Friday, April 19, 2013

Takumar SMC 55mm f1.8 Revisited

The Pentax Takumar 55mm f1.8 M42 lens is probably one of the most common lens you can buy in M42 mount. It has a sister lens, the 55mm f2, which is essentially the same lens, but with the aperture intentionally set to maximum of f2, and marketed as a lower priced lens. There are many versions of this lens. The last version the SMC 55mm f1.8 with rubber on the focusing ring, and the previous version is the Super-Multi-Coated 55mm f1.8 with all metal construction. I believe these two versions are identical with the exception of the rubber ring. The exists non multi-coated versions as well, usually called Super-Takumar 55mm f1.8, and I could be wrong, but there may be another version called Auto-Takumar 55mm f1.8.

Last version of the Takumar 55mm f1.8. Note rubber skin on the focusing ring. Click for larger.

Let me say this: if you are just starting to play with manual focus lens, and you don't use a mirrorless camera or a Nikon, buy the SMC 55mm f1.8 lens, instead of a cheaper Minolta or Canon FD equivalent. The Takumars are beautifully built, very small, optically brilliant, and focuses like no other in its class.

Other than a bit "slow" with the maximum aperture of f1.8, I see very little fault with this lens. It's sharp, has good bokeh, and still relatively cheap. Even if you don't like it, when you sell it later, you will not likely lose money. Trust me, if properly kept, this lens will last many decades more.

Caddy - Canon 5D Mark II & SMC Takumar 55mm f1.8 @ f4. Click for larger.

Da Shoe - Canon 5D Mark II & SMC Takumar 55mm f1.8 @ f1.8

Graffiti - Canon 5D Mark II & SMC Takumar 55mm f1.8


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  2. I have the all metal version of this lens. For my Nex5n it is the lens in that focal length range that I choose most often. I paid 50 USD for mine in mint condition but have seen them at auctions for $20. The Pentax M SMC 50mm f1.7 is also a favorite. I much prefer both of those over Pentax-K series in the same focal length.

    1. The 55mm f1.8 is truly one of the bargains for a 50mm lens. Don't have too much experience with most of the K/M versions of lenses.