Thursday, December 14, 2017

Lens Stories ~ Asahi (Pentax) Super-Takumar 200mm f/4

Lens Stories ~ Asahi Super-Takumar 200mm f/4

Just when I thought I'd seen the bottom of the old manual lens market prices I bid crazily low and rather late in an auction on a mint with sunshade, back bouchon, and original case 200mm lens.  I fully expected someone to snipe this out from under me.  Seriously.  My bid was that low.

Do I really need another 200mm lens?  No.  I have the pair of Nikon Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5 N Ai lenses and they seem plenty sharp on the long end.  Do I need to add a different lens mount (m42 in this case) to my normal all Nikon F-mount line up?  No.  Not really.  Though adapters are cheap (4Euro thru Amazon plus shipping).  Do I really have room for another lens in the Toy Box?  Um.  Isn't there always room for something fun and interesting?

Well, as the Lens Gawds would have it, I now have another beautiful optic to add to the Toy Box.  Bid welcome to a very lovely Asahi (Pentax to many of us mortals living in the West) Super-Takumar 200mm f/4 lens.

After successfully rationalizing my insanity I compared it to the Nikkor zooms.  What I see is that the Super-Tak is narrower in diameter, of similar overall length, and lighter than the Nikons.  As it typical of nearly every Takumar I've ever handled the focus ring action is very smooth and silky where Nikon lenses sometimes feel "gummed up", sloppy (as on certain well used zoom lenses), and sometimes not quite as precise.

As for resolution, the Takumar and Nikkor lenses perform similarly in the center from wide open down through the f-stop range.  At the extreme edges where the Nikkor's fall off dramatically in terms of resolution the Super-Tak remains sharp.  Starting around f/8 I notice that chromatic aberrations tend to increase in the Asahi, however.  It's nothing that a little anti-CA fringing function in processing can't handle, but I was surprised to see it.  Perhaps there's a good reason manufacturers switched to ED glass once such things became available?  In any event, f/4 or f/5.6 and be there, says I.  It's a very sharp optic at those two apertures across the field.

OK.  So what the [blank] am I going to do with this lens?  I have no idea at this point.  Maybe I'll take to the track to photograph the MotoGP at le Mans in the spring.  Perhaps I'll take it back to le Mans to photograph the vintage races during la classique.  We shall see what we shall see.  I may need to secure a press pass so I can get closer to the track.

... and before I forget, I should tell you what this wee-beasty set me back.  How about 11Euro?  Might that do the trick?

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