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09-30-2012, 01:10 PM   #1
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135s - Tak (Bayoet) f2.5 & the SMC M f3.5

WA lenses I understand all too well. Going out to the telephoto end, I have some questions in particular on the 135s. My interest is landscapes/cityscapes and use 85s and now 135s to shoot over (eliminate) the foreground and get to the landscapes without pushing them into the background. I have been using my 55-300 as a "everything else lens", but now filling in with a couple of primes.

About 18 months ago I picked up the Tak (Bayonet) f2.5, for essentially very little. As Rico says, cost of a hamburger (well a deluxe hamburger with all the trimmings), but still a deal. I have not really used it a lot, however on a recent business trip I brought it along. Turns out that, its a wonderful lens, sharp, nice colors and rendering. The f2.5 did work for me. The focal length was perfect for what I was using it for, and it has really made a positive impression. It appears to be pretty under rated in the reviews. It is un-coated, so flaring is a concern, but otherwise it is a really nice piece of glass.
Recently, I came across another lens that I had been considering, but it came within a package that included a SMC M 135/f3.5. Its a bit slower, but coated, and very surprising probably half the weight of the Tak, and its diameter is also smaller. The Tak was small, and this is even smaller. It has a higher rating in the lens reviews, and also shoots very well.
I am thinking that the Tak and M appear to me to be pretty equal in terms of IQ, rendering and color, which is not really reflected in the reviews. Or, have I just not shot enough with the two across a wide variety of situations in order to really see the differences.

So there are those of you who have been shooting these 135s for years - well decades. Are there any substantial difference(s) between the two? What is the collective wisdom?



09-30-2012, 02:32 PM   #2
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Well, I hardly used them for decades, but I've had both. The Tak 135/2.5 was much better.

I didn't own them at the same time, and it's possible I had a poor copy of the M135/3.5. But based on the sample photos I see in the reviews you linked, I still believe the Tak is better.


Go ahead and try the M135/3.5 if you like, and report back to us! But my opinion is that if you want an upgrade, you'll need to go to the slightly better Pentax SMC "K" version. Better yet, get an A100/2.8 (or the M version) or an F/FA135/2.8. But only the M/A100/2.8 can better it in terms of sheer value (I still have my A100/2.8).
09-30-2012, 02:49 PM   #3
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I don;t have the Tak135/2.5 but the K135/2.5 which is an amazing lens

I too picked up an M135/3.5 for a song,

It is a good lens and considerably smaller and lighter than teh 2.5 but the K135/2.5 is likely the best 135 pentax had ever made.

coatings do, however count for a lot, and unless you need the speed , the M135/3.,5 is likely a better overall lens than the tak Bayonette 135/2.5
09-30-2012, 03:09 PM   #4
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I have the Takumar Bayonet 135mm f/2.5 and like it a lot. I think it is a good lens within it's limitations. Coatings as noted above are very important and this lens suffers in that area. I always use the hood and take care to avoid situations that would cause flare. Doing that, it produces quite good images. But it is also rather easy to take poor images with it if you do not realize the limitations and I think that is why it gets such poor reviews.

I recently picked up an A 135mm f/2.8 and have been using it more than the Tak just because it is easier to use. I am quite satisfied with the results from the A model.

09-30-2012, 03:58 PM   #5
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I think the Takumar Bayonet 135/2.5 is close enough to call sharpness equal in the center, not so good in the corners, compared to the Pentax-M 135/3.5. Contrast is lower than the M in good conditions, and veiling flare can make it terrible. At the hamburger price level, it's good, though I prefer the Vivitar/Komine 135/2.8 with green markings and a rubber focus grip. The Vivitar is very common in M42 mount and often cheap, while the Takumar Bayonet is often overpriced because of its name and confusion with the SMC Pentax lens. One advantage the Bayonet has over many 135s is a shorter minimum focus distance, 4m instead of 5m. The Vivitar is also bigger than the Takumar Bayonet, and uses 55mm filters that I don't have.

The Pentax-M 135/3.5 is a pretty good lens to have around for infrequent use. I think it's almost as good as the SMC Pentax 135/2.5. It's a lot smaller, 49mm filters and comes with its own hood, which is excellent for travel.
09-30-2012, 04:10 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I recently picked up an A 135mm f/2.8 and have been using it more than the Tak just because it is easier to use. I am quite satisfied with the results from the A model.
I'd almost forgotten I'd owned the A135/2.8 for a while. I think I sold the M135/3.5 immediately after I got it - it was much better.

As jatrax seems to suggest, between the Tak and the A135/2.8, I'm not sure I could characterize one as being better than the other. They're different, and the A135/2.8 is a pretty good lens. IIRC, I got the Tak sometime after I'd already sold it.

Although I still consider my A100/2.8 the "better" lens, I use my FA135 much more because I'm taking many more photos where AF is an advantage. It's still small, portable, and discreet. The IF also means people don't think you're "zooming in on them," so they're less self-conscious, having no idea you're getting as close as you are. I now think it's actually worth the going price, but I was fortunate enough to find mine for much less NOS at a local camera shop. But perhaps it's out of your budget, or you don't really need AF.
09-30-2012, 05:05 PM   #7
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I have both the Tak 135/2.5 and the M 135/3.5. Both are nice lenses and fun to shoot.

In bright daylight the Tak can be prone to a bif of PF but otherwise in diffused or controlled light or in the evening it's no trouble - sharp across the frame and produces a great 'look'. I like it a lot. The M 135 is great for shooting indoors for it's compactness and sharpness but seems to lack the attractive character of the Tak 135's images, possibly due to the different coatings of the lenses.
09-30-2012, 11:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
WA lenses I understand all too well. Going out to the telephoto end, I have some questions in particular on the 135s. My interest is landscapes/cityscapes and use 85s and now 135s to shoot over (eliminate) the foreground and get to the landscapes without pushing them into the background. I have been using my 55-300 as a "everything else lens", but now filling in with a couple of primes.

About 18 months ago I picked up the Tak (Bayonet) f2.5, for essentially very little. As Rico says, cost of a hamburger (well a deluxe hamburger with all the trimmings), but still a deal. I have not really used it a lot, however on a recent business trip I brought it along. Turns out that, its a wonderful lens, sharp, nice colors and rendering. The f2.5 did work for me. The focal length was perfect for what I was using it for, and it has really made a positive impression. It appears to be pretty under rated in the reviews. It is un-coated, so flaring is a concern, but otherwise it is a really nice piece of glass.
Recently, I came across another lens that I had been considering, but it came within a package that included a SMC M 135/f3.5. Its a bit slower, but coated, and very surprising probably half the weight of the Tak, and its diameter is also smaller. The Tak was small, and this is even smaller. It has a higher rating in the lens reviews, and also shoots very well.
I am thinking that the Tak and M appear to me to be pretty equal in terms of IQ, rendering and color, which is not really reflected in the reviews. Or, have I just not shot enough with the two across a wide variety of situations in order to really see the differences.

So there are those of you who have been shooting these 135s for years - well decades. Are there any substantial difference(s) between the two? What is the collective wisdom?

The Takumar (Bayonet) f/2.5 is coated- just not multicoated.

I've owned an M 135/3.5s since about 1980. They are fine lenses. Very sharp and excellent flare control.

I owned a Takumar 2.5 for a few few years- got it for nothing, gave it to someone else once I had my fun with it. Not a bad lens, but in my view it is definitely inferior to the M 135. The main problem is flare due to lack of multicoating and less than wonderful interior baffling. Contrast tends to be low. Good sharpness, but IIRC not quite as good as the M 135.

The only time I would choose the Takumar 2.5 over the M 135 would be if I wanted the character produced by a low contrast/high flare lens. Otherwise the M 135 is more useful.

10-01-2012, 12:13 AM   #9
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I have the M135/3.5 and it has warm colors, it is sharp all over. Maybe I just have a good copy. Will not sell mine.

But if you need a faster lens then choose something else.

Seb.
10-01-2012, 12:18 AM   #10
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IMHO, if you are shooting landscapes, I'd say the difference is less, but I'd stick with the M135 to be on the safe side as the reputation of the 'Tak bayonet' is not too good and perhaps the worst of the 135mm.

If you are shooting for rendering, shallow DOF and bokeh, the A*135/1.8 is the best ever made by Pentax. The K135/2.5 is the 'best affordable' one.
My bro has the A*, I have a Tak 135/3.5; K135 and a FA135.
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