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

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

Reviews Views Date of last review
41 357,118 Mon April 24, 2023
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $110.63 9.51
Super-Takumar 50mm F1.4 (8-element variant)

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

The first version of the Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 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 (model 1)
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Aperture Ring
Automatic, 6 blades
8 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
M42 Stop-down Pin
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
Min. Focus
45 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 32 ° / 27 °
Full frame: 47 ° / 40 °
Lens Cap
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
61.5 x 43 mm
245 g
Production Years
1964 to 1966
Engraved Name
Super-Takumar 1:1.4/50
Product Code
User reviews
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.

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

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

Add Review of Super-Takumar 50mm F1.4 (8-element variant)
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 41
New Member

Registered: December, 2020
Location: Wales, UK
Posts: 12

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: April 24, 2023 Recommended | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Rendering, Sharpness, Weight, Build quality
Cons: Soft wide open, Market price
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 7    Camera Used: K-1, K-3 mkiii   

People are drawn to photos taken with this lens.

There are plenty of review here and elsewhere of this lens so i cannot add much more other than saying again, in my experience, people are drawn to photos taken with this lens. I have used this as a portrait lens and the rendering is beautiful with outstanding character and background separation. I have also used this as a walk around lens with lovely results. It can be a challenge to work with, especially at the wider end of the aperture scale and it is definitely not a modern lens which you can use wide open, firing off shots whilst getting sharp, clean results. For me it takes time, a heightened awareness of what the light is doing and a hood. (It's best to always use a hood)

If you put in the time and effort, this lens will reward you handsomely. It loves people and is very, very sharp stopped down whilst maintaining its wondrous rendering with aberrations brought largely under control.

This is a special lens i have grown to cherish.
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2009
Location: Deep Forest
Posts: 643
Review Date: September 1, 2022 Recommended | Rating: 9 

Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: APS-C and FF   


Wherein Caerwall wrote:

"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."

Check if the rear of the A/M switch is engraved "37800".

According to your lens serial number is listed, indicating your lens was manufactured in a late batch of the first 7-element Super Takumar.
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2020
Location: Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago
Posts: 37

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: March 15, 2021 Recommended | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp wide open, bokeh, build, handling
Cons: CA
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-1   

I've seen endless debates over which version is superior. I owned a 7 element for over a decade and it produced countless fantastic images. I believe I gave away an 8 element when I didn't know any better. I had 2 50mm f1.4 lenses and kept the one with 8 aperture blades at the time thinking that was the main factor of quality. Last visit to Seattle I just happened to check craig's list for Takumar lenses. I saw an 8 element listed for 200 and reached out. After a bit of conversation I ended up buying this lens, as well as a 35mm f2.3 for 360 together. My copy is extremely rough. The front plate had to be drilled to disassemble and clean the lens. My copy also has a few places in the focus throw that have much less resistance than the rest making precise focusing a bit of a challenge at certain distances.

So, moving on from my specific lens' back story and struggles, I'm confident that this lens is marginally better in a few regards to the 7 element. Center sharpness wide open for starters. This lens has given me much better results wide open than my 7 element ever did. Edge sharpness is also much better than the 7 element wide open.

Once again, here's my flickr album for this lens for you to make your own conclusions. I try to give all of my lenses more time on my K-1 each week and add to their respective albums.
New Member

Registered: May, 2020
Posts: 1
Review Date: September 30, 2020 Recommended | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good feeling; fast aperture
Cons: Not very sharp wide open
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Canon m50   

I bought this lens by "accident" with an old Canon body. Later, I did not only find out that it has quite a reputation, but also that I was even lucky enough to get the 8 elements version of it. According to a recent camerapedia discussion this lens may actually be somewhat radioactive, yet less than the 7 element version.

As an amateur photographer with a low budget I appreciate the fast aperture of the Super Takumar and the good overall image quality for an aperture above 2. However, I must say that I'm having troubles getting good pictures when shooting wide open: the sharpness is very low with an aperture of 1.4 and aberrations and colors are simply not so great. Nevertheless, I enjoy using this lens very much and my Canon m50 even offers focus peaking and a zoom which makes focusing relatively easy. Below are some demo pictures I took with this lens. All pictures are unmodified.

New Member

Registered: April, 2018
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 8, 2019 Recommended | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, build quality, excellent mechanics & optics, handsome
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Olympus E-M10II   

My favourite MF lens, second to none. I also own and use regularly the SMC Takumar 135/2.5, the Takumar 200/3.5 and the SMC Takumar 300/4; all of which are outstanding in quality. They are a joy to use. The set is a valued asset and complements my Olympus mft equipment very well.

New Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: Sweden
Posts: 19

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: May 20, 2017 Recommended | 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

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: March 17, 2017 Recommended | 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.





entire picture

100% crop 1


100% crop 2

100% crop 3

100% crop 4

Forum Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 83
Review Date: October 31, 2016 Recommended | 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.
Forum Member

Registered: July, 2016
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 64
Review Date: September 26, 2016 Recommended | 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.
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2016
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 32
Review Date: April 30, 2016 Recommended | 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
Review Date: April 21, 2016 Recommended | 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: 2
Review Date: February 27, 2016 Recommended | 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
Review Date: February 24, 2016 Recommended | 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

Review Date: November 6, 2015 Recommended | 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: 1,832

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: March 20, 2015 Recommended | 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

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

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