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07-04-2015, 08:49 PM   #1
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300+ Takumars, Worth It?

I've always thought I'd likely end my M42 Tak collection with a 300mm, but reading the actual reviews I'm not all that sure I should go there. I just don't get it. The smaller Taks most of them are so good but it seems that the 300 and 400 lenses are just so-so? Why is that? Why does the Tak line fail to impress as much the longer they get? I am always surprised to see the ratings are as low as they are. Theories, comments? I'm curious as to what everyone has to say.

At this point I'm pretty much done otherwise. I definitely can't afford the 75/85 so that's a mute point. I was thinking hard about a 300 but maybe that's not a good use of $$$? I do have M42 mount Vivitar lenses in 300 and 400 so it's not been a huge priority, but I have thought a fair bit about acquiring a Tak 300 for my Spotties, till now. Reading a few reviews I'm really wondering if I should just stick with my Viv's for 300 and above primes.

07-04-2015, 09:02 PM   #2
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Newer telephotos are much smaller and lighter (even "big" ones) and have internal focusing -- they are just way easier to use. And the aberrations on the old ones (pre-ED glass) -- just a lot of fringing. They should be decently sharp, but those Tokina-made Vivitars are not bad at all. A Tair 300 is not a bad choice in screw-mount...
07-04-2015, 09:29 PM   #3
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Like vonBaloney said, the fringing on the 300+ Taks can be pretty bad. That said, the sharpness of the SMC Tak 300/4 easily outstrips the 55-300 (I've owned 2 copies of that lens).

Another aspect of the long Taks to be cognizant of is the minimum focus distance is actually pretty... distant.

f/5.6


wide open


f/8, and at the minimum focus distance
07-04-2015, 10:12 PM   #4
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I love that first shot. That is just gorgeous. What is that bird? I've never seen one of those. It almost looks Robin-ish but I don't think it is?

07-04-2015, 11:08 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I love that first shot. That is just gorgeous. What is that bird? I've never seen one of those. It almost looks Robin-ish but I don't think it is?

rose finch?
07-04-2015, 11:43 PM   #6
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I have both the 300/6.3 preset Tele-Tak and the S-Tak 300/4.


The present is very long, especially with the hood fitted. It is light but I have not been successful in getting reasonably sharp images.


The 300/4 can get quite sharp at reasonable apertures (5.6 or 8). For example I could read the title on the spine of a book at something between 100 and 150 m in good light (afternoon at Singapore Botanic Garden). I also like the speed of the 300/4 for conference speakers.
07-04-2015, 11:43 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Like vonBaloney said, the fringing on the 300+ Taks can be pretty bad. That said, the sharpness of the SMC Tak 300/4 easily outstrips the 55-300 (I've owned 2 copies of that lens).

Another aspect of the long Taks to be cognizant of is the minimum focus distance is actually pretty... distant.

f/5.6


wide open


f/8, and at the minimum focus distance
I still gots to know how the heck you manual focus a 300 on the k-01 hand held.
07-05-2015, 12:06 AM   #8
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I've got shaky hand sometimes but 300mm lenses don't really trip me up that way any more than anything shorter does. The 400mm and up lenses do sometimes. I have small hands. I have trouble holding those. It helps though if you have a built in tripod. My one teacher asked me once how I managed to keep the 300 Viv steady without a tripod. I said "Dunno..." but when he was watching me with it later he and his wife, they started to laugh. Seems I have a built in tripod in my DD's. I was literally standing there, squaring myself by resting my elbows on my boobs, steadying myself. I had no idea I was even doing it till they told me. I blushed a bit at being told, but hey,the way I see it, why not? Whatever works... LOL

07-05-2015, 12:37 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I've got shaky hand sometimes but 300mm lenses don't really trip me up that way any more than anything shorter does. The 400mm and up lenses do sometimes. I have small hands. I have trouble holding those. It helps though if you have a built in tripod. My one teacher asked me once how I managed to keep the 300 Viv steady without a tripod. I said "Dunno..." but when he was watching me with it later he and his wife, they started to laugh. Seems I have a built in tripod in my DD's. I was literally standing there, squaring myself by resting my elbows on my boobs, steadying myself. I had no idea I was even doing it till they told me. I blushed a bit at being told, but hey,the way I see it, why not? Whatever works... LOL
So women are mobile tripods eh? Not sure if they're worth the investment over a normal one
07-05-2015, 12:59 AM   #10
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I have this one:
S-M-C/Super Takumar 300mm F4 Reviews - M42 Screwmount Telephoto Primes - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
very happy with it, use Lightroom to remove CA, it takes seconds.
I was hoping to take some more photos with it with the new K-3II but I can not find it, bugger!
This is the problem when you have too many lenses and they are in three different locations.
My favourite 300 is still FA* 4.5
07-05-2015, 02:58 AM   #11
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An example from the 300mm Tele-takumar. I like it for its pre-set aperture, built in tripod foot and oof rendering as in the image example.



It is not a sports lens and can take a bit of work. I have recently purchased a FA 100-300 4.7 for that purpose and reach.

The tele-takumar focus is helped with focus peaking. Minimum distance to in focus subject is 5.5m (15ft). Another one:


Last edited by Arjay Bee; 07-05-2015 at 03:11 AM.
07-05-2015, 04:54 AM   #12
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This is a crop from a pic of a swan taken with a tamron 400mm f6.9



I've now tested four of these , 3 nestars, one standard, and they have all been sharp enough for me to suggest they are the best of the old 400mm presets (though I haven't had an old tak 400 to compare)
07-05-2015, 05:10 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I've always thought I'd likely end my M42 Tak collection with a 300mm, but reading the actual reviews I'm not all that sure I should go there. I just don't get it. The smaller Taks most of them are so good but it seems that the 300 and 400 lenses are just so-so? Why is that? Why does the Tak line fail to impress as much the longer they get? I am always surprised to see the ratings are as low as they are. Theories, comments? I'm curious as to what everyone has to say.

At this point I'm pretty much done otherwise. I definitely can't afford the 75/85 so that's a mute point. I was thinking hard about a 300 but maybe that's not a good use of $$$? I do have M42 mount Vivitar lenses in 300 and 400 so it's not been a huge priority, but I have thought a fair bit about acquiring a Tak 300 for my Spotties, till now. Reading a few reviews I'm really wondering if I should just stick with my Viv's for 300 and above primes.
...I would have loved to see you designing a super-telephoto lens in the '70s with pen and pencil...
Seriously, they barely had some things they called "computers", but were actually not the best tools to test complex optical designs, as opposed to 3D CAD-CAM and virtual prototyping of these days.
Now 13-15 lenses designs are a breeze, compared to then.
07-05-2015, 07:17 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I love that first shot. That is just gorgeous. What is that bird? I've never seen one of those. It almost looks Robin-ish but I don't think it is?
QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
rose finch?
Close. It's a male house finch.

---------- Post added 07-05-15 at 10:29 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
...I would have loved to see you designing a super-telephoto lens in the '70s with pen and pencil...
Seriously, they barely had some things they called "computers", but were actually not the best tools to test complex optical designs, as opposed to 3D CAD-CAM and virtual prototyping of these days.
Now 13-15 lenses designs are a breeze, compared to then.
Zeiss managed it 70 years ago. Nikon did, too, in the '60's. Both flavors of 300/4 sport much less fringing than the Taks.

---------- Post added 07-05-15 at 10:30 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by ZombieArmy Quote
I still gots to know how the heck you manual focus a 300 on the k-01 hand held.
I use an el-cheapo LCD viewer, and focus peaking help a lot.

---------- Post added 07-05-15 at 10:35 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I just don't get it. The smaller Taks most of them are so good but it seems that the 300 and 400 lenses are just so-so? Why is that? Why does the Tak line fail to impress as much the longer they get? I am always surprised to see the ratings are as low as they are. Theories, comments? I'm curious as to what everyone has to say.
Just a guess on my part, but I imagine that wildlife shooting was such a fringe aspect of photography that Pentax (and other brands) simply felt it wasn't worth the significant R&D costs to develop a world-beating 300+ mm lens. Also, there was no pixel-peeping back then!
07-05-2015, 11:56 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
...I would have loved to see you designing a super-telephoto lens in the '70s with pen and pencil...
Seriously, they barely had some things they called "computers", but were actually not the best tools to test complex optical designs, as opposed to 3D CAD-CAM and virtual prototyping of these days.
Now 13-15 lenses designs are a breeze, compared to then.


Also, most of the lenses of that period were limited to spherical surfaces because methods of grinding aspherical lens surfaces had not yet been developed. Now aspherical surfaces can be made routinely at reasonable cost. The aspherical lenses reduce aberrations - which improves quality.


Of course modern computational design tools are unbelievably better than the manual process methods, with one reason being that they enable testing the performance of a huge array of design ideas during the design cycle, rather than the limited number in the manual process.
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