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Archive 2010 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance
  
 
abam
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


hi all. i searched for the main catch words of my inquiry, and got zilcho, so here goes:

i am very interested in dabbling in manual focus lenses on my 5D2, but i'd feel better about some of my prospective purchases if i had some kind of reference as to how these particular 'old' lenses perform. (preferably, in comparison to known lenses from the canon lineup, which i'm familiar with.)

as one example, i'm very curious about the 50mm 1.4 super takumar. most reviews i read online are pretty glowing, but as i just returned a new canon EF 50mm 1.4 out of disappointment for its lack of sharpness and contrast from f1.4-2.8, i have to ask -- will a super takumar be an improvement in IQ at wide apertures (providing i focus correctly)?

better? worse? same? are there any other normal FOV lenses that would perform noticably better than the EF 50 1.4... or even as well as, say, a 35L (i.e., very sharp from 1.4 onward with minimal CAs)?

thanks in advance for your thoughts.

a



Aug 13, 2010 at 07:04 AM
poncho_morales
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


Hi, first of all, the super-tak might have some mirror interference problems and it might be radioactive (and get a bit yellow with time). On the other hand, it's got a beautiful buttery smooth focusing ring, really sharp wide open with beautiful colors and bokeh, even though it flares a bit, it's quite a nice lens. I personally prefer the colors from the super-multi-coated version, but the super-tak is equally sharp. There is already another thread discussing some 50mm options: Here. You might find some nice examples of some other options...

Greetings!



Aug 13, 2010 at 07:33 AM
abam
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


thx for the thoughts. radioactive? good god.

that other thread makes a good case for the rokkor 58mm 1.2... hmmm.



Aug 13, 2010 at 07:39 AM
s23chang
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


SMC 50mm 1.4 screwmount or the more expensive P-K mount SMC 50mm 1.2 are among the sharpest 50mm out there for under $400. They are not radio active elements. They are much better contrast than the Canon 50mm 1.4. As for Rokkor, you need to shave mirror on 5D and 1D bodies. I wouldn't use any 50mm at F 1.2 or F 1.4 as they really need to stop down to F 1.8 to F2 (except for the Leica R summilux 50mm 1.4 E60.)


Aug 13, 2010 at 10:15 AM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


There's a takumar thread here. Have a look: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/910305

Also the radio active thing was a process patented to Minolta AFAIK, and I think only some older ROKKORs incorporate such materials. The latest quote I read went like this:

"Early MC ROKKOR 1966-1972 (mc 1st generation):
    The quality of the coatings on these lenses is as a general rule not as good as those on later MC and MD lenses, and in some cases radioactive compounds of thorium and lanthanum were added to the glass mixture to increase the refractive index. This is apparent in some of the faster lenses such as the 58mm f/1.2 and 85mm f/1.7, where some early versions that included this glass have had their radioactive ingredients progressively decay, discolouring the glass, and giving the images taken with the affected lenses a very warm cast.

    The coating materials on these early MC lenses comprised magnesium fluoride, plus “other ingredients”, and the actual coatings were double coated in a process Minolta called “Achromatic Coating”, giving superior colour rendition and light transmission when compared to competing manufacturers. While not as effective as the newer coatings progressively introduced on later lenses, they nonetheless perform very well, and should not be dismissed from consideration when selecting lenses for use.

    In many cases the 1st Generation MC lenses now represent excellent value for money, and as the lens coatings were progressively improved as the years progressed, many of the later lenses of this series may have the same coatings as the later MC models. Certainly the optical formula of many of these lenses was unchanged in the late MC versions and even the early MD versions. Accordingly, it is possible to make considerable savings on some expensive lenses through a willingness to consider these early MC Series lenses as an alternative."

    - http://www.rokkorfiles.com/Lens%20History.html






Aug 13, 2010 at 11:23 AM
cogitech
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


Thorium and lanthanum have been used extensively by many manufacturers in the past. It was not exclusive to Minolta.

Notice that s23chang states the "SMC-Takumar 50mm 1.4" ... "They are not radio active elements".

He is correct, but the the Super-Takumar 50mm f1.4 lens does have radioactive element(s). This is a well-known fact.

It is also well-known that the Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm f1.2 serial numbers 257xxxx and lower have radioactive element(s). I own one. I just a sold radioactive Canon FD 35mm f2 SSC. The f16-concave version, which is well-known to be radioactive.

I could go on and on about "that's where the original "Lanthars" got their name, etc., but it's all out there on teh internets. JFGI



Aug 13, 2010 at 12:53 PM
Tariq Gibran
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


Well, it is well known that the Super Multi Coated Takumar 50 1.4 has radio active glass. I have one and it is a bit yellow due to the combination of aging with the radio active properties. Anyway, easily removed with ultraviolet light exposure such as the sun over a prolonged period. It is the sharpest 50 I have used and also has great color.

The Rokkor 58 1.2 is also a great lens. The Tak will be sharper at 1.4 then the Rokkor but the Rokkor does sharpen up nicely at F2 and 2.8. That was my experience with my copies of both. I still have the Tak but ended up selling the Rokkor.



Aug 13, 2010 at 12:56 PM
gasrocks
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


I have 4 "yellow" lenses sitting in the window ledge right now. Couple of weeks getting some sun usually does it. I sold my Tak 50/1.4. It is sharp and bang for the buck but I never liked the bokeh on most Pentax lenses.


Aug 13, 2010 at 12:56 PM
cogitech
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


Tariq Gibran wrote:
The Rokkor 58 1.2 is also a great lens. The Tak will be sharper at 1.4 then the Rokkor but the Rokkor does sharpen up nicely at F2 and 2.8. That was my experience with my copies of both. I still have the Tak but ended up selling the Rokkor.


Yet another example of sample variation. My copy of the Rokkor is sharper at f1.2 than my Tak was at f1.4.



Aug 13, 2010 at 01:00 PM
Tariq Gibran
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


cogitech wrote:
Yet another example of sample variation. My copy of the Rokkor is sharper at f1.2 than my Tak was at f1.4.


Yep, the dreaded sample variation strikes again!



Aug 13, 2010 at 01:02 PM
 

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mawz
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


The switch by Asahi Optical Co to remove the radioactive glass happened in the mid-70's. Super-Takumar 35/2's and 50/1.4's as well as the S-M-C versions will have the radioactive elements (as do some of their 6x7 siblings, I know the 105/2.4 does as I have an S-M-C version with yellowing).

SMC versions I'm not sure about, SMC Pentax versions (in K mount) do not have radioactive elements (ditto SMC Pentax 6x7 lenses).

Yellowing is a clear indication of the presence of these elements.

S-M-C is the normal shorthand for lenses labeled as Super-Multi-Coated Takumar. These lenses have the old-style cosmetics (ribbed metal focus rings). SMC Takumars have the modern rubber focus rings and are labeled with the SMC acronym.

Edited on Aug 13, 2010 at 01:52 PM · View previous versions



Aug 13, 2010 at 01:47 PM
cogitech
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


Tariq Gibran wrote:
Yep, the dreaded sample variation strikes again!


It is to be expected, I guess. If modern lenses suffer from it, then it seems obvious that 50-year-old lenses will. While the BQ and QC of the older lenses was initially much higher than today's lenses, time has taken its toll.



Aug 13, 2010 at 01:49 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


Oh, so ROKKOR and Takumar... OK. Who else made nuke-lenses?




Aug 13, 2010 at 03:45 PM
dcad10
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


the m42 SMC Takumar is fantastic wide open. if you get a first copy and arent pleased try again, b.c this lens really shines.


Aug 13, 2010 at 04:06 PM
mawz
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


Bifurcator wrote:
Oh, so ROKKOR and Takumar... OK. Who else made nuke-lenses?



Voigtlander for certain, it's how the Lanthar's got their name.

Canon did as well, as Paul notes.

In fact just about everybody did in the 50's and 60's, it was the easiest way to get high refraction index glass at the time.



Aug 13, 2010 at 04:53 PM
aleksanderpolo
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


I wouldn't call S-M-C Tak 50/1.4 sharp at F1.4, pleasing and a pleasure to use yes. For sharpness and contrast, perhaps you should try Planar instead? But even the best 1.4 will probably not be as sharp @ F1.4 as a good F2 @ F2


Aug 13, 2010 at 05:36 PM
cogitech
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


Bifurcator wrote:
Oh, so ROKKOR and Takumar... OK. Who else made nuke-lenses?



Canon, as I said. The FD 35/2 with concave front element and f16 min. aperture is one of them. I think the FL 58/1.2 may also be radioactive, and there is evidence that the FD 55/1.2 SSC Aspherical is as well.

Basically any lens that has "yellowed" over time, which is due to radioactive decay. As mentioned, it can be cured with UV light. There are many more examples if you do a quick google search.



Aug 13, 2010 at 05:49 PM
cogitech
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


I found a list:

Kodak Ektar 101mm f/4.5 (Miniature Crown Graphic camera) lens mfg. 1946
Kodak Ektar 38mm f/2.8 (Kodak Instamatic 814 camera) lens mfg 1968-1970
Kodak Ektanar 50mm f/2.8 (Kodak Signet 80 camera) lens mfg. 1958-1962 (3 examples)
Kodak Ektanar 90mm f/4 (Kodak Signet 80 camera) lens mfg. 1958-1962
Kodak Ektanar, 44mm f/2.8 (Kodak Signet 30, Kodak Signet 50, Kodak Automatic 35/Motormatic 35 cameras) lenses mfg. 1957-1962
Kodak Ektanon 46mm f/3.5 (Kodak Signet 40 camera) lens mfg. 1956-1959
Kodak Anastar 44mm f/3.5 (Kodak Pony IV camera)
Kodak Color Printing Ektar 96mm f/4.5 lens mfg. 1963
Canon FL 58mm f/1.2
Canon FD 55/1.2 SSC Aspherical
Canon FD 35mm f/2.0 (versions from the early 1970's)
GAF Anscomatic 38mm f/2.8 (GAF Anscomatic 726 camera)
Kodak Aero-Ektars (various models)
Kodak Ektanon 50mm f/3.9 (Kodak Bantam RF camera)
Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 (early variant with thorium glass elements)
S-M-C Takumar 50mm f/1.4 (Asahi Optical Co.) (Super-Tak as well)
S-M-C Takumar 35mm f/2 (Asahi Optical Co.) (Super-Tak as well)
Super Takumar 6x7 105mm f2.4 (Asahi Optical Co.)
Yashinon-DS 50mm f1.7 (Yashica)
Minolta MC W. Rokkor-SI 1:2.5 28mm (early variant, before radioactive glass impurity could be banned)
Minolta MC Rokkor-PG 1:1.2 58mm (early variant, before radioactive glass impurity could be banned)

The list is likely far from complete.

Edited on Aug 13, 2010 at 06:24 PM · View previous versions



Aug 13, 2010 at 06:03 PM
cogitech
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


Some more info:

http://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/consumer%20products/cameralens.htm



Aug 13, 2010 at 06:04 PM
abam
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · 50mm 1.4 super takumar -- reference for performance


interesting about the radioactivity, but i'm specifically looking for opinions comparing the performance of the 50mm takumars to modern production primes such as those in canon's L lineup. for someone whose reference is a modern, fast, high end AF prime, how do these older alt lenses perform in comparison?

i searched the interwebs, and information seems limited to:
-comparisons between the old alt lenses (not helpful for someone who has no frame of reference in alt lenses)
-processed and web-resized jpegs (helpful if one exclusively publishes to the web)
-simple testimonials like "it's sharp/contrasty/try it you'll like it" (again, not comparisons with a standard that a non-alt person would be familiar with)

anyone used L primes, for example, and have some thoughts on IQ differences?

cheers in advance




Aug 13, 2010 at 06:59 PM
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