Super Takumar 50mm F/1.4 Lens Review

There's practically an adapter to mount any lens to any camera these days, and here YouTube member videotestground talks about the Pentax M42 Super Takumar 50mm F/1.4 [Thanks Vedran]. These M42 lenses are older manual lenses for Pentax film cameras that can be mounted to your Canon DSLR through a cheap adapter. A Canon 50mm F/1.4 will run you close to $400 dollars, so you could save quite a bit adapting older manual film lenses. He also goes into showing a small step up filter adapter, and examples with a static ND filter to shoot at the wide aperture in the bright day.

You can find these old lenses for your Canon DSLR on eBay (click here).
Super Takumar M42 Pentax F1.4
find-price-button Pentax Asahi Super Takumar 50mm F1/.4

And you can find the adapters needed to mount M42 lenses to Canon cameras (click here)

m42 adapter
find-price-button M42 to Canon EOS Lens Adapters


19 thoughts on “Super Takumar 50mm F/1.4 Lens Review

  1. My Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 also has a soft and glowy rendition when it's wide open. Just like Andrew (Comment 13) described it. Having a crop sensor camera like me makes it worse, too, because of it's inherent scaling.

    But there's an easy fix for better sharpness: Just stop it down to f/2.0 and it's as good as any modern lens.
    As a compromise f/1.8 is not too bad either.

    There's an easy fix for another problem someone wrote about here earlier:
    The dreaded yellow radioactive tint can be removed by exposing it to (UV) light. A simple IKEA LED lamp does the trick.
    I made a little flickr set with my results and a how to:

  2. steve

    I am looking for 2 adapters. Which is the best ? and is the af confirm chip worth it. i heard it never works on any eos cameras


  3. Darius


    Perhaps try the 55 1.8, much cheaper and it is a bit sharper wide open and throughout than the 50. I bought a cheap Super 55 and it my favorite of all my Taks. It flares like crazy in direct light giving a beautiful washed out/low contrast image, but that's what I wanted it for. Nothing like shooting into a tree from below and having that sun light drift in and out, it's a things of beauty.

    Also the SMC lenses still have a radioactive element that causes yellowing, I have a SMC 35/2 that has this issue, however I actually like a little bit of the yellowing as I find it favorable for skin tones and adds a nice, subtle warmth to the lenses. Nothing that can't be adjusted with a few notches of color temp if needed.

    I will also say that recently I added a Jupiter 9, Helios 44-2, and Mir-1v to my M42 collection, but outside of the Jupiter the russian lenses just don't hold a candle to the Takumars in terms of image or build quality.

  4. Andrew

    As Matthew noted Super Takumar 50mm makes a weird glow when wide open, it looks like picture taken with a diffusion filter. This is the only downside of this lens (and unfortunately critical one for me to use this lens)

  5. Tony

    A couple of notes. There's the Takumar Super-Multi-Coated and the latter Takumar SMC. The SMC does not have the radiation therium (probably misspelled) coating but a better coating many have said. I have the SMC and it is just one amazing lens. I also have the 1:2 Takumar 50mm f4 Macro. Tack sharp. I suggest to get the M42 mounts only. They keep going up in price as time goes by. I'm excited to have some old Zeiss glass on the way. =)

  6. jhog

    Chris is right, my M42-EOS doesn't block the 5D mirror (just tried it).

    That being said, my Pentax K-mount to EOS will interfere with the 5D mirror. Actually, there's an aperture lever on old K-mount lenses that protrude too far into the 5D body, they work fine on crop sensor cameras though.

  7. Chris

    I've actually been using this lens for stills for years with my 5D's, and I've never had an issue with the mirror hitting the lens...

  8. MN


    It will and it does. Any old 35mm film lens can be used on M43 cameras with the proper adapter.

    I just shot with my GH1 and SMC pentax 50mm today.

    Since the sensor for 4/3rds is half of full frame, the focal length math is easy to figure out as well. Just double it.

    A 24mm=48mm. 50mm=100, etc.

    I actually prefer the retro quality of older lenses, as what I typically shoot for my short films benefits from the aesthetic.

  9. Matthew


    Great point about the smoothness of focus. Most manual lenses have way better focus rings than modern lenses. The Pentax focus is buttery smooth.

    I'm actually selling my Gini iFocus and rig because I don't like the extra weight and can get almost as nice a focus pull by hand.

    Dan, there are definitely M42 to GH2 adapters out there. I personally wouldn't bother with the chipped adapters. They can malfunction and don't offer too much upside.

  10. Dan

    are you sure the lens he is talking about will work on a Gh2? He seems to indicate they only work on Canon cameras.

  11. Darius

    Over the last year and a half I have been collecting Takumars for my 60d. Beautiful glass, even better build quality. The Supers are single coated and the SMCs are Super-Multi-Coated. That yellow tint some of the fifths and thirty-gives have is due to radiation in an internal element and can be removed with some UV exposure.

    My only gripe is their small size which is difficult for follow focuses, however they are so smooth you don't really need a FF anyways.

  12. Matthew

    Great lens, as Greg said it will hit the 5D MK2 mirror at infinity. The newer Pentax SMC-M 50mm F/1.4 works if you trim a metal tab off the back. The Takumar has a glow or dreamy quality when wide open. The SMC is very sharp with a creamy bokeh. Both are great for around $100.

    I'm also using an Olympus OM Zuiko 24mm F/2.8 for my wide angle and a Tamron 52B Adaptall 90mm F/2.5 1:2 Macro with attachable Tamron 01F 2x Teleconverter for 180mm and 1:1 Macro at F/5. All of these lenses are around $100 and take a 49mm filter. This provides me with an affordable and useful range of lenses.

    Some other vintage lenses to consider are the Russian made Helios 44, Mir 24, Jupiter 9 and Zenitar Fisheye.

    Modern lenses would be great, but I can work with what I have until I can afford something like the 24-105 F/4 L. Vintage zooms are generally not worth considering. You also won't be getting IS on longer lenses. Also, vintage macro lenses are usually only 1:2.

  13. Disastronaut

    I use one of these lenses on my GH2. Aside from a slight yellow cast I'd have to say I'm quite impressed with it, especially for something I got for free.

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