Asahi Pentax Takumar 50mm 1.4
Don’t be fooled by their modest price tag – Takumar lenses are great! I have the pleasure to own a few old Pentax Spotmatic cameras and lenses – they are all great. Both the build quality and the image results are superb. Takumar lenses tend to be less expensive than their more collectible Carl Zeiss competitors. The 50mm 1.4 was designed as a competitor to the Carl Zeiss Ultron and Pancolar lenses. The Takumar 50mm 1.4 was sold with the Pentax Spotmatic cameras. Apparently Takumar lost money on every single copy of the lens they sold when it was introduced. Therefore, they later replaced the early 6 element lens with a newer (and cheaper to manufacture) version. Note that there is also a Pentax Takumar 50mm 1.8 lens.
Takumar 50mm 1.4 Recommendation
- one of fastest M42 prime lenses
- great Bookeh
- very compact
- solid metal construction
- vivid colours
If you are looking to buy a vintage 50mm prime lens, you have a lot of lenses to choose from. The main reason to opt for the 50mm 1.4 Takumar is because it is the fastest lens of the bunch (faster than the Tessar, the Pancolar and the Ultron) and a great allrounder. At the same time it is also reasonably priced at around $100 on Ebay.
As every Takumar lens I encountered, the overall construction quality of the lens is excellent. The all metal construction feels solid yet it is ergonomically very well made and easy to shoot with. Although a bit heavy it still is a very compact lens for which you will always find a spot in your bag when you are on the go.
At f1.4 it is a fast lens that is well suited for available light photography and indoor photography. The Bokeh is very nice (maybe not as good as the Pancolar or Ultron) and creamy which also makes it a nice portraiture lens. The colours are always vivid, even when shot wide open.
Overall this is a great lens! I highly recommend it.
- flare prone
- lack of contrast wide open
The main disadvantage is that wide open the lens lacks a bit of contrast. Another drawback this lens has is its’ flare proneness (you might want to get a lens shade). Both these “disadvantages” are absolutely normal with most lenses and do not discredit the overall good impressions I had with the Takumar 50 1.4.
Takumar 50mm 1.4 Versions
The Takumar 50mm 1.4 is availale in two versions. The older version has 8 lens elements while the newer version has 6 / 7 elements.
All versions are coated and are branded as SMC (Super-Multi-Coating).