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03-02-2012, 08:35 PM   #1
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SMC vs. Super Takumar 135mm f/3.5

Thanks for your interest in sorting this out.

I just received a Pentax M42 Screw Mount lens that was ordered on line. It was listed as a "Super Multi Coated Takumar 135mm f3/5", but it is actually a "Super Takumar 135mm f/3.5" (S# 849844). I've read about these two lenses, on PF and other in places. From what I understand they're both coated, but the SMC is earlier and has a very hard multi layer coating. Some report them producing superior results - which is why I was interested in it over the Super T in the first place.
Can anyone set me straight on this. Did I order better but got less? The listing was plainly in error and it's returnable. Would appreciate knowledge about the difference between the two types.

03-02-2012, 09:01 PM   #2
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Not much to say without knowing the price you paid and the condition of the lens.

They are both great lenses, the SMC should be more flair resistant, the Super Tak probably has better bokeh.
03-02-2012, 10:01 PM   #3
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Thanks riff - better bokeh is good and in most cases flair should be ok with a hood Re: price, condition aside (or equal, say), I see the question: Would one expect to pay less, same, or more for the Super Tak. Perhaps it is just a matter of personal preference about +'s and -'s, but when I read in a PF, "Maybe it's the lack of SMC, but I find this lens produced subdued colors...," I wonder if the listing of the lens was just a mistake or perhaps deceptive.
03-02-2012, 10:59 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jim Rodgers Quote
I wonder if the listing of the lens was just a mistake or perhaps deceptive.
I'd be lying if I told you I knew.

Maybe it's the lack of SMC, but I find this lens produced subdued colours which I don't mind. Much easier to PP later.

and a little further down Mechan1k states;
This is another wow lens ... Mine is the Super Takumar variant and it is beuatiful indeed.
The colours and sharpness this lens produces is amazing ... it is very sharp at f/3.5 ... and it just keeps getting sharper when stopping down.

All things being equal, which they never are, I'd expect the SMC to sell for a bit more. BTW I think the average price in the lens reviews is out to lunch on the low side. If you bought it from KEF or some such place you may be able to get a small refund. If it's ebay, graiglist etc. and the lens condition is as described I wouldn't feel bad. You could try for a refund or return. I say shoot with it and decide.

Check here https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/31601-takumar-club.html you will find many shots from both.

03-03-2012, 12:06 AM   #5
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I have the Super-Takumar and it's a lovely lens. However, they typically do go for less than the SMC. I got extra lucky with mine at 11$ shipped. If you paid say 6 times that, I would return it for a full refund and watch out for a better deal or try to get a partial refund for compensation. That's not to say it isn't actually worth 70$, but this lens is fairly common and good deals tend to come around relatively often. To me, it is definitely a keeper.



Last edited by Ikarus; 03-03-2012 at 12:22 AM.
03-03-2012, 12:46 AM   #6
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I think your lens has been mis-described. The first Super-Taks were of a 5-element/4-group design and came out in the early 60s. I have one of these (recognisable by having f4 marked on the aperture ring) and it's not very good - this may be a bad copy, of course. Later Super-Taks were of a 4-4 design, and came out in the late 60s. Super-Multi-Coated Taks came out later, and were identical, except for having multi, as opposed to single, coating - so expect superior contrast and flare resistance. I have one of these, and it's very good optically. I'd be tempted to return your Super-Tak - especially if it's the early version.
03-03-2012, 07:54 AM   #7
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Thanks all - every comment was useful. Happily mine doesn't seem to be from the 5/4 group - there's no f4 on the aperture ring, and there certainly are many fans of the Super T. Kicking around specifics: I payed $39 thru BH, condition seem fine, and as I ordered other things shipping was negligible. As a quick check, pricing on ebay is all over the place (as always) and I seem to have done ok if I don't want to return it (tho would I not like an $11 SMC). I'm new to Pentax, having appreciated the look, feel, and results of some Minoltas and Nikkormats. The lens is to use with a Spotmatic which I find uniquely beautiful, so whatever the final outcome of this shopping experience, it will just meld into many enjoyable experiments.
03-03-2012, 09:40 AM   #8
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That's a very reasonable price. It's an excellent, all metal, compact lens with wonderful focusing feel. You'll love it!

03-03-2012, 02:38 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by m42man Quote
I think your lens has been mis-described. The first Super-Taks were of a 5-element/4-group design and came out in the early 60s. I have one of these (recognisable by having f4 marked on the aperture ring) and it's not very good - this may be a bad copy, of course. Later Super-Taks were of a 4-4 design, and came out in the late 60s. Super-Multi-Coated Taks came out later, and were identical, except for having multi, as opposed to single, coating - so expect superior contrast and flare resistance. I have one of these, and it's very good optically. I'd be tempted to return your Super-Tak - especially if it's the early version.
The 2nd version Super Takumar is indeed an ordinary Ernostar 4:4 lens solution. It was produced from 1965-71, and can be recognised on the parts number 43541, coarse knotted curls on the aperture ring and no f4 mark. This lens solution was repeatedly used for the SMC Takumar 135/3.5 (1971-79), the SMC Pentax (first K mount) 135/3.5 (1975-77), the two Takumar bayonet versions 135/2.5 and 135/2.8 (1980-88), and finally the SMC-A Pentax 135/2.8 (1985-89). The Super Tak 135/3.5 should perform very similar to the Takumar bayonets since they share the lens formula and are both single coated.
Personally I prefer the enhanced Ernostar 5:4 lens solution (rear element is a cemented doublet instead of a single lens) that all the different Takumar 135mm's from 1953-65 use. Both optically and in build quality.
As for the Super Tak 135/3.5 version 1: not all of them have "4" on the aperture ring. So it is safer to look at the parts number (354) and the style of the aperture ring.

Edit: Hope to see you posting something in the "135mm lens club"!

Last edited by Douglas_of_Sweden; 03-03-2012 at 03:14 PM.
03-03-2012, 04:17 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by riff Quote
Not much to say without knowing the price you paid and the condition of the lens.

They are both great lenses, the SMC should be more flair resistant, the Super Tak probably has better bokeh.
The two lenses are essentially the same except for the coatings and build (the SMC has a rubberized grip, the ST knurled metal). Bokeh should be equivalent.

As for your purchase...if SMC was advertised and Super-Tak was delivered, I would suggest that an adjustment in price or return at seller's expense (including shipping both ways) would be appropriate. The SMC and S-M-C models are generally priced significantly higher


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03-03-2012, 04:21 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jim Rodgers Quote
I payed $39 thru BH, condition seem fine,
If it was purchased from B&H, they should replace or adjust price...no questions asked. I would expect a price adjustment down to about $32 USD.


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03-03-2012, 05:31 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
Personally I prefer the enhanced Ernostar 5:4 lens solution (rear element is a cemented doublet instead of a single lens) that all the different Takumar 135mm's from 1953-65 use. Both optically and in build quality.
The identity of this lens certainly would be less interesting without PF. When I searched ebay for images of the Super T, every one I looked at (until tired) was like this one:

Asahi Pentax 135mm f/3.5 Super Takumar M42 Lens 1747000 | eBay

If I understand you right, they ALL have "coarse knotted curls on the aperture ring". Mine has no f4 setting, but the aperture ring simply looks like a larger version of the much smaller ring that's closer to the threads. It has that side-of-a-coin type notching, but no raised and smooth sections at regular intervals like the 4:4's you describe - it's circumference doesn't vary at all.
Also, I'm not really sure what you mean by "parts number". The only # related to the lens model I can find is the SN, in this case 849844, which you may not mean. I further note that the Super T's pictured on ebay seem to have much higher SN's - in the millions - which may or may not mean anything.

If you haven't had enough of all this, I'd really like to know what you make of my lens, and of course more on how to visually identify the enhanced Ernostar 5:4 lens.

Much Thanks.
03-03-2012, 09:39 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
If it was purchased from B&H, they should replace or adjust price...no questions asked. I would expect a price adjustment down to about $32 USD.
I guess you could get an adjustment based on the fact that it wasn't what was advertised, but in all honesty, they made a mistake. Had it actually been an SMC in good condition, this would have been an absolute bargain price.
03-03-2012, 10:16 PM   #14
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Honestly I don't really care if a takumar is SMC or super. Yes, the SMC is probably is a little more forgiving to flair and can sell for $5+ dollars more. But if it takes good pictures then be happy that you got a good copy.
03-03-2012, 11:21 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jim Rodgers Quote
Also, I'm not really sure what you mean by "parts number". The only # related to the lens model I can find is the SN, in this case 849844, which you may not mean.
Look at the camera-facing side of the auto/man switch. Mine says 43541, which identifies it as v2, i.e. the later 4/4 design.
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