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12-18-2015, 04:52 PM   #1
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Is the Super-Tak 35/3.5 sharper?

Hello Pentaxians,

I might buy the Super Takumar 35mm F3.5
( but only if it's sharper than my 50mm lenses )


In your opinion- which lens has the best overall sharpness?
  • Super Takumar 35mm F3.5
  • SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.4
  • Super Takumar 50mm F1.4

They are all very close, according to PF's lens database:
  • Super Takumar 35mm F3.5 - Sharpness: 9.1
  • SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.4 - Sharpness: 9.2
  • Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 - Sharpness: 9.3


Thanks!

12-18-2015, 05:16 PM   #2
osv
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QuoteOriginally posted by TAP Quote
Hello Pentaxians,
I might buy the Super Takumar 35mm F3.5
( but only if it's sharper than my 50mm lenses )
the copy that i had didn't stand up to 36mp, it was weak on the sides, so i sold it... centered objects were fine, if that's all you'll be shooting, but it's not playing in the same league as most of the pentax 50's.


QuoteOriginally posted by TAP Quote
In your opinion- which lens has the best overall sharpness?
  • Super Takumar 35mm F3.5
  • SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.4
  • Super Takumar 50mm F1.4
They are all very close, according to PF's lens database:
  • Super Takumar 35mm F3.5 - Sharpness: 9.1
  • SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.4 - Sharpness: 9.2
  • Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 - Sharpness: 9.3
comparing sharpness on 35mm vs. 50mm lenses is problematic, that's not what the database does, and i wouldn't go by that.

only get a 35mm lens because that's a focal length that you need.

here are the old takinami lens testing numbers, notice how the fa35 obliterates everything else in a similar focal length: http://www.takinami.com/yoshihiko/photo/lens_test/pentax_35.html

fa35 is even respectable in the ~50mm lens testing range, but the average mtf numbers are higher than the wider focal length range was, which is to be expected: http://www.takinami.com/yoshihiko/photo/lens_test/pentax_normal.html

that's why you can't compare different focal lengths.

Last edited by osv; 12-18-2015 at 05:24 PM. Reason: added takinami testing
12-18-2015, 08:45 PM   #3
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I have both the st 35mm and 50mm. And did a month of singles in with both lens.

I found the two lenses is be great. The 50mm is sharper then the 35mm but they both have that awesome takumar rendering. some of the smoothest bokeh you can get well maintaining a good sharpness on both film and digital. These are two lenses I'd never sell. Don't forget about the awesome takumar build quality

I'll put some of my shots taken with my 35mm here soon.
12-18-2015, 09:33 PM   #4
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My SMC Takumar 35/3.5 was breathtakingly sharp. Very nice on 16MP digital with no bad habits.

Sold it simply because 3.5 was too slow to use on manual focus cameras.

12-18-2015, 10:04 PM   #5
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As a general rule coming from FF film, the 50mm lens is easier to build than a 35mm or wider. Most are blazingly sharp in the center at middle apertures. Some fall off fairly quickly at wide apertures and are not that strong in the corners at any aperture (the DA 50 comes to mind). However, some are quite strong more wide open and fairly sharp stopped down a bit (any of the old f/1.7s and most of the f/1.4s come to mind).

The 35mm lenses, almost universally, were designed to provide a very pleasant look across the entire frame because they were designed for image depth, landscape and street scenes, and good performance throughout the less-broad aperture range (the FA 35 especially comes to mind).

It's a complex topic (the point I'm trying to make), and sharpness ratings (especially those that come from an unregulated opinion poll not backed by data) are not a particularly useful tool. If possible, take a look at some photos from Flickr in albums listed by lens. At least you'll get an idea of how these lenses tend to be used, indicating their relative strengths.
12-18-2015, 10:59 PM   #7
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Here are my (single in) photos with the super tak 35mm.
https://flic.kr/s/aHsk8f9ba4

a few shots with the super tak 50mm.

https://flic.kr/p/zPECfC

https://flic.kr/p/AGsXwU

https://flic.kr/p/AEoR5a
12-19-2015, 11:01 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by TAP Quote
Hello Pentaxians,

I might buy the Super Takumar 35mm F3.5
( but only if it's sharper than my 50mm lenses )


In your opinion- which lens has the best overall sharpness?
  • Super Takumar 35mm F3.5
  • SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.4
  • Super Takumar 50mm F1.4

They are all very close, according to PF's lens database:
  • Super Takumar 35mm F3.5 - Sharpness: 9.1
  • SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.4 - Sharpness: 9.2
  • Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 - Sharpness: 9.3


Thanks!
From my understanding, DA35 f/2.4 (9.2) and DA50 f/1.8 (9.4) would be the sharper than the other contenders. Not because of what people put in the database (as other factor are bundled in like the expectancies of owners, price etc) but because they are more modern, benefit of latest coating, aren't oldies with many years of used that would maybe need servicing to perform as well as from day 1. In tests DA50 f/1.8 is better than FA50 f/1.4 and DA35 f/2.4 is sharper than FA35 f/2...

But I concur with others here, as they are all very sharp at f/4 or more closed down what will be much more important are the other aspects of the lenses:
- The focal length that will frame and affect the rendering greatly. 50mm has more perspective compression than 35mm and 35mm have wider field of view
- The max apperture and performance at large apperture for when you want to isolate subject from background
- AF support that will make life much easier
- Lens overall rendering: the colors, contrast, flare resistance... The bokeh, is it smooth or harsh?

12-19-2015, 11:29 AM   #9
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In tests, the FA 50/1.4 is sharper than the DA 50 across the frame... by a wide margin. Also, the FA 35 is sharper than the DA 35 across the frame. The bokeh and vignetting of the DA 35 also does not compete. The 35mm macro is the sharpest, of course. Center sharpness can be overrated, especially when the edges fall off significantly as is the case with the DA 50.
12-19-2015, 12:08 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
In tests, the FA 50/1.4 is sharper than the DA 50 across the frame... by a wide margin. Also, the FA 35 is sharper than the DA 35 across the frame. The bokeh and vignetting of the DA 35 also does not compete. The 35mm macro is the sharpest, of course. Center sharpness can be overrated, especially when the edges fall off significantly as is the case with the DA 50.
DA35 f/2.4:


FA35 f/2:



To me it look like DA35 borders are always sharp from f/2.4 and that DA35 f/2.4 is sharper on the center. If we go on on the detail of the review, we also see that FA35 has more CA tha DA35. we can also expect it to flare more due to older coating technology.

DA50 f/1.8:



FA50 f/1.4:


The DA50 f/1.8 is weaker at f/2 but maintain high resolution figures on more closed down apperture. It max at f/5.6 instead of f/4 and perform better at f/5.6 and f8 than the FA35. Interrestingly if we look at the other aspects tested by lenstip:
- the FA50 has much more lateral chromatic aberation (I had it I can confirm)
- the FA50 has a bit more distorsion
- the FA50 has flares issues while the DA50 has not

I had the FA50 and it was great at f/4 and okish at f/2.8 it was not really usable at f/2 and bellow and I had lot of issues with:
- CA
- color shift in OOF areas.
- outline of bokeh highlights.

To me if you want to spend more get a DA*55 but the FA50 doesn't justify at all the 3X price vs the DA50.
12-19-2015, 12:33 PM   #11
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I just posted a review of my Super Tak 35 f3.5 in the database and then saw this. Like others, I'd say it's hard to compare a 35mm and a 50mm. I did compare this Super Tak to my DA 35 f2.4, and I'm getting better pics (sharpness [including across the frame], color and contrast) with the Super Tak. The DA 35 f2.4 has been a favorite, and it certainly is quite sharp. I also compared the Super Tak to my DA 40XS, and even accounting for the slightly different focal length, it's nearly a tossup between the two.
12-19-2015, 01:02 PM   #12
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Nicolas, I suspected you might be looking at the same reviews I had seen and not reading or understanding all the information disclosed. Look more closely to understand the context. You are taking FA lenses tested on a 10 mp body as opposed to the DA lenses tested on a 16 mp body that almost certainly has a much-weaker AA filter.

This is why the 35mm lenses on the Photozone reviews show an EX range from 2410-2750 on the DA while the EX range is 2050-2350 on the FA. You'll notice that the DA 35 borders never reach the EX range. You'll also notice in the conclusion that the image quality of the FA is rated higher by Photozone. So, based on the reviews you are citing the FA is the superior lens in terms of sharpness...

The 50mm lenses were tested on Lenstip - and the citing of lpmm does not provide an adjustment for the differing sensors used to gain the sharpness numbers. However, the text provides us with a full understanding of the differences favoring the FA...

Regarding the FA:
The Pentax performs very well here. Some reservations you can have when it comes to the image quality at the maximum relative aperture but every 50 mm device experiences some problems there. By f/2.0 we see the situation improve a lot in the frame centre but you can express still some serious reservations about the edges. Only by f/2.8 we get a very good sharpness both at the edge and in the centre. On further stopping down the situation even improves as the lens notices some record-breaking results on 10-megapixel sensors of the APS-C/DX format.

Regarding the DA:
At the maximum relative aperture and by f/2.0 the images are not completely useful but it is hardly a surprise few 1.8/50 instruments are useful there. In fact the Pentax fares very similarly as its competitors. On stopping down the quality of images improves fast. By f/2.8 the resolution is already on a good level and by f/4.0 it becomes excellent and by f/5.6 sensational... resolution of the tested model decreases swiftly as you move away from the geometric middle of the frame... You can talk about the performance on the edge of the frame in similar terms. Near the maximum relative aperture the images are not especially useful but from f/2.8 onwards they become fully acceptable and from f/4.0 we can call them good with clear conscience.

Lenstip avoids making a numerical or star rating for IQ - which is why you should look closely at the Summary of the lenses to understand the overall quality comparison. The DA is much better at controlling CA, but build issues and poor AF are listed as "serious problems." A third issue - price - has been addressed because Pentax has slashed the price on the DA to half its previous going rate (while the FA holds relatively steady). As for the FA, the summary lists "Up from f/2.8 aperture the lens generates outstandingly sharp images."
12-19-2015, 02:24 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
As for the FA, the summary lists "Up from f/2.8 aperture the lens generates outstandingly sharp images."
I can state this was not the case for my sample it needed more f/4, f/2.8 shoot were soso, the 50-135 did better and FA77 much better. To me the FA50 is usable at f/2.8 and sharp at f/4. I also had lot of focussing issues with it... It is not worth the added money.

Even if we scale the FA result to match the max K5 resolution figures, the FA doesn't become a stellar performer.

Maybe this is I got a bad sample but I also read many people not so enthousiasmed by the FA50 f/1.4 so I think I'am not alone.

For the FA35 vs DA35, I have seen here a few borders of the FA35 and I had the DA35... The border I have seen are much worse on the FA in practice than on the DA. Maybe this time it was the guy with the FA that had a bad sample? But again does the small difference would justify the high price difference, in particular if in some case it is in favor of the DA?
12-19-2015, 05:20 PM   #14
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I have the DA 50 and the m50/1.4. Of course, the m50 is about 30 years older (bought new).

The m50 is significantly sharper across the frame at f/2.8, but they are probably close at the center of frame (again center isn't too important, IMHO). The DA 50 is sharp in the center at the middle apertures, has higher micro-contrast, less CA. They just look different. By the way, almost no difference in flare control (both very good), and the coatings really aren't all that different overall. In other words, the test bears out my experience. You must have had a bad sample. At the same time, people often perceive greater sharpness as a result of high micro-contrast. On the DA 50, that added contrast can actually produce a bit of harshness at the transition away from totally sharp (not bokeh which is completely OOF rendering).

Bottom line, they provide different looks, and the debate about sharpness is quite complex.

SMC coating technology did not progress much at all from the late 1970s to the introduction of HD. And even then, the HD change isn't dramatic in the majority of lenses (the DA 21 appears to be the exception, but the aperture also changed on that lens which contributed to smoother bokeh).
12-19-2015, 08:16 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
I just posted a review of my Super Tak 35 f3.5 in the database and then saw this. Like others, I'd say it's hard to compare a 35mm and a 50mm. I did compare this Super Tak to my DA 35 f2.4, and I'm getting better pics (sharpness [including across the frame], color and contrast) with the Super Tak. The DA 35 f2.4 has been a favorite, and it certainly is quite sharp. I also compared the Super Tak to my DA 40XS, and even accounting for the slightly different focal length, it's nearly a tossup between the two.
This is my sense, as well. I just acquired the DA 40xs (adding a 65mm push-on cap with velcro of form fitting and extending the "length" of the barrel to provide some WR - and not get lost). The 40xs is very much an old school optic - as in fairly sharp across the frame at open to middle apertures, a lot of depth and saturation, but not particularly sharp in the middle or high in contrast. In other words, quite lovely for a wide range of shooting situations, but not so good for some others. Even stuck a TC on it, and got some nice portraits wide open (equiv. of 85mm). Given the low price these days, I was quite amazed. It is pretty amazing how different it is from the DA 50 - both with very different attributes arguing for them depending on the situation.
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