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Auto Takumar 35mm F2.3 Review RSS Feed

Auto Takumar 35mm F2.3

Sharpness 
 8.8
Aberrations 
 9.4
Bokeh 
 9.8
Handling 
 8.9
Value 
 8.9
Reviews Views Date of last review
12 76,352 Sun January 6, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $168.64 9.25
Auto Takumar 35mm F2.3

Auto Takumar 35mm F2.3
supersize
Auto Takumar 35mm F2.3

Description:
This early version of a fast 35mm M42 screwmount lens has a semi-automatic diaphragm. It closes automatically when the shutter button is pressed, but must then be opened manually.

Auto-Takumar 35mm F2.3
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
M42
Aperture Ring
Yes
Diaphragm
Semi-automatic, 10 blades
Optics
6 elements, 5 groups
Mount Variant
M42 Stop-down Pin
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F2.3
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
45 cm
Max. Magnification
0.09x
Filter Size
62 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 45 ° / 38 °
Full frame: 63 ° / 54 °
Hood
Case
Lens Cap
Coating
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
Length 81 mm
Weight
310 g
Production Years
1959 to 1962
Engraved Name
Auto-Takumar 1:2.3/35
Product Code
43350
Reviews
User reviews
Features:
Manual FocusAperture RingFull-Frame SupportAdapter needed for DSLRsDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of Auto Takumar 35mm F2.3
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-12 of 12
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2012
Posts: 166
Lens Review Date: January 6, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Artistic, Bokeh, Stopped down. Excellent sharpness.
Cons: Not the best for portraits.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

I donīt wanna bore you with texts so I just add som pics.







   
New Member

Registered: December, 2016
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: December 20, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Image Quality, Quality Built
Cons: easy to scratch
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: Used   

Best bokeh lens i ever had
Picture instead of words :
















Here my album in Flickr : https://www.flickr.com/photos/160267877@N08/albums/72157701551503722/with/45669230464/
   
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2015
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 1,969

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 13, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Swirly bokeh, colors, contrast
Cons: not as sharp as modern lenses
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K1   

Nice copies of this over 50-year old lens are hard to find. I worked for over a year to find my two excellent + copies. Both of my copies are the newer version (with the "blue" feet markings, and "yellow" meter markings - like in the photo posted at the top).

The glass used in this lens is softer than most lens' glass. It's quite hard to find copies of this lens without significant scraches/rub-marks all over the front element. I don't find the contrast to be especially low. I wonder if the below posters who said the contrast was low had a sample with lots of scratches on the front element?

Also, this lens is not heavy as some have said below. Compared with the other 35mm primes that I use (Zeiss, Nikkor, Leica) this lens is an absolute lightweight lens.

This lens is made like a fine Swiss watch. It's a joy to hold and use. Smooth and silky.

It's bokeh is exceptional, if like me, you like swirly bokeh and an out of focus blur with lots of "character" you will love this lens.

If I don't include the bokeh of this lens, I'd give it an overall score of 8 because of it's average (at best) sharpness. However, it's bokeh is so unique and artistic, that I feel when the bokeh is included in the overall score that the overall score increases to a solid 9.

Please note that I have two copies of this lens. One with it's front element inverted to exaggerate the bokeh. The front element is extremely easy to invert. All one needs is a spanner wrench to invert it.

It does not focus that close, so I often end up using it with an extension ring between the body and the M42 adapter.
   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2016
Location: Moab, Utah
Posts: 90
Lens Review Date: February 10, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $335.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Unique bokeh & flares, rare collector's item
Cons: contrast low, weak sharpness, big, moderate distortion
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 6    Value: 6    Camera Used: Sony A7ii, A7s   

I use this lens on full frame Sony bodies. This lens offers a unique bokeh which is fantastic. Flares it produces are also very unusual so this lens has a lot of character. It's low in contrast, not razor sharp, moderate barrel distortion, and big and heavy, not to mention strange looking. A real collector's item and very usable lens. This lens is great if you're going for a vintage look but you can punch up the contrast if desired.

I also have and have compared in detail, this lens to the Takumar 1:4 f=35mm, the S-M-C Takumar 35mm f3.5, SMC K 35mm f2, M series 35mm f2.8, and FA 35mm f2. For anyone curious and wanting to compare, see my video for a comprehensive review with examples.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 872

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 29, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $165.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Bokeh, image quality, build quality
Cons: Hard to find, especially in like new condition
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K30, K200D   

My reviews factor in the price I paid, and I do compare lenses to other lenses I have used in determining its ratings and value. That being said, this lens is amazing. What led me to seek one out was its design, having 10 aperture blades gives you smooth bokeh at all apertures, plus having a maximum aperture of f2.3 still makes this lens reasonably fast, especially considering how old it is! It is a little bit hard to find this lens, and one in like new condition can become really pricey, but I'd have to say would still be worth the money. My copy has a very tiny bit of oil on the blades, which I hear is common for this model, and shows a bit of wear all over, but none of this seems to affect the image quality.

The focus is smooth and just the right amount of throw to allow you to be precise yet not take many turns to get from minimum focus to infinity. Lenses don't get much better than this. I use it on my K30 in aperture priority and let the camera choose the shutter speed as I adjust the aperture from the lens and iso from the front wheel, sometimes using exposure comp to dial in the exposure I want. The lens is plenty sharp wide open in the middle of the frame, but not so sharp as you move away from the center probably because you get this really neat bokeh effect when you focus up close. I like it and it was another reason I chose this lens. It renders photos so nicely I don't know how to describe it. At further distances subjects are isolated so delicately almost in a Pentax Limited-like manner. As you stop down this lens gets even sharper and still has the nice bokeh thanks to its many aperture blades. I read somewhere that this lens stopped down is like a Pentax K 35mm f3.5 in terms of sharpness, and from my experience and photos from others I may have to agree. It gets scary sharp! Almost like a birding lens if you have enough megapixels to crop heavily haha!

Also, this lens controls aberrations amazingly, even wide open! Even shiny metal is no match for this lens! Flare and a decrease in contrast can be show up in bad lighting, but even then presents itself in a pleasing way. I find I am trying to process images less with this lens because the photo just comes out the way I wanted it to, and the only other lens I've noticed this with is the 77mm f1.8 limited. Sometimes the lower contrast can fool you into thinking this lens isn't sharp wide open, but if you pixel peep at 100% and look right where the focus was nailed you will see the tiny hairs on flowers and such. A quick slide of the contrast slider in photoshop always improves this too. The quality of its sharpness I would say is also very similar to the 77mm limited.

I have both a 77mm f1.8 Limited and a Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 that I use regularly, and are two of the best lenses I have ever used in terms of overall image quality and rendering, each having a certain charm to them (aka pixie dust, I suppose?) The Takumar 35mm f2.3 is up to the standard of the previous two lenses mentioned. I have to give it all 10's across the board, because it deserves them for its price. The only other lens I gave all 10's was my Super Tak 50mm f1.4, also an excellent lens, but the 77mm Limited couldn't be scored this high because it purple fringes until stopped down a whole stop and is way more expensive. I have been carrying this trio in my camera bag along with my K30 and the photographic experience has been phenomenal. All 3 are all great lenses in their own ways.

Here's some samples, most of them were shot with the aperture wide open, a few are stopped down: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/albums/72157679964261384
   
Junior Member

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Nissedal (Goblin Valley)
Posts: 38

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 27, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Bokeh, sharpness, did I mention bokeh?-)
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K10D   

Fantastic lens, strange and beautiful bokeh, almost round aperture at all stops, flare resistant. The lens is one of my best buys so far. Wide open it resembles a soft focus lens stopped down; low contrast, but still very, very sharp. Stopped down sharp from corner to corner. Highly recomended. Its just so cool!
   
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2012
Posts: 895

8 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 12, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, unique bokeh, colourful, excellent at landscapes
Cons: None to worry about - if you protect that glass with a hood!
Camera Used: K-3   

There are not so many reviews of the Auto-Takumar 35/2.3. But reading the reviews posted here and elsewhere, one suspects that some of the reviewers have rather fallen in love with their lens. I certainly have.

Physically, its large. Huge, even, compared to the diminutive Takumar 35/3.5. It's also fast. Very fast for its era (late 1950s) - still fast by today's standards. So combining that big chunk of glass to suck in light at the front, with a fast aperture, you'd expect something quite special in terms of wide-open images. And this lens does not disappoint! In fact, it excels.

Wide-open, it produces amazing images; dreamy, painterly colours, yet centre-sharp with fascinating bokeh. The images remind me slightly of the colourful, glowing and scrambled bokeh of the early Auto-Takumar 55's. However, this lens delivers more coherent background blur and highlights, with more swirly bokeh. More like the Zeiss/Helios bokeh. You can see it at its busiest, in the second photo below.

Stopped down, as others note, the images are accurate and sharp with good colours. Like all Auto-Takumar lenses, the original images may need processing to bring out the contrasts, colours etc., but the IQ is easily good enough for this. I particularly like the comment about it being a different lens at every stop - I've found this too.

It took me a while to find one at a reasonable (to me) price, and all I can say is that it has been well worth the wait. An unusual, special and highly recommended lens. Here's my Flickr album to date: https://www.flickr.com/photos/95859572@N06/sets/72157650476654070/









   
New Member

Registered: May, 2013
Location: Near Basle
Posts: 9

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 16, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: It has character, nice aperture-stars und colors
Cons:
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Canon 5D, Nex-6   

I have a 3.5/35mm and a 2.3/35mm.

This lens has ist own character. With every aperture-click it is diffrent.

Wide open it has CAs ans soft, but with f/2.8 it is sharp and CAs are almost gone. Sharpness is very good at f/4 from edge to edge. The color is very brilliant and the contrast is even there by shooting against the sun.

It produces very nice flares and stars against bright lightsources.

It is not for everyday use, but I can use it for creative work.

I have a lot of examples from both 35mm at the end of >this page< in the Gallery. The lens (f/3.5 or f/2.3) is written in the pics.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2012
Location: Berlin
Posts: 6

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 27, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $65.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, great rendering, exotic.
Cons: a bit unwieldy...?
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 7    Camera Used: Canon 5D markIII   

Got this cheap and mint. They can go for a bit these days.

Fruity lens - not much like a Takumar really. Wide open its a little soft (though not so bad at my S-M-C Tak 35/2) but has great characterful bokeh - swirly and a little frenzied. Not at all the creamy Takumar style, but I really like it. Stopped down it is really sharp, much sharper than my 35/2. Also unlike my other Taks, this one renders colours very cool, towards blue and green. Or maybe its just that my other Taks are warm...

It has a beast of a protruding front element that I'm always terrified of scratching, and which lets light flare in like a waterfall if you let it. I like this thing a lot, it really has a unique character.
   
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2010
Location: Clermont-Ferrand, France
Posts: 221

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 22, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $160.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: fast f/2.3, 10 blades
Cons: bulk front lens

I agree with the No-X's review, but I would also add :
- we can clearly guess that there is many space between the front lens and the orthers by taking the lens in the hand
- 10 blades gives nicer focused highlights that 6 blades apertures of more recent lenses
- on some samples it is quite easy to unscrew the front element without tools : you get a ~50/4 lens without around 1:2 reproduction ratio (you loose infinity of course, but this allows some macro without changing lens
- bokeh is wuite swirly in the right conditions
Some of my samples : http://kajiwara.weebly.com/takumar-3523.html
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2009

6 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 17, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: very sharp at f/8 and above, CA is non-existant
Cons: lack of close-focusing

Auto Takumar 35/2.3 is the first Japanese fast retrofocal lens for SLR cameras. And its optical performance is completely different, than any other fast 35mm retrofocal lens.



The lens scheme shows typical early retrofocal lens with single negative (and very large) front element. The "core" of the lens is in fact Ernostar-based.

Performance of the Auto Takumar is very interesting: At f/2.3 it is quite soft, around f/3.2-f/4 center is very sharp, borders aren't perfrect and the sweet-spot is between f/8 and f/11 (unfortunatelly f/9 cannot be set - only f/8 or f/11), where the lens is perfectly sharp. It also lacks all forms of CA - both axial and lateral (check the sample images). The softness at f/2.3 is caused likely by spherical aberration, not by CA.

I never found any 35mm lens, which would have really zero lateral CA (I have tried all CZJ and Asahi 35mm M42 primes and many others like Schneider, Cosina, Vivitars...)

The lens doesn't support close-focusing (only 45cm, slim extension tube must be used for close-up/macro). Contrast isn't bad, but lens shows some flaring when used in back-light (single-layer coating).

I would highly recommend it for landscapes (f/8-f/11 - great!) or macro (with extension tube), or for soft-focus usage at f/2.3.

Samples:

f/8-11






f/2.3




f/2.8




f/3.2-f/5 (some of them were taken with slim extension ring)

   
Moderator
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Florida Hill Country
Posts: 17,250

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 9, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $110.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality, appearance and speed
Cons: really none

At f2.3 this lens is somewhat fast by today's standards and very fast for 1959. This may be one of the best Taks of all. Its too good to give a 9. Its the best lens I own for architectural photography, especially on film. It is sharp from edge to edge with minimal distortion. Its weakness would be in the CA area. I'd give it a 9.5 overall due to that but that's not an option.

Edit: I find that the Nikon HN-22 hood works great with this lens which has 62mm filter threads.
Add Review of Auto Takumar 35mm F2.3



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