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05-08-2018, 01:09 PM   #1
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Super Takumar 55 1.8 sharpness question

Hi just bought Super Takumar 55 mm 1.8 and after some test shots of this lens mounted on sonly a6000 I decided that the sharpness is not good enough to my liking. I shot RAW and then converted to JPEG in LightRoom without any adjustments or sharpening. It is sharp, but it is not crisp. Since I don't have another lens to compare I am wondering if the owners of this lens can take a look at my test shots and let me know what they think. Test shots start 1.8 then 2.8, 4, 5.6 etc. THANK YOU!

TEST SHOTS


Last edited by cameracravings; 05-08-2018 at 01:23 PM.
05-08-2018, 01:20 PM - 3 Likes   #2
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These shots are plenty sharp to my eyes. You did not say if these are jpegs out of the camera or post-processed from raw. If they are SOOC jpegs then it is up to you to ensure that in-camera settings give you what you want. I have a version of this lens and it is one of my favourites. I shoot raw only and one of the many qualities of the old taks is their inherent lower contrast compared to newer lenses. This gives you greater latitude to work with the images in post. I am sure there are others here who can tune you up on the besr in-camera jpeg settings. - Jack
05-08-2018, 01:23 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbinpg Quote
These shots are plenty sharp to my eyes. You did not say if these are jpegs out of the camera or post-processed from raw. If they are SOOC jpegs then it is up to you to ensure that in-camera settings give you what you want. I have a version of this lens and it is one of my favourites. I shoot raw only and one of the many qualities of the old taks is their inherent lower contrast compared to newer lenses. This gives you greater latitude to work with the images in post. I am sure there are others here who can tune you up on the besr in-camera jpeg settings. - Jack
Thanks!!
05-08-2018, 02:24 PM   #4
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What was the point of focus and how did you focus? It seems a little soft to me but that could easily be the focus point not the lens sharpness. It doesn't look quite crisp but I could be wrong.

05-08-2018, 03:44 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
What was the point of focus and how did you focus? It seems a little soft to me but that could easily be the focus point not the lens sharpness. It doesn't look quite crisp but I could be wrong.
Sony a6000 was mounted on tripod, focused on sheet music laying on the floor, used focus magnifier in camera to aide focus.
05-08-2018, 04:57 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
What was the point of focus
QuoteOriginally posted by cameracravings Quote
Sony a6000 was mounted on tripod, focused on sheet music laying on the floor, used focus magnifier in camera to aide focus.
What was the intended point of focus? Was it the center of frame? Also, how was the tripod set up? Was a remote release or self-timer used?

I know these all sound silly, but document copying is harder than it sounds with the most common problems being document flatness, inadequate depth of field, camera motion, camera not parallel to subject, and lens field curvature.


Steve
05-08-2018, 06:22 PM   #7
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I used a 55 SuperTak in college about 1965, and made some 20x30 prints that impressed the local Leica users with its sharpness. However, sharpness isn’t everything, and I had to agree that the Leica lenses gave more pleasing pictures, be it tonality, plane-of-focus transition, or???
05-08-2018, 06:24 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by cameracravings Quote
Hi just bought Super Takumar 55 mm 1.8 and after some test shots of this lens mounted on sonly a6000 I decided that the sharpness is not good enough to my liking. I shot RAW and then converted to JPEG in LightRoom without any adjustments or sharpening. It is sharp, but it is not crisp. Since I don't have another lens to compare I am wondering if the owners of this lens can take a look at my test shots and let me know what they think. Test shots start 1.8 then 2.8, 4, 5.6 etc. THANK YOU!

TEST SHOTS
I've got this lens and it's pretty sharp, my S-M-C Takumar 50mm f/1.4 is a touch sharper though.

I know my copy of the 55mm is really sharp at f/4 when shooting flowers and other stills. I do have several of these old 50mm Pentax's and Takumar lenses including this 55mm and have done several tests comparing them all and the 55mm is not the sharpest but is a very unique lens, capable of some very interesting and beautiful results. Absolute crispness and extreme sharpness is not always necessary when creating beautiful images with these old lenses.....

05-08-2018, 06:52 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
What was the intended point of focus? Was it the center of frame? Also, how was the tripod set up? Was a remote release or self-timer used?

I know these all sound silly, but document copying is harder than it sounds with the most common problems being document flatness, inadequate depth of field, camera motion, camera not parallel to subject, and lens field curvature.


Steve
I focused on the center of the frame tripod had extending arm and I visually made sure that the camera plane is parallel to the floor. Every frame was shot with a 10 second timer.
05-08-2018, 07:45 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by cameracravings Quote
I focused on the center of the frame tripod had extending arm and I visually made sure that the camera plane is parallel to the floor. Every frame was shot with a 10 second timer.
Just curious what shutter speed? Some cameras have shutter shock issues also.
05-08-2018, 08:21 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by cameracravings Quote
I focused on the center of the frame
The staple?
05-09-2018, 09:10 PM   #12
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I just received another super-takumar 55 1.8 with non-working diaphragm. I am planning to fix it tomorrow and compare it my my other super-takumar 55 1.8 in question.

---------- Post added 05-09-18 at 09:12 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Just curious what shutter speed? Some cameras have shutter shock issues also.
Shutter speed is irrelevant. It is mirrorless digital camera mounted on a rock solid tripod and a 10-second timer triggered it. Anyway got another super-takumar 55 1.8 with not working diaphragm today from ebay. Gonna fix it tomorrow and compare.
05-09-2018, 11:22 PM   #13
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Sigh. The 55/1.8 ST is one that's highly regarded for sharpness of the old Takumars.
That said, it's not a modern lens. This "test" is better suited to other lenses.
That said, there are four shots here, the sharpest of which is the f/4.0 image (at least to my cursory glance), which is quite odd considering nothing else changed and a rock-solid tripod and 10-sec timer is involved. (Hence the focus questions above)
And that said, this really belongs in the SLR lens discussion subforum rather than the Film Camera subforum.
05-10-2018, 08:05 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by cameracravings Quote
Shutter speed is irrelevant. It is mirrorless digital camera mounted on a rock solid tripod and a 10-second timer triggered it.
Well, I guess you have it pinned down, though your mirrorless camera does have a shutter and rock solid is always relative in the world of tripods, particularly when using the center column as a horizontal arm. Leveling the camera for copy work generally requires a small carpenter's level at the lens front bezel and is a pain without a geared head. Sorry if that sounds snarky, but I have done a fair amount of lens testing and copy work and that sort of thing is a common source of poor results. Assuming the setup is rock solid and true to the subject, three more questions:
  • How sharp and/or contrasty is the sheet music? Is it an original or a photocopy? I was struck by the low contrast.
  • Are you certain your adapter positions the lens at right angles to the sensor. I don't use your tools, but have read multiple reports of adapter issues that include poor alignment.
  • What is the physical condition of the lens? Specifically:
    • Is there evidence of internal fungus, crazed rear or internal elements due to botched cleaning
    • Is there evidence the lens has been subjected to amateur service? (This would include scratches on or around screw heads or bunged screw heads.)
It is quite likely that your lens has a problem traceable to physical damage and/or foreign substance on the optical path. The image of the staple at center (point of focus?) on the f/5.6 example was my first clue. It simply looks yucky. The ST 55/1.8 is a very fine lens and while it a bit of an antique, it is not a macro lens, and has some field curvature, it is still suitable for general copy work. Below is a test image I did with my ST 55/1.8 and a setup similar to yours.*


Pentax K-3, 1/10s, f/5.6, Super-Takumar 55/1.8, in-camera JPEG (highest quality)

The full-resolution JPEG may be downloaded (12.5MB) from: https://farm1.staticflickr.com/953/40211014180_d5c9a7de2f_o_d.jpg

Here is a full-resolution snippet from near the bottom edge of the APS-C frame



I deem the results adequate and much better than what you got from your lens, though if I were working from RAW, I would have applied a little sharpening and correction for the very slight chromatic aberration present towards the edges. If I were to do it over, I might also give it at least an additional 1.0 stops exposure and a tweak to white balance, but I was in a hurry. If it were a copy for my own personal purposes, I would also be at f/8 to defeat whatever field curvature might be lurking.

Since your lens is new to you, I might suggest contacting the seller.


Steve

* Subject (back of computer power supply box) on floor, natural window light, Giottos 9360 tripod with center column configured as horizontal arm, focus using magnified live view.

Last edited by stevebrot; 05-11-2018 at 08:13 AM. Reason: Edited lens focal length
05-10-2018, 08:33 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by cameracravings Quote
I just received another super-takumar 55 1.8 with non-working diaphragm. I am planning to fix it tomorrow and compare it my my other super-takumar 55 1.8 in question.

---------- Post added 05-09-18 at 09:12 PM ----------


Shutter speed is irrelevant. It is mirrorless digital camera mounted on a rock solid tripod and a 10-second timer triggered it. Anyway got another super-takumar 55 1.8 with not working diaphragm today from ebay. Gonna fix it tomorrow and compare.
I beg to differ - at least in m43 I have seen reports of shutter shock while on a tripod. A sturdy tripod at that. This becomes more of an issue depending on the camera. I would at least consider it and dial up (or down) the shutter several stops to eliminate that if you are shooting in the middle range of speeds.
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