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Tele-photo Takumar 135mm F3.5 Review RSS Feed

Tele-photo Takumar 135mm F3.5

Reviews Views Date of last review
3 10,724 Tue December 19, 2017
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
33% of reviewers $82.50 6.33
Tele-photo Takumar 135mm F3.5

Tele-photo Takumar 135mm F3.5
Tele-photo Takumar 135mm F3.5
Tele-photo Takumar 135mm F3.5
Tele-photo Takumar 135mm F3.5
Tele-photo Takumar 135mm F3.5
Tele-photo Takumar 135mm F3.5

The Tele-photo Takumar 135mm F3.5 lens was introduced in 1953 and had aberrations well controlled due to its five lens elements.

Engraved name: Asahi-Kogaku Tele-photo Takumar 1:3.5 f=135mm

WeightDiam x LengthFilter SizeMin. Focus
500 g43 mm6 ft
Diagonal FoV (24x36)Horizontal FoV (24x36)Min. ApertureMax. Aperture
18 degrees15 degreesf/16f/3.5
Diagonal FoV (APS-C)Horizontal FoV (APS-C)DiaphragmOptical Construction
12 degrees10 degreesPre-set5 elements in 3 groups

Distance scale in feet only
Manual FocusAperture RingFull-Frame SupportAdapter needed for DSLRsDiscontinued
Price History:

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Junior Member

Registered: November, 2016
Posts: 38
Lens Review Date: December 19, 2017 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 7 

Pros: very small size, excellent build, classic looks, essential part of a Asahiflex kit
Cons: Price, lower contrast as aperture is closed down, a bit fiddly, does not adapt to modern cameras very well
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 5    Value: 4    Camera Used: Canon 5Dii   

I have recently posted on my blog tests of the Asahi-Kogaku Tele-Takumar 135/3.5. In that post I compare it also with shots from an Super Multi Coated Takumar 135/3.5 and an Opticam 135/2.8, the only other 135mm lenses I own that I can adapt to my DSLR. The post is here:

Hoods for 135 and 58mm lenses

Below are some of the 135/3.5 images from that post which were made at f/16, f/8, f/5.6 and f/3.5. Included are same-size crops from different parts of the images. On my blog is another set of images made indoors with near focus. The images were made with a full frame Canon 5Dii. The adapters included a m37>m42 inside a variety of m42>EOS adapters. There are no gaps for light leaks in this combination of adapters but it does focus beyond infinity, and the lens ends up mounted upside down which is a real pain. I used live view full magnification to focus; the focus point was the lock on the mausoleum gate. In the blog post I give more details about methods and outcomes.

In my first tests of flowers indoors I noticed a signficant loss of contrast at f/8 and f/11 in the centre of the image. I sought some Pentax Forums advice about this hot spot and received confirmation from @a.t. that he had noticed the same thing with this lens mounted on a Canon DSLR shooting against bright light. That led me to the tests below taken in the cemetery to see if the hotspot occurs in different lighling, and indeed it does, though less pronounced and really more visible when compared to another lens than purely on its own. Comparison shots are in my blog post. It is something that can be corrected in post, and probably if one shot a higher contrast film and/or in high contrast lighting it might not be something to worry about.

My conclusion is that this lens compares well to the Super Multi Coated Takumar 135/3.5, but at f/5.6 only. If you shoot this lens at f/5.6 you will be happy to own it. At F/8-f/16 the loss of contrast diminishes apparent centre sharpness as well, and at f3.5 the lens is generally less sharp than the more modern lens, though the Tele-Takumar is significantly better wide open than the Super Multi Coated Takumar for chromatic aberration when viewed at high magnifications (see blog post for example).

Lens information from the manual that came with my kit:

At F/16:

At F/8

At F/5.6

At F/3.6

Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2010
Location: California
Posts: 2,223
Lens Review Date: December 16, 2017 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $85.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: It is an earlier Takumar
Cons: Too heavy for the Asahiflex, not too sharp, hard to handle
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 2    Value: 3    Camera Used: K3, K3 and Asahiflex IIa   

I bought this lens for that much money because I wanted to have the entire Asahiflex collection. However, it is probably the one I would never buy again if I had the opportunity. It is too heavy and it does not balance on the Asahiflex. On the DSLRs, there are many more 135mm lenses that are better. I do have an excellent copy of the lens, almost mint. I have the 100/3.5 that does almost the same thing and it is a real star.

Registered: March, 2011
Posts: 913

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 16, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: image quality and personality
Cons: scarcity
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: Pentax K-7, Canon 5D   

This lens makes me smile. Image quality is fine, but it's the experience of owning and using a piece of Asahi Optical history which I really enjoy.

I'm not a lens expert, but I will say I've been pleasantly surprised at the good sharpness, color and contrast I've seen. And aberrations have been minimal. However, it will flare easily so it's wise to use a deep hood on a sunny day

These two shots were taken at f/3.5 on a Canon 5D.

Metering is accurate on my K-7 (and Canon 5D) and exposures remain consistent when stopping down. And the 16 blade iris keeps out of focus highlights rounded.

The fully manual controls aren't a bother to me. Rather, the extra effort is part of the fun. Although the lens does have some handling quirks...

The aperture layout is logical, but can be fiddly. There are two adjustment rings: Preset and stop down. The thinnest ring (center) presets the aperture and has a click at each stop. After focusing wide open, the upper ring can quickly (without clicks) stop the lens down to the pre-selected aperture.
But, the preset ring is so narrow and near to the focus ring below, it's easy to unintentionally move the focus along with the preset.

As for focus, the smooth 300 throw is a pleasure to use and makes fine adjustments easy. On the other hand, the entire front end of the lens (from the distance scale forward) rotates as a unit with focus. This makes using a polarizing filter more difficult and makes it harder to confirm the aperture setting when the adjustment rings are rotated to the underside of the lens.
Also, infinity is to the right so the focus ring turns the "wrong" way compared to newer Pentax lenses.

Also, because of the narrowness of the 37mm mount, there are potential light leaks when used a on K mount body. When using 37mm to 42mm and M42 to K mount adapters, the mount isn't wide enough to cover the holes in the M42 to K adapters I own (both original Asahi and third party).
I use a wide rubber band stretched over the base of the lens to cover the openings.

Regarding 37mm to 42mm adapters, I have two. The silver ring is an original Asahi which came with my lens. Yes, it has a cleft. I'm not sure what its purpose is, but I've been told it's normal. With the Asahi adapter, the lens stops just short of reaching infinity focus.
The black ring is a 3rd party adapter which works fine and does allow infinity focus. I found it on the big auction site. [Search for "M37 to M42 adapter ring".]

Apart from good image quality, I also enjoy this lens for the way it looks and feels. Its chrome plated brass construction gives it a character none of my other lenses have. I was pleasantly surprised at how dense it felt the first time I picked it up.

As a comparison, the Tele Tak is smaller yet heavier than my Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 135mm f/3.5. My kitchen scale says the Tele Tak weighs 494 grams and the S-M-C 332.

By the way, these two lenses produce very similar images. The S-M-C has more contrast, but otherwise I have a hard time telling their results apart. The S-M-C is easier to use, but I choose the Tele Tak more often because I just have more fun with it. (And I dislike the hexagonal highlights from the S-M-C's 6 blade iris.)

Regarding cost, I found my lens locally as part of a $80 package deal.

I gave it straight eight scores because it delivers good image quality and I enjoy using it. And I don't think it's fair to penalize it for handling "flaws" which (I presume) were typical features for its era.

I recommend this lens highly - if you can find one!

P.S. Re missing info in the lens description at the top of the page, my lens is approximately 50mm wide and 90mm long.
And my copy is labelled "Tele-Takumar", not "Tele-photo Takumar" as listed in the title.
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