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12-16-2011, 01:45 PM   #1
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Pentax History - Aperture ring changes

Curious if any of the collectors know when Pentax standardized the direction of the aperture ring movement. I recently got an early SV (before export) with a 55 f1.8 Super Takumar, and after things "felt" strange tinkering with it, I realized the aperture ring rotates backwards from the rest of my Super Takumars, as does the movement of the A/M control. My older Asahiflex lens aperture ring is the same as the later Takumars, so this f1.8 lens seems a bit odd.
Pentax lens controls rotate backwards from most other cameras, so I wonder if they tried changing at one time.

12-16-2011, 02:34 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
Curious if any of the collectors know when Pentax standardized the direction of the aperture ring movement. I recently got an early SV (before export) with a 55 f1.8 Super Takumar, and after things "felt" strange tinkering with it, I realized the aperture ring rotates backwards from the rest of my Super Takumars, as does the movement of the A/M control. My older Asahiflex lens aperture ring is the same as the later Takumars, so this f1.8 lens seems a bit odd.
Pentax lens controls rotate backwards from most other cameras, so I wonder if they tried changing at one time.
do you have a photo of the Super-Takumar in question? the last of the Auto-Takumars was a 55 1.8 that was essentially a Super-Takumar with the aperture ring backwards. The M42 Takumar and Auto-Takumar series was a time period of a lot of experimentation for Asahi Opt. and many of the lenses throughout these series vary greatly in design. there was absolutely no standardization until the Super-Takumar series was introduced. if I could see the lens it might be easy to identify if this is a very strange Super-Takumar or possibly an Auto-Takumar with the trim ring of a Super-Takumar? its pretty hard to say much without seeing it. I'm willing to bet what you have is actually a late model Auto-Takumar 55mm 1.8, as it was the only Takumar 55 that I am aware of that had a 'backwards' rotating aperture ring, and it would be easy to identify because these Auto-Takumars had several slight cosmetic differences from their twin brother the Super-Takumar.

here is a good online reference for early Takumars, if its helpful.
Early Pentax Takumar Lenses

Last edited by séamuis; 12-16-2011 at 03:04 PM.
12-16-2011, 03:35 PM   #3
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Seamuis,

Thanks, I'm sure that's the case: an Auto Takumar re-branded as they introduced the Super line. This camera still had its original manuals: an English manual for the S1/S3 that shows the Auto Takumar, and a brief "SV / Super S2" manual that gives features of these new cameras that were too new to have an export manual printed. This doesn't mention the Super Takumar on the SV - just mentions the self-timer and auto-reset counter as the features different than the S3. The Super S2 section talks about the new 55 f2 Super Takumar; so they must have introduced the Super lens line at that time.
This "Super" isn't quite as long as a later 1.8 Super, has a different shape index mark for focus/aperture, backwards aperture ring (round knurled), backwards A/M lever marked A - M. The later Super also has larger diameter focus ring with deeper knurled sections.
Here are a couple of pictures comparing the two:
Name:  S-T 1.8 Side.jpg
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Name:  S-T 1.8 Front.jpg
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12-16-2011, 03:55 PM   #4
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it looks identical to a late model 'last version' Auto-Takumar, and it does indeed have both a backwards aperture ring and A/M lever. the Super-Takumar 55 with 6 digits is supposed to have a half-stop between f11 and f16, the Auto-Takumar is also supposed to have a half-stop between f11 and f16. since the one you have that we know to be a Super-Takumar has a 7 digit serial it should not have this half stop, while your Super in question being a six digit serial, should have this half stop just like the Auto version.

the body of the one in question is truthfully identical to a late model Auto-Takumar, right down to the style of font used on the trim ring. this means that it could either be an Auto thats had its trim ring swapped for whatever reason, or mirroring your idea, (and I think more likely) is that what you have here is a 'transitional' lens. its a Super-Takumar (just as the Auto-Takumars were anyway) but was assembled using what I can only assume was the last of the Auto-Takumar housings, and as they were identical in function (except for the backwards aperture and a/m lever) it would make sense that Asahi Opt. let some of these out at the beginning of the Super-Takumar series. (I guess in short, making it an Auto-Takumar with the trim ring replaced, from the factory?) very similar to the late Super-Takumar series transitioning into the super-multi-coated series, where there are known exempts that had light meter coupling pins but no multi-coating.

since you said that your SV is an early model, and the SV was the camera model that the Super-Takumar line was introduced with (the 55 1.8 being the standard 'kit' lens) its seems likely that you have been lucky enough to find a rather rare piece of hardware. do you know if this lens is original to the body?

the best way to be sure which model you actually have is by the product or 'part' number. what is the part number of the lens in question? (should be located on the back of the a/m lever) the Auto-Takumar's part number is 345. the version I Super-Takumar had part numbers 345-5; 33450 and 345-2; 34520. the model II Super-Takumar had part numbers 371; 37100 and 37101.

another way to test, is by the minimum focusing distance. the Auto-Takumar had a MFD of 1.8ft while the Super-Takumar had an MFD of 1.5ft


Last edited by séamuis; 12-16-2011 at 04:13 PM.
12-16-2011, 04:45 PM   #5
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It does focus to 1.5 ft - so that makes it an early Super Tak. Not sure of the purchase history of this camera (I believe the lens is original, as it matches the body details and provided documenation), but the back of the body baseplate is embrossed or engraved "NO TAX" - like a factory mark. Perhaps made for PX sales?
I am familiar with the model number marks on the Auto/Manual lever, but there is no detactable number on this lever. I also found another 6-digit 1.8 SV lens (949xxx - so somewhat later) that has normal aperture direction and wider A/M lever, but also has no part number marked. Checked an H1a 55 f2 7-digit serial (1285xxx) lens and also no part number on it. All my later Takumars do have model number marking. Could these earlier lenses either have been printed in ink that rubbed off (instead of stamped into the metal) - or marked in another location?
12-16-2011, 04:56 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
It does focus to 1.5 ft - so that makes it an early Super Tak. Not sure of the purchase history of this camera (I believe the lens is original, as it matches the body details and provided documenation), but the back of the body baseplate is embrossed or engraved "NO TAX" - like a factory mark. Perhaps made for PX sales?
I am familiar with the model number marks on the Auto/Manual lever, but there is no detactable number on this lever. I also found another 6-digit 1.8 SV lens (949xxx - so somewhat later) that has normal aperture direction and wider A/M lever, but also has no part number marked. Checked an H1a 55 f2 7-digit serial (1285xxx) lens and also no part number on it. All my later Takumars do have model number marking. Could these earlier lenses either have been printed in ink that rubbed off (instead of stamped into the metal) - or marked in another location?
well I guess that makes it pretty clear that its a Super-Takumar in an Auto-Takumar housing, so most likely a transitional lens. neat! (so the real question is, do you call it a 'super'Auto-Takumar or a Super-Takumar?) I wouldn't know about the NO TAX, I'm not a collector (anymore) nor an absolute expert on the SV. I've never seen or heard of any example of this type of factory stamping, but if I had to guess, mine would be the same as yours. a very interesting kit you have, with an unusual stamping and a transitional lens. as per the part numbers, no it wouldn't have been painted or marked in any other way except stamping. there are plenty of examples that don't have the number on the back of the switch (that is just the most common place) and some that don't seem to have any part number stamp at all, so not having one while I wouldn't say is common, doesn't necessarily mean anything. (not having one seems to be more common on the standard lenses i.e. the 55 and 50s) but yes it could be the case that the number is stamped somewhere else on the lens.
12-16-2011, 05:36 PM   #7
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I got my reference for the part numbers from my copy of 'The Ultimate Screw-Mount Guide' so I went to look at my two examples of the 'Super'Auto-Takumar (I have both an early model and a late model) and I just realized that the guide is wrong. both of my examples have a MFD of 1.5ft. I never took notice before, as its never been an interest, but now that I have them in front of me, I see the error in the book. this means that your lens is still a bit of a mystery! but for reference, neither of my examples have the part number stamped either.

a quick reference photo of both my Auto-Takumars.
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01-04-2012, 10:49 AM   #8
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Just to wrap some closure on this thread:
I picked up a copy of the Asahi company Takumar / Super Takumar lens service and parts manual. It notes that the both the early Super Takumar 55 mm f1.8 (Product #345-2) and Super Takumar f2.0 (Product # 345-2) had reverse-numbered aperture rings compared to later models. The change occurred in October 1963 production with the new modesl 345-5 (f1.8) and 345-6 (f2.0).
This is a geat manual if you want to work on Takumar lenses, as it includes exploded drawings of the whole range from the 17mm fish-eye to the 1000 mm Tele. The disassembly, re-assembly, and adjustment instructions are specific to the 55 f1.8, but are helpful for all of these models. I got it from photobooksonline.
One of the 55 1.8 lenses I picked up was very loose with a lot of slop in the helecoid. Inside it was an oily mess, and the slop was due to both lack of damping grease in the threads, as well as a "pinched" helical guide. (One of the guides is a "fork" design that should be spread to fit tightly in the mating part of the helical. Looks like it was pinched in prior disassembly.) Now it's back to "proper" state.

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