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05-28-2010, 04:49 PM   #1
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Which 135mm Takumar is Better, the 135mm/2.5 or the 135mm/3.5?

I am trying to decide on a 135, as I am having a difficult time finding a 105/2.8 in better condition (EX or better). I had once owned a 135/3.5 (Super Takumar, I believe), but I owned it briefly and took very few photos with it. I rememebr it being fairly light and compact. I do not necessarily need the extra speed, and thus please provide feedback based purely upon image quality (resolution, sharpness, detail, contrast, etc.). Overall, I welcome any comments.

05-28-2010, 04:54 PM   #2
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The F2.5 variant is a bit better, but it'll run you about $30 more. See their reviews here for more guidance: Pentax Lens Review Database - Pentax Screwmount Telephoto Prime Lens Reviews and Specifications

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05-28-2010, 04:56 PM   #3
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I thank you for the lightning-fast response, Adam. Any other input out there?
05-29-2010, 11:26 AM   #4
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I haven't used the 135/2.5 but I can say the 3.5 is really nice. Ever thought about getting a preset? the preset 135/3.5 is even smaller and can be good if you find a good one, mine is in a really bad mechanical state.

05-29-2010, 01:12 PM   #5
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There's a few different optical formulas used at different times, while externally the lenses are very similar. The f2.5 lenses:
Super-Takumars have 5 elements, 4 groups
Super-Multi-Coated Takumars have the same 5/4 formula for early versions, part #43802. Later S-M-C Taks used 6 elements, 6 groups, part #43812, same as the SMC Pentax K-mount.

The f3.5 lenses also have two optical formulas. I think it works like this:
Super-Takumars can have a 5 element, 4 group formula, or later ones have 4 elements, 4 groups. I don't know how to tell them apart.
Super-Multi-Coated versions have 4 elements, 4 groups, again same as the SMC Pentax K-mount version.

Part #43812 is my favorite and I think the best optical performer as well, but I spent more time with the K-mount versions than the M42 ones.
08-19-2010, 08:35 PM   #6
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I own a somewhat old 135 3.5 preset Takumar (all black from 1961 or 1962). The lens is quite small/light and seems quite sharp. It is a joy to work with. This was taken at about f/4 with a little wind. I suspect the Contax C/Y Zeiss 135 2.8 I have been using will be on the blocks soon (it is a great lens, but the Takumar is smaller / slower and less expensive) ...


Last edited by stover98074; 08-19-2010 at 08:46 PM.
08-20-2010, 07:17 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stover98074 Quote
I own a somewhat old 135 3.5 preset Takumar (all black from 1961 or 1962). The lens is quite small/light and seems quite sharp. It is a joy to work with. This was taken at about f/4 with a little wind.
Lovely color rendition, good bokeh, and just a wonderful soft (not unsharp) composition.

The early 3.5's are the same formula as the M37 version that was used for the Asahiflexes. The formula here is 5 elements in 4 groups and that was continued through 1965 into v1 of the Super Takumar line. The second Super Takumar version on through SMC version had 4 in 4.

So the question is really... f/3.5 5 element vs. f/3.5 4 element vs. f/2.5.

I really am partial to the early f/3.5 and to pre-sets in general. They allow for very precise adjustment of the aperture given a set shutter speed, and so in manual mode can be hyper precise at hitting the meter's evaluation... and by extension in making adjustments to that evaluation. I developed this preference in film bodies and it has survived to use in digital.

Of course the kind of results stover has gotten here are also one of the reasons the earlier lenses appeal to me. Beautiful job stover...

woof!
08-20-2010, 08:08 AM   #8
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To add to what Woof said, there is also 2 optical formula and coating levels for the 135mm/2.5 as well. The Super Tak 2.5 had 5 elements in 4 groups as did the earliest version of the S-M-C/2.5. However, a 2nd newer version had 6 elements in 6 groups. Many think this latter one is mecca.

08-20-2010, 08:09 AM   #9
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I have just recently gotten the 43802 (which was the first version of the Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 135mm f2.5) and have really been pleasantly surprised by it. It is excellent; plenty sharp even wide and has great bokeh. The 43801 is is optically the same, just without the SMC coatings. Just because the 43812 optical formula is arguably better does not mean that this one is not excellent! Colors, contrast, and bokeh are all excellent for my copy.

I don't have the SMC f3.5 version to compare it to, alas. The f3.5 version is considerably cheeper, as well as smaller and lighter (and I doubt is much, if any inferior optically, especially when stopped down), so unless you really want the speed (or can find the f2.5 cheap as I did)....
08-20-2010, 08:18 AM   #10
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Apparently, there are 3 variations in coating for the Super Tak 135mm/2.5 (43801). The first one had a yellow tint. The last one was purplish and was possibly the S-M-C coating.

Edit: I personally like my preset (ver 1) 135/3.5 over the late Super Tak 3.5. One reason is size and the other is 9 or 10 aperture blades.

Last edited by Blue; 08-20-2010 at 08:28 AM.
08-20-2010, 08:34 AM   #11
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Currently I have both the 3.5 and the later 2.5 SMC Takumar (43812). Probably should do a comparison shootout?
08-20-2010, 08:49 AM   #12
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Thanks for the kind words on the flower shot. I used this web site when deciding to purchase the lens. I found the site very informative and apologies if this is already widely known to this forum.

Early Pentax Takumar Lenses

The preset I have is an all black body and I believe it was at the tail end of production prior to Asahi introducing the Auto Takumar line.

This a rather quick photo taken of the lens this morning. The lens hood is enameled paint and is unlike other Takumar lens hoods I have used.




Last edited by stover98074; 08-20-2010 at 09:11 AM.
08-20-2010, 09:48 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stover98074 Quote
Thanks for the kind words on the flower shot. I used this web site when deciding to purchase the lens. I found the site very informative and apologies if this is already widely known to this forum.

Early Pentax Takumar Lenses

The preset I have is an all black body and I believe it was at the tail end of production prior to Asahi introducing the Auto Takumar line.

This a rather quick photo taken of the lens this morning. The lens hood is enameled paint and is unlike other Takumar lens hoods I have used.


beautiful example, but you are mistaken. the auto-takumar actually came first. for the 135mm 3.5 the production dates for the ‘Auto’ version are 1959-63, while the preset ’Takumar’ (model II) <-- which you have, was from 1961-66. so production overlapped. but the auto is older in general. if you had a model I, the production dates would be 1957-61, where your statement could indeed be true. but you have a model II. i would say your lens was manufactured between 64 and 66. likely 65 or 66 based on your serial number.

Last edited by séamuis; 08-20-2010 at 09:54 AM.
08-20-2010, 09:54 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by séamuis Quote
beautiful example, but you are mistaken. the auto-takumar actually came first. for the 135mm 3.5 the production dates for the ‘Auto’ version are 1959-63, while the preset ’Takumar’ (model II) <-- which you have, was from 1961-66. so production overlapped. but the auto is older in general. if you had a model I, the production dates would be 1957-61, where your statement could indeed be true. but you have a model II.
Thanks, I have had a hard time getting information about this lens and getting feedback on model II is a big help. Your dating (64 to 66) also meshes with the serial number date chart which shows a production date of 1964 [http://www.taunusreiter.de/Cameras/Pentax_Takumar_e.html]. By model I are you referring to a lens that has a metal aperture ring?

Do you know other characteristics of this lens, such as the number of elements/groups?
08-20-2010, 10:05 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stover98074 Quote
Thanks, I have had a hard time getting information about this lens and getting feedback on model II is a big help. By model I are you referring to a lens that has a metal aperture ring?

Do you know other characteristics of this lens, such as the number of elements/groups?
the model I was different and based on the m37 asahiflex version. yours is based on the optical design of the auto-takumar version. (which though similar was not the same) they actually all had 5/4 optical design. looking again, yours is pre october 1964, because they changed the depth of field scale after that.

lens info:

year of manufacture: 1961-66
Elements/Groups: 5/4
Diaphragm type: preset
Angle of view: 18 degrees
Minimum aperture: f/22
Minimum focus: 1,5m/5ft
Filter size: 49mm
Length: 87mm
Largest Diameter: 54mm
Weight: approx. 315 grams
Product numnber: 353; 43530 (from October through ’66)
Number produced: 116.87
Serial number range: Est. to be 140264 - 799282

hope that helps

model I:

Last edited by séamuis; 08-20-2010 at 10:14 AM.
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