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Super-Takumar 50mm F1.4 (8-element variant) Review RSS Feed

Super-Takumar 50mm F1.4 (8-element variant)

Sharpness 
 9.4
Aberrations 
 8.7
Bokeh 
 9.3
Handling 
 9.5
Value 
 9.7
Reviews Views Date of last review
36 207,501 Sat May 20, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $98.93 9.56
Super-Takumar 50mm F1.4 (8-element variant)

Super-Takumar 50mm F1.4 (8-element variant)
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Super-Takumar 50mm F1.4 (8-element variant)
supersize
Super-Takumar 50mm F1.4 (8-element variant)

Description:
The first version of the Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 had 8 lens elements. Notice the cemented triplet with curved surfaces - very difficult and expensive to manufacture and it's said Asahi lost money on every copy sold; hence it didn't last very long. This was meant as a Planar-killer and once its crown had been awarded by the press the simplified 7/6 version was quietly ushered in (before the 8/6 crippled Asahi's finances).

This 8 element version can be identified on the location of the infrared focus mark: The mark is to the right of the numeral 4 on the DOF scale. This is nicely illustrated in the second image above.

This 8 element version can also be identified on the slightly protruding rear lens element and on the stop down switch, which is marked A M (rather than Auto Man as on the later versions). Also, the early version never has a dot on the aperture ring at the f/2 position whereas the later versions may or may not have a dot.

Super-Takumar 50mm F1.4 (early)
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
M42
Aperture Ring
Yes
Diaphragm
Automatic, 6 blades
Optics
8 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
M42 Stop-down Pin
Max. Aperture
F1.4
Min. Aperture
F16
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
45 cm
Max. Magnification
0.15x
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 32 ° / 27 °
Full frame: 47 ° / 40 °
Hood
Case
Lens Cap
Coating
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
61.5 x 43 mm
Weight
245 g
Production Years
1964 to 1966
Engraved Name
Super-Takumar 1:1.4/50
Product Code
358
Notes
The rear element protrudes slightly on this 8 element version. Another distinguishing characteristic is the IR mark which is to the right of the 4 numeral.
Variants

1: Super-Takumar with 8 lens elements (this lens)
2: Super-Takumar with 7 lens elements
3: Super-Multi-Coated Takumar with 7 lens elements
4: SMC Takumar with 7 elements and open aperture metering

Features:
Manual FocusAperture RingFull-Frame SupportAdapter needed for DSLRsDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of Super-Takumar 50mm F1.4 (8-element variant)
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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 36
New Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: Sweden
Posts: 19
Lens Review Date: May 20, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build,sharpness,color
Cons: Wide aperture edge sharpness
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony a99   

I also have the SMC Takumar 50 and the wide open sharpness is identical but this lens is easier to use with less haze and not as demanding for perfect exposure as the SMC is.
I have tried many 50-55mm lenses on both aps-c and ff and this is one of the better and maybe the one I like the best.



   
New Member

Registered: December, 2014
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 17, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Bokeh, colours, sharpness versatility, smoothness
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: canon EOS 600D   

I've a lot of 50-55 mms lenses : ST 50/1.4, SMCT 55/1.8, ST 55/2.0, ST 50/4.0 1:1 (preset) and canon EF 50/1.4.
and others : SMCT 28/3.5, SMCT 35/3.5, ST 200/3.5

The ST 50 1.4 8 elements is not only a collector lens ! It's also a wonderfull lens to play with. It has become my favorite lens

I agree with the sentence of Petrus One : "I am still curious to see the world through this old and unique glass"

A gem and a true Companion.

Bokeh




Colors



Portrait



Sharpness

entire picture



100% crop 1

l]

100% crop 2



100% crop 3



100% crop 4

   
Forum Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 66
Lens Review Date: October 31, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great, versatile lens, paintery wide open and brutally sharp stopped down. Strong DoF sharp/unsharp transition. Collectors rare gem...
Cons: None - if you understand what it can and cannot do.

On top of all good aspects - it is a quite rare collectors gem. Difficult to find, even more challenge to get a really good copy. Price is another story...

Overall this lens is a very good and versatile performer.

Very sharp when stopped down from f/2.
On the other hand it offers paintery bokeh and produces smooth portraits without loss of base resolution wide open.

What is significant - it creates very visible - I could say "brutal" - transition between sharp subject and out of focus foreground turning it to the colourful FOG.

It has its own character for sure. Similar effect I see only on my Tomioka/ Revuenon 55mm f/1,2.


There are so many good prime 50mm lenses around that I will not argue that this one is better than others.
It is a great piece of history of both Asashi Pentax and Photography itself.

What I like most is that it makes me going out and using it. I am still curious to see the world through this old and unique glass.
   
New Member

Registered: July, 2016
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 22
Lens Review Date: September 26, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Light, sharp, fast
Cons: All manual
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-3, K-01   

I picked up this lens as part of a lot of cameras, parts, and accessories, so I can't accurately price what I paid for it (I paid $250 for the lot, but there are too many items to accurately figure what portion went into this lens).

This lens was in bad need of a cleaning and some minor repairs when I grabbed it (the filter ring was loose and rattling around, and the lens was covered in grime). An hour of work later, and I had a near-mint copy of this legendary lens!

After a few days of shooting with it, I have to say it lives up to the sterling reputation. This copy is much sharper wide open than my SMC M 50/1.4, and also sharper than my de-yellowed 7-element Super Takumar 50/1.4. It is pleasantly lightweight, and has exactly the handling characteristics you'd expect of a lens of the superb Takumar build quality. It feels super solid, and the aperture ring is snappy and clicky after all these years. The focusing ring has a decent throw, with very smooth easy motion.

The bokeh and in-focus to out-of-focus transitions are delightful and very attractive, and very similar to those of the 7-element version. I find the M50/1.4 has smoother light sources in the out-of-focus areas, but the effect of this lens is much more interesting without being overly distracting. Different effects for different purposes, though given the sharpness increase I'll be reaching for this lens 90% of the time.

My only wishes are that the lens would have a better minimum focusing distance, and maybe a slightly longer focus throw to make nailing focus easier at f1.4. Still, very minor complaints!

I've seen very little lateral or axial chromatic aberation, though flare can be an issue if you shoot directly into the sun.

If most copies are as sharp and easy-to-handle as mine, I'd definitely recommend this lens. It would be a good deal at well over the average price listed here.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2016
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 32
Lens Review Date: April 30, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: BOKEH, BOKEH and ... BOKEH
Cons: Yellowish ...
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3   

I have a lots 50-55mm lenses. Espiecially fast f/1.4 for example :
SMC-K 50mm, Rikenon-Tomioka, MC Revuenon and faster Porst 55mm f/1.2 or slower for f/1.7 to f/2.8

In my opinion this lens is a gem in family Pentax 50mm. Generally this have a 4mm DOF, unique bokeh and this is a rare.
Sharpness - MC Revuenon or SMC-K 50mm f/1.4 is better.
Colors - Pancolar 50mm f/1.8 or Planar 50mm f/1.7 beat this lens.
But this glass have a one big advantage - unique bokeh.
Some people can identify photo from this lens through bokeh.

I use this lens for "special" moments with a lots portrait, and sometimes with film as standard.

   
New Member

Registered: April, 2016
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: April 21, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: color rendition, sharpness, build quality, and overall optical performance
Cons: like the previous post: identification
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Samsung NX/Pentax K-r   

Everything has been already said about this little gem, and like the previous post, my copy seems to be an early 8 element, but the infrared mark is placed between the 8 and 4.
One difference though ==> i can clearly see a yellow tint, radioactive or not, don't know, i'll try to unyellow it someday since i think it's my first keeper, hope my children will love it as i do when legacy time will come
Like i said in other reviews, my english is not good enough to tell you how good this lens is to my opinion, so let's show you some test shots

   
New Member

Registered: July, 2013
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: February 27, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: An excellent high performing lens. All the superlatives have already been exhausted. I would take issue with the identification by the infrared mark - mine is between the "8" and "4" on the zone focus scale but all the other ID inform
Cons: Infrared mark misplaced?
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Various   

Hmm.... "Pros" too short (forgive me)

My issue is in identification - the infrared mark is quite clearly between the "8" & 4" mark and therefore does not conform to the perceived standard identification rule.

However 1) the lenses have not yellowed; 2) the switch is labelled M/A (not MAN/AUTO) and; 3) the rear lens protrudes at infinity focus.

Serial number is 2147949, M42 mount and it is Asahi Super-Takumar.

I don't remember what I paid for this lens but I certanly don't have access to any lenses as cheap as many people seem to be able buy them. My lens is in perfect condition and I "remember" my purchase price at what might seem good value for the condition this lens was in.
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2015
Posts: 3

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 24, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $130.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness
Cons: Non
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax S1a -   

Ok - I have two 50mm F1.4 K-mount - Two later Super Multi Coated M42 and this eight element lens in the Pentax brand name - It is as good as any 50mm I have in my collection (Including german rangefinders) It is my belief a CLA'd eight element is as good a 50mm as any made. I have my own darkroom with APO lenses on both my enlargers and they are correctly aligned so my tests are made without a weak link. Using FP4s - FomaPan - Tmax 100 as films - I tested the lens in general use. Plus tripod for critical resolution. The only problem a photographer will encounter when using this lens is when the image is not in focus on the screen. Wide open and in parallel to the film plane the lens will give incredible results in the centre and it will be a little soft around the edges. Which is where the it wins as it give the most beautiful almost cinematic effect. Stopped down to between 2.8 and 5.6 it is simply spectacular. For me it is still good beyond 5.6 but I personally do not care for increased DOF. I reason that these lenses will never be made again and whist I have paid four figure sums for other 50mm lenses. The eight element 50mm is a superb lens with a 'quality' which wide open is simply unique - If the photographer likes the look, he will pay any price for it. There is no valuing the lens, for me at two hundred pounds it would be a cheap lens. It needs respect, as for some reason it does not forgive focussing error! I give it eight for handling solely due to my very large hands and nothing is a perfect ten!

The picture below is recorded on FomaPan 100 developed in Rodinal 50+1 - F1.4 1/125 mounted on a S1a - using incident reading from a Weston Euro-Master

   
New Member

Registered: November, 2015
Lens Review Date: November 6, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Bokeh, Built Quality, Sharpness, Saturation
Cons: Glare( very subjective), Radioactive, Yellowish tinge
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony SLT A58   

A must have lens for enthusiasts in photography. Some may deter from buying it, as it is a manual focus lens.Using it on a mirrorless camera I've never found it to be a high issue. The focus ring is really enjoyable to use.. Its buttery smooth with a certain play which in turn creates a resistance which I personally find very useful for accurate focusing.

Question: Can it be mounted on a A-mount camera? ... Well, theoretically yes.. And it is possible to find 3rd party adapters but most of them DON'T FOCUS TO INFINITY. I physically had to grind my adapter to focus far off object.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2014
Location: at a Bean & Leaf
Posts: 1,651

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 20, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $175.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, Contrast, Bokeh, Aberration, Low Ca,
Cons: Rare and expensive
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K3   

As stated in the intro, the 8-element takumar was an expensive lens to make, during its production cycle it was sold at a loss by the company who at the time was trying to compete with other manufacturers like Zeiss. Later Pentax changed the optical formula to the 7 element (radioactive one) to lower the cost of production. I was looking for this particular version and used Jean's advice on the IR mark to recognize this copy. The value reflects the excellent condition this lens was in, attached to a Pentax Spotmatic encased in styrofoam (original packaging)

I cannot come up with enough superlatives to describe this lens, its truly exceptional, a planar in every way. Superb IQ, micro-contrast, bokeh, colors everything is outstanding. It renders colors more naturally then the second version of the radioactive takumar, I find it has less aberration then even more modern fast fifties wide open. This lens is so sharp that it hardly necessitates closing it down past f4. If you have a chance to get this lens, don't hesitate.

shot @ f1.4


crop:
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: December 9, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp wide open, brilliant portrait lens
Cons: Makes me look like a better photographer than I am (not really a -ve)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5, K-100D   

I have this and the 7 element early SMC version of this lens. I was impressed with this lens when I first got it for its sharpness and colour rendition and thought it only marginally better than the SMC version. However, I recently experimented with shooting in black and white mode for portrait shots of my wife and was truly amazed at the results (and so was my wife who really loved the photos - high praise indeed!).

If you can get a copy of this lens at a good price it will really repay you in great photos once you take the time to re-learn manual focussing techniques.
   
New Member

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: November 22, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Character sharpness wide open and size
Cons: back element touches mirror on 5D mark 3 not as sharp as smc
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: spotmatic,5d mark 3   

This lens or at least my copy was not is sharp as the 7 element versions especially the smc version which is sharper at f1.4 as most cine primes that i used , any way any takumar is good in my book the value is on matched by lenses today and the size is almost as a pancake lens , very good lens but not the best takumar .
   
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 16,502

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 31, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build, small & light, bokeh, IQ ...
Cons: Too much hype, but still a "10" in my books ...
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-5, K-r   

Bonjour,

Well, I really like this 8 element version over the 7 element version.

I will only contribute side-by-side comparison snaps for info purposes. The 8 element on the left and the 7 element on the right. Both are great, but the 8 gets the nod over the 7 in my books and from my experiences

Salut, J



   
Pentaxian

Registered: March, 2007
Location: So Cal
Posts: 2,080

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 28, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp wide open, across most of the frame
Cons: veiling glow wide open
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: k10d, 36mp full frame sony a7r   

i've used this lens on both a k10d and the 36mp full frame sony a7r.

i recently did a 50mm shootout with four lenses, on the a7r, and this glass was the best of that bunch, but it was very nearly beaten by the canon fdn 50/1.4... lens variation may have played a role in that decision, since both it and the canon were each slightly off on one side.

i did not test the bokeh... the veiling glow wide open was worse than the canon; bright sunlight at f/1.4, against a white/light background, would be a problem.

this super tak handled really well, it was slightly better for focusing than the canon.

this is one of the classic dream lenses, and it stands up well against a 36mp ff sensor.

see for yourself, here are full-width crops from all of the 50mm lenses:

50mm lens shootout: Pentax, Konica, Canon FDn
   
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 1,972

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 25, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $240.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, bokeh, colors, build quality, handling, longevity, no yellowing, sharpness !!
Cons: hmm.. price, rarity and exposure problems on K10D
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-01, K10D   

So I bought it after having already a SMC A 50mm f1.4 , which I got for it's speed, but also for easy of use. I mainly use it on my K10D ( which has got a split focusing screen ) and sometime on film bodies. The Super Takumar I bought because I couldn't get it off my mind after seeing how amazing a normal 7-element Super Takumar was rendering. I lived with this idea for about 6 months or so and about 2 months ago I spotted a pristine 8-element copy online. The price I paid was 149 + postage, so fair amount more than the average here. But a thing to remember is that my lens came basically mint optically - I can't see even dust inside, no scratches no marks, and with little usage marks to the body.Also they are quite rare in the UK and I consider this to be a fine investment - a lens from 1964 !! working as good as new on 2014 digital cameras ? That is definitely something !

First thing that surprised me was a huge inconsistency in metering with my K10D - basically I had to memorize how to compensate in AV mode to get the shot right. And so I decided to keep my SMC-A 50mm f1.4 for this and film cameras, where Super Takumar is used with my K-01 (and film cameras of course ). The lens handless beautifully - focusing is butter smooth, all the switches and aperture are snappy and generally this is a lens that is simple SUPERIOR to any other lens I have. Even German lenses (Zeiss Flektogon - that I have, and Pancolar 50mm - that I handled briefly ) cannot come close to the build quality and smoothness of operation the Takumar !

Image quality is simple out-stand-ding ! Right from wide open in low light - especially loves the 'golden hour' - it simple delivers shapr and contrasty photos! The focusing is simply, images just snap into the focus - especially visible on film cameras with good focusing screen. But I love how K-01 handles and delivers with this lens. I am mainly using it in AV mode, focus quickly in loupe mode ( with X2 or X6 magnification ) and it never stops amazing me how beautiful shots this lens delivers. Bokeh in typical portrait situations is so smooth and creamy ( even stopped down to around F2 or F2.8 !! ) that I don't think I have seen something better from other 50mm lenses.

Comparing the IQ to SMC-A I have to say that SMC-A is more contrasty , and handles flare better. Also is offering more consistent metering with my K10D and obviously you get the benefit of various metering and shooting modes. On the other hand the Super Takumar focuses better , smoother, offers better IQ in low light and better, warmer rendering. The bokeh near-wide open is also better - so for portraits it would definitely be my preferred lens. Sharpness wise I think Super takumar is touch sharper wide open in low light , but in harsh sun, the SMC-A is slightly better I think. Where Super Takumar shines is low light, and both early morning and later afternoon - with those amazing, warm colours of raising and setting sun.

Comparing to my SMC F50mm f1.7 AF lens - Super Takumar is definitely sharper when stopped down to similar to F1.7 opening ( just between the 1.4 and 2.0 ). But obviously I won't let my SMC-F go anywhere since this is my go-to autofocus 50mm lens.

And lastly - Super Takumar 50mm 8-element is sharp across the whole frame when stopped to F2.8, but even F2 is for sure outresoliving my K-01 16MP sensor in middle area of the frame.
To sum up - a super lens that was spinning around my head and I got it for something like 2 months. After this time I have to say that t is absolutely top lens - up there with best of the best. Here I briefly summarize my usage of all my 50mm lenses :

SMC-F 50mm f1.7 - my only AF 50mm lens. I use it everywhere where AF is needed, mainly during outings with family where time is important since nobody will wait for me and my slow focusing :P

SMC-A 50mm f1.4 - mu first 1.4 lens - I use it mainly on K10D and film cameras during mid-day outings. Mainly due to great flare resistance and easy of use ( modes, metering ).

Super Takumar f1.4 8-element - this lens goes out when I take my K-01 and I go out during the early morning or late evening. Also my go-to lens if it comes to indoors photography. Simply put it on wide open, set AV mode with ISO auto and shoot

Here are few shot , some wide open others around f1.8-2.0 (just stopped down less than a click) so quite challenging to focus - but having years of practice with manual film cameras does help :P
Click on shots to see some more on my flickrs account.

Shot wide open at F1.4 for fast shutter speed to freeze the action
Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 8-element

Shot wide open F1.4
Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 8-element

Probably half way between 1.4 and 2.0 (there is no stop click in my copy ) - so I'd say it was F1.7 :
Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 8-element

Probably F2.0 - but could well be wide open - was getting really dark already. 1/125th s., ISO 100
Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 8-element

F8


F4 or 5.6


F5.6





Add Review of Super-Takumar 50mm F1.4 (8-element variant)



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