Asahi Pentax Takumar 50mm 1.4

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  • Richard Pena

    Hello — Thank you so much for maintaining this site and the wonderful information. Since I consider myself a lover of vintage glass — especially Pentax, I thought I’d present a few clarifying comments …

    The Asahi Takumar 50/1.4 lens was available as the SMC Takumar 50/1.4 (Super-Multi-Coated) and as the Super-Takumar 50/1.4. It was the early Super-Takumar 50/1.4 that had 8-elements (not 6) and was designed and built to beat the CZ alternatives of that time. The early Super-Takumar 50/1.4 had a hand glued triplet lens configuration which made it quite costly to manufacture. Asahi lost money with every 8-element lens made and sold. Shortly after it was crowned the best 50mm lens available, Asahi discontinued the 8-element version and introduced the 7-element Super-Takumar 50/1.4 lens which had a different optical formula and was less costly to make.

    The Early Super-Takumar 50/1.4 lenses are very desirable and can be identified by unique characteristics:

    1. The Auto/Manual switch was labelled A/M as opposed to Auto/Manual
    2. The Infra-red mark was on the RIGHT side of the “4” on the distance scale aperture markings. Later models had the Infra-red mark on the LEFT side of the “4”.
    3. The rear element is domed and protrudes.
    4. The early Super-Takumar 50/1.4 did NOT use Thorium glass. (The later version Super-Takumar 50/1.4’s did).

    All-in-all, The Super-Takumar 50/1.4 family is an excellent lens with great build quality and rendering. Any of the Super-Takumar or SMC Takumars 50/1.4 lenses are truly excellent vintage glass and worthy of a place in one’s collection. The Early 8-element Super-Takumar 50/1.4, however, is in a class by itself!

    Thanks and keep up the fantastic work!!

    • George Wall

      There was never a 50mm f1.8 tak but a 55mm and it is a
      great lens as well

      • Richard Pena

        George — I don’t see where I mentioned a 50mm f/1.8 in my comments. I did reference the 8-element 50/1.4 lens.

        I do agree, however — the Super-Takumar and SMC Takumar 55/1.8 are excellent lenses also. I own the K55/1.8 (K mount version of the SMC Takumar) and it is wonderfully sharp with beautiful color rendition.

        • George Wall

          It was not you Richard it is in the description above your reply
          I also have the K55 1,8 and 2 and they are both great

    • bjerden

      Just want to say thanks for the detailed info. Very knowledgeable and helpful. Appreciated

  • What about radiation? Ther are some suggestions that it is radioactive.

    • julius77

      The 8 element if you can find one does not have a radioactive element.

    • Mischa Bachmann

      Most of the Super Takumars as well as the Super-Multi-Coated Takumar and some SMC Takumars are indeed containing one radioactive glass element.

      I covered that “problem” in my article about radioactive lenses and even did some measurements on my specimen: https://mbphotox.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/exploring-radioactivity-in-my-lenses/

      The Takumars containing thoriated glass usually also come with a yellow tint.
      But, you can rest easy. Though the radiation level is rather high, it’s not dangerous to your health when you use it normally and don’t cuddle it during the night.

      • That glass has caused corneal cancers, but only in microscope eyepieces where the glass is almost touching the eyes. And this has only occurred in lab technicians working with the eyepieces day in and day out.

  • Marcello Machelli

    Will it perform well on D810 with a simple m42 adapter? I know I will loose infinity focus, but do I have other chances?

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