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Showcase Pentax 55mm 1:1.8 Takumar (Super-Multi-Coated) - NEX-5N

Dioptrick

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After much research on the internet, I deliberately set out to find one of these f1.8 55's specifically (equivalent of an 82mm medium tele in film SLR). I got this lovely Asahi Pentax Super Takumar from Michigan, USA of all places because I couldn't find one locally. About a week after I bought it and while it was in transit, one exactly like it appeared in one of our local auctions - typical, LOL!

Takumar55-09.jpg

In a nutshell, it's as good as I expected... including some 'irks' associated with the aperture tab switch and the reverse direction of the focusing barrel, which I was aware of. The copy I got is pristine, apart from some little silver spots here and there where the black coating had worn off... not bad for a lens likely to be over 40 years old! Adds to the "relic look." :)
The first "Zebra" edition of this lens was released back in 1958 as "top-of-the-line" but my one is one of the later editions - possibly late 1960s if I'm not mistaken.


Takumar55-10.jpg



I'll keep saying it, the NEX looks better with a legacy lens! Even with a bellows lens hood of the same era... she's still feels small and compact, which I like.


Sample pics next...
 

Dioptrick

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Water Drops Series (Early Morning)

Man, I'd forgotten how brutal it is to focus a lens like this! It's been well over ten years since I used a lens this fast with a DOF this narrow, let alone having no image stabilization. Naturally I wanted to shoot my test shots wide-open at f1.8 (no point in using mid-value apertures as my kit zoom can do that), but I didn't do myself any favours.

This first shot is a humbling reminder that it was over ambitious of me to think that I can just ease back into manual focus, just willy nilly. At f1.8 my depth of field at this hand-held distance was about half an inch... and I was trying to focus on a 'curved string of pearls' droplet arrangement - and missed them all! The lens is a pass, rendering the backlit colours very well, whereas it's a fail for the photographer. I have to seriously consider getting the EVF with diopter correction for shots like this. Even with Focus Peaking, it was impossible to focus from the screen display that was brightly reflecting my shirt - while facing direct glare from the low morning sun. I also took this shot at f5.6 just to be sure. With the focusing going the opposite direction, I accidentally flicked the aperture tab in my confusion, so although set at f5.6 the lens was actually still wide open. I've jammed a small piece of black plastic to lock this aperture tab, so this won't happen again... and I'm leaving the lens permanently mated to its adapter.

Takumar55-08.jpg

Takumar 55mm, f1.8, 1/2000 sec, ISO 100, SCN Auto Macro




The lens was superb, neutral but full colour, lovely bokeh.

Takumar55-07.jpg

Takumar 55mm, f1.8, 1/500 sec, ISO 100, SCN Auto Macro

Takumar55-06.jpg

Takumar 55mm, f1.8, 1/1250 sec, ISO 100, SCN Auto Macro

Takumar55-05.jpg

Takumar 55mm, f1.8, 1/400 sec, ISO 100, SCN Auto Macro

Takumar55-04.jpg

Takumar 55mm, f1.8, 1/4000 sec, ISO 100, SCN Auto Macro



Some Black & Whites

Takumar55-01.jpg

Takumar 55mm, f1.8, 1/640 sec, ISO 100, SCN Auto Macro, 6-point Star Lens Filter

Takumar55-02.jpg

Takumar 55mm, f1.8, 1/125 sec, ISO 100, SCN Auto Macro

Takumar55-03.jpg

Takumar 55mm, f1.8, 1/4000 sec, ISO 100, SCN Auto Macro, 6-point Star Lens Filter
 

Bimjo

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Nice shots. Now I need some nice weather and my SMC Tak 55/1.8 (last version with rubber focus ring) out and shoot something.
 

Dioptrick

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Low Light and Flare Testing (very early morning - before Sunrise)

No need to use a tripod on f1.8 at 1/60 sec, the ISO wasn't too bad/high as I thought (maybe 1600-ish), grainy but it made this hand-held shot possible while it was still very dark. With a tripod I could get nice streaks from vehicle lights with low grain ISO, but the water reflections will be blurred past the point of looking natural.

The Takumar [Correction: my UV filter! - thanks Phoenix] seems to be creating a 'halo' around each light bulb. It's centered on lights at the middle of the frame, but the halos are off-set to one side on lights near the edge of the composition. The ones shown in the cropped inset remind me of peacock feathers, lol. There's also reflection flares on this shot... you'll see the green traffic lights mirrored upside-down and reversed over the water - plus a rainbow shaped flare coming off the biggest traffic light.

Takumar55-11.jpg
TakumarHalo01.jpg

Takumar 55mm, f1.8, 1/60 sec, ISO Auto





Some halos too on this shot. The cropped inset shows those off-set to the right this time.
I could feel a slight sprinkling of dew at the time, so it may have something to do with that.
No reflective flares on this one.

Takumar55-12.jpg
TakumarHalo02.jpg

Takumar 55mm, f1.8, 1/60 sec, ISO Auto




No flares here... light drizzle had stopped?

Takumar55-13.jpg

Takumar 55mm, f1.8, 1/60 sec, ISO Auto
 

Phoenix

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Really love the shots mate, no CA, great low light capabilities and flares are quite controlled, I'm convinced you got yourself a winner here. I love low light shots and take full advantage of the NEX's sensor, One technique I have been using on extremely low light is selecting the creative style of the image (in my case usually b/w) then set the shoot mode to anti-shake, it retains the creative style and it automatically chooses the ISO, I then adjust the exposure compensation to my liking. Works like a charm.

Btw, regarding the reflection, are you using a filter on the lens? (even just a protective one) I found that I usually get these reflections on my shots as well when I'm using a UV filter.
 

Dioptrick

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Thanks for the encouragements, guys.

This Takumar is a real fun lens on a NEX. It's the new focal length created by the NEX interface that makes this lens work for me. I've tried so many times in the past to persevere with a standard 50mm lens (on film SLR) and just found it awkward all the more each time. But a standard lens (any legacy standard lens really) becomes a fast tele mounted on a NEX. An aperture this big on a medium telephoto used to be only PRO elite territory in the old film days. I'm just delighted that this inexpensive adaptation has become possible for all of us to enjoy.

great set and amazing setup.... the hood looks so cool...
I'm so glad I kept this bellows lens hood. I think no body wanted it at the time when I sold all my gear, lol.

BTW, I didn't use this hood in any of the test shots. I'll use this hood more for portraiture. :)
I'm still pinching myself that I've got a portrait tele at f1.8 !! Unreal! :eek:
.
 

Dioptrick

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Really love the shots mate, no CA, great low light capabilities and flares are quite controlled, I'm convinced you got yourself a winner here. I love low light shots and take full advantage of the NEX's sensor, One technique I have been using on extremely low light is selecting the creative style of the image (in my case usually b/w) then set the shoot mode to anti-shake, it retains the creative style and it automatically chooses the ISO, I then adjust the exposure compensation to my liking. Works like a charm.
Thank you. In hindsight, I should've used HHT on these shots. Overlapped multiple images of the moving water reflections will still look like reflections and wouldn't actually ruin these pics. From my tests so far, the HHT seems to improve the grain by about 2 or 3 lower ISO settings. The NEX sensor is just incredible isn't it?

Btw, regarding the reflection, are you using a filter on the lens? (even just a protective one) I found that I usually get these reflections on my shots as well when I'm using a UV filter.
Ah, yes! I did have a UV filter on it! Thanks for the tip... should be bare element for night shots.
 

Phoenix

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I would also check regarding HHT and Anti Motion Blur, I dont have my camera with me at the moment but I'll check, If I remember correctly HHT doesnt let you change the settings (such as creative style etc..) but anti motion blur does. HHT also reduces image contrast wheares Anti Motion blur lets set the contrast and exposure compensation value beforehand.
 

Dioptrick

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Oh I see what you mean. I better check it out too... still haven't explored everything that the NEX-5N can do.

It's these little things that the manual doesn't tell us (not that I read it, haha). A fast lens, the new gen NEX sensor, and its software shooting modes - certainly make it a very potent low-light kit!
 

Dioptrick

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Just ordered one as the "55" interests me and I'll compare it to
my Canon 50/1.4.......

I'd be interested to hear your comparatives!

I used to have a Canon SSC 50mm 1:1.4 (the older one with orange lettering and the silver ring mount). From recollection, that was much bigger and heavier, and the focus ring wasn't as buttery smooth as the Takumar. The Tak glass coating has this amber yellow shade that earned its reputation for neutral/ever so slightly warm delivery of colour. I haven't used it for skin tone and 'eyeball catch-light' yet, but I'm hoping for good things there too. I think you're gonna like how it feels on hand due to it's small size, plus it also has the same filter screw size as the SEL kit lenses (49mm).
 

Bugleone

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The Takumars were excellent lenses,.....now 40+ years old they are sometimes prone to a yellow internal discolouration (not the coating mentioned above)....however, this can be easily rememdied by allowing the sun to shine thro the lens for a couple of weeks on a south facing window sill.
 

Dioptrick

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Yesterday I bought different version of this lens. As I found there are several versions, but seems they have same optical formula. I will shot lens on camera and post later. Here are some of the first images I took with this lens on NEX-3.

Those portraits have perfectly focused catch-lights and are steadily held, DjordjeJ. Im assuming dim indoor lighting, no flash, widest aperture f1.8, low shutter speed, and handheld... very very narrow DOF, not easy to do. Well done...
 

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