The Takumars I Have Loved

Recently we spoke about the Asahi Takumar 105mm f/2.8 lens in M42 mount, in my Lens Love series.

This got me thinking again about some of the other Takumars I’ve owned and used.

Quite simply they’re my favourite single lens brand, due to their luxurious feel, high build quality, beautiful performance, and that the M42 mount makes them highly adaptable to all manner of other film and digital cameras.

With film, I’ve used Takumars on their native M42 bodies, like the wonderful Asahi Spotmatic F and Spotmatic ES, a dozen or more Pentax K mount bodies, like the ME Super, MG, MV, A and more, Chinon and Ricoh K mount bodies, a Contax 139 Quartz and 167MT, possibly the two most beautiful SLRs I’ve ever used, plus their Yashica cousins.

One of my cheapest but most effective film combos was a Takumar plus Canon EOS 500, the latter of which cost me 99p.

On the digital front, Takumars have graced a Sony NEX 3N, Sony A100 and A350 DSLRs, five or six Pentax DLSRs, and a Micro Four Thirds Panasonic Lumix GF1.

Back to the Takumars though, and here are a selection of my favourite images. 

Samsung GX-1S, Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2
Samsung GX-1S, Takumar 120mm f/2.8
Pentax MZ-5N, Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm f/1.4, expired Kodak Color Plus 200 film
Pentax K10D, Super Takumar 150mm f/4
Samsung GX-1S, Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5
Samsung GX-1S, Super-Takumar 55mm f/1.8
Sony NEX 3N, Takumar 105mm f/2.8
Pentax K10D, Asahi Takumar 135mm f/3.5

Have you used any Asahi Takumars, and if so which are your favourites? What’s your favourite brand/range of lenses you’ve ever used? 

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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8 thoughts on “The Takumars I Have Loved”

    1. For me it’s the feel of the Takumars as much as the final image. I’ve had a few Minolta Rokkors that have been as good in the final image and probably as smooth, but the Taks have a little something extra somehow, especially the Super series with the all metal body and knurled focus ring…

  1. Dan, these are beautiful photographs. The colors are stunning, my friend.

    You and I have been back and forth a bit about our Takumars, and you suggested I try my Takumar 1.4/50mm on my Contax/Yashica bodies. Sorry to say, I haven’t yet purchased that adapter.

    So far, my favorites are the 3.5/28mm 1.4/50mm. The results I got from my 2.5/135mm didn’t thrill me that much but I think that was no fault of the lens. My preferred focal lengths are between 24-70mm, so frankly I need to grown as a telephoto shooter.

    That said, I agree with your feeling of luxuriousness with these lenses. They are a joy to use from both a visual and tactile perspective.

    I have some m42 extension tubes that I used with the Takumar 1.4/50mm on my K30 for this example

    1. Thanks Rob. The colours in your Instagram post are delicious. It’s great using a lens that’s 40+ years old on a modern body that’s descended from the same company/family of cameras and lenses.

      For the first few years shooting film with SLRs I only used 50/55/58mm lenses and it became my default way of seeing the world, as you can imagine. Then I bought a 135mm lens, as there were so many people had spoken well of, and I was curious about the longer focal length.

      At first it was really strange and every time I raised the camera to frame a shot I then had to step back two or three metres and try again. It a long while to adjust to the far more magnified view of 135mm compared with 50mm.

      I read an article about some of the most common focal lengths, and how best to use them. For 135mm it said simple “isolation”. In other words, they are fantastic for focusing on a single object like a flower or leaf (or person’s face) and then using a wide aperture to blur the background and isolate the main subject.

      Pretty much every shot I took with a 135mm lens I followed the “isolation” theory.

      It became addictive!

      I’m curious again, think I’ll have to get out my last remaining 135mm, the Jupiter-37A, which can do things like this –

      – and attach it to one of my CCD Pentax DSLRs…

  2. Dan, we share the passion for vintage lenses. What makes me curious first of all is how you managed to use the M42 lenses on the Pentax ME Super. All adapters I have tested do not achieve infinity focus. They come close but …
    On the Sony A99 and A77M2 as well as on Fujifilm (X-T10 and others) everything works fine.
    Beautiful pictures, I must say.

    1. Thanks for your comments Fernando.

      Well, regarding infinity focusing, first I rarely take a shot with a lens focused at infinity, I’m far more into close ups, so it wouldn’t have been an issue. Second, I’ve always used the official Pentax M42 > K adapter with both Pentax film and digital SLRs, which sits flush inside the camera’s lens mount, and the lens fits perfectly up against the body of the camera. They’re only about £15 or something, well worth it compared with a cheap one that might get stuck in a camera, and often have a raised lip so the lens doesn’t mount flat against the camera, interfering with infinity focus.

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