Friday, January 14, 2011

The Japanese leica lens: Super Multi Coated takumar 50mm/1.4

Ahhh , now we are talking epic vintage lenses, and affordable too . In the 50s after the korean war, the UN troops were quite taken by the quality of the japanese optics, as they were as good as the German gear , but at a lesser cost , after a while the Japanese really came into their own, and one of the forerunners was Asahi Optical , which became pentax after the style of their cameras PENtaprism conTAX , the Pentax brand became so well known that they changed from Asahi Optical to Pentax Cameras I believe

 Enough history, what I have is one of the best regarded Pentax lenses the Super Multi Coated Takumar 50mm/1,4 , I have a few takumars that  I use on a regular basis , but the 50mm is my go to, I have shot a wedding with it, quite a few portraits, landscape , candids etc, all came out better than I expected  , this lens is very clear , and sharp and optically to get the same quality in a modern AF lens you would spend over 1200 dollars , and this can be had for around 100 , but the secret is out and the prices are rising rapidly due to the Canon 5/7D video gang , the 7 glass elements are well made and the outer body is metal, so the lens is dense, and very solid .

 If you are used to modern plasticy autofocus enses, the first time you pick up a Takumar it feels like you are holding a hand grenade, a hand grenade of awesome!  What Asahi's design mantra atthe time was to create a lens that was better than zeiss of Leica, and they achieved pretty much that ideal, in the 60s this lens was $199 and i read somewhere that they took a loss on every one they made until the manufacturing process became less expensive , to convert that, $199 in the 60s is about $2000 now!

 This shot was taken at night time using my pentax KX using the official m42>PK adapter from the pentax site, it was 30 dollars and it lets my KX use ANY pentax lens made from the mid 50s until today ! Adapter info I stepped the lens down to f4 so the OOF highlights would be octagonal as it has 8 blades inside, it came out nicer than I thought, and here is the full size version  full size : click on original

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