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07-12-2009, 07:27 PM   #1
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M42 lens recommendations?

Recently got a screw mount body for the first time. Was wondering what lenses were good quality and which ones to stay away from. I'm probably leaning toward something wide, 24-28mm, and maybe something between 100 and 200. I've got so much of the 35-85 covered in K-mount, I was hoping to try some other focals in M42, but I'll take any suggestions for some top quality screw mount glass. It doesn't have to be Takumar/Pentax brand. I'm also probably leaning toward some of the later M42 stuff that's multicoated. Thanks, in advance.

07-12-2009, 08:59 PM   #2
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There are so many good screwmount lenses, and so many bad screwmount lenses, that it's really hard to give you a short, coherent list of what one you should get.

However, in my personal opinion, for a ~28mm lens, I would recommend the Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 close focus lens. Pretty hard to come by, but worth keeping an eye out for. There are multiple versions of that lens, but they're all good performers. It also comes in K mount.

For a 100-200mm lens, I would suggest either Pentax's 105/2.8 or 135/2.8, or the Vivitar 135/2.8 with the large waffle grip (the model name escapes me), all screwmount.

Cheers!
07-12-2009, 09:11 PM   #3
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Contemporary tests and my informal fooling around agree that Super-Multi-Coating or SMC are going to be much better than anyone else's coatings produced at the time, possibly even decades later. I think if you really want multicoating, you really want Takumar, unless there is no Takumar available for that focal length. Or you could buy a modern lens in M42 mount.

One lens I really like is the Super-Multi-Coated 135mm f2.5, model 43812. You could then get the Super-Multi-Coated 50mm f1.4 and 28mm f3.5. I've seen so many of these three lens+film body sets, they must have worked.

There aren't really any M42 takumars to avoid, just ones that are rare and/or expensive.
07-12-2009, 11:11 PM   #4
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Go to the Lens Review Database, it's quite comprehensive.

07-13-2009, 04:05 AM   #5
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both the S-M-C Takumar 24mm f3.5 and 28mm f3.5 are very very good lenses, and the S-M-C Takumar 105mm f2.8 one of the best.
there also are Vivitar 24mm f2 and 28mm f2 ( both made by Kiron ), 28mm f2.8 Mimiya. Yashica..

Last edited by kuuan; 07-13-2009 at 04:20 AM.
07-13-2009, 04:50 AM   #6
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Any of the Takumars, especially the slower 3.5 versions, are usually superb & relatively cheap.
07-13-2009, 06:18 AM   #7
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I'd 3rd the SMC Tak 28/3.5 and if it shall be faster the mentioned 28/2 from Kiron aka Vivitar Serial 22xxx. Please have look here for more of those Vivitars and here for a comparison to Pentax lenses. I understand you will use a film camera and there the corners on those 28 will not be perfect til stopped down, but which of those 28 would be ?

My big fave for photographing people in the 135mm range is the CZJ Sonnar MC 3.5/135. Excels in wide open perf., bokeh, colors, near distance. Other 135 may be 'sharper' but lack the liveliness imo.

Would be interesting to know what kind of photos you are likely to be after on that film body.

Best, Georg (the other)
07-13-2009, 06:33 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
Recently got a screw mount body for the first time. Was wondering what lenses were good quality and which ones to stay away from. I'm probably leaning toward something wide, 24-28mm, and maybe something between 100 and 200. I've got so much of the 35-85 covered in K-mount, I was hoping to try some other focals in M42, but I'll take any suggestions for some top quality screw mount glass. It doesn't have to be Takumar/Pentax brand. I'm also probably leaning toward some of the later M42 stuff that's multicoated. Thanks, in advance.
in the range yoou are looking at, there are some good Tak's.

there is a 105mm F2.8, a 135mm F2.5 and a 200mm F3.5.

These 3 would really fill out any screw mount kit at the long end.

07-13-2009, 06:49 AM   #9
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Agreed on the Tak' 28mm f/3.5. Very, very sharp even wide open, wonderfully saturated colours and contrast straight from the sensor.

I love mine and I use it as my 'kit' lens as it has a focal length of just under 45mm on a 1.6 crop sensor. Made even better by me getting it for less than their average value due to the seller not really listing it correctly.

If you want something relatively wide and fast, you could try and source a Tak' 35mm f/2. They're quite rare though, and due to a radiated element is prone to yellowing. But that's reversible with a UV bath.

I also own a S-M-C 200mm f/4 which is sharp wide open, 'tak' () sharp at f/8, and maybe wider than that, not had chance to test it thoroughly. It can be a bit too long for some people though, I'd love to try out a 105 2.8.

Here's the first shot I took with the 200mm at f/8 to test sharpness and bokeh. No PP except a resize.

07-13-2009, 08:12 AM   #10
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I can support the recommendations of the 28/3.5 (I had it in M) and the 135/3.5 (I had it in both M and Takumar M42 versions). They are both top notch lenses.

I also had the 55/2.2 if you want an antique from 1957. I still have a Kodachrome (RIP) slide in my collection somewhere of a young lady artist in Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC who was sketching. The light reflecting off her sketch pad just made her glow!

I would say that M42 Takumars are 99 44/100% pure photographic delight!
07-13-2009, 10:56 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the input. It sounds like the 28mm and 105mm taks are popular. I tried bidding on a Vivitar 28mm f2 today but didn't win. What is it with the radiated elements on Takumars? Are these things going to randomly explode in my bag one day! Is this what gives them their special IQ? I wonder if my 67 Takumars have it to? I was looking into the Voigt. 125mm macro and realized their was lead in some of them, but not in later versions. I'm just starting to read about this biohazard and rare earth element stuff in the glass of lenses. Weird.
07-14-2009, 12:21 AM   #12
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Eh. It isn't anything you want to inhale during manufacturing, but I'm sure the same thing applies to any piece of modern technology, from your car to you carpet. Takumar yellowing is just something people talk about because it causes lenses that are stored for a long time to change in a visible way, but is easy to correct. Spending a few hours shooting, you get more radiation from the sun. Probably get more lead from eating fish than from using a Voigt lens. Nothing to worry about...but then, I might be overly cavalier about such things. :-)
07-14-2009, 04:58 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
What is it with the radiated elements on Takumars? Are these things going to randomly explode in my bag one day!
You only have to worry if it turns to a bright glowing green & starts ticking..... then run for cover!
07-14-2009, 05:06 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
Thanks for all the input. It sounds like the 28mm and 105mm taks are popular. I tried bidding on a Vivitar 28mm f2 today but didn't win. What is it with the radiated elements on Takumars? Are these things going to randomly explode in my bag one day! Is this what gives them their special IQ? I wonder if my 67 Takumars have it to? I was looking into the Voigt. 125mm macro and realized their was lead in some of them, but not in later versions. I'm just starting to read about this biohazard and rare earth element stuff in the glass of lenses. Weird.
radiated elements are not an issue, except that they do yellow over time (which is, as I under stand it reversable)

I will caution you on the 105mm, if it is at all like the K version (the last time they made that focal length) it is a little soft wide open, but sharpens up nicely when stopped down. (at least that is how my copy works). You may, as I said, want to look at the super Tak, or SMC tak 135 F2.5. It is a wonderful focal length for outdoor portraits.
07-14-2009, 08:00 AM   #15
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The 135mm f/2.5 is a lovely lens (great looker too with that mahoooosive front element), but I've also heard that's quite soft wide open too. It's equally as sharp at the 135mm f/3.5 at the same stops though, so it's up to you if the extra expense is worth it for the 'brighter' lens.
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