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07-30-2015, 11:45 PM   #1
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Problems with Preset Takumar 135 F3.5

I recently got a really nice looking chrome-and-black version of the preset Takumar 135 F3.5 from ebay.
The seller offered it as in perfect working condition, but the focusing ring is so stiff I tend to screw the lens out of the mount when trying to focus.
It also does not focus to infinity, the focus ring turns all the way to the end but I cannot get anything into focus further than 20-30 meters away.

I use the original Pentax M42 adapter, so I think I should get infinity focus, and while this is my first Takumar preset I do own a few Super/SMC Taks and some Russian built presets.

Before I contact the seller I'd like to check with the people here who got some experience with that lens if this might be a known issue or if I might be overlooking something.

I think I'd really like to keep the lens, even if I never manage to get it working completely, if only as a really nifty looking collectors item, but I'd like to get a discount from the seller if he sold a defective piece.

07-31-2015, 11:26 AM   #2
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I have one, and its focus ring is about as stiff as yours, which might be normal for that age. It focuses in the right place both on spotmatics and on digital with adaptors, the same as any other M42. You don't see anything that keeps it from screwing one more millimeter onto the adaptor?
07-31-2015, 11:30 AM   #3
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I just purchased a Takumar 50mm F4 macro preset and the focusing ring is buttery smooth just like any other Takumar. No problems with infinity, because the infinity with that lens is at 7 feet. The lens was recently CLA'd.
07-31-2015, 12:41 PM   #4
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With the lens off the camera try to set it to infinity. Then screw the adapter on to the lens, then mount as if a K-mount lens. Is it focused at infinity? It is possible somebody adjusted to infinity focus to work with a flanged adapter or some other brand camera body. Or the helicoid threads may be blocked.

Most likely the grease on the helicoid has dried out. Grease often consists of oil, an emulsifier (like soap) and a carrier like clay. WIth age the oil dries out leaving just the soap and clay which amounts for the stiffness and can also block the threads keeping it from turning through the entire throw. If the grease hasn't dried out too much and just separated you can sometimes remix it by slowly working the focus movement back and forth. With the age of the lens I would suspect it is pretty much dried out.

The helicoid threads could be damaged.

The only way to know for sure is to strip down the helicoid mechanism, clean off the old grease and inspect the threads. Regrease and reassemble.

Regardless, I would not consider the lens in perfect working order.

08-01-2015, 08:14 AM   #5
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Thanks to all who answered my post.

@clicksworth: No, the lens' mount threads are clean and not damaged, I can screw it in till it sits on the body without a gap. In the meantime I tried my adapter on the K5 with another Takumar for comparison and tested the 135 with another adapter on the Q, it's definitely the lens.

@Not a Number: I fear you are right with your suspicion that the lens has been altered. The focus ring goes all the way round, even if it's stiff, and the objects in focus are considerably closer than the last distance given on the scale (60m). I will ask the seller for the history of the lens, though I think he is no photographer himself, wrote he "had the lens checked". Okay, partly my fault I know the risk of buying from ebayers who don't seem to be the original owners.

I will not open the lens until I hear from the seller, in case he is stubborn and I end up sending the lens back.

Damn, cleaning and greasing the helicoid should not be a problem, didn't have to do this before but the descriptions I read sound manageable, but I don't have the faintest idea where to start with calibrating the focus. Maybe I'll just give the lens to someone who knows what he's doing.
08-01-2015, 04:57 PM   #6
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Setting the infinity focus is not difficult. The distance scale is usually on a collar or ring that attaches to the focusing barrel of the lens. Once you get the lens stripped down or assemble to the point where you can replace the ring with the distance scale mount the lens on your camera body. Then focus on some distant object like a tree or utility pole. You might check to see if that object is at infinity with another lens with a similar focal length. Then align and attach the distance scale ring at infinity and screw it down - not completely but just enough that you can turn the focus barrel without slipping. Check again to see if the same object is still in focus and check the close focus setting too. If it is fine, tighten down the screw (but don't over tighten) and finish re-assembling the lens. The preset mechanism will add a level of complexity.

If you want to get fancy you can improvise a collimation rig. Search the posts for "collimate","collimating","collimation" for some examples.

If you are not comfortable with a DIY fix then return the lens to the seller or if you are in the US contact Eric for an estimate on having the lens Cleaned, Lubricated and Adjusted (CLA). A simple CLA shouldn't be too expensive, but repair work would be more.


Eric's Home Page
08-02-2015, 10:55 AM   #7
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Thanks for the additional info on the focus calibration! I think I'll try that when I find the time.

I've read about Eric on the forum, but I'm on the wrong side of the Atlantic - and I just realized I don't seem to have a location set in my profile...
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