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04-27-2014, 03:54 PM   #1
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Favorite Manual Portrait Lens

So I was just sitting here going through the lens database to try to get some ideas for good portrait lens for my Super Program, and it got me wondering:

What is your favorite manual portrait lens?

To clarify, by "manual" I mean pre-autofocus lenses from the classic M42 screwmounts to the auto aperture A series.

Describe what you like about the lens (i.e. speed, build, bokeh, field of view) and maybe post some examples if you can.

Thanks!

04-27-2014, 04:01 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by bsamcash Quote
So I was just sitting here going through the lens database to try to get some ideas for good portrait lens for my Super Program, and it got me wondering:

What is your favorite manual portrait lens?

To clarify, by "manual" I mean pre-autofocus lenses from the classic M42 screwmounts to the auto aperture A series.

Describe what you like about the lens (i.e. speed, build, bokeh, field of view) and maybe post some examples if you can.

Thanks!
I am sure mine is not the best, but I rather like my AutoSears 135 mm f 2.8. A little long, but really good for isolating the subject, and surprisingly sharp for its classic age.
04-27-2014, 04:05 PM   #3
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Vivitar 85/1.4 is a great lens with very affordable price tag, if you want to get a new lens.
K135/2.5 has very good bokeh, and on fillm camera, 135mm is not too long for portraits.
Tokina 60-120/2.8 is actually an excellent lens for portrait, both on film and digital camera. I will say it is a lens made for portrait.
04-27-2014, 04:15 PM   #4
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My favorite FF portrait lenses, back in the early 70's with my ES II, were the M42 SMC Takumar 105mm f2.8, and secondly (because it was so much heavier), the 85mm f1.8.

As I'm sure you are aware, the 85mm costs a fortune these days. But if you are persistent, you can find somewhat reasonable 105mms - particularly the non-SMC, which with its slightly less contrast still is great for portraits (use a hood though).

I almost always used the 105. Light. Great handling. Only when light was really a problem did I pull out the 85mm. (I also thought it was a tad short..) Shoot wide open, and yes, some say its a bit soft - but perfect for Portraits. At 2.8 and 105, the background quickly goes OOF, and the bokeh (not used term in those days) was creamy.

If the 105 can't be found for a reasonable price, maybe look at 135mm - though I do find them a bit flat for FF Portraits. The Tak M42 135mm f3.5 is a really fine lens - mint ones are less than $50. Also light, easy to handle. A surprisingly good cheap 135 is the Vivitar Komine (28xxx S/N) M42 f2.8. It is sharp enough wide open - possibly sharper than the Tak 135mm at 3.5, certainly at center. Mint ones are $30 to $40 - tops. The 8-blade iris (early) is best.

As to a 105mm Tak, unfortunately you can't do too much better on a 'Buy It Now' than this these days - $115 - supposedly 'near mint' - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Asahi-Pentax-105mm-1-2-8-Super-Takumar-M42-Screw-Mou...item258c1eba3c. But if you persist at auctions you might pick one up for $90 or under...


Last edited by cahudson42; 04-27-2014 at 04:50 PM.
04-27-2014, 04:38 PM   #5
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Thanks a lot for the suggestions guys!

QuoteOriginally posted by cahudson42 Quote
My favorite FF portrait lenses, back in the early 70's with my ES II, were the M42 SMC Takumar 105mm f2.8
The 105/2.8 looks pretty good. Is there a difference between the SMC Tak and the Auto-Tak in rendering?
04-27-2014, 05:00 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by bsamcash Quote
Thanks a lot for the suggestions guys!



The 105/2.8 looks pretty good. Is there a difference between the SMC Tak and the Auto-Tak in rendering?
I actually had both back in the 70's. I shot mostly all B&W and self-processed. Don't remember much of a difference - think I used them interchangeably. If you get the non-SMC, I would always suggest a Hood to reduce flare and any possible loss of contrast. My guess is you will be happy with either..

May be some additional info over in the M42 Lens Review area here... https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/Super-Multi-Coated-TAKUMAR-Super-Tak...05mm-F2.8.html

Last edited by cahudson42; 04-27-2014 at 05:18 PM.
04-27-2014, 05:07 PM   #7
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K85/1.8 or the K105/2.8. Sharp and fast and perfect on film. They also share the same 52mm clip-on lens hood.

Phil.
04-27-2014, 05:13 PM   #8
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My Vote...

Hi bsamcash,
My vote goes to the M 85mm f/2.0. Rendering, sharpness and oh...yes. The Bokeh! Those soft highlights and glowing orbs.
JMO, I know you can get a new 85mm for about the same $$, but that's not the point.
Ron

04-27-2014, 06:25 PM   #9
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I have a bunch, but for long distance outdoor portraits, the best results I have are we a takumars 200/3.5 preset. A little closer in, best so far is the samyang 85/1.4
04-27-2014, 06:37 PM   #10
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+1 for the Samyang 85mm f1.4. It's well built (besides the hood), sharp wide open, has an A setting, faster than the more common f1.8s, has modern coatings, and can be had cheaper new than a lot of 2nd hand lenses.
04-27-2014, 07:36 PM   #11
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Either my M100 f2.8 or the M135 f3.5...although I also really like my SMC Tak 50 f1.4.
04-27-2014, 08:48 PM   #12
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I use an SMC Pentax 55mm f1.8 a lot. Sometimes one of the Takumar 55mm lenses instead - the same formula, different coatings. Second is an old Super-Takumar 85mm f1.9. Third is what I have on the camera or can reach quickly when an opportunity happens.

I think I end up choosing the lens that is easiest to focus - pretty sharp wide open and a good feel to the focus ring. "Rendering" when the subject is out of focus is kind of pointless. I am most comfortable at 50-100mm or so. A lot of 135s are great for the job, just the wrong distance away for me. (They are excellent for sneaking shots though, especially the smaller 135s.)
04-27-2014, 09:24 PM   #13
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I only have a few but for me it would have to be my Pentax A35-105MM for it's versatility and the SMC Tak 55 1.8 for IQ.
04-27-2014, 09:26 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by bass3587 Quote
I only have a few but for me it would have to be my Pentax A35-105MM for it's versatility and the SMC Tak 55 1.8 for IQ.
Is the Tak that much better than the DA 50/1.8?
04-27-2014, 09:44 PM   #15
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A100/2.8 or K200/2.5 - both render the subject nicely and have beautiful OOF backgrounds.
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