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03-31-2013, 10:01 PM   #1
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Super VS. Super-Multi-Coated

I'm sure you've seen this post many times before,

But if someone can just let me know the basics between these two, that would be great.

I've been looking into getting a Pentax Takumar 35mm f/2 for quite some time now, but I just realized that the ones I've been looking at to purchase, are mostly "Super Takumar" rather than "Super-Multi-Coated Takumar".

I own a Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm f/1.4 and I couldn't be more pleased with it.
I'm just afraid that if I get a Super, I won't be as impressed with it.

Thank you

03-31-2013, 10:08 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by satmary Quote
I'm sure you've seen this post many times before,

But if someone can just let me know the basics between these two, that would be great.

I've been looking into getting a Pentax Takumar 35mm f/2 for quite some time now, but I just realized that the ones I've been looking at to purchase, are mostly "Super Takumar" rather than "Super-Multi-Coated Takumar".

I own a Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm f/1.4 and I couldn't be more pleased with it.
I'm just afraid that if I get a Super, I won't be as impressed with it.

Thank you
SMC has more coatings compared to earlier Supers, and so they have better light transmission which means better contrast, better sharpness, more resistance to flare. There is a noticeable difference if you compare them side-by-side, but not as much as the price difference would indicate. Certainly you shouldn't think you can't take great images with plain old Supers. But you do need to be aware when pricing lenses the exact variation you have to tell if it is below/above typical market price.

It is easy to get obsessed with these things when there are two versions of the same thing -- you feel compelled to get the "better" one (and the price reflects those same tendencies in everyone else). But then if you're looking at other brands of vintage lenses where maybe there simply is no "SMC-equivalent" version you probably don't give it a second thought to get a lowly single-coated lens. Just put a decent hood on it...
03-31-2013, 10:20 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
SMC has more coatings compared to earlier Supers, and so they have better light transmission which means better contrast, better sharpness, more resistance to flare. There is a noticeable difference if you compare them side-by-side, but not as much as the price difference would indicate. Certainly you shouldn't think you can't take great images with plain old Supers. But you do need to be aware when pricing lenses the exact variation you have to tell if it is below/above typical market price.

It is easy to get obsessed with these things when there are two versions of the same thing -- you feel compelled to get the "better" one (and the price reflects those same tendencies in everyone else). But then if you're looking at other brands of vintage lenses where maybe there simply is no "SMC-equivalent" version you probably don't give it a second thought to get a lowly single-coated lens. Just put a decent hood on it...
Great, thank you for the info!

So if you were to purchase a Super or a S-M-C, Pentax Takumar of course, would it be THAT bothersome if you got a Super instead of a S-M-C?
I'm just worried because I love my S-M-C 50mm 1.4 and I also own a Super 28mm f/3.5 and even though those two lenses are barely comparable due to the aperture of the 50mm and whatnot, it still makes me wonder if it will be THAT different of a lens if I were to buy the Super rather than the S-M-C.

I guess I'm ranting but I do appreciate any other distinct details you could tell me about!
03-31-2013, 10:27 PM   #4
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There are two SMC 35mm f/2 at KEH right now,

03-31-2013, 10:52 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by satmary Quote
Great, thank you for the info!

So if you were to purchase a Super or a S-M-C, Pentax Takumar of course, would it be THAT bothersome if you got a Super instead of a S-M-C?
I'm just worried because I love my S-M-C 50mm 1.4 and I also own a Super 28mm f/3.5 and even though those two lenses are barely comparable due to the aperture of the 50mm and whatnot, it still makes me wonder if it will be THAT different of a lens if I were to buy the Super rather than the S-M-C.

I guess I'm ranting but I do appreciate any other distinct details you could tell me about!
If the sun ever makes its way into your photos, I'd say yes. Always try to get a multicoated lens if possible.

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03-31-2013, 11:34 PM   #6
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There are also differences between the SMC process that came out in 1971 with the Takumars and the “improved” SMC process that came out with the K Series in 1975.

Some of the lenses glass surfaces in the 1971 SMC process were still single-coated, in the 1975 SMC process almost all of the lenses glass surfaces were the seven layered multi-coated.

Phil.
04-01-2013, 12:28 AM   #7
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gofour3--I believe the smc (or super multi coating) are all multicoated and in fact with 7 layers. Also I believe the prior super takumars had 2 layers--and in some case the later ones had seven--even if not marked smc.
04-01-2013, 01:41 AM   #8
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I have some of each the STak and SMC Tak. All different focal lengths, so no direc comparisons. I do nt see obvious differences in the aethetic of each. Using hoods is a good idea, and I have recently been able to get a set of hoods that cover all the lenses suitably on APS=C (narrower angle of view). The biggest flare issues I have are with bright sources that are outside the APS-C field of view but inside the FF field. The lens I have the most difficultywith is the SMC 200/4, but I am not yet willing to blame the lens design.

04-01-2013, 04:05 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
gofour3--I believe the smc (or super multi coating) are all multicoated and in fact with 7 layers. Also I believe the prior super takumars had 2 layers--and in some case the later ones had seven--even if not marked smc.
This too is my impression. Gerjan's book (of which I have a copy) does note that in the S-M-C 35/3.5 the first element was not SMC, but still had the standard multicoat (Pentax hadn't, I think, figured out how to SMC coat a lens with such extreme curvature, so there may be some other exceptions in other lenses), implying that the other elements were in fact SMC; I'm afraid I don't have my copy at hand, so I can't remember what he says generally about SMC, but I'm pretty sure this is right. As to whether SMC is worth it compared to the Super coating, it does depend on the lens. Lenses with larger front elements and more elements are going to benefit more from SMC. The 35/2 I would particularly suspect to have benefitted. The 50/4, not so much.
04-01-2013, 04:19 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by macTak Quote
This too is my impression. Gerjan's book (of which I have a copy) does note that in the S-M-C 35/3.5 the first element was not SMC, but still had the standard multicoat (Pentax hadn't, I think, figured out how to SMC coat a lens with such extreme curvature, so there may be some other exceptions in other lenses), implying that the other elements were in fact SMC; I'm afraid I don't have my copy at hand, so I can't remember what he says generally about SMC, but I'm pretty sure this is right. As to whether SMC is worth it compared to the Super coating, it does depend on the lens. Lenses with larger front elements and more elements are going to benefit more from SMC. The 35/2 I would particularly suspect to have benefitted. The 50/4, not so much.
That might explain why the K35/3.5 is consistently graded higher than the S-M-C 35/3.5...

In my own experience the Super Tak 50/1.4 (8-element) is less prone to flare than the DA 18-55, YMMV...
04-01-2013, 08:26 AM   #11
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BTW--if the front of leading glass element of the lens is not multicoated it will have no affect--unless a filter is used. As there is no surface (in front) for a reflection to reflect back off of.

Thus it may be earlier multi-coatings were softer and thus left off. Makes sense for the 35 f3.5 also because it was apparently multicoated in the later super takumars (pre smc)--and thus maybe the glass blanks were already made in the switch to smc takumars. (Also just conjecture on my part.)
04-01-2013, 11:07 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
gofour3--I believe the smc (or super multi coating) are all multicoated and in fact with 7 layers. Also I believe the prior super takumars had 2 layers--and in some case the later ones had seven--even if not marked smc.
I have a Pentax K series brochure from 1976 called “The new K series from Asahi Pentax - Cameras That Understand You”.

It has a section on SMC, that’s where my info came from:


“In 1971, Pentax engineers pioneered a revolutionary new technique for the treatment of photographic lenses that all but eliminated flare and ghost images. Called Super-Multi-Coating, this process involves the application of seven separate chemical coatings to lens surfaces, helping direct more light – and astonishing 99.8% to be exact – straight through each coated surface of the lens. Now, five years later, several other camera manufactures also offer multicoated lenses.

But once again, to the consternation of these manufactures, Asahi Optical Co. has moved on to something better: improved Super-Multi-Coating. In improved Super-Multi-Coating, the full range of seven layers is applied to most glass surfaces within the lens, including some surfaces which had been merely single-coated in the past – Super-Multi-Coating is applied even to those glass surfaces which are cemented together.”


Not sure how much of an improvement the 1975 SMC process makes, but it is sounds better. The more lens elements that SMC is applied to has to help.

Phil.

Last edited by gofour3; 04-01-2013 at 11:15 AM.
04-01-2013, 02:09 PM   #13
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gofour3--thanks for the info.

Actually I still believe (in most of the super Takumars) the air-to-glass surface generally had a 2 layer process, and the glass-to-glass surfaces had no coating--but these non-air surfaces are essentially reflection free anyway.

Indeed I was unaware Pentax then applied the process to the glass-to-glass (adhesive) surfaces. But I believe these glass-to-glass surfaces are effectively the same whether coated or not--thus the net effect is all super multi coated lenses are similar (excluding the newest "ghostless" smc).

I.e., I would not put much importance to the difference when evaluating smc takumar vs. later K lenses.
04-01-2013, 02:27 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
Just put a decent hood on it...
No matter which lens or version of that lens you buy, always use it with hood, the rewards you get are well worth it.
04-01-2013, 04:55 PM   #15
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The S-T to S-M-C-T transition coincided with the addition of the full aperture metering lugs and sensors on the back of all lenses except the extreme tele lenses. The Spot F was released shortly after the transition. It was the first full aperture metering Pentax.

There are a handful of lenses with S-T beauty rings and the extra linkages. I saw a picture of one on another Pentax site.

Last edited by lmd91343; 04-01-2013 at 10:06 PM.
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