Super Takumar 50mm f1.4

This is a lovely lens, although the crop factor of my four thirds DSLR makes it an awkward focal length. A 50mm lens was the standard for 35mm film cameras meaning there are loads of them around. I was lucky enough to have my Dad pull out a Super Takumar f1.4 50mm lens, the wide aperture would have made this a sought after lens in its day, yet this seems to be the same case now. Known for being an incredibly sharp lens when stopped down and for its solid build quality. Luckily none of this is wrong.

The focusing on this lens is just lovely, silky smooth yet sticky enough not to slip, it makes manual focusing a treat rather than a chore.

The yellowing is clearly visible in this picture.

One of the main problems with the lens also happens to be one of its greatest attributes. It’s glass contains Thorium which, over many years, decays radioactively. This causes the glass to turn yellowy (as seen in the picture above) which results in reduced contrast, less light entering through the lens and a horrible tint to every picture. Yet the yellowing can be cured by leaving the lens in sunlight as the UV radiation destroys the yellow tint. Unfortunately when I did the following sharpness comparison the lens was still yellowed, so although the results prove this lens to be very sharp; it may be even sharper once de-yellowed.

At f1.4 everything is clearly very soft although the focusing is much more difficult at this wide aperture, as the aperture is decreased things quickly sharpen up until f8 when things are super sharp before becoming slightly softer at f11 and f16. Once other consideration is the metering at f1.4, as generally my Olympus E-420 tends to overexpose at by about 1 stop, which is a problem to watch out for.

Overall I have  grown to love this lens; each time I use it I feel more at home with the smooth focusing and shallow depth of field, while its build quality makes other lenses feel cheap. The main problem with this lens is its focal length; 50mm gives an equivalent of a 100mm focal length on my E-420, which is a bit of an awkward short telephoto.

Below are a few examples of pictures I have taken with this lens.


3 thoughts on “Super Takumar 50mm f1.4

  1. Pingback: Sparkling Clean « chasingtheshot

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