Asahi Pentax SV for SMC Takumar 50mm f1.4?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by robert lee, Dec 14, 2006.

  1. My SMC Takumar 50mm f1.4 just came in (along with a M42-EOS adapter.) This is
    my first M42 lens. Boy, oh boy, what a jewel.

    I had intended to use the lens on my Canon EOS digital and film cameras, but now
    it's clear; I really _must_ pair it with a representative Pentax body. So, how
    about a SV?

    1. I know the H3V is the U.S. import version of the same. Is there a reason to
    prefer one over the other?

    2. I don't mind not having a in-camera meter, but MLU would be really nice.
    Does the SV have this feature? Is there a Pentax M42 mount camera that does?

    3. I'm thinking about picking up the 500mm f4.5 next. Any problems using this
    with the SV/H3V?
  2. The H3V was my first camera and is remembered fondly. It had no mirror lock up. Neither did my next model SL (a Spotmatic with no meter) which I recall having a better feel). If price is an option and meter not required, the easiest thing to find cheap would be a Spotmatic with a dead meter. If you are going for accuracy of lens on body, I believe (not sure here) the H3V is older than SMC. If the lens is a late one with the extra paw on the back for use by the open aperture meter feature, it should be on a Spotmatic F to be consistant as a collectable.
  3. There were at leas two versions of the SV, the earlier one is unable to handle some lenses because of a clearance problem in the lens mount throat. I can't recall whether it is a mirror clearance or flange clearance problem. If you go with an SV, be sure to research that issue first.

    Neither my Spotmatic (original) nor my Spotmatic II has a MLU. I have never checked on the SP's, but some cameras will flip up the mirror as the first step in the self-timer release process. That can be used as a work-around if there is no MLU. I too have a pair of 50/1.4 Takumars. Both are slightly yellowed, and I use them on my SP's for B&W film. However, I keep a Fujinon 55/1.8 in the same bag in case I want to use color film.

    If it helps, I have experience using each of the following M42 cameras and none of them has an MLU switch:

    Asahi Spotmatic (original)
    Asahi Spotmatic II
    Asahi SV (orange R)
    Asahi SV (white R)
    Asahi H1A
    Chinon CM-3
    Fujica ST-705
    Fujica ST-605
    Vivitar 220/SL (Cosina)
    Vivitar 250/SL (Cosina)
    Vivitar 420/SL (Cosina)
    Vivitar 450/SLD (Cosina)
    Vivitar XC-3 (Cosina)
    Vivitar XC-4 (Cosina)
    Praktica FX
    Praktica Nova B
    Praktiva Super TL
    Praktica LLC
    Mamiya-Sekor DTL 500
    Mamiya-Sekor DSX 500

  4. Doug is correct. The SMC lenses were introduced in about 1970, for the Spotmatic F, which featured open-aperture metering. Some of the later Super-Takumar lenses of the Spotmatic era were mutlicoated, but they were still referred to as S-T lenses. All lenses labelled SMC or Super-Multi-Coated Takumar had the extra linkage for open aperture metering.

    The SV/H3v would have come originally with a late Auto-Takumar, with fully automatic aperture or with an early Super-Takumar. The SV/H3v was made from about 1960-61 through 1964, when the Spotmatic was introduced.

    If you're not interested in historical or collectable accuracy, however, the SMC lens will work just fine with an SV, or an original Spotmatic. That's one of the nice things about Pentax. Through the years, they've maintained better backward compatibility than most camera makers. Heck, with an adapter, you can use that SMC 1.4 on a K10D!

    I also agree with Doug that the Spotmatic family has a slightly better feel than the H-series. I have two Spotmatics and an H1 (cheaper sibling to the H3/H3v), and the Spotty just feels a little nicer. Its hard to define why, since the basic body dimensions and control positions are the same.

    Paul Noble
  5. That's a great lens, Robert; one of the all-time great 1.4/50s. Since yours is the last version, supporting open-aperture metering, it might be fun to mate it with one of the matching bodies: Pentax ES, ESII, or Spotmatic F. The first two have AE with electronic shutter control.

    I've used a 1.4/50 with my SV, and it works fine, but I was careful to make sure this SV is the later type with (I believe) shorter mirror to clear the somewhat protruding rear element of that lens. This chart is useful in helping determine Pentax body versions:

    No thread-mount Pentax had mirror pre-release or lockup, to the best of my knowledge, the lockup feature arriving with some K-bayonet bodies. (And the P6x7 as of about 1976)
  6. Heh,heh... Just picked up two bodies: a Yashica-TL Electro with matching leather hardcase, and a Pentax ES-II.

    The Yashica does have MLU, but it's the leather case that really sealed the deal. Big Grin...
  7. Pentax Spotmatics have a hidden mirror lock-up feature. If you flick(?) the shutter release button on some spotmatics, the mirror flips up and the lens stops down but the shutter does not open. Then you can press the shutter button properly to complete the cycle. Works best with shutter speeds 1/30 and slower, where you really need them.

    Then there were some Spotmatics with factory installed MLU as en extra feature. The MLU switch looks just like the meter switch, but on the other side of the lens mount. These spotmatics are rare.

    The easiest way to get an M42 camera with MLU is to look into the Yashicas. Tl-Super and Tl-Electro X both have mirror lock up. The finders and overall build quality on these cameras are not up the the standards of spotmatics though.
  8. The 50F1.4 Takumar is no sharper than the 1.8 and quite a bit heavier. So unless you are going to use the 1.4 a lot, you are just carrying around dead weight. You may get marginaly brighter focussing, but you could get much brighter focussing by getting a Fujica body instead of a Pentax.
  9. The 50/1.4 Takumar has better bokeh, and in my subjective opinion more character than the 55/1.8 Takumar. However, judging from the samples I have, 55/1,8 is noticiably sharper at infinity.
  10. Robert, if you are still watching this thread, a word of caution. The Pentax Super-Takumar lenses don't all work on all Eos bodies with an adaptor. The length of the mirror in some of the Eos bodies is greater than in others, and while all of my Carl Zeiss Jena M42 lenses work, the Pentax lenses, when focussed at infinity, protrude rearwards just enough to foul the mirror.
  11. I tried the lens on my XT already. It works fine. Manual focusing on that camera's viewfinder is difficult though. I'm expecting receipt of a couple of old screwmount film bodies, so I suspect that's where the lens will be on most of the time.

    The lens is definitely sharper and contrastier at f2 than the EF 50mm f1.8 I also use. I haven't bothered comparing it to the 24-70 f2.8L at 50mm; my copy of the zoom is not great wide open.

    The thing that's gotten me a bit concerned though, is the radioactive glass. I specifically bought the SMC version because of this. My initial research indicated that it's the most recent revision of the lens had retired the thorium lens element.

    Looks like I was wrong, and it's the oldest 8 element version that's problem free. My lens does indeed have a slight, yellowish cast.
  12. The yellow tint can be removed by UV light. Also, the amount of radioactivity is so faint as to be no health hazard, and obviously not strong enough to have any effect on the film!

    I have several Pentax lenses, versions of which used the Thoriated elements, but none so far show signs of yellowing. If one did, I'd place the lens in a south-facing windowsill, pointed so the sun will shine through it at some time of day. And wrap the mount with crinkled aluminum foil to reflect the light back through the elements. Might take several weeks of such exposure, I understand. Or if you have a UV lamp, that would do it much faster I expect. "You'll wonder where the yellow went!" as the old toothpaste ad goes. :)

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