Pentax 67 135/4 macro

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by mark_pierlot, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. I have an opportunity to pick up a very clean Pentax 67 135/4 for an excellent price and I have a few of questions about the lens.
    First, I've heard that it's the only "macro" lens that was made for the Pentax 67 system. Is this correct?
    Second, I've heard that it's not a true macro (i.e., that it doesn't go to 1:1 magnification without extension). Is this correct?
    Lastly, I've heard that it's IQ is not up to the standard of most other 67 lenses. So how good is the lens optically, and how well does it perform for general (i.e., non-closeup) shooting?
    Thanks in advance!
  2. I have this lens but I have never used it for Macro, I don't use it for much of anything really so I can't comment on the image quality.
    I think Pentax had a bit of a stretch calling it a Macro lens as it is more of a close focus lens.
    It will focus as close as 2.5 feet which according to the literature I have with the lens is 0.3 magnification and a long way from 1:1.
    I think pretty much any lens needs extension to achieve 1:1.
    I have the Pentax extension tube set but even using #1, 2 1 and 3 extension tubes will not give 1:1; I seem to remember reading somewhere you still need to add the helicoid extension tube to achieve 1: or beyond.
  3. The IQ is fine as far as I can tell, having used it on the Pentax and also on the digital Leica S2 medium format dSLR. Due to the long focusing helix, the front glass is recessed and it forms its own lens hood. The lens has a Heliar optical design, symmetrical 5-element arrangement 2:1:2 fairly common for macro lenses as it performs well at a wide range of subject distances.
    Yes, it focuses to 1:2 naturally and needs an extension tube to get further magnification. So, macro but not micro.
    This lens was introduced in 1971, very early in the P6x7 family, and issued again with cosmetic changes (incl rubberized focusing ring surfaces) in 1989. It was the mainstay and only P67 macro until March 1998 when the newer macro 100mm f/4 replaced it in the lineup. This later lens came with an optical add-on that screwed into the front to allow 1:1 magnification. Like the 135, it is excellent at any subject distance.
  4. I have used my newest version several times as a studio portrait lens. If you don't use the in camera meter you need to remember to open the fstop up some as you get to closer focus. As to image quality I have seen the test results that say it is a bit less sharp than others but in my experience it is sharp as a tack.
  5. There was also a later made 100mm macro lens which was supposed to be better than the 135mm version but I have never seen or used that particular lens. However when I had my Pentax 67/ 67II outfit I did have the 135mm lens for a while and have to say I was a bit underwhelmed by it, it can focus reasonably close but nothing like as close as a 35mm/ full frame macro lens can and with the weight and bulk of a Pentax 67 moving the camera on a tripod in fine increments to get the best composition and focus isn't all that easy either.
    I found the 135mm lens okay for general landscape type use but too close to the 105mm lens that I had to want to carry it in addition to my other lenses. At one time I had the 45mm, 55mm, 75mm, 105mm, 135mm and 200 mm lenses, sold the 75mm lens pretty quickly just not all that great optically and whilst the 135mm lens was decent enough optically I couldn't justify keeping it when I could get so much better macro images using at that time a 35mm film camera with Tamron 90mm lens. I think if you are looking for a more general use lens the 165mm lens would be a better bet, far enough away from the 105mm focal length and a bit easier to use than the tricky 200mm lens which required very careful handling even with decent tripod and head as the tiniest movement when the mirror was thrashing around could and did blur the images. It took a small camera bag with another lens in it hanging off of the 200mm lens barrel and the palm of my hand pressed firmly on the prism to calm everything down, even using mirror lockup but doing that always gave me pin sharp images and not doing it gave me complete mush!
  6. As Allan Jamieson said, there is also a 100mm f/4 macro. It is considered to be better quality than the 135/4. It is rarer and more expensive. It came with a matched "Life-Size Converter" to achieve 1:1 (screws onto the front of the lens, like a close-up filter but better quality). Some units sold on the used market are missing the converter.
    A great source of lens information for the P67 family is at http : // antiquecameras . net / pentax6x7lenses.html
  7. I used it for many years, 25+.
    I did not have the 90mm or 100mm.
    It needs tubes to get into Macro.
    Stunningly sharp, beautiful rendition.
    6X7 format requires stopping down, not as a 35mm format Macro.
    The huge camera needs steady holding or correct tripod.
    Mirror lock up a great idea.
    Mine lacked that feature..
    Great for portraits but I always used soft filters..
    Nobody who sell images of clients want ultra sh samples.arp Bruce Gilden
  8. It's decent without being spectacular. If you get it for good price (i.e cheap) then it's worth it.
  9. I shoot a lot of macro work and went through many 67 lenses in my quest to find the best lens for my work. Even though the 135mm is not soft, it is also not in the top five 67 lenses in sharpness. Is it sharp enough for publication work? Yes. I found that I preferred to use my 165LS and 90-180 zoom with tubes for macro work, mostly because they gave me better subject to camera distance. Plus, they both had f/32 DOF just like the 135 but the zoom also had f/45 when needed. The 100 macro was just too short in focal length for me to consider. I had wished that Pentax updated the 135mm with a 165mm Macro. Never happened.
  10. I agree the 135mm is not soft, in fact it is a sharp lens nothing I've seen in my experience points to the contrary. As a true Macro? Well its been good enough for my needs, but most of all I like the focal length.
  11. Thanks for all the advice, gentlemen. It seems that the consensus is that the 135/4 is a adequately sharp if not spectacular lens. It would be good to have at least one 67 lens that focuses closely, even if it's not a true macro. Should I have a hankering to shoot at higher magnification, I have other lenses in my digital and 35mm film kits that go to 1:1.
  12. Sorry, but the phrase should have read "an adequately sharp if not spectacular lens."

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