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05-12-2017, 01:54 AM   #1
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Which is better 135/2.5 or 135/3.5 ?

Hi there,

I am in the market for a 135mm lens, there are plenty of them in the used market, the TAKUMAR 135mm/f2.5 is more sought after than the f3.5 version, and also cost more, but in some review I read the f3.5 one actually performs better with nicer bokeh too. I've never handled either of them I've no idea at all, since I will use it on the K3, I can easily crank up the ISO to compensate the lost of one stop. I do not come for bokeh but better overall image quality, so what would be my best choice ?

05-12-2017, 02:13 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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The M135/3.5 is pretty good and usually incredibly cheap. Mine is respectably sharp even wide open












Last edited by kh1234567890; 05-12-2017 at 02:19 AM.
05-12-2017, 02:59 AM   #3
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I had both & ended up selling the 2.5..
I liked the bokeh of the 3.5 a lot more.
05-12-2017, 03:22 AM   #4
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The Takumar 135mm F2.5 doesn't exist expect in a cheap K-mount version. The good (and really a lot better than the super(-multi-coated) takumar 135mm 3.5) is the super-multi-coated takumar 135mm F2.5 version 2 (with six elements instead of five). It is optically similar to the Pentax K 135mm F2.5.

05-12-2017, 03:28 AM   #5
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There is some confusion concerning 135mm f/2.5 lenses. There is a Takumar and a SMC version, the latter being the one with the excellent reputation, not the Takumar.

Almost 10 years ago I spent some time investigating 135mm lenses, and ended up getting the SMC 135/2.5. It is clearly superior to the M135/3.5, which is also SMC. The Takumar 135/2.5, however, has inferior coating, and partly therefore is inferior to both the f/2.5 and f/3.5 SMC's.

Now, if you're looking for a manual focus 135mm lens, IMHO, your best choice is not found with Pentax but with Samyang. Samyang's 135/2 outperforms all of the above at a very reasonable price, and with a larger maximum aperture at f/2 it also offers more possibilities. I'm thinking Astro, shallower DoF, ...

hth, Wim
05-12-2017, 04:26 AM   #6
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The 135mm prime lens category (like the 50mms) has many legacy options, from preset, A/M or auto lenses in M42 through K mount and many are as cheap as a pizza.
Not that I can vouch for what is the better Pentax made lens, I don't have a F2.5 version, just a Super Takumar 135mm F3.5 in M42.
What I do have is Pentacon, Makinon and Petri 135s that I prefer to my Super Takumar.
One of the sharpest cheapish 135s I have used was the Carl Zeiss Jena "Sonnar", though I have bought (and sold two copies of this as I have way too many lenses for my wife to be happy with). I really should have kept one.
The Russian made lenses get good reviews but I've not yet bought one.
I am just offering a cheeky suggestion here that you might like to buy and try some other cheap and cheerful options, you may find a gem!
05-12-2017, 04:35 AM   #7
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just to be clear: the one i mentioned & like, is the M135 3.5, which i preferred over the 2.5 (but that was probably the inferior takumar Ishpuini is referring to..).
I have no experience with the seemingly better 2.5 option..

05-12-2017, 05:04 AM   #8
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I had the Pentax SMC-A 135 2.8 and I still have the M135 3.5. The A's bokeh was much smoother and the colours maybe had a little bit more punch to it, but I did like the M's out-of-focus rendering more, too. It has a distinct film-like look, which I like. However, some people might prefer the more neutral and smooth rendering of the A.

If you're also considering M42 lenses, there's two other lenses that I can highly recommend:

The Pentacon 135/2.8 with 15 aperture blades has a different film-like rendering. A good exemplar can be sharp, but the colours are slightly muted. The out-of-focus areas are super smooth and silky, and it's great for portraits.

Finally, there's also the Carl Zeiss Jena 135/3.5 which has strong, punchy colours and 3-D rendering.

Unfortunately, on my K3, I don't find the 135mm length very useful. Maybe one day I will be able to afford a K1, where this focal length will be very useful though.
05-12-2017, 05:21 AM   #9
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How about FA135mm?



It is tack sharp even at F:3.5 yet with a charming bokeh as shown above
05-12-2017, 05:46 AM - 1 Like   #10
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On FF the Takumar 135/3.5 does much better than on apsc imo.
For the same framing, the DOF is shallow enough such that f3.5, f4 still gives good isolation.
Bokeh is rather well controlled right from f3.5, f4, imo (some faster 135mm are more busy for half/full body shot distances, until stopped down a little).






The Takumar 135/2.5 (M42 mount) has 2 versions.
Both are good imo.






For portability, I take the Takumar 135/3.5 more often these days.
If its more specific portrait type shoots, I'd use the 135/2.5


There is a K-mount Takumar 135/2.5, which is said to be the weakest of the Pentax 135mm.
This is the cheapest of the lot.
05-12-2017, 09:19 AM   #11
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Also somewhat confusing, there's a highly rated Tamron 135mm in the Adaptall mount: Tamron Adaptall ( Chinon, Alpa ) 135mm f/2.8 (CT 135) Lens Reviews - Tamron Adaptall Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
05-12-2017, 09:40 AM   #12
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Short unscientific comparison between the lenses Three 135mm takumars two super takumars 2.5 and 3.5 and one s-m-c Takumar 2.5 with 6 elements. Which is which?
1.


2.


3.


all are shot wide open. Sharpness may not be in the exact same plane.
05-12-2017, 10:06 AM   #13
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They are all really good lenses. It all depends on what you intend to do with it.

If you want to shoot landscape and slow moving subjects in good light then the 135/3.5 is really a great lens. That is especially true if you hike.

If you want to shoot low light and/or fast moving subjects then you will want the 135/2.5. (maybe not the K mount Takumar version but I have not used that one.)

Portraits can be done with either lens if your subject can sit still for at least a second.

IMHO the FA 135/2.8 is better than all the ones previously mentioned, it really is a very, very good lens. It doesn't sport a star on it but that isn't the lenses fault. Of course, if you manually focus, it doesn't feel as nice.
05-12-2017, 10:12 AM   #14
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To tell apart the s-m-c Takumar 135mm F2.5 versions you have to look at the distance scale:
Version 2 six elements


Version 1 5 elements.

The first meter marking is 35 on version 2 and 30 on version one. Also the FOV scale is a bit wider on v2 and there is a 4 in the middle.
05-12-2017, 10:22 AM   #15
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Right, I read similar comment regarding the variant of this lens, I also read that Samyang is good too, I've the 85/1.4 it is almost as good as the Carl Zeiss when stop down, but what about the Jupiter 37 ? I have this lens and it is sharp, I heard that the A version is even better but it is quite rare, do you have chance to compare the Jupiter with the Pentax ?

QuoteOriginally posted by Ishpuini Quote
There is some confusion concerning 135mm f/2.5 lenses. There is a Takumar and a SMC version, the latter being the one with the excellent reputation, not the Takumar.

Almost 10 years ago I spent some time investigating 135mm lenses, and ended up getting the SMC 135/2.5. It is clearly superior to the M135/3.5, which is also SMC. The Takumar 135/2.5, however, has inferior coating, and partly therefore is inferior to both the f/2.5 and f/3.5 SMC's.

Now, if you're looking for a manual focus 135mm lens, IMHO, your best choice is not found with Pentax but with Samyang. Samyang's 135/2 outperforms all of the above at a very reasonable price, and with a larger maximum aperture at f/2 it also offers more possibilities. I'm thinking Astro, shallower DoF, ...

hth, Wim


---------- Post added 05-13-17 at 01:27 AM ----------

I got the Tarmon 135/2.5 before but no longer have now, it was needle sharp just too sharp for portrait IMO.

QuoteOriginally posted by timw4mail Quote
Also somewhat confusing, there's a highly rated Tamron 135mm in the Adaptall mount: Tamron Adaptall ( Chinon, Alpa ) 135mm f/2.8 (CT 135) Lens Reviews - Tamron Adaptall Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
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