same as the average 8 version.
01-10-2012, 03:09 PM   #6
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My mistake, its a PK M 50mm 1.4 vs. an 8 element (#1400xxx) Super Tak 50mm 1.4. The M42 is about 10 bucks cheaper than the PKM.


So, the PKM has 7 elements but more aperture blades than the Super Tak? Would that increase its image quality? More than likely this will be run wide open all the time.
01-10-2012, 04:17 PM   #7
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I don't have experience with the Super-Tak, but from reviews here its characteristics are pretty similar to the 7-element formula used in all subsequent 50/1.4 lenses by Asahi/Pentax. 8 aperture blades may produce slightly smoother bokeh (highlights especially) when the lens is stopped down; wide open I expect there is little difference. Practically speaking, the main differences in use will be the necessity for the M42 adapter for the Super-Tak, but on the plus side you can use Av mode with the lens stopped down. With the M lens you can only use Av mode wide open.

Of course the Super-Tak is pretty rare (if it is truly the 8-element version), if that makes a difference to you.
01-10-2012, 05:40 PM   #8
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I prefer to use K mount myself and I don't see that much advantage to being in Av mode since the viewfinder gets dark. But Takumars are some of the coolest looking lenses and imo the best built also.

More blades should give you smoother bokeh (already mentioned) but they will also give you an 8 pointed star vs a 6 pointed star at night (for streetlights or the sun). The good thing is that both give you a sharp star. for night photos I tend to avoid certain lenses that either have odd number of blades or ones that aren't sharp.

For example the 6 bladed A50/1.7 (the 8 bladed A50/1.4 looks like this except it has 8 points)



the 5 bladed K24/2.8 is tolerable (pictured) while the M28/2.8 and DA40 are awful (not pictured)



01-10-2012, 06:05 PM   #9
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If you're shooting wide-open only, the only difference is the ease of mounting. Apertures on both will be circular, so specular highlights will be balls, not stars.. If you ever stop-down, the difference (other than the number of points on the highlights) will be in mode usage.

ST50: Use M mode for manual metering and exposure at the preset aperture. Any Auto mode defaults to Av, for auto-shooting at the preset aperture.

M50: Use M mode for stop-down metering and exposure at the selected aperture. Any Auto mode defaults to Av, for wide-open metering and exposure.

When I use K and M lenses on my K20D, I leave the mode setting at TAv, which is right next to M. The TAv setting defaults to Av mode for wide-open shooting. If I want stop-down shots, a quick jog to M and a hit on the Green button suffices.

Which to get? I can't comment on how the M50 renders. The M may be slightly more convenient to mount. Shooting wide-open should show no difference between the ST and M. Stopped-down, the ST will simpler to use, but not at tight apertures; while the M will be a bit more flexible because of the easy mode switching, but will need an extra step as you hit the Green button.

My recommendation: GET BOTH! Otherwise, think about whether you'll want the stop-down capability of the M. Or just flip a coin: heads for one, tails for the other, and both if the coin lands on edge. Good luck!

Last edited by RioRico; 01-11-2012 at 03:46 AM.
01-11-2012, 02:51 AM   #10
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I think Im going to go with the ST50. Its an early serial number and has the mark just to the right of the 4 on the DOF so Im pretty positive its an 8 element. Its a lens Ive always wanted and its about 20 bucks cheaper. I dont think that I have ever used the Tv or Av functions on my ist DS. I either shoot film or I use the digital like a film camera and shoot in M and occasionally, Macro. Setting the aperture on the lens and then using the green button isnt too much of a chore. Thanks guys for all the help. Im excited to get my hands on it!
01-11-2012, 01:53 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by derelict Quote
I think Im going to go with the ST50. Its an early serial number and has the mark just to the right of the 4 on the DOF so Im pretty positive its an 8 element. Its a lens Ive always wanted and its about 20 bucks cheaper. I dont think that I have ever used the Tv or Av functions on my ist DS. I either shoot film or I use the digital like a film camera and shoot in M and occasionally, Macro. Setting the aperture on the lens and then using the green button isnt too much of a chore. Thanks guys for all the help. Im excited to get my hands on it!
The placement of the infra-red mark is key (unless the barrel has been swapped out). A serial number is more easily changed by unscrewing the front lens ring and replacing it.
Look for the IR mark close to the red diamond on the depth of field gauge (inside the 4 and not outside the 4).
01-11-2012, 02:01 PM   #12
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At infinity, the element protrudes quite a bit and the numbers go, from left to right :
16 I 8 4 IR Mark Diamond 4 8 I 16

Sounds like an 8 right?
01-11-2012, 07:06 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by derelict Quote
At infinity, the element protrudes quite a bit and the numbers go, from left to right :
16 I 8 4 IR Mark Diamond 4 8 I 16

Sounds like an 8 right?
That's it!
You are on "Cloud Eight". Congratulations!
01-11-2012, 07:23 PM   #14
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I say get the M 50mm, the 8-element Tak is very overrated. Unless of course the curiosity of using the 8 element Tak is killing you, why not get both and sell one after you try em?
01-12-2012, 07:54 PM   #15
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The Takumar has slightly different rendering than newer lenses. That can be a plus or minus depending on personal preferences.

Personally, I'd go for the Takumar because I like the rendering of older lenses and also because I hate not being able to use a lens in Av mode. Metering with the green button is annoying.

OTOH, the M will have better coatings, so it may resist flare better, if that's something you think you'll need often (if you often shoot backlit scenes, for example).
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