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02-28-2010, 02:40 PM   #1
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Takumar 135mm/2.5

Just for fun, I did a comparison of the following four lenses in a high contrast, outdoor scene using a K200D @ISO 200 at the lens' min F-stop, F3.5 and F5.6:

Takumar 135/2.5 (K)
Sakar 135/2.8 (K)
Super Takumar 135/3.5 (M42)
Vivitar 135/2.8 (M42)

My Tak 135 isn't soft relative to the other three lenses. In fact it tied for sharpest with the Sakar. It appears very soft below F4 due to the expected flare, and PF associated with the single coating compared to more modern coatings like SMC. The Vivitar of the same older M42 vintage and coating shows nearly the same effect, varying only in the color shift of the PF.

The Sakar matches the Super Tak in the beneficial effects of the more modern multi-coatings at wide apertures.

All four lenses were acceptably sharp and free of significant flare and PF by F5.6.

By a slight margin, I preferred the rendering of the Takumar from F4 to F8; beyond F8 there simply wasn't a discernible difference including the results from a very good copy of a DA 50-200 at F4-5.6.

Being no stranger to pre-SMC lenses, I wouldn't hesitate to select this Tak 135 for any task where F3.5 and a bright viewfinder for manual focusing were called for. It would certainly be less frustrating than using most modern lenses at F4-5.6 with dim AF-style viewfinders. The built-in hood maked a big difference in both convenience and results - there was a reason those older lenses came with hoods.

I have a Takumar-A 28-80/3.5-4.5 that shows the same good results as the 135 above F4-5.6 -- with due care for flare and hoods of course

I didn't put up pictures for sharpness 'cause I couldn't find a quick re-size solution that did justice to the demonstrated results after the upload/download cycles chews 'em up but they're available by PM if anyone needs 'em. I'll offer one to show the rapid decrease in flare between F2.5, 3.5 and F4 for the Takumar. Note the relative sharpness of the grass at F2.5 and the apparent softening effects from flare and DOF. Distance was approximately 81 feet.

In summary, I'd snap up either the Takumar 2.5 or the Sakar 2.8 at $25-30 if I was in need of a low-light 135mm solution and consider myself better served than with the typical kit lens and shaky AF at F5.6. That's a LOT cheaper than one of the admittedly great 70-210/2.8 zooms.

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02-28-2010, 05:22 PM   #2
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That looks a lot like I would get with my Takumar 135 f/2.5. at maximum aperture. Mine is very soft and unacceptable at F/2.5. So much so that it stays in the bag most of the time. It's definitely not a low light lens. Outside in strong daylight where it can be stopped down, it's OK, but not in low light.
02-28-2010, 09:30 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
. . .

Takumar 135/2.5 (K)
Sakar 135/2.8 (K)
Super Takumar 135/3.5 (M42)
Vivitar 135/2.8 (M42)
What do you mean by k on the first 2 lenses? Are you talking about the K mount lenses?

QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
My Tak 135 isn't soft relative to the other three lenses. In fact it tied for sharpest with the Sakar. It appears very soft below F4 due to the expected flare, and PF associated with the single coating compared to more modern coatings like SMC. The Vivitar of the same older M42 vintage and coating shows nearly the same effect, varying only in the color shift of the PF.

The Sakar matches the Super Tak in the beneficial effects of the more modern multi-coatings at wide apertures.

. . .
The coatings on "some" of the Super Taks are different depending on year and it may have more than 1 coating. Also, the K-mount Tak may have a multi coating of some sort, just not SMC.

As far as the Super Tak 135mm f3.5 goes, there were at least 2 versions of it and 2 versions of the S-M-C 135mm f2.5. All together Pentax, made 7 different 135mm f3.5 m42 lenses with 4/4 and 4/5 formula and 3 different coatings. They also made 3 different 135mm f2.5 m42 lenses with 4/5 and 6/6 formula and 2 different coatings.
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