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06-09-2009, 06:26 PM   #1
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Underdog : Takumar bayonet 28 mm

Takumar bayonets have a reputation for being cheap lenses with no value...

I personally own a 135 mm f2,8 and a 28 mm f2,8, that I rarely use. I decided to give the 28 mm a spin this weekend.

first, let me remind you that these lenses are built almost as sturdy as M lenses (I could probably drop the "almost" ). the only mechanical flaw of my 28 mm is that the aperture ring is stiff.

Here is a shot I took with the 28 mm. Composition is average at best (I couldn't get past those trees as I was standing on a balcony), but it gives a good idea of what the lens can do.



The lens is sharp enough for me (trust me, it looks sharp with the original file), and colours look positively saturated, to my eye. In fact, it looks about as good as what my Sigma 17-70 delivers, I'd be hard-pressed to tell the two lenses apart. Distorsion is minimal (look at the waterline), stop-down metering very reliable, and it seems the colours have a lot of punch.

I had been idly shopping for another 28 mm lens, but seeing what can be done with the "puny" Tak Bayonet, I won't be in such a hurry to get a new lens...

06-09-2009, 08:16 PM   #2
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Nice colors, I like it!

I know it's not really the same comparison, but my S-M-C Tak 35mm f/3.5 has much better color (more saturated and accurate) than my Sigma 24-70. I'm very happy with the Tak's performance.
06-09-2009, 08:21 PM   #3
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The optical formula for this lens appears to be the same as the Pentax-M version 2/Pentax-A/Pentax-F lenses. I've always been curious how good it is.
06-09-2009, 08:26 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
The optical formula for this lens appears to be the same as the Pentax-M version 2/Pentax-A/Pentax-F lenses. I've always been curious how good it is.
My humble tests suggest it looses contrast wide open (no surprise) but as you can see it is capable of great results.

Now if I only could find a way to loosen the aperture ring...

06-09-2009, 08:57 PM   #5
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I have never seen one of these, though I figure it's probably the same as the M/A/F versions without the SMC coating. Which would mean that I'd expect it to perform well under most conditions, maybe a little less contrast and more prone to flare.
06-09-2009, 11:29 PM   #6
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I believe your picture is at f8 or up. The drawback on Takumar Bayonet lenses are lack of sharpness at wide open and MC. i have the 135mm f2.5, it's nice when using at f8, but just not sharp enough at f2.5. I think that's the reason people don't like them, and for the same or a little more money, there are alot better lenses than the Takumar Bayonet.
06-09-2009, 11:33 PM   #7
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i can't comment on the 28mm version, but I have the 135mm f/2.8 one and it's been a blast to use. the perspective and field of view on film is great, and on digital, it's a nice tight crop portrait lens. it is very sharp and renders background OOF quite nicely. i dont have another 135mm lens to compare it with, but i would imagine it would perform as well as any other 95% of the time. the 5% that it fails is when there is a light source hitting the lens at exactly the right/wrong angle to cause a picture to be washed out.

i'm sure this 28mm'er is exactly the same. i wouldn't consider it a "secret gem" or anything cuz it does have its shortcomings, but it's definitely a good workhorse lens that can be had for cheap. the reputation is undeserved.
06-10-2009, 08:19 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Now if I only could find a way to loosen the aperture ring...
Probably take off the mount. Then while looking for the ball bearing trapped between the aperture ring and lens body, near the orange diamond, slide off the aperture ring. There is often grit and dirt trapped under the ring. Cleaning it and reinstalling will work, and a small amount of good quality grease if you have it will make the ring very smooth.

06-10-2009, 05:44 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by winglik Quote
I believe your picture is at f8 or up. The drawback on Takumar Bayonet lenses are lack of sharpness at wide open and MC. i have the 135mm f2.5, it's nice when using at f8, but just not sharp enough at f2.5. I think that's the reason people don't like them, and for the same or a little more money, there are alot better lenses than the Takumar Bayonet.
You are corect that my shot is at f8, it's a pretty standard value for landscapes. I agree that it looses a bit of contrast at f2,8, but smaller than that the contrast is very even. I have not noticed any flare issues, and I did play around a bit with the Sun in my frame. My 135 mm takymar Bayonet is pretty sharp at f4, much more so at f5,6, you don't need to go to f8 to get sharp results.

QuoteQuote:
i can't comment on the 28mm version, but I have the 135mm f/2.8 one and it's been a blast to use. the perspective and field of view on film is great, and on digital, it's a nice tight crop portrait lens. it is very sharp and renders background OOF quite nicely. i dont have another 135mm lens to compare it with, but i would imagine it would perform as well as any other 95% of the time. the 5% that it fails is when there is a light source hitting the lens at exactly the right/wrong angle to cause a picture to be washed out.

i'm sure this 28mm'er is exactly the same. i wouldn't consider it a "secret gem" or anything cuz it does have its shortcomings, but it's definitely a good workhorse lens that can be had for cheap. the reputation is undeserved.
I agree about your comments on the 135. Its build quality is actually fantastic, better than most other lenses I have used. the 28 is equivalent, feels and looks like an M lens (except for that aperture ring).

I agree that it's not really a "gem" but it's way better than what I would have expected.

the problem is that, between my sigma 17-70, F 50 mm f1,7, and Vivitar series 1 70-210, there isn't much room for lenses that are not comletely fantastic. That's why my other primes don't see much use. But from time to time I go out with just the primes, in order to work a little bit and "earn" my photos, so to speak.

Just1MoreDave, thanks for your advice, I believe I'll try it. It doesn't sound like there's a lot of risk involved...
06-10-2009, 09:07 PM   #10
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Here's a Takumar-A 28-80 from that era. It performs exactly as I would expect from the equivalent SMC-class lens without the SMC coating and the rubber rings are not as nice. Works fine with due regard for flare. Consider it, and the Takumar-A 70-200 to be the "kit lenses" about the time of the A3 and Program A bodies.

See Boj's site for more on non-SMC lenses.

Non-SMC Pentax Lenses

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06-11-2009, 05:02 PM   #11
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This Takumar-A looks exactly like my Pentax-A 28-80. Completely similar. The coatings are different, that's a given, but the lenses have the same build (and build quality, probably). I've decided that I'm keeping mine.
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