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06-25-2015, 04:52 AM   #1
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Thoughts on a three-prime kit. Screw-mount experts, please help!!

For my DSLR, I currently have:

Pentax FA 28mm f/2.8
Pentax DA 50mm f/1.8
Pentax FA 135mm f/2.8

For my recently resurrected film body (P3) I have...

Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 with basic K mount functionality
Pentax A 50mm f/2.0
(The FA 135 is fully functional on this body, so I won't be doubling up.)

There is another film body on the way, and it will be taking the M42 adapter full-time. And now comes the issue - what to get for it. My thoughts are obviously to duplicate the other sets. Something in the high 20s or low 30s, something between 50mm and 60mm, and a 135mm prime (the last of which I currently have, although it's not a very good one, and which I might consider replacing).

However, the world of Takumar and other M42 primes is not as clear-cut as the simpler world of SMC Pentax K mount lenses - for a start, there's the 50/55/58mm thing going on in the normal range, and then there are the variations in maximum aperture loaded on top of that, plus the aperture blade number variations, thoriated lenses (would like to try to avoid those), and so on and so forth. I'm not limiting my want-list to Taks, BTW. I'd be happy for any other compatible recommendations, but I appear to have been badly burned on IQ with my 135mm Samigon (fortunately at no great cost) and much as I want to take the plunge, it's made me a little wary of M42 lenses in general. So some help in working out what one might aim for and what to avoid would be greatly appreciated.

06-25-2015, 05:12 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Go Russian:

Mir 24M 35mm f2 - sharp, contrasty, good colours
Helios 44 58mm f2 - so many variants and they all seem good. For my money I'd go for either the 44-3 pre-set or the 44M-7 which on paper, at least, is supposedly the sharpest of the bunch.
at 135mm there are three great Russian lenses to choose from: the Jupiter 37 (f3.5) Jupiter 11 (f4) or the Tair 11 (f2.8). I have the Jupiter 37 and I love its rendering and smooth bokeh.
With all these lenses, you will get best results with a lens hood.
06-25-2015, 05:58 AM   #4
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Update: "normal" gap filled - 55mm f/2 Takumar ordered; could not be refused at the price offered. This will have nearly the FOV equivalent of an 85mm lens on a DSLR, so should be interesting in the initial-trials phase.

06-25-2015, 08:33 AM   #5
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You really have a world of choices for M42. Abundant 28 & 35mm on the wide end. 50, 55 or 58mm on the normal. And 135mm on the long.
All on the cheap.

My favorite M42 28mm is the Sears Auto 28/2.8. I like it better than the Super-Tak 28/3.5 I have. Second choice would be the
Super-Tak 35/3.5.

For normal, any Tak 50/1.4 or 55/1.8. Second choice the 55/2. The Helios 44-2 58/2 is a really fun lens, but I'd suggest it
as an alternate, not your primary normal.

For long, the Auto/Super-Tak 135/3.5 or 135/2.5. Third party choices can vary widely in quality. For a little more money,
the Super-Tak 85/1.8 or 85/1.9 are really nice.
06-25-2015, 09:19 AM   #6
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I have the S-M-C Takumar 28mm f/3.5 and I think it's a great little lens with almost no distortion to correct in PP. They seem to be plentiful and inexpensive too. I also have the S-M-C Tak 85mm f/1.8, 105 f/2.8, and 135 f/2.5. I love using these lenses. There's just something about the Pentax quality build in these lenses.
06-25-2015, 11:11 AM   #7
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This is my three-lens M42 kit:
  • S-M-C Takumar 28/3.5
  • Super Takumar 55/1.8
  • Vivitar 135/2.8 (Komine-made)



My advice regarding alternatives? Skip the Helios 44 58/2 variants unless you aren't picky about corner sharpness. I own the Vivitar 135mm, but various Super/S-M-C/SMC Takumars in the 100mm - 135mm range are all good options as are similar lengths from Mamiya/Sekor, Yashica, and Ricoh. Ditto for 28mm, though I would avoid the Vivitar 28/2.5 (Kiron-made). I own that lens and it is overly large and not so good optically.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-25-2015 at 11:18 AM.
06-25-2015, 11:26 AM   #8
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Soviet lenses. If you can get the TAIR -11, that fills the telephoto slot. Great lens.

Also recommend that MIR-24.

I do suggest grabbing a Helios. Not a #1 lens, but always worth having.

06-25-2015, 11:47 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tvdtvdtvd Quote
For normal, any Tak 50/1.4 or 55/1.8. Second choice the 55/2.
I grabbed the 55/2 before your post came up, because the price was insanely good compared with everything else in the normal range (almost half), but I might keep an eye out in the future for a 50/1.4.

QuoteOriginally posted by wtlwdwgn Quote
I have the S-M-C Takumar 28mm f/3.5

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
S-M-C Takumar 28/3.5
Repetition suggests there's something about this lens which justifies losing half a stop over a 2.8. Not being able to crank up the ISO on demand puts a premium on speed, especially since I can't drop below 1 second without going all the way to Bulb mode, but we shall see.
06-25-2015, 11:56 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
thoriated lenses (would like to try to avoid those)
Care to elaborate why?
06-25-2015, 12:04 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Repetition suggests there's something about this lens which justifies losing half a stop over a 2.8. Not being able to crank up the ISO on demand puts a premium on speed, especially since I can't drop below 1 second without going all the way to Bulb mode, but we shall see.
Be aware that there are two versions of the ST 28/3.5. The older and less-well-regarded version is significantly larger and has 58mm filter threads. The later version is significantly smaller, has an updated optical design and 49mm filter threads.


Steve
06-25-2015, 12:10 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
Care to elaborate why?

Young kids in the house. I mentioned what was in the lens and the OH gave me the look that said "No, not at any emission level."

---------- Post added 25-06-15 at 16:42 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Be aware that there are two versions of the ST 28/3.5.
Thank you. Any clues to pick them apart on pictures alone? Serial numbers?
06-25-2015, 01:03 PM   #13
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On the front of the lens will be "Super-Multi-Coated Takumar." The later versions are "SMC Takumar." The older versions are "Super Takumar."
06-25-2015, 01:18 PM   #14
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Considering it is for film, I might consider the zenitar 16mm fisheye for ultra wide, some form of 28-35 for seven day street shots (!-a little wide). A 50/1.4 takumar and the. Look for are set 135 for nicer bokeh
06-25-2015, 01:51 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Young kids in the house. I mentioned what was in the lens and the OH gave me the look that said "No, not at any emission level."

---------- Post added 25-06-15 at 16:42 ----------



Thank you. Any clues to pick them apart on pictures alone? Serial numbers?
The appearance of the front element is a clue. On both versions the front element occupies most of the front of the lens, but on the 2nd version there is a baffled step-down between the front and second element that is visible in the straight on view. The first version also has a finely ribbed aperture ring. The photos on this site's review should help:

First type:




Second type:




https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/S-M-C-Super-Takumar-28mm-F3.5.html


Steve
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