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04-15-2019, 04:57 AM   #1
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Advice on first M42 Wide Angle lens.

Hi everyone,

Absolute novice here. I've just bought my first camera (Spotmatic F) and now hoping to get an extra lens on top of the normal prime one it came with (SMC Takumar 55mm f1.8).

I'm based in the UK and looking to get my first wide angle lens, in the hopes of capturing some cityscape/landscape shots. I'm wondering what the consensus is on a decent entry level wide angle lens.

From what I can see online, it looks like I'll either end up with a S-M-C Takumar 28mm f.3.5 or the S-M-C/Super/Auto Takumar 35mm f.3.5. Any suggestions or alternatives?

Thanks!

04-15-2019, 05:09 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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both good choices, but I'm thinking wider... a Tamron Adaptall-2 01BB with the M42 adapter may be the thing...

24mm f2.5 and soo sweet!
04-15-2019, 07:09 AM - 1 Like   #3
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So many good choices, really.

I agree with @pepperberry farm, the Tamron 01BB is a very nice lens, but I'm not sure how the edges will stand up on film. It has high center sharpness but in my experience the borders never sharpen up too well when stopped down, which might not be great for landscape photography.

My choice would be the Tamron Adaptall 13A, which has very good edge-to-edge sharpness @ 24mm. Gotta watch the light, though.

The Takumar 24/3.5 can be lovely, I like the rendering a lot and it feels great in use but there are many poor copies out there that cannot focus to infinity properly.

Here's a couple with the Tak, but digital not film...





Keep in mind that whichever M42 lens you decide on, you most likely won't know the history of the lens and whether it was well-cared for or just knocking around in the back of a vehicle for years.
04-15-2019, 07:29 AM   #4
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I should have mentioned that your choices of the SMC Tak 28/3.5 and Tak 35/3.5 are both probably excellent. The 35/3.5 in particular has a good reputation.

You might want to join MFlenses.com and ask questions there. Plenty of knowledgeable folks.

04-15-2019, 07:45 AM   #5
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Another vote for the Tamron Adaptall lenses, they really are excellent value for money and you may well be able to use them on another camera in the future, simply by changing the mount


The Meyer Optik "Lydith" 30mm lens has quite a following and can still be found quite economically.


The later Enna "Macro-Ennalyt" 28mm can seem "plasticky" but optically it performs well and isn't expensive. The earlier all-metal lenses have quite a collector premium.


A long-time favourite zoom of mine is the Sigma 21-35mm f/3.5-4, the early two-touch version with the built-in lens hood.


If you're looking to get a bit "esoteric", try to get lucky with one of the Fujinon wide-angle lenses. They're usually carrying quite a collector premium these days, but the 19mm f/3.5 is worth hoping for


Good luck

Last edited by kypfer; 04-15-2019 at 03:36 PM.
04-15-2019, 08:34 AM   #6
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Thanks all,

This is super helpful. I'm keenly looking at the Tamron 01BB, as I didn't consider the idea I could use non-M42 lenses. Thanks to all the input from everybody.
04-15-2019, 10:27 AM - 4 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by sh4r1f Quote
From what I can see online, it looks like I'll either end up with a S-M-C Takumar 28mm f.3.5 or the S-M-C/Super/Auto Takumar 35mm f.3.5. Any suggestions or alternatives?
Those are excellent choices and the S-M-C/SMC versions will support open-aperture metering on your camera. There are, of course, many other options. That is both the beauty and the pain of the world of M42 lenses. In regards to wide angles in general, I can can make a few observations:
  • 28mm is pretty much the standard wide-angle for 35mm film. It is wide enough for all but the tightest interiors and excels for landscapes and architectural work while still being usable for street
  • 35mm is the go-to focal length for traditional 35mm street photography and is wide enough for many landscapes and cityscapes.
  • 24mm is just enough wider than 28mm to make for difficult framing and focus (everything is too small) for common subjects. Back in the day, both 24mm and 20mm were sold as specialty lenses.
  • Barrel distortion is common for vintage 24mm and 28mm lenses and tends to be worse with no-name and house-brand lenses
  • Field curvature (plane of focus is closer away from center) is pretty much the rule for all vintage wide-angles. This contributes to softness away from center when shooting at wider aperture.
  • For the most part, wide angles are not used for shallow DOF photography and while many are capable of close focus and some are wide aperture, they are typically not bokeh lenses
  • While working DOF is usually generous at 28mm and shorter due to low magnification, there is no truth to the assertion that focus does not matter. It is just more difficult to attain with any precision.
As for recommendations based on hands-on experience:
  • Be aware there are two versions of the Super-Takumar 28/3.5. While both are good lenses, the second version with 49mm filter threads is the better lens and much more practical.
  • S-M-C Takumar 28/3.5 -- Yes, it is a gem with few flaws other than being a bit dim in the viewfinder due to the f/3.5 maximum aperture
  • Tamron Adaptall-2 28mm f/2.5 (version 02B) -- sharp and very compact with excellent build, low distortion and flat field. It also offers close focus to 0.25m. I bought my copy in 1982 and have no desire to sell.
    PF Review page: Tamron 28mm f/2.5 (02B) (my lens in the example photo).
  • Any of the Komine-made Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 variants. These may be told by a serial number starting with #28xxxxxxxxx and all offer most of the virtues of the Tamron in the above point
  • I own the Tamron Adaptall-2 24mm f/2.5 (01BB) and while it is a fine lens, I have had trouble with the plastic trim* and suggest the optically similar (01B) instead.
    PF Review page: Tamron 24mm f/2.5 (01BB) (has photo comparing 01BB and 01B)
  • I don't own a 35mm in M42 mount
Good luck and have fun!

BTW...The Adaptall-2 Web site is a hugely useful reference for those lenses. The model numbers (cryptic to Tamron noobs) are on the sides of the lenses, but also in the tables on that site...

Tamron Adaptall-2 lenses | Adaptall-2.com


Steve

* The plastic window over the distance scale fell out. Unfortunately, it has the index mark for both focus and aperture rings. I currently have it fixed in place with a rubber band until I find a suitable cement.

Last edited by stevebrot; 04-15-2019 at 10:51 AM.
04-15-2019, 10:28 AM - 1 Like   #8
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The 28 f/3.5 was always one of my favorites with my spotmatics and I still use them together. I wanted wider and got the 17mm f/4 fisheye takumar but found on full frame the ultra wide (180 degree corner to corner) field of view and high distortion to be hard to get good results with. I think I probably would have been happier on film with something in the 20-24mm range than with the 17. However on APS-C I really like the 17mm fisheye takumar. I haven't used the 35mm f/3.5 or the Tamron so I can't speak to them.

04-15-2019, 02:36 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Stevebrot has just about said it all when it comes to the 28/3.5 SMC; I have this lens (the 49mm thread version), the 35/3.5 (the earlier Super Tak version) and various 50's and 55's. While the 35 can be a very useful focal length on its own, in the context of already owning the 55 I would choose the 28.

There is a rule of thumb which suggests that each prime lens you get should be roughly double or half the focal length of one you already own.

It depends on where you live and the sort of photography you do. I took an S1a for a trip to Toronto, and I found the best general walkaround lens was the 28; the 55 went on for some particular high-bokeh shots, and the 35 saw very little use at all. But AFAIK an SMC/S-M-C Takumar of some variety should be your first choice for full function on the Spotmatic F (or ES series). On earlier Spotmatics and adapted to digitals, it's not critical.
04-15-2019, 02:51 PM   #10
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My M42 kit is a Tamron 17mm Adaptall, a Vivitar (made by Tokina) 35, a Pentax 55 f2, and a Tamron 90mm Adaptall macro. No regrets with this collection of iron. If you do get the 17 Adaptall either make sure it comes with the hood or don't pay a lot for the lens.
04-15-2019, 05:02 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by sh4r1f Quote
Hi everyone,

Absolute novice here. I've just bought my first camera (Spotmatic F) and now hoping to get an extra lens on top of the normal prime one it came with (SMC Takumar 55mm f1.8).

I'm based in the UK and looking to get my first wide angle lens, in the hopes of capturing some cityscape/landscape shots. I'm wondering what the consensus is on a decent entry level wide angle lens.

From what I can see online, it looks like I'll either end up with a S-M-C Takumar 28mm f.3.5 or the S-M-C/Super/Auto Takumar 35mm f.3.5. Any suggestions or alternatives?

Thanks!
Considering lenses like Tamron, vivitar and Kiron, there are lots of other relatively good lenses and fast avalable down to 24mm, and not much below this. You donít need to limit yourself to just Pentax. Everyone made 28mm and 35 mm lenses especially

---------- Post added 04-15-19 at 08:05 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Stevebrot has just about said it all when it comes to the 28/3.5 SMC; I have this lens (the 49mm thread version), the 35/3.5 (the earlier Super Tak version) and various 50's and 55's. While the 35 can be a very useful focal length on its own, in the context of already owning the 55 I would choose the 28.

There is a rule of thumb which suggests that each prime lens you get should be roughly double or half the focal length of one you already own.

It depends on where you live and the sort of photography you do. I took an S1a for a trip to Toronto, and I found the best general walkaround lens was the 28; the 55 went on for some particular high-bokeh shots, and the 35 saw very little use at all. But AFAIK an SMC/S-M-C Takumar of some variety should be your first choice for full function on the Spotmatic F (or ES series). On earlier Spotmatics and adapted to digitals, it's not critical.
All of this is true, but I have found even 24 mm is not wide enough in many city environments I ultimately cured this with a zenitar 16/2.8 fisheye, although I would like an M42 rectilinear lens (and a K mount MF also) in the 18-20mm range to fill gaps in both my M42 and K mount MF lens line ups
04-15-2019, 07:56 PM   #12
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If you're looking for a super wide, the Zenit Mir 20/3.5 might be worthy of consideration.
04-15-2019, 08:42 PM - 1 Like   #13
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Of course it depends on what focal length you will find works for your eye. And that comes from looking a images taken with various focal lengths and your own usage/experience.* But since you asked:
-- I found 35mm was fine with film, for landscapes over maybe 3~4 decades, and only with digital did I gradually go wider and wider, to the point where now maybe 1/3 of my landscapes use fisheye lenses.
-- But I think it is related to digital and the control one has versus film where (for me and most of us) it was the slide, or the prints from the store that did the developing. With prints I often collaged them by pasting them on a board, which was in some ways more arty/rewarding than digital processing.
-- So I would say either the Pentax Super (or SMC) Takumar 28 mm f/3.5 or 35 mm f/3.5 ** are good choices (I have both of them, and they are excellent, although the 35mm f/3.5 is considered by many to be one of the best lenses, it really is unimportant--they are both very good.) Neither of mine are SMC (multi coated) and they do fine (although I always use a lens hood--actually with all my lenses--SMC or not).
-- But the 28 mm is quite bit wider, and thus is more difficult to use (near far relationships become more critical and w/o them the pictures can look flat), thus I would start with the 35 mm f/3.5. Although there are many good lenses I think sticking w/ Pentax for this makes good sense. Also Pentax lenses generally age very well!

_____
* I actually went through Ansel Adams book (Camera and Lens) and noted for each picture what the equivalent 35mm focal length it was, and a significant number were close to 35mm, and perhaps surprisingly very few were wider.
** Late Super Takumar 35mm f/3.5 lenses apparently were SMC, but not stated as such.

Last edited by dms; 04-15-2019 at 08:59 PM.
04-16-2019, 03:07 AM   #14
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Thanks so much for all the replies!

I'm actually a bit overwhelmed with the genuinely constructive input from so many people. Will mull this over, but all things considered, I think it makes most sense for me to stick to a Takumar lens. From the looks of it, I'm leaning towards the 28mm f3.5,
04-16-2019, 03:15 AM - 1 Like   #15
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Ha, five minutes to late! I should train my english to be faster.

Good joice! Stay with it!

And here is the already writne post to it:


All of the posts above are true. I just want to boil them down:

First of all, you made a good choice and yes, you are right! As a beginner you should use one of the standard equipment lenses. They are standard for a reason. These were 28 mm, 35 mm, 50 mm, 135 mm.

As you told us you would like to take pictures of cities I would follow pathdoc and recommend the 28 mm. 35 mm is more the everyday lens to substitute the 50 mm and not wide enough for cities (the buildings, for people in the city you have the 55). As Lowell mentioned even 28 mm will be not wide enough in every case, but as Steve said the 24 mm will be to wide in many cases.

For the start the lens should not be to expensive. Best value is found in the 28 mm Takumars. Here in Germany it is easier to get a 28 mm then a 35 mm and they are cheaper.
And it is easier to get a well priced Tak, then one of the other recommended brands.

I would also recommend a S-M-C or Multicoated Tak. You will have no problems to find one and they behave better then the elder ones.
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