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Takumar 135mm F2.5 Bayonet Review RSS Feed

Takumar 135mm F2.5 Bayonet

Sharpness 
 8.8
Aberrations 
 7.5
Bokeh 
 8.7
Handling 
 8.6
Value 
 9.6
Reviews Views Date of last review
62 208,687 Wed November 6, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
94% of reviewers $55.54 8.20
Takumar 135mm F2.5 Bayonet
supersize


Description:
This is a a budget lens; it is slightly faster than the non-SMC 135mm F2.8 telephoto lens.
This lens has no "A" setting and thus does not support aperture automation (Tv and P modes), only Av and M exposure modes can be used.

Takumar 135mm F2.5 Bayonet
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (no A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 8 blades
Optics
4 elements, 4 groups
Mount Variant
K
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F2.5
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
120 cm
Max. Magnification
0.15x
Filter Size
52 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 12 ° / 10 °
Full frame: 18 ° / 15 °
Hood
Built-in, slide out
Case
Soft leather
Lens Cap
Coating
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
64 x 79 mm (2.5 x 3.1 in.)
Weight
395 g (13.9 oz.)
Production Years
1980 to 1988
Engraved Name
TAKUMAR (BAYONET) 1:2.5 135mm
Product Code
23830
Reviews
User reviews
Notes
No SMC coating
Features:
Built-in HoodAperture RingFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of Takumar 135mm F2.5 Bayonet
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Pentaxian

Registered: July, 2016
Location: Patrick Co. Virginia
Posts: 494
Lens Review Date: November 6, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: beautiful, handles good, isolates subject well, nifty little built in hood
Cons: CA on bright objects
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: k-50, k5   

I got this one from ebay from an estate auctioneer. It came in a nice old can along with a 2x tv. It was also the first old lens I bought..the one that started it all.

I originally bought it for it's length and speed to do wide field astrophotography, but it has become one of my favorite lenses in my old glass collection.

While it has some trouble on bright targets like Pleiades, it does a pretty decent job on darker nebula using tracked long exposures.

   
Pentaxian

Registered: June, 2014
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,906
Lens Review Date: August 19, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Exceptional sharpness, Great handling, fast
Cons: Flaring, f2.5 is next to worthless
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: KP   

I've made a review once before on this lens, but that was when I was much newer to photography in general so I basically just posted "cool lens!" and some pictures. Now knowing that isn't very useful, and now that I have much more knowledge and a better grasp on how good this lens actually is I wanted to rewrite my review from the ground up.

This takumar line of lenses has nothing to do with the old super high end giants. The Takumar Bayonet and Takumar A/F lineup were budget lenses in the 80s and 90s, designed without pentax's famous SMC coatings for the frugal photographer at the time. Now one would assume this makes the lenses useless for broad daylight photography but that's not really the case.

See these lenses are still multicoated, they do not lack coatings or only use a single layer. While the lens in terms of veiled flair when the sun is just out of frame isn't amazing, and sometimes contrast can suffer these are not things that are very difficult to work around with this lens. Either using a hood or just framing correctly can eliminate this problem entirely.

Now you also might think that because this lens is a budget lens, it also has budget performance. This isn't the case either. See these lenses shared optical formulas of their bigger SMC cousins. This lens in particular is believed to share the optical formula of the Pentax-A 135mm f2.8, a far more modern design than those of the K, M or Takumar variety. This means this lens actually has a great sharpness advantage over older lenses, despite being a budget oriented lens.

Of course the question of overall QA is still there, the possibility of a bad copy might be higher in a lens like this. Still for the price the sharpness and rendering is hard to beat. I've been using this lens for years and it's still one of my go to primes.

The downside of this lens however is usability, through no fault of the lens itself but because of how the crippled K mount on modern cameras work. With modern k mount cameras you have to stop down meter in M mode using the green button, on older k mount cameras you'd automatically get a reading, usually with a half press of the shutter.

Another big downer of this lens, and something that also hurts usability, is the fact that this lens even has an f2.5 option at all. See the f2.5 on this lens is completely useless. Extremely soft, extremely hard to focus, and super low on contrast. What's immensely frustrating is that all goes away when you hit f2.8, meaning that f2.5 was probably done by a cheat in its design, and was never intended to be as such.

Because of this though, when you try to shoot this lens wide open with AV mode for metering, you're stuck with f2.5 which you can already tell that's a problem. If you intend on shooting wide open on a digital camera a lot I'd recommend being patient and trying to get either the f2.8 version of this lens or better yet find a cheaper pentax-A 135mm f2.8.

This lens really hits its peak performance at about f4-f8 depending on the situation. Great for portraits, animal shots and even landscapes.

I rate this lens an 8 because of its value, at around 30 dollars it's almost unbeatable. The Pentax-A version of this lens obviously would be easier to use with similar or better results, however that lens can go well over 100 dollars so its in a different league entirely. Never let anyone try to convince you to downgrade this lens to an older inferior formula like the pentax-m 135mm f3.5.


My copy is a made in japan version with the built in hood, in case anyone is curious.

Here are some example shots:

Puffin! by Brian Mckee, on Flickr

Chatty Birds by Brian Mckee, on Flickr

Brian Sutherland by Brian Mckee, on Flickr

Flower Bokeh by Brian Mckee, on Flickr

Light the Way by Brian Mckee, on Flickr
   
Forum Member

Registered: November, 2016
Posts: 65
Lens Review Date: April 14, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp stopped down, soft wide open but works well for portraits.
Cons: Soft wide open, not good for anything much more than just portraits.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Camera Used: Fuji X-A1   

This was given to me by a friend who works at a charity shop.
At first I was mystified as to where it sits within the Pentax/Takumar/Asahi range, especially when I saw that it is made in Taiwan.
I read some fairly negative feedback about this lens but having taken it out to test it today, it seems pretty good.
I've decided that it is likely to end up on my "lenses with character" shelf, along side my Helios 44-2, Pentacon 135 2.8 "bokeh monster" etc.
I have tried a few old 135s, one or two of which seemed a bit insipid and I thought this one might be the same, but it isn't.
All of the following (apart from the last one) are test shots straight out of the camera, absolutely no adjustments made in Camera Raw or Photoshop.


Each pair of photos are F2.5 first then F8
The last one is at F2.5, it is cropped and I made some slight changes to colour and contrast.

   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2007
Location: Prevost, Quebec, Canada
Posts: 391
Lens Review Date: March 8, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent build, Very sharp at F:5.6 and on, Easy to focus, No CA
Cons: A bit soft at F:2.5
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K1 II   

Extremely happy with this purchase, the use of the green button is a tremendous tool facilitating manual adjustments and it makes manual photography a joyful experience. Very easy to nail the focus, and the colours are great. A bit soft at F:2.5 but improves very fast after with a tack sharpness at F:8. I added 3 winter photos taken in Ste-Adele, Qc, Canada. Works very well with the Full Frame with no Vignetting. You would think this lens was made for the K1 II... This is the Japanese version of the TAKUMAR 135mm (Bayonet) F:2.5...

Winter scenes in Ste-Adele QC, Canada

Rapides de Ste-Adèle/Rivière du Nord by Robert Amiot, sur Flickr


Rapides de Ste-Adèle/Rivière du Nord by Robert Amiot, sur Flickr

Pentax K1 Mark II & Takumar 135mm F:2.5 by Robert Amiot, sur Flickr
   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2015
Posts: 93
Lens Review Date: December 9, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, build quality, small size
Cons: ?
Sharpness: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I have the Taiwan version. This is a good lens, at least in my limited testing. Wide open it appears to best my SMC Tak 135 2.5 (first version) which I really like. At 2.5 it will clearly resolve the stitching on my camera bag from 30 feet and the very small printing on a bottle from 20 feet is pretty crisp. I'm very surprised! Colours and contrast seem good. It is coated but I'm sure there'll be lots of fringing in harsh light. I put an over size hood on it (the built in one is inadequate) so hopefully that will help. Not that it matters much because I mostly shoot film. This was a great purchase!

On further testing, it's sharper wide open than my M 135 3.5 and K 135 3.5 as well. Not that sharpness is the most important thing in a lens always. I also noticed that it's not really a 135. Maybe a 120 or 125mm, I'm not sure how to measure that...
   
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2015
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Posts: 4,103

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 4, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-1   

HULK LIKE LENS.













SOOC




85mp


Ok ok... this is what I have found after a week of playing with it.

f2.5 is acceptable if shooting something within 3m or so, basically shooting flowers, petals or even a portrait and zoning in on the eye, things will look real swell at 2.5 if the subject is close and is pretty still.
If the subject is further away, such as 5m or more, f2.5 is insanely hard to nail focus, to the point it feels more like chance (and I have a 1.22 magnifier attached, and have tried LV as well etc, it's just really damn hard). The feedback from the OVF or VF is not enough, so often the shots comes out soft when in the OVF it doesnt appear you could get it any sharper, in fact rotating the focus ring a tad in each direction doesn't look like it makes a difference (but it obviously is), it's just you can't see far enough down to see, so many shots are a tad soft (tho often still acceptable). I think this accounts for reviewers differing over the sharpness quality for this lens. It really depends on the distance to the subject and sometimes a bit of luck!
I would also have thought f2.5 was just 'soft' had it not been for an unusual determined take of 20 or so pics (or more) of something static 5-7 meters away and getting that one shot out of the 20 that actually showed some real extra perceived nice sharpness! So it can happen. Of course when shooting something within 2-3m away, there is so much more to see and gain in terms of focus feedback that f2.5 shots look swell and the success in nailing these shots is far higher.

So... when shooting things further away I recommend getting into Manual mode and choose f2.8-5.6, I often find f4 works well, you need the slightly greater DoF that helps get things more sharp when they are further away.

f2.8 is significantly and noticeably sharper than 2.5 as well (with not much deterioration in bokeh), also purple fringing seems to almost disappear at 2.8 whereas its quite pronounced at 2.5 and made worse if you miss the focus even a teeny tiny bit. How I wish I could shoot f2.8 in Av mode with this lens!

So whilst I think this is a fantastic lens it does involve a little more thinking when approaching the shot. I can nail f2.8 with the DFA 100 when the subject is really far away, not so much this lens.

F2.5 up to 2-3m, further than that I recommend bumping the aperture up (down?) heh.

I think that sums this fella up.

I've never owned a K Mount before, and doubt I will again. I can be in Av mode at 2.5 but that's it. I wish I could be in Av mode at 2.8 or f4 with this, then it would be a killer lens! So I've learned something, 'A' settings on a lens matters, more than I thought. Cest le vie!
   
Junior Member

Registered: February, 2013
Posts: 46

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 22, 2018 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Soft portrait lens. If you guess with lighting that gives an excellent result.
Cons: Not sharp
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-01   

   
New Member

Registered: March, 2016
Posts: 5

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 2, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: F2.5, Small, Very sharp at 2.5
Cons: Cromatic aberrations, short hood
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3II   

Great lens. Nice bokeh and very sharp at 2.5. Is not easy to focus with it but with some training I have the trick. You must past the focus confirmation on clockwise, the more near the subject the more you need to past the confirmation.

Negative: the cromatic aberrations are here. The lack of contrast (easy to correct in post) can be solved with a bigger hood.
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2015
Location: Setúbal (near Lisbon)
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: October 28, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $62.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: compact, bokeh
Cons: no MC, no A
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-1   



@f/2.5
   
Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2013
Location: Axton, VA
Posts: 359

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 17, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $39.99 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, build, bokeh, compact and color saturation
Cons: Long focus throw (even for a manual lens)
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K50 K30 K3   

This lens has a very unique and pleasing bokeh. One of the best long portrait lens I have used. It is built like a tank. The focus ring is smooth with good resistance ( the long focus throw is the my only complaint. The apeture ring has a nice click for each setting. It does not have an A setting. To me this is a non factor. Any lens I buy that is 2.8 or less stayers wide open 95% of the time. For an older film lens it is relatively sharp. Wide open it is soft at the edges. For portrait work this is a desirable trait. For the price you will be hard pressed to beat this lens when used to it's strengths.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2014
Location: Virginia
Posts: 278
Lens Review Date: September 25, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: build quality, inexpensive, sharp when stopped down
Cons: manual focus, flares when open, CA when open
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-1   

I like this lens because it is inexpensive and fun to mess with. I've taken some very sharp photos with it. The lens requires a hood or shade of some sort. Once you stop it down to f/8 or so it gets sharp. It works well with the Pentax K-1.
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2016
Posts: 3

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 14, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Beautiful skin tones
Cons: Not for the JPEG shooter
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-30   

This lens is a horrible performer in many ways: it is NOT sharp at all at f/2.5, without post-processing shots often come out way over- or underexposed with unacceptable loss of contrast and it's unusable in harsh sunlight.

At the same time some of my absolute favorite shots have been made with this lens. You won't get any keepers SOOC with this lens but put a few minutes into post processing the raw files and you'll discover that it has a character of its own and renders skin tones very well.

Love/hate relationship, shots are either hit or total miss. Guess that's better than every shot being ok but nothing special, though, and accordingly I'll keep the lens.



EDIT:
Raising the grades for this lens. Long story short: I actually sold it when switching gear to m43 as the 2x crop factor turned this into too long of a lens. Now I have reordered it from ebay after getting a focal reducer (which effectively turns it into a 200mm F1.8 FF equivalent - not bad!). I did so because when looking through my photos from the past years the one with this lens really shines when it comes to people photography. Most of my absolute favorite portrait photos of my kids are taken with this lens.

Maybe it does so well because it compresses the midtones - no smc coating probably does this - leaving you with a very flat base image that responds exceptionally well to raw processing. Metering and white balance can be somewhat off also, at least on the K-30, but that's very easily corrected in PP when shot in RAW. I find that it's easier to put some some punch back into a flat image, compared with going the other way and try to dampen the output of modern "high contrast" lenses, which can feel borderline clinical/artificial. In the era of digital PP this is a must have lens IMO, especially considering the price/performance ratio. Film/jpeg shooters better stay away though, as illustrated by the before/after pics below.

   
New Member

Registered: July, 2015
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 28, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp wide open
Cons: Some CA but not heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony A6000   

I had to register to leave my two cents about this very good lens.
It is sharp wide open, great contrast, not heavy CA. Very good lens, the problem is not with the lens but with people that never used MF lenses before and now they are evaluating something that they cannot handle.This is very sad and good at the same time. We can buy good lenses for cheap! Took this picture @ F2.5 the focusing was not perfect the bird was about 5 meters away and moving all the time but one can see the possibilities. Cheers!

Will upload my picture later today.
Sorry! There is no easy way to attach a picture, one have to read for 3 hours to do that and I'm not going to do that. I'm sure many more people come to this forum but left after encountering this kind of design.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/133606804@N04/26488303756/in/dateposted-public/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/133606804@N04/25882186694/in/dateposted-public/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/133606804@N04/25733699533/in/dateposted-public/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/133606804@N04/25969948240/in/dateposted-public/
   
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: In the most populated state... state of denial
Posts: 1,140
Lens Review Date: August 20, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Size, aperture
Cons: Oily blades, heavy
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 6    Value: 8    Camera Used: KX (film)   

Not a bad lens, but not a killer
Nice mid-tele but it lacks the feeling of all the other SMC-Pentax lenses of the era
I think an off brand 135/2.8 will out perform it
   
Senior Member

Registered: June, 2015
Posts: 235

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 18, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, Nice contrast, build quality, focus,bokeh
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-30 K-5   

I have to give this lens a 10 because for the insane price I paid, I have one of my sharpest lenses, and a nice telephoto. It handles well with a nicely dampened focus ring, and is very nice to use with live view or VF. Optics must be nice on this because I get pin sharp results on the K-5 when using macro tubes and taking floral shots. Only issue with it is the coating as it isn't SMC but that's fixable by using an external hood(the one attached doesn't go out far enough) and a nice UV filter. I find that combo to pretty good when shooting towards the light. Overall I have to recommend this lens because it is sharp, easy to use, and fairly cheap for a high quality tele.
Add Review of Takumar 135mm F2.5 Bayonet



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