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03-05-2010, 03:00 AM   #1
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Hierarchy of old Pentax lenses.

Whether the lens be a fast 50, a 28, or a 35, etc, what is the preferred order of greatness?

-K lens- I'm not sure how to even recognize this lens, but I THINK it just states "Pentax" on the front of the lens, no M or A

-A lens- Typically the build quality isn't as sturdy, but optically the same as below.
You can use your lightmeter with this lens though.

-M lens- As well built (though different outer design) than above.

-Super Takumar- Optically the same as below, except, less coatings than the SMC and Super Multi Coated which will show less contrast and more glare.

-SMC Takumar

-Super Multi Coated Takumar

03-05-2010, 03:04 AM   #2
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I will start this by saying I am an idiot.

Are SMC and Super Multi Coated not the same things?
03-05-2010, 03:57 AM   #3
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I think earlier versions (after Super-Taks) were called "Super Multi Coated" and later they started using the "SMC". These lenses were pretty much the same I quess.
03-05-2010, 04:07 AM   #4
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You may get many diferent answers to this question.

my2p:

K series is great. As great as the Taks but with K bayonet!
M series is somewhat underdog but contain some superb lenses nontheless. Notably M20/4, M50/1.7, M135/3.5.
A series is loosing in build quality to both M & K but many are happy campers and you get the benfit of A setting.

My personal pick is K series. I have 24/2.8 and 55/1.8. Both stunning lenses IMO. Built quality is exceptional. They rival FA ltds even after 30 years in use! Rendering is fantastic...

good luck choosing

BR
Peter

03-05-2010, 04:12 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by icywarm Quote
I will start this by saying I am an idiot.

Are SMC and Super Multi Coated not the same things?
not exactly, timeline goes:
Takumar, Auto takumar, Super Takumar, Super Multi Coated Takumar (aka S-M-C Takumar), SMC Takumar and then SMC Pentax.
Chances are that between S-M-C and SMC there was slight change in the coatings, but SMC T and SMC P are optically and coatings wise the same AFAIK.

BR
Peter
03-05-2010, 05:23 AM   #6
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03-05-2010, 06:38 AM   #7
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Size, handling : M lenses, nearly followed by A lenses. K are bigger, much so. Taks are about the same size, but do have a nice vintage feel that some dig.

Usefulness : A lenses, because of the A setting of course. Then K and M on the same level, followed by Taks, because of the trouble of having an adapter, complicated metering, etc.

Quality of optics : more of a case-by-case basis. I'd say in general the advancements in technology should mean the A are better than the M, then K, then Taks. But of course that's not really accurate. Designs evolve, change, and not always for the best. Some lenses perform well in some situations, not in others, etc.

For me, non AF lenses make less and less sense as time passes, except regarding price. I have a M 150 f3,5 and it's the only way for me to afford such a small and fast tele. But it doesn't get much use. But in the MF group, the A lenses make much, much more sense than the others. I don't agree that they have a worse build quality, all those I've used are very fine, just different than the M.
03-05-2010, 06:55 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winnie Quote
Whether the lens be a fast 50, a 28, or a 35, etc, what is the preferred order of greatness?

-K lens- I'm not sure how to even recognize this lens, but I THINK it just states "Pentax" on the front of the lens, no M or A

-A lens- Typically the build quality isn't as sturdy, but optically the same as below.
You can use your lightmeter with this lens though.

-M lens- As well built (though different outer design) than above.

-Super Takumar- Optically the same as below, except, less coatings than the SMC and Super Multi Coated which will show less contrast and more glare.

-SMC Takumar

-Super Multi Coated Takumar
Regarding the Takumar series, you left out the Takumars (pre-set lenses) and the Auto-Taks.

Also, there were sometimes optical changes made within a series which were sometimes mild to moderate meaning there could be more differences within the Super Tak lenses than just coatings which also varied. Fore example there are at least 3 different versions of the Super Tak 28mm f3.5 lens. The first one has 6/7 (groups/elements) formula with 58mm filter threads and f3.5-22 and the 2nd one is the same except it is f3.5-16. The 3rd one is 7/7 with 49mm filter threads and f3.5-16. Another example is the Super Tak 135mm f3.5 with a 4/5 and 4/4 version. There may be other subtle variations on top of that. There are 3 versions of the Super Tak 50mm f1.4 as well not counting variations. The earliest has a 7/8 formula and the latter 2 have 6/7. The best way to tell them apart is with the Asahi part number on the A-M switch 358, 378 or 37801 in order). There are also Honeywell part numbers. 879 on the oldest and "blank" on the newer ones.

Examples of minor changes variations would be the super Tak 55mm f1.8 which has at least 5 variations the last of which actually has the linkages to work with the ES, ES II and Spot F bodies! Another minor variation example is the Super Tak 55mm f2 also with at least 5 variations.

We can even make blanket statements about the Auto Taks being alike. The Auto Takumar 55mm f1.8 has 2 major versions. The first one has the cocking lever and is semi-automatic and the later one as the A-M switch and operates like a Super Tak.

Is it clear now?

Edit: Here are some web sources for some of the Takumar info.

http://www.aohc.it/lense.htm

http://www.taunusreiter.de/Cameras/Pentax_Main.html

http://whitemetal.com/pentax/index_pentax_lenses.htm

03-05-2010, 07:30 AM   #9
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If we consider the lenses in reverse sequence I think it goes something like this.

Bayonette mounts
SMC-A
Takumar-A
SMC-M
SMC
Takumar

M42 mounts
Super-Multi-Coated Takumar
Super takumar
Auto Takumar
Takumar


Clearly takumar bayonet mount lenses lack someof the coatings and are different optical formulas than SMC lenses and are not as good.

From a use point of view SMC-A mounts are the best because they can use all the metering and automatic functions possible except of course AF.

The next down the list from a pure use point of view is actually any M42 lens because you can use Av mode.

From a construction point of view, I personally like SMC lenses the best. they seem to have a better "feel" than the later SMC-M and SMC-A lenses,

From a selection point of view I think the best range of lenses is actually in the SMC-A range. i.e. longest and fastest. followed by SMC.

I find SMC-M lenses actually seem to be slower across the board than either SMC-A or SMC lenses.

The other thing to consider is many of the oldest takumars (specifically preset lenses) have 16-18 blade apertures that offer a round aperture at all Fstops, and offer unique bokeh. The presets are just as easy to use as any other M42 lens on a dslr and are extremely well built.

also note that although later lenses were marked SMC or super multi coated, many earlier lenses were also multi coated just not the same multi coating. And many pentax lenses from the 1960's are much better than any of the competition
03-05-2010, 07:51 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
. . .
M42 mounts
Super-Multi-Coated Takumar
Super takumar
Auto Takumar
Takumar
. . .
You left SMC off of the top of the list.
03-05-2010, 08:05 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
You left SMC off of the top of the list.
My Bad

In looking at your list note I do not believe that all super tak's and SMC taks are the same optical formula.
03-05-2010, 08:10 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
My Bad

In looking at your list note I do not believe that all super tak's and SMC taks are the same optical formula.
There is often an S-M-C or SMC that shares an optical formula with a Super Tak and it is usually the most recent version of the Super Tak. It depends on the focal length.
The 28mm f3.5 is a good example of this scenario as is the 135mm f3.5 and even the 2.5 version. The tricky part for a collector is that the part numbers aren't 100% consistent but they do serve as a guide.
03-05-2010, 09:41 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
not exactly, timeline goes:
Takumar, Auto takumar, Super Takumar, Super Multi Coated Takumar (aka S-M-C Takumar), SMC Takumar and then SMC Pentax.
Chances are that between S-M-C and SMC there was slight change in the coatings, but SMC T and SMC P are optically and coatings wise the same AFAIK.
Advertising material at the time claimed that there was an improvement from "Super-Multi-Coated" to "SMC". Advertising claims a lot of things. I think only the 50s and 55s were made in "SMC Takumar" versions.

As Blue said, Super-Takumar 55mm lenses have a lot of versions. I'm not enough of a collector to identify them all precisely. Here's one of the oldest versions with the last version. Kind of funny, take apart the newest Super-Takumar and they still use slotted screws, while the Super-Multi-Coated and SMC Taks had switched to phillips.

03-05-2010, 10:05 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
There is often an S-M-C or SMC that shares an optical formula with a Super Tak and it is usually the most recent version of the Super Tak. It depends on the focal length.
The 28mm f3.5 is a good example of this scenario as is the 135mm f3.5 and even the 2.5 version. The tricky part for a collector is that the part numbers aren't 100% consistent but they do serve as a guide.
I'll take your word on it for the normal and wide versions but I know there are 2 different optical groups/elements for 135F2.5s, one shared I believe between SMC Pentax and SMC takumar (or super multi coated Tak's) and one I believe between takumar bayonette and super tak's. Also a question of number of aperture blades SMC=8 super tak=6 I think)

same holds true for 85mm F1.8 and 1.9's the optical designs are different and are the aperture arrangements.

BUT, I am also no collector (yet?) and only have one of each focal length in my present M42 kit.
03-05-2010, 10:06 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
You may get many diferent answers to this question.

my2p:

K series is great. As great as the Taks but with K bayonet!
M series is somewhat underdog but contain some superb lenses nontheless. Notably M20/4, M50/1.7, M135/3.5.
A series is loosing in build quality to both M & K but many are happy campers and you get the benfit of A setting.

My personal pick is K series. I have 24/2.8 and 55/1.8. Both stunning lenses IMO. Built quality is exceptional. They rival FA ltds even after 30 years in use! Rendering is fantastic...

good luck choosing

BR
Peter
I would agree that the K series is my favorite. I only have the 85mm f/1.8 though. I am in the market for the 55mm f/1.8 though....since I just sold my FA 50mm f/1.4.

Last edited by StephenMerola; 03-05-2010 at 10:11 AM. Reason: typo
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