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

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

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41 361,821 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:

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New Member

Registered: March, 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 5
Review Date: December 9, 2014 Recommended | 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
Review Date: November 22, 2014 Recommended | 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 .

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 18,075

6 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 31, 2014 Recommended | 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   


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

Veteran Member

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

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 28, 2014 Recommended | 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

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: September 25, 2014 Recommended | 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


F4 or 5.6


Senior Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 195

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 7, 2014 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Clean and very vivid images.
Cons: Takes time to get to know the lens...of course, that's not really a con.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Camera Used: K20D   

If this were my only lens, I would be happy. My copy of this lens came to me as a gift along with four other Takumars approximately from the same era. All were in their cases and in mint condition. Bit of luck there, I'd say. If I'd not received these lenses, I'd still have my ST and S-M-C 50 1.4s unaware of any previous design. Those two were fun and easy to clean up in the sun, and are, as so many already know, about at the top of the heap among all 50s. But having been forced to use only the 8 element lens for almost a whole summer (2013) while on a visit to North Carolina USA, I felt it was OK to give my other M-42 50s away. I still have the M 50 1.4 and have shot other 50s as well, most memorably the K 50 1.2. I found myself thinking a little about all of these 50s and other focal lengths I have, and I had an impulse to give a go at reviewing the 8 element Super since it's one of the few that really sticks out.

I now see the versatility of this lens and it's overall superlative quality. After using the lens a bit right after I received it, I knew that it was the sharpest of the 50s at 1.4 (corner to corner and point of focus) and that it had the smoother transitions to out of focus areas, that a 3D kind of super clarity was characteristic in big aperture shots, that the build quality was tops, and that the colors were unique. For some reason, I thought it would flare easily and show washed out colors too often, show too much color aberration, and that for landscapes it would disappoint a little on several fronts. I'd not really put it to the test on the street and in the countryside. Now that I have, I've got it straight. It's just a superb lens all around. I can't recall even a trace of ca anywhere in hundreds and hundreds of shots, and I really looked for it zoomed in and panning everywhere (I like a clean lens for street and landscape shooting) except for a little stuff created by highlight areas on shiny porcelain in a pseudo, indoor, low light macro experiment at 1.4. That's insignificant ca for me. The lens makes a rounder looking picture than the 55's, esp. the auto and ST (I've got three 55s SMC included) but resolves every bit as much detail, very cleanly, at infinity. It seems to have endless sharpness-just keep zooming in for detail. I am surprised, for landscapes, it is as sharp as those lenses (55s) and my ST 35 3.5. Like the 55s, images have that sure crispness and sharpness, apparent immediately on first glance, but the lens picks up a deeper, more intense "super clean" color palette (extremely vivid and sometimes hinting at acid colors, a little like auto Taks) that is a little surprising-eye popping. The lens produces photos that I'd say are generally striking, objects and colors being very clearly delineated. That could get unpleasant, seems to me, producing a staccato like image with colors and objects jumping out at you randomly, but not with this lens. It's all harmonious and balanced, but striking. Shadows don't run fast to black-foliage, straw, rocks, and other natural objects and debris are nuanced and open and very sharply detailed like my auto tak 55 can produce, yet the lens gets a quality black that I don't recall from my other lenses. I'm not sure how to put in words any more than this today, so, as the next year or two goes by, I'll update my review and post a few photos for those who might be curious about this lens. So for now, a certain quality I like in this lens remains indefinable. There is one thing that I'm certain about pertaining to all these fifties, and that is that this one definitely renders images differently. This becomes very obvious once you actually give it a real spin.

OK, one more thing comes to mind that is so pleasant about this lens. You have the sensation you can walk into the picture, street or landscape. I recall sensing something similar in images I've seen from the SMCK 28 2.0.

Additional Sept. 26 2015: The attached photo in the above review by Manntax displays the characteristics of this lens, in this case, wide open, that I tried to describe in my review. I would just add that the 8 element is also, surprisingly, tops for landscapes unless shooting into the sun! And yes, this lens particularily captures the golden hour beautifully!
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 4
Review Date: March 27, 2014 Recommended | Price: $130.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image Quality, Lens Body Texture
Cons: None ( For its price)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: ME-SUPER, MX, K-1000, Fujica ST-801   

For M42 lenses, I have some Takumar, Pentacon and Jupiter(Russia).
Outstanding performance in image quality let me so amazing.
This lens is never in the same class as the other M42 lenses.

Super Takumar 50/1.4 and FA43 are my favoriate noramal prime lenses.
Except for auto-focus function,
The difference between FA43 and Super Takumar 50/1.4 is that the color rendition in FA 43 is lighter and more clear.
Even Super Takumar 50/1.4 gives more saturation in color rendition,
it still gets a fantastic color balance.

Due to its metal seal of focus ring,
the feelings of rotating its focus ring is so good.
I enjoy evey step in the process of manual focus.
Super Takumar 50/1.4 is heavier than other noramal prime lenses,
But it gives me more operation pleasure.

If you want to keep only one M42 lens, Super Takumar 50/1.4(8-elements) must be the best choice.
Lens body texture is as good as its image quality but not expensive.
New Member

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 3
Review Date: March 10, 2014 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, color, solid build.
Cons: flare
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

I tried both the newer and the earlier version of Super Takumar 1.4. This version is sharp even wide open (razor from 1.7 onwards). Very nice colors. Smooth bokeh. Extremly solid build, it's a tank. Smooth, silent and handy focus ring, very good for video too.

It beats many modern lenses and let you work in manual mode (with a ring adapter you can have focus confirmation, auto ISO, and body stabilization). It is definitely one of the best lens around in this range. I use it everyday indoor and outdoor, while my modern AF 50mm 1.4 waits in its case..
Review Date: February 18, 2014 Recommended | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: 50 years old and still going !
Cons: Not for the beginner
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Canon 50D   

Got that puppy for $30 and was unaware at the time about being different versions.
I also had a 7 elements to compare it with.

Bokeh wise, I prefer the 7 elements as it is a bit rounder.
Apart from the yellow in the 7 elements, the 2 versions are pretty similar. You'd
really need to be pedantic or look at them with a microscope to not be satisfied with either.

What I have found is that it is a very unforgiving lens. You really need to get your exposure right otherwise you'll get a weird aura around things that wont be easy to post-process. As suggested in one of the above posts it's safe to slightly underexpose to avoid that effect.

As an old manual lens it's small. Small enough to always have it in your bag.
It's all metal and glass, so the only maintenance it needs is some dust removal and lubricant. I can't see why these lenses wouldn't last another 100-150 years.

It's a fantastic lens for detaching your subject, I use it for portrait, close-up, weddings and candid. The size doesn't make it too obvious, on my canon 50D it nearly looks like I use a pancake lens.

I plan on getting a broken 7 elements with an 8 blades aperture and make a hybrid with the 2, effectively making an 8 elements with a pleasing bokeh

Registered: January, 2011
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 4,694

13 users found this helpful
Review Date: November 10, 2013 Recommended | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good build and typical Excellent Takumar image quality
Cons: Ridiculously Overhyped
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 7    Camera Used: Spotmatic, K-5, K1000, H1a, Fujica ST-201   

Yes, this is a great lens. Yes, the vast majority of users will love it.

Now that that's out of the way, let's dispel some myths:

1) Myth #1: The image quality is substantially better than the 7-element version.
The truth: I have probably owned or handled hundreds of 50mm tak 1.4s over the years. And the truth is, the difference in image quality between this and the 7 element Super Tak is vanishingly small. There's maybe a bit more smoothness in the bokeh, but this version is certainly less sharp wide open - although some people like that effect. By the time you compare it to the SMC, any advantages the 8 element has are outweighed by improved contrast and flare resistance.

I've yet to see a lens shoot-out putting this lens at the top that has been done blind, and I'd wager that given such conditions, 9 out of 10 users wouldn't be able to consistently differentiate this lens from a de-yellowed sample of the 7 element version.

2) Myth #2: The build quality is substantially better in this version.
The truth: I am familiar with all versions of this lens, inside and out (literally, as I've CLA'ed several versions of them). Aside from the additional element, the design and build of the 8 element version is virtually identical to those of the 7 element Super Tak. In fact, ALL Super Tak primes and most SMCs share the same fantastic build quality. I suspect that those who are blown away by the fit and finish are those for whom this is their first vintage Tak, and the others are fooled by the slightly greater heft of the 8 element than the 7 element, stemming from the extra glass.

3) Myth #3: The 8 element lens was destroying Asahi's finances.
The truth: My inside sources familiar with Pentax history tell me this is complete rubbish. While the 8 element version was slightly more expensive to produce, it's ridiculous to think that one additional piece of glass per lens would threaten the solvency of the company. Asahi engineers realized they could achieve comparable image and build quality and slightly lower production costs by changing the design, and the suits at top made the decision to go with the less expensive version, as any profit-conscious executive would. No major drama involved.

4)Myth #4: The 8 element version doesn't yellow.
The truth: I myself have owned two samples of this lens that have exhibited substantial yellowing that cleared up under UV light. While most samples do not, some (I expect newer) samples apparently do have thorium glass in them.

All in all, this is a very nice lens, approaching the Zeiss Planar 1.4 in image quality, and with unbeatable Takumar build. But so are the 7 element versions of this lens! Indeed, the biggest advantages this one has are bragging rights due to its relative rarity, and the fact that you will get 50-100 bucks extra if you sell it on the used market.
New Member

Registered: October, 2013
Location: Naples
Posts: 10
Review Date: November 1, 2013 Recommended | Price: $65.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, incredible colours, best built, great potrait on APSC. A tactile pleasure to use. A masterpiece of ph. history.
Cons: M42 limitation. At 1.4 contrast and border sharpness is low but it's supposed to be this to make portarits.Better use a hood to increase of one stop the sharpness.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 9   

I used this marvellous gem only for some days to test it before acquire it. Than I choose to take the F 50 1.7 because I badly need the AF to compensate my low view in the dark (hight astigmatism).

I can say it's simply one of the best pieces of glass and metal ever touched by my hands.

Optically its' incredible, and, let me say, there is a "littel bit" of difference between all the others successors of this 1.4 , without the 8th special lens in the scheme.
It has a wonderfull tone to tone colour transition, awesome 3D effect, incredible micro-contrast between details and colours.

I cant's explain clearly, but it's more like the 43 limited effect. It's like with a Zeiss but warmer. At the greater aperture (1.4 and 2) It may be very very pleasant for some kinds of ph where it's supposed to be usefull the great aperture with relativelly low contrast, like modeling potraits etc. ...and VIDEOMEKING! It's incredible to make video... it's like a self made post production in the trend of actual taste of videos production. In fact it's very famous in the Canon EOS using videmarerkers.

From f2.8 it's the sharper and "better looking" rendition I have evere tryed (I miss the 85 star) on APSC. Until f2 it's a bit dreamy, it may seems to suffer some aberration but I have to say not, it's a kind of desiderable effect for portraits and modeling shooting, the only real circumstance in which you should use f2 and f1.4 aperture on an old manual lens. If you really need to use an f2 prime razor sharp, it's enought to put a lens hood on this one, and it will performe "one stop more" sharpness and contrast (at f2 with a hood is as sharp as at f 2.8 without it and as the 50 1.7 at f2 withoiut hood). I'm the kind of "Ansel Aadms" follower who think that every the lens hood is part of the optical formula and not an optional... so I think that every shot MUST be done with a lens hood (and putting the different right one for film and apsc on the same lens). Anyway and honestly I dont't think someone should choose an old m42 50mm lens as an allaround prime... to this need there are better newer lens with AE, AF and everthing is a modern usefull technology in ph. This one is for meditative ph. or for the "fanatics" of his own rendition.

Bokeh is simply great to be a 50mm, even when the background in near the subject. It's not as good as a potrait lens or a fast tele prime, but very very good.

On APSC this lens finds a new life, because it's "potrait" feature make it a great performer at a very good price. His 75mm equivalence and the 1.4 rendition, the bokeh and the manual focus ring feedback, make it a great lens to make non-fast potrait and modeling. Of course, you have to take your time to manual focus (but at 1.4 the focus "confirmation" is very fast on modern camera like k5) and to expose in non A mode, so it's not the ideal solution for shootin session outdoors in dynamic situation or mooving subject, if you are not the faster shooter with manual lenses. In that case is better an FA 50 1.4 or the new DA 50 1.8.

The construction is in par or even better than the FA limited (far better than DA limited), with the "focus ring" in pair of the macro for the feeling. I can say it can be comapare to Zeiss level of built. Even the diaphram ring is a joy to use. It's a tank. Seems like it will last in perfect function and immaculate look forever.

It's ruomored that Asahi pentax was in direct competition with Zeiss at the time, and so started to product this 50mm as the best possible in a wide commercial destination (not such Leica). So they introduced a special 8 lensese scheme, with 1 more special element "glued" to onother one with a peculiar tecnique I can't explaind. This way they reached or even beated the analogue Zeiss 50mm 1.4 of the time, making of Pentax the first competitor of european productors in high level stuff on the mainstream market.

I used it just 3 days, so I think I said enought and too much for my little expirience, but my esuberance can explain how good it is. I had not buy it only because I need a luminous and AF lens for my "night" shoots, where my astigmatism make me impossible to manual focus, so I choose the ugly F 50 1.7 at same price.
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2012
Posts: 140
Review Date: October 2, 2013 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, fast, beautiful color rendition
Cons: haven't found any yet
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

What can be said that hasn't been said already...just a beautiful lens, with great handling, rendition, etc. It feels great to use, silky smooth to focus, and just sublime operation.
Junior Member

Registered: November, 2010
Location: Seattle,
Posts: 34

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 27, 2013 Recommended | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, bokeh, color
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

Found this through a craigslist ad - seller and myself were both unaware before meeting that this was the rare 8-element lens. Abundantly sharp - can usually tweek the focus a bit after it looks sharp. Can't wait to try it with extension tube for even closer focus, though cropping in is not an issue. Well let the examples speak for themselves.
Junior Member

Registered: November, 2012
Location: Cosenza
Posts: 42

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: November 11, 2012 Recommended | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness, bokeh, colors, contrast
Cons: veiling at f/1.4 in good light, chromatic aberration
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Canon Eos 5D Mark II   

EDIT: now you can see how it performs compared against the younger S-M-C 7 elements design, the Pentax M Macro and a few others 50s (Contax Makro Planar, Minolta MD, Olympus OM Zuiko):

First a note for others Canon 5D Mark II users: almost no problems, except exactly at the infinity stop. Here (and not a fraction of millimeter before) the mirror hits, or better "grazes", the back of the lens whit its base when it descends in position after a shot. The adapter used was a cheap chinese one. No big deal, though. (BUT PLEASE, READ THE UPDATE AT THE END OF THE REVIEW)

I bought this lens out of curiosity, given that everyone seems to like it a lot. It has now earned a place on my camera, especially for low light work. As soon as I received the lens I compared it to the Olympus 50mm f/1,8 (the sharpest between the 50ish that I own: Minolta MD f/1.7, Minolta MC f/1.7, Contax 60 Makro Planar, Canon f/1.8).

The results:

- At f/1,4
Obviously, the Pentax has no match because the Olympus starts from 1.8. It is sharp with loads of veiling used in good light (like during the tests). This led me almost to discard the lens as "not too good", but then I tried it in poor light... And it is really really sharp, even if with a paper-thin plane of focus, in available darkness, where it matters. More, given that I'm still waiting for the chipped ring with AF confirmation I used a plain M42-Canon one; well, this lens literally "snaps" into focus, I can always tell when I hit the right spot even in really dim light. In this regards it is head and shoulders ahead of the Canon 50mm f/1.8, for example, and better still of my previous "champion" of the category, the Minolta MD. Please, though, keep in mind that I use a EG-S screen on my camera, and that alone makes all the difference in the world for using manual focus lenses. Also the paper-thin plane of focus at full aperture or/and a tiny viewfinder can be the reason because some people can't get sharp enough results from this lens.

EDIT: I cleaned the rear element with a bit of Eclipse and a PecPad and discovered that it was covered with a ton of grease and dirt! I guess I was too busy shooting with this toy to notice beforeÖ Now the veiling flare at full aperture in good light, though still here, it is greatly reduced and it is the one typical for non-ashperical design; it is comparable, for all intent and purposes, to the 35/1,4 Nikon Ai (a great lens by itself). Last a note for Canon 5D mk II shooters: the camera at full aperture mayoverexpose to almost 1 and 1/2 stop in good light, especially in "indoor" situations. No problems in poor light / available darkness.

Here an example: a 100% unsharpened center crop, shot handheld. The focus was on the second marble from the right; and by the way, quite a bit, if not all, of the red rings you may see around the left and right marbles are reflections of the nearby red rods, because those marbles were made of glass.

- From f/1,8 to f/2,8
The Olympus is slightly worse in the center but a bit better in the extreme borders, with less chromatic aberration.

- From f/4 onward
The Pentax is overall better, center and borders; the nice thing it is that the Pentax is still really sharp even at f/16, with almost no trace of diffraction-induced softness.

This 50 or so years old glory turned out to be slightly sharper even than the Contax 60mm f/2,8 Makro Planar, though the Planar goes to 1:1, has better contrast and sports less chromatic aberration.

One thing that I noticed is that the Olympus, at each aperture, has a lot less depth of field, like a stop less. I saw before something like this; it's usually a peculiarity of some Contax Zeiss lenses, for example, to have more depth of field at each given aperture that the comparable lenses from other brands. From what I understand it depends on the optical scheme.

Last note: I based my conclusion above on shots developed with Photoshop. Then I tried to develop the same files with RawPhotoProcessor and RawTherapee (both free / donationware).

With the latter you can completely eliminate, in an automatic fashion, the chromatic aberration from the Pentax shots. But it's with RawPhotoProcessor that the Takumar really shines, and gives even better results with almost non existent chromatic aberration and better sharpness overall.

BTW, I learned the importance to choose the right raw conversion alghorithm when, while I was running a comparative test between the various brands of raw converters, that you can find on my blog, I discovered that Photoshop induced with some legacy lens, in a few shots, chromatic aberration / purple fringing that was not actually there!

P.s.: the test was conducted with the 5D on a tripod, with mirror up, 10 seconds self timer, and focusing the lenses with the aid of the Live View @ 10x and a Peak 22x loupe.


1) The lens is more finicky about adapter rings (to Canon) than it's 7 elements sibling. Strangely enough, the cheaper one seems the kind that work better!

2) The veiling flare in good light at 1.4 is greatly reduced if you nail the exposure for the highlights or if you slightly underexpose the shot (like 1/3 of stop less).

3) I compared it agains a beaten-but-freshly-cleaned 7 elements SMC and found that the 8 elements was slightly but notably sharper in the center, but much, much, did I say much? sharper in the corners. And, strange enough, from a quick test seems that they are equally (not exceptionally) flare resistant. More, the Super-Takumar (8-elements) has a lot more depth of field and each stop than the S-M-C Takumar (7-elements). Focused at infinity at f/1.4, for example, the Super-Takumar will render objects at 15-20 meters soft but sharp enough, while the 7-elements will render the same objects really blurry. The difference is definitely here, and itís striking. I have to yet measure this for the S-M-C, but the Super-Takumar at f/1.4 and at close distance (2-3 meters) has a depth or field of maybe 4-5 millimeters! The S-M-C is also much warmer (and my sample has not yellowed)

New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: February 23, 2012 Recommended | Price: $225.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: In - out of focus transition
Cons: Has slight CA in some situations
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: 60D Canon   

I own all four versions of the Takumar 50mm 1.4 I also own a canon 50mm.
The Super Takumar 8 element version is my absolute favorite.

Bokeh is extremely pleasing, especially wide open. Creamy! Excellent when stopped down.

The handling is awesome. Manual focusing is very easy and precise. The feel is one of a precision machine. Even better when compared to my Canon L lens in manual mode.

Sharpness is excellent.

With the standard Asahi hood, flare has never been a problem.

When used with extension tubes or bellows, the lens provides excellent MACRO capabilities. It is FAST. Great for taking photos of live insects.

The in focus to out of focus transition is noticeably smoother than the later versions. This lens also exceeds the much more expensive lenses in this regard.

As other posters have noted, there is something that just defies description with this lens. Photos seem to have just that little extra. A certain feel which the newer lenses do not capture.

Every serious photographer should definitely own this lens.
Add Review of Super-Takumar 50mm F1.4 (8-element variant)

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