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07-30-2014, 09:44 AM   #1
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Lens mystery: Why is "Asahi" and "Takumar" blacked out?

My father-in-law frequents local auctions and estate sales, and it's not uncommon for him to come home with old lenses. Yesterday he showed me an old M42 zoom lens he got. It's an SMC 85-210mm f/4.5, but the strange thing is that it has some of the markings blacked out. The words "Takumar" and "ASAHI OPT. CO." both appear to have painted over. Here's a picture (click for a larger version):



Another strange thing about this lens is that turning the aperture ring does not do anything to the aperture blades...they appear to stay wide open. And it looks like some kind of control may be missing from the side, and there is a thin strip of black tape over it (see the circled area):



So does anybody know why those brand names would be blacked out? Was this lens maybe some kind of "gray market" lens? It seems like I remember seeing this same black-out thing on another M42 lens, but I didn't think too much of it at the time, and I don't remember exactly what the lens was.

And what about the aperture ring and the missing control?






And if anybody wants bonus points, he brought home another lens that I don't know what it is. It's a 200mm f/4.5 prime, but it does not seem to have any brand name, unless it is "INA". I also don't recognize the mount:






Thanks for any help!

07-30-2014, 09:49 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
Another strange thing about this lens is that turning the aperture ring does not do anything to the aperture blades...they appear to stay wide open.
This is normal. The blades don't close until you push in the aperture control pin at the base - unless the lens has an A/M switch to go full manual.

A couple of guesses about the blackout:

1. It was used in some sort of advertisement and they didn't want to pay Pentax for use of the name.

2. It was used on some other brand of camera and the user did not want people to know it was an 'off-brand' lens.
07-30-2014, 09:56 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by OregonJim Quote
This is normal. The blades don't close until you push in the aperture control pin at the base - unless the lens has an A/M switch to go full manual.
One mystery solved definitively. Thanks!
07-30-2014, 09:59 AM   #4
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That area on the bottom kind of looks like it *was* the A/M switch but was removed. I think all the SMCs had them...

07-30-2014, 10:19 AM   #5
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No mystery on the blackout. Honeywell was the only legal importer of Takumar lenses in the US. Grey Market sellers would black out the Asahi and Takumar. The lens might also have been purchased overseas and the trademarks blacked out to get through customs.

The tape appears to be covering the spot where the A/M switch should be.
07-30-2014, 01:02 PM   #6
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The mount on the second lens looks like an old canon breech bayonet. Try and see if the mount unscrews (t-mount).
07-30-2014, 01:06 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
The mount on the second lens looks like an old canon breech bayonet. Try and see if the mount unscrews (t-mount).
I'm not at home now, but in the picture it does look like there is some kind of set screw near the mount.

---------- Post added 07-30-14 at 04:07 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
No mystery on the blackout. Honeywell was the only legal importer of Takumar lenses in the US. Grey Market sellers would black out the Asahi and Takumar. The lens might also have been purchased overseas and the trademarks blacked out to get through customs.

The tape appears to be covering the spot where the A/M switch should be.
That makes sense about it being a gray market lens. I wonder why it doesn't have an A/M switch? Could it have just fallen or broken off?
07-31-2014, 05:18 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
I wonder why it doesn't have an A/M switch? Could it have just fallen or broken off?
It would take a hacksaw and a lot of determination to remove that lever from a Takumar lens.

07-31-2014, 05:45 AM   #9
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I can add nothing about the mystery of the lens, but admire the quality of the 'product shots' that accompany the article. Superb.
07-31-2014, 06:42 AM   #10
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I've serviced several Takumar lenses where the Auto/Manual switch was missing. The two screws that hold the A/M switch are tiny and shallow, and if they come loose the switch can jam or fall off and get lost. The barrel is rough around where the A/M switch goes, so it may have been malfunctioning for a while before it fell off or was removed.

QuoteOriginally posted by wizofoz Quote
I can add nothing about the mystery of the lens, but admire the quality of the 'product shots' that accompany the article. Superb.
Agreed!. Nice.
07-31-2014, 08:46 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by wizofoz Quote
I can add nothing about the mystery of the lens, but admire the quality of the 'product shots' that accompany the article. Superb.
Thanks! I mostly support my photography and home theater hobbies by buying and reselling related items, and I have found that having nice photos helps me sell my items quicker and for a higher price. My wife also re-sells dolls and antiques, so I take pictures for her items. Here's a picture of the setup I used for the lens pictures, which is nothing too fancy:



The white surface/backdrop is a plastic 8x4 sheet that I picked up at Lowes or Home Depot. I have the white backdrop clamped to my wife's fold-out cutting table, and the top of the plastic sheet is taped to the wall.

I have several strobes, but as you can see I'm using a single strobe for the lens shots, with a sheet of white poster board as an improvised reflector. The strobes are older Paul C. Buff "White Lightning" units that I picked up for almost free on Craigslist, and they're triggered with one of those cheap Chinese flash trigger sets.

I usually use my Tamron 28-75mm for studio shots, but if the item is not too small and I don't need too much magnification then I'll use my Sigma 85mm as I did for the lens shots. As sharp as the Tamron 28-75mm is on APS-C when stopped down, the Sigma 85mm is sharper still and the contrast and rendering are wonderful, so I use it whenever I can get away with it. But the Tamron is a great lens, and the zoom range is perfect for use in a studio, and the close-focusing abilities comes in handy or small items. Here are some recent doll pictures using the table-top setup:







I also have a full-size backdrop I can use, but for most small items these days I prefer to use my improvised table-top setup since it involves less getting down to floor level and bending over. (The back's not as young as it used to be, and I was getting pretty sore after a session of photographing items!)





07-31-2014, 09:57 AM   #12
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Does your wife sell anything besides the AG dolls and antiques? Just curious. I'm into fashion dolls and BJD's myself.
07-31-2014, 12:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
Does your wife sell anything besides the AG dolls and antiques? Just curious. I'm into fashion dolls and BJD's myself.
She goes to auctions, and she'll buy and resell pretty much any doll that she thinks she can make money on. Here's one that she sold last year that you might have liked:



It's an original "Blythe" doll that she got in a box with other dolls for about $50 for the entire box. She then sold the Blythe on eBay for $660. Obviously, one of her better scores. This link will show the dolls she's sold in the last few months:

turbomission | eBay
07-31-2014, 03:28 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
She goes to auctions, and she'll buy and resell pretty much any doll that she thinks she can make money on. Here's one that she sold last year that you might have liked:



It's an original "Blythe" doll that she got in a box with other dolls for about $50 for the entire box. She then sold the Blythe on eBay for $660. Obviously, one of her better scores. This link will show the dolls she's sold in the last few months:

turbomission | eBay
Oh my gosh, your wife just sold my dream Blythe. I've been going to flea markets half my life trying to score an old Blythe, a real one. I had one as a very little kid. I was like 4 or 5 maybe. It got passed onto me by a playmate because she was tired of it and saw how much I loved it. I loved it nearly to pieces until I was about 9. My Mom tossed it behind my back, along with my only two Barbies because she hated dolls and thought at 9 I was too old for them anyway. I managed to save the Malibu head because she dropped it. I still have that original Malibu doll or at least her head. I found a new body for her years and years later. But a Blythe? Nope. The closest I've gotten are the Pet Shop Blythes. I have a little crew of those. One of these days I'm finally going to break down and buy me a knock off clone if nothing else. One big Blythe to rule them all, laugh. Unfortunately she won't be a real one. I can't afford one now. They can go for even more than this from what I've seen. Your wife was extremely lucky, sigh....
07-31-2014, 07:16 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
Oh my gosh, your wife just sold my dream Blythe. I've been going to flea markets half my life trying to score an old Blythe, a real one. I had one as a very little kid. I was like 4 or 5 maybe. It got passed onto me by a playmate because she was tired of it and saw how much I loved it. I loved it nearly to pieces until I was about 9. My Mom tossed it behind my back, along with my only two Barbies because she hated dolls and thought at 9 I was too old for them anyway. I managed to save the Malibu head because she dropped it. I still have that original Malibu doll or at least her head. I found a new body for her years and years later. But a Blythe? Nope. The closest I've gotten are the Pet Shop Blythes. I have a little crew of those. One of these days I'm finally going to break down and buy me a knock off clone if nothing else. One big Blythe to rule them all, laugh. Unfortunately she won't be a real one. I can't afford one now. They can go for even more than this from what I've seen. Your wife was extremely lucky, sigh....
What a tragedy that your Blythe got tossed! Yeah, it's crazy how expensive they've gotten. We were happy to find that one, but if we had gotten one with blonde hair I think it could've sold for closer to $1200.

Keep an eye out though...maybe one of these days you'll see one mixed in with the toys at the Goodwill for 50 cents!
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