Maybe a reader could get the impression I like all lenses? ;) Well, I try to see the good and bad in them all, what to use them for, what properties do they have? But some are easier to love then others…
I bought this lens Asahi Auto Takumar 85mm/1.8 from my friend Daniel together with another lens. I guess this was about 800 SEK (approximately 76€, $98, £66 at the moment of writing) of the price, a bargain because I have later seen it on ebay for about $200. This is in good condition, only problem was a little stiff aperture ring but it loosened up with some exercise. Normal wear on hood and mount. A couple of other friends here in Örebro also bought lenses from Daniel at the same time and he shipped them all to me, so we had a little package-opener party.
Auto Takumar 85mm/1.8 is a M42-mounted lens. This means I can mount it on Canon EOS with an adapter. M42 also works with adapter on DSLRs from Pentax, Olympus ans Sony. It also work on all M42 screwmount cameras offcourse.
The optical design is 5 elements in 4 groups. It’s quite wide for an early Takumar lens, 55mm filterdiameter (smaller then many other 85mm-lenses though). It was produced 1960-1964. It has aperturering in the front, nothing I have though of that much, but now I kind of feel I like that design since I can hold the lens steady while changing aperture. Weight 330g. My copy came with an original hood. The whole thing is made of metal offcourse, no plastic feeling anywhere. It has a button which I can use to open the aperture temporarily, I seldom use it hough since I often shoot with his lens at wide apertures.
This is probably the best lens I own. Sharp but the bokeh is fantastic – really soft even in flares. The Auto Takumar 85mm/1.8 is good for portraits but also works great for naturephotography. It’s easy to isolate a sharp object to a milkysoft background. Close focus is 85cm, not great but ok. I like the focal length, on my EOS 350D the cropfactor makes it 136mm. Offcourse f-stop 1.8 is fast for a short telephoto.
I answered a question on Flickr earlier today, which lens I would pick if I could only keep one. The answer was Auto Takumar 85mm/1.8. In fact, the list below “cons” will be short since I can’t find many cons.
A note on later versions
The later Super-Takumar and SMC version, one with different f-stop (1.9) have a different optical formula. Some people say those are much better, I have even read advise to avoid the Auto-Takumar but I feel that’s a bit stupid and write it down to the “all things newer is better”-myth. Sure, they have more glass and coating – which make their properties different and in som ways “better”, but to disregard this fantistic Auto Takumar lens because of that is insane. For me it still outshines all other lenses I have tried including modern primes.
+ Best bokeh ever
+ Fast f-stop, clear viewfinder image
+ Build quality… metal… solid like a tank.
+ Size (from what I’ve read most 85s are larger).
+ Button to let you temporarily open the “springloaded” aperture while focusing.
- Stiff aperture in my copy
- If it’s really important to you, I guess single-coating is a con. But I haven’t noticed it.
http://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/showproduct.php?product=284 (they have mixed it up with Super-Multi-Coated)
New: Asahi Pentax Auto Takumar 85mm f/1.8 Lens Review on MFLenses