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06-09-2015, 08:23 AM   #1
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Is Super Takumar 50mm f1.4, 8-element worth $200?

Hi, everyone. I need a lens with great(dreamy) bokeh and sharpness wideopen, so I'm eyeing on Super Takumar 50mm f1.4. It looks 8-element version has less yellow cast and also it's radiation free according to some googling. I actually pretty much like some sample images that I found. But I was surprised by the price of this lens going up to $200, while 7-element version is sold at less than half the price.

I currently have M50 f1.7 and FA 43mm, and I love those lenses, but for dreamy bokeh, I guess I need something different.

I know price is determined by demand, but do you think almost $200 for this Super Takumar 50mm 8-elements is worth it? Or is it some kind of hype?
Other than the bokeh, compared to my two fast lenses, would this super tak give any better rendering?
Thanks for your opinions!

06-09-2015, 09:27 AM   #2
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Isn't this the one that Asahi Optical made at a significant loss per unit before shifting to the 7-element version? If so, this explains the price. It's a bit like the K-A mount 50mm f/1.2 - unless you're incredibly lucky, you won't find any good ones going cheap.
06-09-2015, 09:49 AM   #3
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It is at least partly hype. The 7-element plain Supers aren't quite as good (those are only $50-$60 often), but the 7-element Super-Multi-Coated or SMC versions are sharper (and go for around $100). The 8 element will have a subtler dreamy quality wide-open, but it is not a big difference. I wouldn't pay more then $130 or so for an 8-element version. There are plenty of other nice old m42 50 & 55 1/4s that are less hyped that you can get for less than $100...
06-09-2015, 10:17 AM   #4
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Li didn't pay that much for mine, actually exactly half that, but it was some years back. I think value is what you make of it. It is a good lens, but likely if you are in good control of your shots, qualities like bokeh are really more under the control of the photographer than the lens.

Just keep backgrounds relaiively simple, and far encounter away that they do not appear too confusing

06-09-2015, 10:36 AM   #5
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I guess those who doesn't have it - will say that it's not worth getting at this price. However what do they really know? Only that they either cannot find or afford one.

Those, who already have it - will most definitely answer yes, it is worth it. And so I will - for me this lens was worth it, even with inflated UK price tag! It is one of the finest lenses I have. The way this lens works in my hands can only be described as magical and I got some of the most cherished photos of my kids with it. If you have gone through the review - you probably saw some ( https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/12-post-your-photos/273641-people-hmmm-ac...ax-k-01-a.html ).

For me it is all about the question : Would I be able to get the shots I want with another lens ? Having already many great lenses, EVEN SMC-A 50 1.2 ! - I say no to that question. The way this lens works, way I can focus with it, way I can instantly stop it down, way it fuses together with my K-01 - all this makes it indispensable and worth the money I paid. I think instead of asking people and crating pointless stir you should ask this question yourself - this is who's going to pay for and use this lens after all - isn't it ? If you asked about its qualities, handling, rendering, sharpness, bokeh,.. .ANYTHING -it would make sense. but Asking if it's worth it is like asking somebody in the shopping centre whether this wine is worth a $50 per bottle or not - I mean what kind of question is this ?

So.. is it worth it for you ?
06-09-2015, 10:47 AM   #6
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Nevertheless...even if it is great, seems overpriced just given what it usually goes for -- that's the top of the market. If you can get it for $130-$160 (and you can, fairly easily), then why pay $200?
06-09-2015, 11:29 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ychousa Quote
I currently have M50 f1.7 and FA 43mm, and I love those lenses, but for dreamy bokeh, I guess I need something different.
And these two don't do it? The M 50mm f1.7 is pretty good in my experience (don't have a 43mm). But keep in mind, for dreamy bokeh you need to take the shot properly. You need to use a relatively low f-number, and you should be fairly close to the subject. You won't get bokeh with a 43mm lens if you are aiming at a person 50 metres away from you, or if you use aperture above f4. To get the most bokeh you need to minimum focus distance and the lowest f number. This gives you maximum blur. And a high focal length! So I would recommend you try a lens between 55mm and 85mm. Think about buying the Samyang 85mm f1.4 - great price, really bright aperture, but MF only, and might be difficult to focus without buying a focusing screen. This is the main problem of bokeh lenses.
Because even though a 50mm f1.4 lens will give you more blur than the 50mm f1.7 or 43mm f1.9, it might not be as drastic a difference as you want.

As to the question of the thread - it might be. And even if you don't like it, you can then sell it for a minimal loss.
06-09-2015, 11:39 AM   #8
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I'm lucky enough to own that lens, and I can only say, that it's worth every penny - IMO! (130$) You can, of course compare to any lens you want, but it doesn't change the fact, that this lens has something that others don't. I find it very special.

Best regards John

06-09-2015, 11:52 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
but the 7-element Super-Multi-Coated or SMC versions are sharper
This is not completely my experience. I used the 8-element and S-M-C versions side by side for a month on a Single In challenge, and found the 8-elements was sharper wide open and the S-M-C sharper when stopped down. Sharper wide open is more valuable to me, at least.

It is probably an internet myth that the 8-elements was too expensive to produce....but goodness can it produce dreamy bokeh. There are other lenses (fast fifies, fast 85's, fast 135's etc) that can produce dreamy bokeh, but I also find there is something a little extra special about the earliest Takumar 50/1.4s. BTW, after a lot of research I set myself a budget of $175 in the UK to find a mint condition version, and ended up buying a less than mint (body) but good optics for $130 as well. I noticed the prices went up and down a lot, so if you can wait I'd say $200 is too much, probably. But if you really want one now...!

Here's a dreamy photo from my month of shots....

06-09-2015, 11:56 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ychousa Quote
Hi, everyone. I need a lens with great(dreamy) bokeh and sharpness wideopen, so I'm eyeing on Super Takumar 50mm f1.4. It looks 8-element version has less yellow cast and also it's radiation free according to some googling. I actually pretty much like some sample images that I found. But I was surprised by the price of this lens going up to $200, while 7-element version is sold at less than half the price.

I currently have M50 f1.7 and FA 43mm, and I love those lenses, but for dreamy bokeh, I guess I need something different.

I know price is determined by demand, but do you think almost $200 for this Super Takumar 50mm 8-elements is worth it? Or is it some kind of hype?
Other than the bokeh, compared to my two fast lenses, would this super tak give any better rendering?
Thanks for your opinions!
I got the 8-element for a steal at an antique store, yellowed with a slight bit of fungus. I've seen conflicting stories on the yellowing with the 8-elements, seems as mine had the radioactive elements. All other features id it as an 8-element one.Once de-yellowed it had a nice dreamy effect, but not much more than my A-1.4 and much less so than my old 16-bladed Sunset TC 135 preset, there's cheaper options out there for sure. from what I've read there's little optical difference between the 8 element and 7 element. I'd say save your money and leave this one to the collectors.
06-09-2015, 12:19 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dipsoid Quote
from what I've read there's little optical difference between the 8 element and 7 element

Except one has 8 elements and one has 7 elements, and one yellows more than the other.....Interestingly when I first decided to buy a Takumar 50/1.4 some years ago, the S-M-C radioactive one was generally regarded as the better lens. Only as the internet started to mushroom and the stories about the expensive-to-produce 8 elements versions started to grow did the earlier version gain its cult status. Another internet-driven trend IMO has been the growing popularity in "bokeh" and ultra-smooth or crazy bokeh lenses. I can only repeat my experience from using both lenses, that there are differences, and if its bokeh you are after the early version is the one to buy. Having said that the 8 elements shouldn't be twice as expensive as the 7 elements version.
06-09-2015, 12:37 PM   #12
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We're talking about is it worth the money here. Yes it has beautiful bokeh, and when I talk about optical differences, I mean visually in the photograph, not in the lens design. Granted, I haven't used both so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I haven't observed much of a distinct difference from pictures I've seen, and in terms of "dreaminess" it's not too much better than my a-1.4. If you have unlimited money to spend the extra oomph might be worth it, but we're talking about diminishing returns for something more than twice the price.
06-09-2015, 01:22 PM   #13
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A lot of cinematographers and portrait photographers are snatching up those lenses on eBay like there is no tomorrow. Not all of the buyers are Pentaxians either, some are people with cameras like the Canon 5D II. That's why the prices are going up and why that lens has become "super-rare" instead of just rare. To me if you can afford it and if you find one in good condition it is well worth the $200. The lens has a character of it's own. The SMC versions are supposed to be a little sharper, but I don't think they have the character of the original. I could be wrong since I don't own one.


I would say the average price for the 8 element, if you shop around is about $165 for one in Good condition and a little more for one in Very-good condition. Be careful because there are some sellers out there on the used market(eBay) who are selling 7 element lenses and claiming they are 8 element. Make sure you know your lenses before hitting that Buy Now button.
06-09-2015, 01:59 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by manntax Quote
I think instead of asking people and crating pointless stir you should ask this question yourself - this is who's going to pay for and use this lens after all - isn't it ? If you asked about its qualities, handling, rendering, sharpness, bokeh,.. .ANYTHING -it would make sense. but Asking if it's worth it is like asking somebody in the shopping centre whether this wine is worth a $50 per bottle or not - I mean what kind of question is this ?

So.. is it worth it for you ?
I guess it's a pretty wise answer to a rather stupid question I totally understand your point. I might need to slightly change my title like this: Does 8-element have twice the value as the 7-element? Or something like that.. I had thought playing around with old M42 lenses would be a big fun, so I already bought a genuine Pentax M42 adapter when I saw a cheap listing. Now I'm in the market for a lens and wondering which one to buy. Since I already have M50, I initially set my budget to less than $80, but got to know this much touted 8-element version and started to wonder if I can justify spending $100 more.

Last edited by ychousa; 06-09-2015 at 02:51 PM.
06-09-2015, 02:02 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by hjoseph7 Quote
A lot of cinematographers and portrait photographers are snatching up those lenses on eBay like there is no tomorrow. Not all of the buyers are Pentaxians either, some are people with cameras like the Canon 5D II. That's why the prices are going up and why that lens has become "super-rare" instead of just rare. To me if you can afford it and if you find one in good condition it is well worth the $200. The lens has a character of it's own. The SMC versions are supposed to be a little sharper, but I don't think they have the character of the original. I could be wrong since I don't own one.


I would say the average price for the 8 element, if you shop around is about $165 for one in Good condition and a little more for one in Very-good condition. Be careful because there are some sellers out there on the used market(eBay) who are selling 7 element lenses and claiming they are 8 element. Make sure you know your lenses before hitting that Buy Now button.
You can't use the 8-element with the Canon FF cameras unless you modify the mirror. You can't just castrate it like you can a K-mount lens.
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