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12-02-2017, 11:54 AM - 3 Likes   #1
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Vintage Pentax 100mm Macro F4 vs Modern Canon 100mm Macro F2.8

Hey guys, I picked up a vintage Pentax Takumar 100mm Macro F4 (M42 mount) as well as a 50mm 1.4 at a recent vintage camera sale. I compared the macro to my modern Canon 100mm macro and was pretty surprised at the results. Keep in mind, most of my camera work is done in VIDEO format so I'm aware the technicalities in the differences between the two.

I just the vintage lenses on my DSLR with cheap adapters. My grandfather's camera was a Pentax and M42 mount (SLR) so I purchased these lenses to shoot film on his camera as well as adapt them to my Sony A7SII. Really happy with the quality and ultimately that's what got me here.

Video is here:

Keep in mind I shot all the CU macro stuff on the Canon lens with the Pentax F4 macro and all the Pentax CU stuff with the Canon F2.8.

12-02-2017, 12:28 PM - 1 Like   #2
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The Takumar will only do 0.5◊ without an extension tube where as the Canon will do 1◊. Regardless, the Takumar is still a good lens.
12-02-2017, 12:41 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
The Takumar will only do 0.5◊ without an extension tube where as the Canon will do 1◊. Regardless, the Takumar is still a good lens.
Ya I address that in the vid, a small setback given the price of the lens. I donít know enough about extendor tubes, do they sacrifice image quality at all do you know?
12-02-2017, 03:23 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digital Asylum Quote
do they sacrifice image quality at all do you know?
There is no deterioration of image quality because extension tubes do not have any optical elements. However, you need to compensate for 'loss of light' i.e. add one or two stops to exposure. Modern cameras do this automatically, so you may not even notice it.

P.S. Nice video, btw


Last edited by pentageek; 12-02-2017 at 03:27 PM. Reason: remark on video
12-02-2017, 04:02 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentageek Quote
There is no deterioration of image quality because extension tubes do not have any optical elements. However, you need to compensate for 'loss of light' i.e. add one or two stops to exposure. Modern cameras do this automatically, so you may not even notice it.

P.S. Nice video, btw
Beauty thanks so much for that explanation. I was wondering if I should include it but since I didnít have any or any experience with them I thought Iíd leave it out of that one.

Thanks for the compliment on video, it was fun to make .
12-02-2017, 06:23 PM   #6
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The glass hasn't changed. Coatings have, and the autofocus mechanism has. I don't know for sure but I'd bet the Canon lens formula is the same as it was 30 years ago, as well.

I use an older FA100mm f2.8 in the field, and it's outstanding.
12-03-2017, 06:45 PM   #7
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Nice video. Looking at the rendering, I really could see picking either lens based on personal preference versus one "outperforming" the other. They both do very nicely. It's easy to overlook vintage glass, but to do so really is a folly.

12-03-2017, 08:17 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Great video! It's refreshing to see a nicely done video from the sea of mediocre ones out there on the internet.

In my experience one thing that modern glass has over vintage counterparts are modern coatings. It would have been nice to see a comparison in some situations involving sunlight, but that may not matter all that much with macro usage (it definitely does with wider angle lenses though).
12-05-2017, 06:00 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by clickclick Quote
Nice video. Looking at the rendering, I really could see picking either lens based on personal preference versus one "outperforming" the other. They both do very nicely. It's easy to overlook vintage glass, but to do so really is a folly.
I agree. Preferences are so specific depending on what you are looking for as a photographer. To be able to source a vintage lens for far less than a new lens to experiment with is always good. I couldnít choose one over the other, I was just so fascinated to see how much I enjoyed the $100 lens vs the $600 lens.

---------- Post added 12-05-17 at 06:02 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
Great video! It's refreshing to see a nicely done video from the sea of mediocre ones out there on the internet.

In my experience one thing that modern glass has over vintage counterparts are modern coatings. It would have been nice to see a comparison in some situations involving sunlight, but that may not matter all that much with macro usage (it definitely does with wider angle lenses though).
Thank you!

And yes coatings are a big deal, itís been so cloudy here lately (December in southern Ontario is grey) so definitely something to look at with my wider lenses for another review.

Some people love flaring others hate it. Really I guess it depends on the look you are going for.

Thanks for your comment!
12-05-2017, 07:19 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
The glass hasn't changed
It's changed considerably from the Macro-Takumar 100/4 to the dfa100mm, see Pentax Short Telephoto Prime Lenses. The biggest change happened mid-80's (30 years ago) with the A100/2.8 and then F100/2.8 adding fixed rear elements which are supposed to improve performance at 'normal' working distances and allow smaller extensions to achieve high magnification (at a cost of reducing the focal length as you focus close). There seems to be little or no difference from the F100/2.8 on (the aperture may have moved?).

One of these days I'll get around to testing my Macro-Takumar vs the DFA100mm at normal to far distances. I know the dfa100mm is just great across the board (as I'm sure the F100/2.8 is).

OP, have you compared your two macros at far distances?
12-06-2017, 05:47 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
It's changed considerably from the Macro-Takumar 100/4 to the dfa100mm, see Pentax Short Telephoto Prime Lenses. The biggest change happened mid-80's (30 years ago) with the A100/2.8 and then F100/2.8 adding fixed rear elements which are supposed to improve performance at 'normal' working distances and allow smaller extensions to achieve high magnification (at a cost of reducing the focal length as you focus close). There seems to be little or no difference from the F100/2.8 on (the aperture may have moved?).

One of these days I'll get around to testing my Macro-Takumar vs the DFA100mm at normal to far distances. I know the dfa100mm is just great across the board (as I'm sure the F100/2.8 is).

OP, have you compared your two macros at far distances?
Hi BrianR thanks for the additional info. Would love to see the results of your tests!

I started shooting some test footage a farther distances but the weather turned suddenly and had to scrap that. (Snow began). Pretty much rained the next three days so I scrapped it.
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