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10-29-2008, 08:43 AM   #1
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About Takumar SMC 400mm f5.6, anyone one used it before?

I have searched in the net and the forum but don't really able to find some sample or review of this lens.. I guess it is old so less people using it now.. Just wondering if anyone can share their thought about this lens. I understand that the min focusing range of 8m won't be a good thing for birding, right?

Thanks
Vic

10-29-2008, 11:52 AM   #2
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I have the K-version of that lens with a manual aperture, it's big and heavy piece of metal. But I haven't used it for ages. And you are right, the min focus distance is 8m.

K 400/5.6

Mike
10-29-2008, 12:40 PM   #3
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K20D paired w/M42-SMC 400mm Tak

1/20s F/8.0 iso800 400mm HH

About as stealthy as a bazooka...
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10-29-2008, 12:41 PM   #4
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I heard that the design of Takumar SMC 400mm f5.6 is the same as K and M version of 400mm f5.6 so they are kinda same, right?

10-29-2008, 12:47 PM   #5
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About as stealthy as a bazooka I Like that, Thanks Michael, do you have a 50% or 100% crop for the pic? Thank you~

QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
K20D paired w/M42-SMC 400mm Tak

1/20s F/8.0 iso800 400mm HH

About as stealthy as a bazooka...
10-29-2008, 02:27 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by vizjerei Quote
...a 50% or 100% crop for the pic?
Here's the uncropped version. Like the example in the above post, it has been converted from RAW to JPG and reduced to 600p for the wwweb.

This image was a 'quick and dirty' test done when the lens arrived. The subject was about 30 feet away. As you can see, the setting is very contrasty. Blame me for the blown highlights, not the lens.

Anyway, I got the 400 for birding... While the example is hand-held at 1/20s, it really needs a tri/monopod to keep things steady. That's on my wish list (Santa, anyone?).

In the meantime, I use my DA 55-300 to catch feathers & etc. I really like it. I find good bird shots require flexibility, stealth and a ton of luck. With very little effort, one can get great results from the 55-300. Most of my images are quick shots taken while walking my bird dog. The terrain is varied. We do a brisk four miles a day and I need to travel light. So far, the 55-300 seems to be a good fit.

As to the 400mm, I can't say 'yea' or 'nay' since I've not made its use a high priority, yet. Clearly, it can produce. At first glance though, its sheer size seems to call for more careful planning and support stuff than the 55-300.

Your question is a good one. Perhaps it will goad me into action. I hope it will generate thoughtful responses from others. I'm very interested in learning how they appraoch getting great results from large lenses like the 400.
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10-29-2008, 04:45 PM   #7
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Hi Vic,
I own K400 f5.6 which is identical (I believe) to the Takumar in question with only difference being the K mount bayonet instead M42 screw.
here are few of my notes on it:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/36695-k400-sr.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/33779-review-s...5-6-400-a.html
also if you click on the link in my sig, picture of the "Richmond stag" was taken with this lens (you can find the pic even in my gallery here on forums).
To sum it up, if you don't mind 8m closest focusing distance, it's a great lens...
10-29-2008, 04:59 PM   #8
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Thank you guys, I think I am going for it, in the midwhile I have some weight lifting training to do

Actually my thought of using large/heavy lens like this is just setup a blind for yourself and set it on tripod.

Eg: something like this. (Of course you can't really do that in a public park or something :P)



Last edited by vizjerei; 10-29-2008 at 05:08 PM.
10-29-2008, 05:05 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by vizjerei Quote
Thank you guys, I think I am going for it, in the midwhile I have some weight lifting training to do
You'll definitely need that
10-29-2008, 08:59 PM   #10
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How big is B-I-G?

To give you a sense of scale (weight-wise), I paired the following with my K20D body and took these readings off my kitchen scale:

K20D + DA 16-45 = 2 lbs 15 oz
K20D + DA 55-300 = 3 lbs 1 oz

K20D + M42 400 = 4 lbs 11 oz

Your results may vary, but not by much.

Edit: Some additional specs... elements 5, min focus distance 27 ft (8 m), wght 45 oz (1300 g), min ap F/45, filter size 77mm

Enjoy...

Last edited by Michaelina2; 10-30-2008 at 04:16 AM. Reason: add specs
10-29-2008, 09:54 PM   #11
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I had the 400/5.6 and 500/4.5 for a while and had mini-reviews on my flickr page. The thing is, I've let me membership there lapse and the pictures that far back on my page have dropped off, so I can give you links to mostly unpopulated reviews, just for the verbage -

...err, scratch that, I guess those drop off too when there's nothing left to populate them.

short story - the 400 is big, the 500 is a battleship. If I had it to do again, the 400 was worth it. Color and contrast was decent and its sharpness was good. Bokeh, even at minimum distance (30 feet, lol) was actually quite pleasing. I was able to handhold this lens in daylight with respectable results. (The 500, I had to hold the lens and free float the camera against my face, lol. Not recommended to try this at home...) It did have a little fringing going on as I recall, but was better in that regard than a newer Sigma 400/5.6 I also had, however...

My overall recommendation would be - if you want bargain reach, this lens can get you some pics you'll be happy with if you put in the dilligence with the beast. If you want to shoot like a normal person, you can get almost all the way there with the aforementioned Sigma, which was tiny by comparison, has an 'A' setting, MFD of 13 feet and the same price range.
10-29-2008, 10:06 PM   #12
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I have a smc-A 400mm f5.6 and it is a good lens but it really needs a tripod as has been mentioned. This beast takes a 77mm filter. I have a Tokina 400mm f5.6 (not the AT-X) that is a bit shorter and lighter that I use some when I don't take out a tripod. It has a 72mm filter.


Edit: I just looked here http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/primes/extreme-tele/index.html and see that the optical formula is similar for the K and M, but the A has more elements. The K and M are not exactly the same but very close. I would guess that the SMC Tak m42 would be close to the K though. The focus distance is 8 meters on the K, 5 meters for the M and 2.8 for the A. That FA* 400 f5.6 would be sweet to get a hold of.

Last edited by Blue; 10-29-2008 at 10:27 PM.
10-30-2008, 12:49 PM   #13
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Oh I am sure it is great to have a FA* 400mm, just that I don't have the $ to do so. It is great to know that the 400/5.6 a good lens, I bought it with EX rating in KEH, but it will take long to come tho, which I need the time for my weight lifting.

Any other thing I would like to ask is the "Better Beamer", anyone find it useful? It looks like something I can make with some office supplies.
01-30-2009, 07:37 PM   #14
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SMC M 400mm 5.6

Hey Vizjerei - how did that 400mm work out for you? I just ordered an M 400mm 5.6 and I'm anxiously awaiting its arrival. I only want to hear good things. If anyone else out there has this lens I would appreciate your insights.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 01-30-2009 at 07:45 PM. Reason: typo
02-11-2009, 01:49 PM   #15
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XD good stuff, I like it so far, and for the price I got it i have no complain

CA is the weak point for the lens, but they are easy to remove with PP, is your arrived yet?
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