Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

Posts tagged “Manual focus lenses

SMC Takumar 50mm f1.4

Pentax Takumar 50mm f1'4 1
SMC Takumar 50mm f1.4
Photography : Nigel Borrington

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SMC Takumar 50mm f1.4, classic lens

Over the last couple of months I have posted a little about the quality of older lenses and uploaded some sample images. These post have included a review of the ( 28mm HMC Hoya m42 lens and the Tamron 24mm f2.5 lens).

One other much loved lens I have been lucky to find in great condition is a SMC Takumar 50mm f1.4 M42 Lens. I have owned this lens for a good while and still use it from time to time.

Firstly what is an M42 lens , well this wikipedia article describes these very well, basically they are lenses with a mount to a camera body that was designed to be universal, as to fit any camera designed with an M42 mount.

The stand out feature resulting from this mount is that they use a manual method of control for their aperture blades. Many of these lenses have a switch that can be used to keep the aperture blades wide open when manually focusing the lens then close them down to the required aperture during taking the image, as the view finder maybe to dark to focus otherwise.

I can hear many people asking “Why then would you want to use such a manually controlled lens ?*

Since M42 lenses, lens and Camera manufactures have put much work in-to the development of, firstly Auto Aperture lenses (Apertures controlled by the camera body) then Autofocus lenses with an ability to focus on up-to fifty focus points with an ability to selection from one of them in an image being framed. These developments have opened up a new world to photography, such as sports images that have very quick moving subject in perfect focus.

However there is still a place for old lenses, Landscape or portrait photographs for example do not automatically need auto focus.

Older lenses also offer abilities and features that have been lost in an age of autofocus cameras, abilities such as using hyper focus control for example (Lens Hyper-focus), a method of using lens apertures and focus distance to make sure that a pre-set amount of subjects in your image will automatically be in focus at any given distance range from the lens. In an age of high ISO performance, digital technology, this method is more usable than ever before as you can use Higher ISO settings and ever slower F-stop numbers such as F11 (Thus have a larger depth of subjects in your image in focus) and still achieve fast shutter speeds to capture clean usable images.

As you can see from the images of the Lens above manual focus lenses all contain much needed details such as the aperture being used the focus distance and the depth of field for each aperture.

The two other features that I really like about this Takumar lens are the construction and image quality.

The focus control on the lens is a pleasure to use it is very smooth to turn and wonderful in comparison to even my Pro level Nikon autofocus lenses.

Even though it may appear that this lens has been left behind some as far as new lenses are concerned, the image quality is hard to beat. You can see from the images below that there is no lens flare even when pointed at the sun, the images are sharp from about F2 upwards.

One feature that I feel could be the case is that when these lenses were developed, Black and White film photography was very much still being used as much as colour film was. The coatings on these lenses I feel thus gives a wonderful contrast and deep colour to digital images along with being perfect for great contrast in black and white images.

SMC Takumar 50mm f1.4, Gallery

Pentax Takumar 50mm f1'4 10

Pentax Takumar 50mm f1'4 4Pentax Takumar 50mm f1'4 9

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Pentax Takumar 50mm f1'4 5


Two canal locks and one old Tamron 24mm lens.

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Tamron Adaptall 24mm f2.5 lens

Two Locks one lens many years of enjoyment

For some 40 years I have been taking Landscape photographs in both the UK and Ireland, one of the very first lenses I purchased when I first got a Nikon 35mm film SLR, was this 24mm F2.5 Tamron, wide angle Lens, purchased in 1987.

The images below are from a visit I made to Top side lock, near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire in the south of England a wonderful old lock with a lock keepers house. The second image is from Ballyellin lower lock on the river Barrow, County Carlow , Ireland, taken in January this year.

Sometime keeping a hold onto equipment that you like using and that work very well, is far more important that searching for the new. Endlessly upgrading equipment has become the norm, we live in an age of none stop upgrades yet now and again it is still possible to keep a hold of the old and trusted things.

This lens works very well and in many cases even better now that its used with a digital camera body.

It is a manual focus lens yet because it contains all the focus and aperture details on the lens barrel it is very easy to use, you can set it up for what is known as Hyper-focus and shoot all day like this.

I just love using this lens and get a real kick from the fact it still works so well.

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Tarmon 24mm f2.5, Nikon Manual exposure SLR film camera

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Tarmon 24mm f2.5, Nikon Digital SLR camera

Top side lock , Grand union Canal, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

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Ballyellin Lower lock, County Carlow, Ireland

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