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08-15-2012, 08:01 PM   #1
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SMC Pentax-M 50mm 1.4 VS SMC Takumar 50mm 1.4

What is the difference between both lenses? I read the reviews on pentaxforums.com, it seems like the Pentax-m is less sharp? But others say that it's the same thing? Can someone who owns both let me know?

Thanks!

08-15-2012, 08:41 PM   #2
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If you switch out lenses a lot i suggest you get the pentax-m as you wont have to mess with the m42 adapter, that is my biggest complaint with the super-tak.

As for your main question, i mean they are both good lenses. The census on the forum will probably reflect what you can already find in the reviews...
08-15-2012, 09:39 PM   #3
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I have both lenses.

They are very similar in performance but to me each has some strengths:

SMC Tak:
  • Build more solid
  • Smaller
  • Somewhat softer bokeh in some situations (rendering slightly different to M)
  • Can use in AV mode (but viewfinder dims as you stop down)

Pentax M:
  • Better coatings - less prone to flare
  • A little easier to use (no M42 adaptor needed)
  • Stopping down aperture ring does not dim viewfinder (aperture closes at shutter release)
  • My copy is a shade sharper wide open than my Tak but not big difference
  • My copy is a little sharper at the borders than my Tak

There are also slight differences in color rendering too. A lot depends on how you like the rendering and bokeh.

That said I use my M most of the time because I find it more convenient and like the colors.
08-15-2012, 09:47 PM - 1 Like   #4
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so yeah. bees dick. stop worrying about it and take pictures!

08-15-2012, 10:37 PM   #5
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The M series doesn't have the cult following that the Taks do, so a lot of the perceived difference is simply down to that. I have both the lenses but I've never done a straight comparison like Kiwi-Jono above. I've been very happy with shots from both lenses though, and certainly the above comments on usability on a DSLR are correct.
08-16-2012, 03:04 AM   #6
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Mixed feelings

I also happen to own a 50mm 1.4 SMC Takumar, I think its the newer design with the rubber focus ring. Even though I do not have experience with the Pentax M lens I would like to give you my opinion on the Takumar.

The three major things for me it boils down to are:

1. Are you willing to take the trouble with the the m42 adapter?

In my case it leads to not using it too often and when I screw it on I usually keep it for the whole day. That is for one reasen because I am lazy and for the other reason I am afraid of dust on the sensor and fiddling with the adapter will take longer than changing a PK lens.


2. Keep the yellowing in mind.

This lens might geht a yellow touch over time due to the Thorium glass used. There are some guides how to cure this for example: PENTAX MANUALS
Of course you can also handle this in Photoshop.

3. The Bokeh can be sometimes strange (due to the overcorrection of the lens?)

See the attached picture. It looks like in harsh light conditions the bokeh gets chromatic aberrations i.e. a greenish and reddish edge around the objects. You can clearly spot it in the trees of the attached picture, which is btw. a 100% crop.
Unfortunately this happens more often as I like and sometimes ruins an otherwise nice picture, maybe only because I am a pixel peeper xD. I believe it mostly occurs with wider apertures up to 4.0 or so, I did not really test it.
Also this seems to be a general problem of the Takumar lenses of this period because my 135mm 3.5 Super-Multi-Coated Takumar has exactly the same problem.


Nevertheless, if this thing does not happen the Bokeh looks rather nice and the lens is "Tak" sharp. It can produce wonderful results even if as mentioned by kiwi_jono already aperture 1.4 is a bit soft.
I also like to mention that it was really difficult for me to focus correctly at an aperture of 1.4 under low light conditions on my K10D. The shallow depth of field makes it difficult to get people in focus e.g. at a party or so. With the K20D and the live view it is much easier now.

Overall what you pay is what you get, the SMC Takumar is a very fine lens which has its flaws.

So you should ask yourself if you are willing the deal with the fiddling of the m42 adapter all the time and accept the flaws which might occur for this price. I believe you can find this lens for around 80 on ebay from time to time.

If you ask me if I would by it again, I am not sure what I would answer now. One the one hand the SMC Takumar is not really the lens for candid low light shots what I originally bought it for. Maybe I would go for an FA 50mm 1.4 instead. On the other hand the sharpness and nice bokeh (without the harsh sunlight effect) are creating this wow effect for some of my pictures whenever I spent some time with this lens. You can see an example for that in the other picture I took which is fullsize, not processed only changed the white balance a bit. I am not sure but I think it was taken with an aperture of 1.4 (unfortunately, because its an old lens the aperature it is not in the raw information and I am the type who cannot remember so well xD). Also if you zoom into the picture you can see the chromatic thing around the birds again but it is less pronounced and does not affect the picture this much.

By the way I would like to know if somebody else noticed the strange bokeh thing that happens for me with the SMC Takumars?

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08-16-2012, 07:30 AM   #7
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I've never done a straight comparison either, but I have both and do prefer the SMC Takumar. Based on the results each has given (though not in a side-by-side comparison), I consider the Takumar to have better rendering (microcontrast), better bokeh (the M version is a little more 'chalky', if that makes any sense), and be a little sharper. To me it's no question I prefer the Takumar. Don't forget there is the Pentax-K 50/1.4, which is the same optically as the SMC Takumar (they changed the optical design a little for the M50/1.4) but has the convenience of being the the K-mount (bias warning; I'm selling one of them in the marketplace at the moment).
08-16-2012, 08:18 AM   #8
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I haven't bought a dslr yet and I'm not sure what brand to pick or what model, so the m42 adapter is not a problem, it's a plus. I think it's probably best if I buy both, and if I don't like one of them, I can re-sell them quite easily.
I'm only buying the lenses now because I'm afraid the prices might go up too high.

08-16-2012, 03:25 PM   #9
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Doesn't hurt to buy both if you have the budget - they are relatively cheap after all.

As I said above it depends on what you like (whats more important to you). Some people prefer the Taks and some the K / M.

Just to confuse further, another option is to find an Pentax A f1.4 which has some advantages (much easier to use and said to have improved optical formula) but not as good build as earlier lenses.
08-17-2012, 07:41 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Snakeisthestuff Quote
I also happen to own a 50mm 1.4 SMC Takumar, I think its the newer design with the rubber focus ring.

3. The Bokeh can be sometimes strange (due to the overcorrection of the lens?)

See the attached picture. It looks like in harsh light conditions the bokeh gets chromatic aberrations i.e. a greenish and reddish edge around the objects. You can clearly spot it in the trees of the attached picture, which is btw. a 100% crop.

...Also if you zoom into the picture you can see the chromatic thing around the birds again but it is less pronounced and does not affect the picture this much.

By the way I would like to know if somebody else noticed the strange bokeh thing that happens for me with the SMC Takumars?
I think that red/green fringing is 'longitudinal chromatic aberration'. I can never remember if it's green behind the focal plane and red in front, or the other way round. Anyway it happens with quite a lot of old lens at very wide apertures - my K105/2.8 (otherwise a nice lens) does it, and if I remember correctly my now-stolen K50/1.2 was not immune. I guess in the old days fewer people shot in colour. You wouldn't notice it in b/w.
08-19-2012, 02:31 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by timo Quote
I think that red/green fringing is 'longitudinal chromatic aberration'. I can never remember if it's green behind the focal plane and red in front, or the other way round. Anyway it happens with quite a lot of old lens at very wide apertures - my K105/2.8 (otherwise a nice lens) does it, and if I remember correctly my now-stolen K50/1.2 was not immune. I guess in the old days fewer people shot in colour. You wouldn't notice it in b/w.
Thx for the explanation timo! Helps to know I am not the only one having this issue. I wonder if this is a flaw of only the old takumar's lens design or other brands like Zeiss have the same problem.
08-20-2012, 02:08 AM   #12
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I own a M1.4 and it's my favorite lens I can't really see a problem with either of them. I think now a days we are way too invested in sharpness, etc. Both of these lenses will give you awesome results and you can't go wrong either way. I say get which ever is available and in your budget.
08-20-2012, 08:56 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by epqwerty Quote
I own a M1.4 and it's my favorite lens I can't really see a problem with either of them. I think now a days we are way too invested in sharpness, etc. Both of these lenses will give you awesome results and you can't go wrong either way. I say get which ever is available and in your budget.
I think the Pentax-M is slightly cheaper on eBay, but I was able to grab a smc takumar 50mm 1.4 for 40$, so I decided to stick with that...
08-22-2012, 07:12 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Snakeisthestuff Quote
Thx for the explanation timo! Helps to know I am not the only one having this issue. I wonder if this is a flaw of only the old takumar's lens design or other brands like Zeiss have the same problem.
Many (I dare say the vast majority) of fast primes have issues with LoCA. It does tend to improve by stopping down the lens. The background has to be the right sort to make it manifest in the OOF. Often, it's more easily noticed in shots where there is OOF areas both in front of and behind the focus plane, where one can see the reddish/purplish fringing in front of the focus plane, and the greenish fringing behind the focus plane. To me, it's more troublesome that lateral CA, and I wish lens review sites tested more for it. Photozone is one of the few that mentions it and has images that will show it. Check out, e.g. the Canon 85mm f1.8 review there.
08-23-2012, 05:24 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by macTak Quote
Many (I dare say the vast majority) of fast primes have issues with LoCA. It does tend to improve by stopping down the lens. The background has to be the right sort to make it manifest in the OOF. Often, it's more easily noticed in shots where there is OOF areas both in front of and behind the focus plane, where one can see the reddish/purplish fringing in front of the focus plane, and the greenish fringing behind the focus plane. To me, it's more troublesome that lateral CA, and I wish lens review sites tested more for it. Photozone is one of the few that mentions it and has images that will show it. Check out, e.g. the Canon 85mm f1.8 review there.
Good to know it is more a general problem of fast primes, so I will be cautious when buying the next one. Thx, for the tipp with photozone, I also like their reviews. It seems Longitudinal CA is one of the flaws which is more expensive to fix, more expensive lenses like the 55mm 1.4 DA* have LoCA better under control.

PS: Sorry for being somewhat sidetracked in this thread.
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