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TAKUMAR 1:2.5 135mm vs. SMC PENTAX-M 1:3.5 135mm

Roberto Giannotta , Aug 18, 2002; 06:15 p.m.

Hi all,

this is my first post - and not a particularly smart one, I can't deny it :-)

Anyway: I own a Pentax MX. I've got also a Takumar Bayonet 1:2.5 135mm, and I'm going to get a SMC Pentax-M 1:3.5 135mm. Since I don't need both of them, I've decided to sell one to a friend of mine. But I'm not exactly an expert when coming to optical camera equipment, so I'm not sure about which one to sell: actually I'd like to keep for myself the best of the two... but I don't know which one is the best :-)

I know that the Takumar is brighter (f2.5 vs. f3.5), but the Pentax has more optical elements (5 groups vs. 4) and I seem to remember that its lens quality is superior.

I'd need an advice here: can anybody give me some clues?

Also, I'm not sure of how much I can ask for any of the two. Since I'm selling it to a friend, I was planning to sell one for 30-40 Euros, but I'm worried to ask too much. Any advice?

Thanks in advance,

Roberto Giannotta Trieste, Italy

Responses

Kenern Petersen , Aug 18, 2002; 07:38 p.m.

Hello, I have several 135mm lenses; a Takumar 2.5, Sears 2.8, and a Vivitar 2.8. I borrowed a SMC Pentax 135 3.5 about two months ago and shot a test roll of Agfa Precisa 100 to see if I could tell a difference using an 8x (inexpensive) loupe. I have been seeing many SMC 135s going for 28-35 Euros in my area of Holland and considered buying one. I too wanted to get rid of the lesser quality. Right away you would think the Takumar and SMC would blow away the Sears and Vivitar--not so.

I shot each lens from a tripod using my A3000 (center-weighted metered) body at a colorful box (lots of text) using the widest aperture, then smallest and then two stops from widest. At the two stops from widest, I cannot tell a single difference in the quality of the slides. Only at the widest aperture is there a noticeable difference with the SMC leading. The Sears was actually better than the Takumar on the widest setting followed by the Takumar, and then Vivitar. On the smallest aperture all slides looked identical except the Vivitar (photgraphed text not sharp).

After considering the results, I did not buy the SMC 3.5. For my needs, the Takumar will do. As for the other lenses, I'll get rid of the Vivitar and hold on to the Sears at least until I get to try a SMC 2.5.

If you have been shopping for PK lenses, you know that there are over a dozen different 135mm brands out there, especially in Europe. Most are all 2.8s. The 2.5s are the most expensive regardless of brand, and at least in Holland the 3.5 SMC are the cheapest, even cheaper than a Petri or Pallas 2.8. The odd brand M42 screw mounts are practically used for paperweights now.

Your two lenses are very similar in build quality and in the slides they produce (my tests). You might want to shoot some 100 speed negative film have it developed and printed by a quality lab and judge the results yourself, or shoot slides and let a knowlegeable person evaluate them with a real quality loupe. Don't let the evaulater know from which lens they are from until he points out the flaws (some people are biased against the Takumar right away.) Hope this helps.

Jeff Polaski , Aug 19, 2002; 07:24 a.m.

I've got both lenses. Supposedly, the SMC Pentax-M 1:3.5 135mm is sharper. The Takumar 2.5 is faster, but may not have anti-flare coating. Personally, I can't tell the difference except for weight. The extra stop on the 2.5 is useful in available light. The 3.5 is smaller/lighter if lighting is not a problem.

Anthony Oresteen , Aug 19, 2002; 11:26 a.m.

I'd keep the 2.5. At f/8 and smaller the lenses are about the same. The extra stop will come in handy at times.

The SMC 135 f/3.5 M seems to sell for $50 here in the states.

Douglas Stemke , Aug 20, 2002; 09:15 a.m.

Hmm. A tough one. I've had the M 135 and have used the other. Here's what I've heard and my experience.

The Takumar (if we are talking about the K mount version and not a screw mount version) will not have as many coatings as the SMC. What that means is that you will have more light pass through the lens and less will be reflected. The K-mount Takumars generally never recieved high grades from most people, optically and mechanically they are generally inferior to their Pentax SMC cousins. That said this lens (135 f2.5 Takumar)is the exception and actually recieves good marks optically.

The 135 M (which I did own for a while) is not considered to be on par with some of Pentax's other SMC 135s (Notably the pre-M, F and FA lenses; the 135 f2.8 A version (which I also own) is not highly regarded either). However, the M is still is a nice lens. I especially liked the fact that it was tiny. I sold it when I got rid of my MX; I think it is a great fit for the MX because of its size.

If you aren't in a huge rush to sell it, I'd set up a test. Tape a news paper or something similar to a wall with varring size print. Then do an experiment, try a couple of f-stops and see what you think. If you can, san in the negative or slide, blow up an area and see which one offers you the cleanest images. Use that if you think optical quality is your number one reason for making your choice.

I think though if it were ME and I wanted this purly as a portrait lens I'd go with the Takumar. If it were mostly for general use, I'd go with the M lens.

Is that clear as mud?

Doug

Roberto Giannotta , Aug 20, 2002; 04:11 p.m.

Hi again,

and thanks to all for the enlightening contributions.

As soon as I get my hands on the Pentax M 1:3.5 135mm (in about a month by now), I'll test both the optics in some comparative shots, and then I'll let you know the results (if you are interested, of course :-)

Thanks again,

Roberto Giannotta, Trieste, Italy

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