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Minolta, Takumar, or... ? 100mm & 135mm lenses (and now 55mm & 90mm macro, too)

mesmerized

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Hello there!

I've been considering getting a manual legacy lens for quite a while and since I can't find either the Olympus 100 f/2 or Minolta MD 2.5/100, I've decided to turn my head towards what is available in my country, i.e.:

1) S-M-C Takumar 135mm f/2,5 (apparently, a legendary piece of glass) (after converting the currency, the seller wants 195USD)
2) Minolta MC Tele Rokkor PF 135/2.8 (around 75USD)
3) Minolta MD Tele Rokkor 135/2.8 (version MD-I, which is sought after, from what I hear) (same here, around 80USD)

What do you guys think about those lesnes? Any other recommendations? I'd be grateful for your insights.

Cheers
 

Richard Crowe

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The Pentax 135mm f/3.5 Takumar is an excellent lens and can be had less expensively than the f/2.5 model. Another lens that provides wonderful rendition is the 15-bladed 135mm f/2.8 Pentacon Orestor. The bokeh of the Orestor is simply magnificent...
 

bobbill

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Never saw a memorable 135mm lens. Save durability, all seem to produce fine images...would get smallest with adaptor I could find, but that is me...

Richard C. above posted wisdom. I had one of those Pentax 135s, sold it and use lumbering Nikkor, when necessary...not a collector, just a lowly shooter.
 

mesmerized

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Thank you both for your respones!

So... nothing exciting about those Minoltas? I was under the impression that some of them are very much sought-after.

I did some digging today and found these:

1) Orestor 2.8/135 Meyer Optik
2) PENTACON (ORESTOR) 135/2,8

They look differently on the outside. Both have 15 blades. Also, these look interesting as well:

3) MEYER-OPTIK ORESTOR 100/2,8 (this one also has 15 blades)
4)
Takumar Super Multi Coated 105mm F2,8
5) SUPER TAKUMAR 105mm f2.8

Any further insights? :)
 
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WNG

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There is a thread here discussing recommended 135mm vintage manual primes....with some photo samples, do take a look at that thread.

As most know here, I predominantly shoot manual lenses, and exclusively on my A7II. I have a (un)healthy number of 135mm that I've sampled. ;)

The two desired lenses are hard to come by because of their desirability. The OM Zuiko 100mm f/2 especially so. You can still find the MD 100-f/2.5, but I've not seen them for cheap.

1. Super Multi-coated Takumar 135mm f/2.5
Don't waste your money on this prime! The only reason it spiked in desirability is due to some videographer who posted on youtube how great it is. When in fact he didn't know what the hell he was talking about. It was one of his first manual lenses he tried. I've tried two copies and neither are considered good performers. The optical design produces a lot aberrations and fringing. Especially if you try to shoot it at f/2.5. Impossible to get a satisfying shot. The colors weren't good either. This one is one of the duds in the Takumar line. And most Pentax experts agree. The f/2.5 didn't live up to expectations until the K-mount version with updated optical formula.
If you still desire one, I have an extra copy to sell for slightly below the market price. :)

The Canon FL 135mm f/2.5 is a superior f/2.5 prime from the same era. Aberrations are nil wide open and reasonably sharp at f/2.5. Razor sharp stopped down.
Honorable mention: The FL 135mm f/3.5 (and early release FD model) is a 4:3 Sonnar copy and renders sharp images superbly from wide open to stopped down. Great bokeh too.

As Richard stated, the smaller 135mm f/3.5 is a much better value and still can sometimes be found for under $20 USD. It's much sharper and cleaner wide open, colors are saturated, little to no aberrations, and super sharp stopped down. Try to find the Super Multi-coated version if possible.

Another Pentax alternative is their later SMC Pentax-M 135mm f/3.5 K-mount. It's a 5:5 design but sacrifices nothing to the 4:4. It's shorter, and the best 5:5 I tried.

2. Minolta MC PF 135 f/2.8:
Over-priced. The color rendering of MC is inferior IMO to MD offerings. The 6:5 optical design is not as good as the later 4:4 with the ED element.
I have both versions and the later version Rokkor MD-I 4:4 is my preferred one.

3. Minolta MD Tele-Rokkor 135mm f/2.8:
Covered it above, shoots especially well wide open. MD colors pop. You get better micro-contrast from the MD line.
Note: the 4:4 design was offered also prior in an MC version, and there is an optically identical MD Celtic version.

Honorable mention: The less expensive MD Tele-Rokkor (or Celtic) 135mm f/3.5 4:4 is excellent. I think it's as good as the Takumar equivalent.

My recommendations:
From the Japanese lenses I've tried, my top 135mm performers are:
1. Yashica ML 135 f/2.8. It must be the original Tomioka-Yashica produced lens, not the later "C" variant made by Cosina.
Superior sharpness wide open, no fringing, and lot's of 3D pop.
Some believe there was a lot of mixing of 'DNA' between the ML and Contax line that Yashica produced.

2. Also made by Tomioka, Mamiya/Sekor SX Auto 135 f/2.8. Has many of the characteristics of the later Yashica ML, just that newer Yashica takes it up a level.

3. Konica Hexanon AR 135 f/3.2: Very sharp rendering lens! Great colors and contrast (very modern glass-like). Not many are aware of it, so it's still somewhat affordable.

Images taken from my 135 collection are available on my flickr page.

BTW, the Takumar 100mm f/2.8 is an excellent 100mm. Great optically and built like a Takumar. Quite compact.
Another great optical 100mm but still affordable is the Nikon Series-E 100mm f/2.8. Small, light, and almost as good as the acclaimed Nikkor 105 f/2.5.
 
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A small addition to Will's (@WNG) overview: I did a blog post once on a comparison between a few Minolta 135mm lenses. The 2.8/135 4/4 version is considered the best pick among the Minolta lenses, something I never really managed to see. When I want a 135mm, I pick the latest Minolta MD 2.8/135 because it's good, light and small; I don't have any other brands. These days I'm not that much into ultimate sharpness and pixel-peeping anymore and I can't bother to test extensively.
 

MWhite

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FWIW, I once had the Pentax-M 135 f3.5. Maybe I had a bad copy, but I was not impressed. (It did have the virtue of being very small.) I also had the Pentax-F 135 f2.8, an autofocus lens that can be used in manual. It was a much better lens, although heavy, plus at this point it is difficult to repair if needed - no parts. (It also looked like my idea of an artillery shell.) I sold it when I switched to Sony. This was taken in 2008 with the 135 f2.8 on my Pentax k-10 (crop sensor) from the balcony during one of my daughter's performances.

Nutcracker08-136-121308-Edit.jpg
PENTAX K10D    smc PENTAX-F 135mm F2.8 [IF]    135mm    f/2.8    1/125s    ISO 1600
 

mesmerized

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Thank you all!

Yashica ML 135 f/2.8. It must be the original Tomioka-Yashica produced lens, not the later "C" variant made by Cosina.
Is this the one? One guy is selling it right now for the equivalent of 75USD.
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BTW, the Takumar 100mm f/2.8 is an excellent 100mm. Great optically and built like a Takumar. Quite compact.
Did you mean to say Takumar 105mm f/2.8?

Another lens that provides wonderful rendition is the 15-bladed 135mm f/2.8 Pentacon Orestor.
I'm not very much familiar with legacy lenses (aside from very famous ones, like the Oly 100mm f2, for instance), but from what I can see some lenses are labeled as Pentacon Orestor... and others are simply called Orestor by Meyer-Optik Gorlitz. I suppose those must be different versions of the same lens?

Last but not least - any thoughts on Orestors 100mm f/2.8?
 

Richard Crowe

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I have a 55mm Auto Sears f/1.4 lens which was made by Tomioka. Any lens produced by Tomioka is good glass...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/autosears55mmf14

I also have an Auto Sears 135mm f/2,8 lens which was not made by Tomioka. I think that Tokina was the manufacturer of this lens. Regardless of who made it, it is a decently sharp lens especially considering it cost only twelve bucks from Goodwill...

https://www.flickr.com/search/?text=sears auto 135mm f/2.8

However. IMO, the choice of legacy lenses depends on what the photographer desires to accomplish with the lens. Some photographers are aiming for the absolute best image quality while others, and I am included in that second group, shoot with legacy lenses because of the unique images that these lenses produce.

The unique renditions are due to optical flaws that are corrected for in latter lenses.

Arguably, the most notorious (for some users) and the most interesting (for other users) rendition is the swirly bokeh achieved when shooting with the Russian Helios lenses. The amount of the bokeh is controlled by the selection of camera body - full frame provides more than crop sensor cameras and by the positioning of the subject against the selected BG as well as the selection of f/stop. Usually, the wider the aperture, the most optical flaws will be captured...

The swirl can either be slight or virtually overwhelming...

The nice thing about legacy lenses is that they are usually quite inexpensive; although with the advent of mirrorless cameras, the prices have been steadily increasing. Some legacy glass prices have gone through the roof as in the case of Tomioka produced lenses.

Another nice thing about some legacy glass is that there may be examples of the rendition on YouTube or other places on the Internet.


Although some folks find this guy's presentation offensive, I agree with him about the Tomioka produced 55mm and Meyer Gorlitz 50mm lenses...


But, you can still normally buy several legacy lenses for the price of one modern lens...
 
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Richard Crowe

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There is a plethora of mounts for Legacy lenses. However, the mount in which there are probably more lenses available than any other is the M-42 screw mount. I believe that this mount was first introduced in the Pentax bodies but, many-many other manufacturers brought out cameras/lenses in the M-42 screw mount. M-42 lenses range from the excellent to trashy.
Adapters for the M-42 screw mount to Sony E-mount can be plain "dumb" adapter which is basically a metal tube with a female M-42 screw mount at one end and a male Sony e-mount at the other. They are exceptionally cheap and can be used on either E-mount crop or full frame cameras.
Other lenses can be Exakta bayonet mount or Leica 39mm screw mount and I would expect that there are many others. I have a wonderful oldie but, goodie Carl Zeiss Jena 135mm f/4 Triotar lens in an Exacta mount which I adapt with a dumb adapter.
As with any lens, you must consider the crop factor when using the legacy lens on an APSC body. The Sony 1.5x crop factor results in an equivalent 87mm when using the 58mm Helios. This is a great portraiture focal length.
However, when shooting with a crop format camera, you can use a focal reducer adapter which includes optical elements that will reduce the focal length of a lens to a point at which you really don't have to consider the crop factor and the focal reducer will also increase the effective aperture of the lens by one full stop.
As a result, the 135mm f/2.8 Sears Auto becomes an effective 135mm f/2.0 lens on a Sony crop format mirrorless camera.
I have a dumb adapter for each of my legacy lenses since they are so inexpensive. However, I also have one Kipon M-42 to E-mount focal reducer. The focal reducer is more expensive but, it really a nice accessory when considering the adaptation of legacy lenses to crop sensor cameras. I was shocked recently when I looked up this focal reducer on eBay. The prices have increased drastically and many are running $150-$200. I paid $50 for mine which was the average cost a few years ago...
 
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mesmerized

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Lots of useful information from you all. Thank you for that.

Some new finds in the macro department. I've got my eye on these lenses at the moment:

- Vivitar Komine 55mm f/2.8 macro
- Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 macro (1:1)
- Vivitar 90mm f/2.5 (apparently, it's the exact same lens as the Tokina "Bokina" 90mm)
- Pentacon/Orestor 135mm f/2.8 with 15 blades
- Meyer-Optik Orestor 100mm f/2.8 with 15 blades
- Minolta MD Tele Rokkor f/2.8 (MD-I with 4/4 arrangement)

Do more blades guarantee beter bokeh? Not necessarily, I suppose?
 

bdbits

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Generally more is better but not a guarantee. It also helps is if the blades are rounded rather than straight-edged.
 

Richard Crowe

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When I was shooting with film cameras, I used a 90mm f/2.5 Series One Vivitar macro lens. This lens had superlative optical quality but, needed an adapter to achieve a 1:1 image ratio. Without the adapter, the best that the lens could do was a 1:2 image ratio (image 50% the size of the subject).
I don't know from which manufacturer Vivitar subcontracted these lenses (Vivitar manufactured no lenses) but, in addition to it's great macro capabilities, it was also a very nice portrait lens. OTOH, it was quite heavy and did not balance very well with the smaller Pentax ME or MX film cameras...
 

mesmerized

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Thank you!

Quick question... Would you rather go for the Pentacon 135 f/2.8 (with 15 blades) ,which is based on the Orestor made by Meyer Optik, or... the Orestor 100mm f/2.8 (with 15 blades) (or its Pentacon version) Which of the too would be better for landscapes? Both would be great for portraits, I imagine.
 

WNG

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When I was shooting with film cameras, I used a 90mm f/2.5 Series One Vivitar macro lens. This lens had superlative optical quality but, needed an adapter to achieve a 1:1 image ratio. Without the adapter, the best that the lens could do was a 1:2 image ratio (image 50% the size of the subject).
I don't know from which manufacturer Vivitar subcontracted these lenses (Vivitar manufactured no lenses) but, in addition to it's great macro capabilities, it was also a very nice portrait lens. OTOH, it was quite heavy and did not balance very well with the smaller Pentax ME or MX film cameras...
The Vivitar Series-1 90mm f/2.5 was manufactured by Tokina. And the adapter was optically compensated to correct for 1:1. I'm fortunate to find a copy of this lens with the 1:1 adapter.
It's optically identical to the Tokina AT-X (Bokina), but lacks the advanced, newer coatings of the AT-X.

The other Vivitar macros are produced by Komine. They are excellent lenses. There is also a 135mm f/2.8 Close-Focus (macro) version from Komine.
The 55 and 90mm were also sold under different brands in Europe.
 

WNG

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Thank you!

Quick question... Would you rather go for the Pentacon 135 f/2.8 (with 15 blades) ,which is based on the Orestor made by Meyer Optik, or... the Orestor 100mm f/2.8 (with 15 blades) (or its Pentacon version) Which of the too would be better for landscapes? Both would be great for portraits, I imagine.
That's a bit of a loaded question. As it depends on how close you are to the subject. In general, a wider lens will be 'better' for landscapes if captured in one shot. If you stitch a landscape, then it's up to the photographer's goals. I've shot landscapes from 8mm single image to stitched 1000mm images. Dependent on the desired composition.
A longer focal length will also compress the background. So, if that's desired, then you choose the longer lens for your landscape.
 

mesmerized

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The most recent development: I can collect a decent copy of the Pentacon 135 f/2.8 m42 (with 15 blades) for 42USD here. There was another one a few days ago, even cheaper, but it's gone now. I suppose it's a reasonable price for this lens (?) (if everything checks out, that is)

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