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08-31-2008, 02:18 AM   #1
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M vs Takumar

which do you think is generally better in terms of pure image quality? I want to start shooting with some cheap primes, but would hate to constantly switch from bayonet to m42 mount. So I would like to stay with one mount. Any advice would be more than appreciated.

08-31-2008, 03:02 AM   #2
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In general, the first K mount lenses are the same optical formulas as the late Takumars. With the M's some were re-formulated while others were not. In general, I find there is some progress over time with Pentax - for the same performance the speed increases, say.
08-31-2008, 03:46 AM   #3
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I good starting point would be to pick up a cheap Takumar 55mm 1.8 and a Pentax M 50mm 1.7 to see the difference yourself. If you don't want to spend the money for testing, check out the Pentax M club and the Takumar club threads. They both produce fine images but I personally prefer the Takumar lenses as I'm able to use them in AV mode.
08-31-2008, 04:09 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by furby Quote
which do you think is generally better in terms of pure image quality? I want to start shooting with some cheap primes, but would hate to constantly switch from bayonet to m42 mount. So I would like to stay with one mount. Any advice would be more than appreciated.
Depending on what/how you shoot, there's no need to switch. I shoot Takumars probably 99% of the time. Probably done somewhere around 20,000 Takumar shots between my K100D and K20D. If you do a Flickr search on "K20D Takumar" practically every shot it turns up came from my camera. Yes, I do own K-mount lenses. They stay home most of the time.

For what it is worth, it is actually easier to shoot M42 lenses on your DSLR than it is to shoot M lenses. A and later lenses are a different story, since the camera can sense/set the aperture for you.

If you wonder about Takumar quality, check out the very active "Takumar Club" thread. I believe the images there speak very well for the image quality of the lenses.

09-01-2008, 04:49 PM   #5
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So with takumars, how do you guys normally focus? Doesn't the screen get too dark when you stop down?
09-01-2008, 04:57 PM   #6
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that's the tricky part w/ the taks. have to focus wide open then stop down the aperture
09-01-2008, 05:00 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by furby Quote
So with takumars, how do you guys normally focus? Doesn't the screen get too dark when you stop down?
The technique is 'quasi preset aperture priority automation'

you focus wide open or close to it... often near-wide is OK. Then you just click down the aperture ring and the camera figures out the shutter speed.


With the M lenses, you have to use the green button and manual exposure. It's not that bad - often one reading is good for a few shots, and you can easily adjust the shutter speed based on what you see in the lcd. But with M's there is no av automation possible.
09-01-2008, 05:12 PM   #8
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You can automate M's too by mounting the lens only half way, then the screen gets darker when you stop down like with takumars. I've done it, it works, but I prefer pressing AE-L in manual mode.

09-01-2008, 08:05 PM   #9
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What would you say is the smallest aperture you can focus with. I remember it would get hard to focus past 5.6 because half the split image would turn back. Is it still the same how?
09-01-2008, 08:11 PM   #10
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I just took my Takumar 28 mm out yesterday, and in GOOD light, I could focus it at F8, but in anything but good light, I had to open it up to focus, then stop it back down for the shot ( still missed focus way too much, lol ) I do not have an after market focusing screen, but I am thinking about getting one since I am really digging these old lenses.
09-01-2008, 08:13 PM   #11
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I prefer the Taks for the simple reason that they're easier to use. They work fine in Av mode. Just select the aperture, focus, and shoot.
09-01-2008, 08:23 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by furby Quote
which do you think is generally better in terms of pure image quality? I want to start shooting with some cheap primes, but would hate to constantly switch from bayonet to m42 mount. So I would like to stay with one mount. Any advice would be more than appreciated.
One thing to consider besides the changing lens designs over the years (the really great Pentax lenses are spread across the entire range) is the gradual improvement of the coatings as time passed.

An A 50/1.4, besides having a slightly tweaked lens design versus the M, which was a totally new design from the Tak and K 50's, also is said to handle flare better than the older lenses, and to let a bit more light pass through the glass.

I think it's all very subjective - a good photographer can get great images from virtually any coated Pentax lens. As far as changing lenses constantly, if that is an issue, the traditional advice (Mike C. to the contrary ) is to buy an adapter and one Tak to use just for fun - then standardize on K mount.
09-01-2008, 10:03 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
that's the tricky part w/ the taks. have to focus wide open then stop down the aperture
Hunt the bargain bins and find a preset lens. They are really quite easy to use after a bit of learning. You can easily identify them by the double aperture ring. One ring is click stopped, the other floats freely between wide open and whatever you that the other ring set to. They are still Takumars, but none will have S-M-C or any variation thereof. They are coated, and I have many lovely slides and negatives taken over the 15 years during which my only two lenses were the 55/2.2 and 135/3.5 preset Takumars.
09-02-2008, 03:57 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by furby Quote
What would you say is the smallest aperture you can focus with. I remember it would get hard to focus past 5.6 because half the split image would turn back. Is it still the same how?
It really depends on which camera body you have. My K100D got dark at 5.6, so I usually left my lenses set at 4, focused there, and then quickly spun the aperture down to what I wanted. You quickly get very good at counting clicks. With the K20D there is still plenty of brightness for focusing down to 5.6 and sometimes even to f8, although for accuracy it is best to focus at a more open aperture. With the K20D the screen usually stays bright enough for composing purposes even down to f11 or f16, depending on how much light you're working with, of course. In daylight shooting you can see perfectly fine to compose at f16.
09-04-2008, 12:10 AM   #15
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Out in the day ... on my K10D ... I just set aperature to what I want ... and then focus ... it can get a little dark .. but nothing unmanageable ... even while driving.

The brighter the day ... more I can stop it down ... when out and about and using hyperfocal distances I just had it set on f/8 and shot away.
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