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09-09-2013, 03:45 PM   #1
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M42s - What's the best?

Hi All -

Just getting into DSLRs, and I'm really interested in the Super/SMC Takumar line. I've been reading everything I can on them, and have a pretty good understanding of the subtle differences between the early & late version ones vs the version twos, etc. My question is, and I know it's really subjective, but which is better? There are users who swear my the early models, and those who swear by the SMC models. I'm looking to shoot primarily video and need a lens that is really sharp throughout, little to no aberrations, etc. I know the early Taks still hold up great. But what about the Super Multi Coated? Do most Pentax lens users prefer one over the other.

For starters, I'm looking to acquire a few primes: the 28mm 3.5, 35mm 3.5, 50mm 1.4 and possibly a 105mm 2.8.

Thanks in advance for the advice!

Tim

Camera is a Canon T3i.

09-09-2013, 03:51 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by arrimantim Quote
Camera is a Canon T3i.
Only Pentax cameras are allowed to use Pentax lenses.
09-09-2013, 04:39 PM   #3
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The Takumars are great lenses! They are capable of being very sharp as I'm sure you have read everywhere. I use mine between wide open and f/8. Personally I have found that the colors need some adjustment in post processing though. The lenses were designed to work with film and the sensitivity of film. Digital image sensors have a different sensitivity which may push the lens to its limits in some cases. Even though some claim that you don't need a hood when using SMC models, I would still recommend getting one.

If you have a hard time getting Taks at a price you think is reasonable then be sure to check out other brands like Yashica and Lentar. Those lenses are also excellent and can rival Taks in some cases.
09-09-2013, 04:41 PM   #4
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No comment. My only m42 is Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 so I really can't help you at all.

arnold's post is hilarious at best.

09-09-2013, 04:46 PM   #5
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Thanks! But I'm still confused - do you use S-M-Cs or Super-Taks?
09-09-2013, 04:53 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by arrimantim Quote
Thanks! But I'm still confused - do you use S-M-Cs or Super-Taks?
I use both...

I also use Rikenons, Mamiya/Sekor, Vivitar, and KMZ...


Steve
09-09-2013, 05:41 PM   #7
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For the starters I would go with the S-M-C versions of Takumars you mentioned. 35/3.5 is really sharp, 28/3.5 is great also. 50/1.4 can be pricy and is extremely soft wide open, instead I would go for SMC version of 55/1.8 or 55/2 (they are the same lens but 55/2 has a washer to make its widest aperture f/2). All of these lenses can be found under $50 on the US ebay. If you like the feel and results you can start exploring the older versions. My preferred tele lens is 135 f/2.5 Model II - I never seen better results, but this lens is expensive and many sellers disguise the earlier inferior versions so unless you know how to distinguish the versions of this lens it can be a lottery.

Last edited by KPbICA; 09-09-2013 at 05:57 PM.
09-09-2013, 05:45 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I use both...

I also use Rikenons, Mamiya/Sekor, Vivitar, and KMZ...


Steve
Me too, although I don't own any KMZ (yet).

My favorites are Yashica Yashinon lenses.

They're very similar to the Takumars in many ways (similar vintage, available in many of the same focal length/aperture combinations).

From the Taks & SMCs I've used, I think the ones that were introduced later are usually better, but that the first version of each lens is often the best.

It seems Pentax, Minolta, and some others were in the habit of making a really great lens when they first launch it, and then cutting costs on later versions, usually by reducing the number of elements, but possibly by other factors as well. That's not to say more elements are always better.

This is generalized rule, and every rule has exceptions.

Also, I don't shoot video, so I have zero advice relating to that.

09-09-2013, 06:00 PM   #9
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Thanks Steve, KPbICA & thornburg! As a (fairly) experienced cinematographer, it's really important to me to have a *set* of matching primes. Thornburg: other than the brand name, I don't know anything about Yashica lenses & how they work with Canon DSLRs. Were they manufactured by Contax (C-Z?) at one time?
09-09-2013, 06:04 PM   #10
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I have several Takumar lenses Super and SMC. I like them both very much.

One thing that I would like to ask though. I see that you are using the T3i, and the problem is mainly centered on the full frame camera bodies, but the mirror has a tendency to hit the aperture guard and a number of Canon shooters saw off the guard. Please don't butcher the lenses.

I can also suggest that you may wish considering the old Contax Zeiss line of lenses. They will work very well with a relatively inexpensive adapter (C/Y to EOS, which runs about $25). They are extremely sought after by the Canon folks shooting video. They are just as sharp as the Taks and can be in the same price range. Here are a couple of links....The Zeiss T* lens coatings were acquired from Pentax (the SMC). The 28/2.8, 85/2.8, 50/1.4/1.7, 35/2.8, 135/2.8 are all very affordable. Contax also has both primes and zooms that are extremely sharp.

You can find the Contax Zeiss on ebay and also Fred Miranda. hope that helps...

09-09-2013, 06:13 PM   #11
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Hi Interested_Observer -

Thanks for the info. I've read several postings where people have had issues with the Taks (particularly the 50 1.4) hitting the mirror on the Canon 5d's - but not on any of the other models. One user mentioned that he had a 60D and didn't have any problems until he upgraded to the 5d (the T series, 50D, 60D & 7d all have the exact same image sensor). But I haven't had the opportunity to find out yet...

And I've been eyeing Contax Zeiss glass for a while now. But for the most part, they seem to go for 2-3 times the price of the Pentax lenses... I'll research the links you sent over, though! Thanks!
09-09-2013, 06:38 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I use both...

I also use Rikenons, Mamiya/Sekor, Vivitar, and KMZ...


Steve
Fujica also had some nice M42 stuff.
09-09-2013, 07:48 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
but the mirror has a tendency to hit the aperture guard
No aperture guard for M-42 lenses, but the mirror clearance issue still exists for FF Canon dSLRs with many M-42 lenses as well as various film SLRs.


Steve
09-09-2013, 08:22 PM   #14
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I don't think there is such a thing as matching primes in that era. They all render differently. The 50/1.4 has a glow to it, soft, but delicate bokeh. The 55mm is dead sharp, but harsher bokeh. The colors of my 55 are "more" than my 50/1.4, even though they are both Supers. Not just intensity, but the contrast characteristics across the spectrum are different. Looking at the front elements, I can tell the coatings are different because they just look different. Further, some of the lenses use heavier element glass, giving a very different characteristic. They all are very fine, but I would not say that they "match"

That said, the Supers are usually single coated, and have a flatter color profile, while the SMC's tend to have a more exciting color. The differences aren't huge, but they are there. The difference in flare control is moderate, but noticeable. I like the supers, because they look the most different from modern lenses.
09-09-2013, 09:13 PM   #15
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One cool thing about the Taks is that they are radioactive - just a tint bit!

So, if you're a fan of the nuclear sciences then a Tak is even more exciting to own!
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