Review: Asahi/Pentax SMC Takumar 50mm Marco lens

February 22nd 2021, 00:03 | Written by Konstantin Koll

I suffer from “Gear Acquisition Syndrome” and have fallen in love with the Asahi/Pentax Takumar lenses from the late 1960s.

What happened so far

I own quite a collection of lenses by now, among them the Helios 44-2 lens with its swirly bokeh and the famous Meyer-Optik Görlitz Trioplan 100mm. Vintage lenses are clearly my thing in photography, and I have fallen in love with the Asahi/Pentax Takumar lenses from the late 1960s. This is a review of my latest purchase, the SMC Takumar 50mm Marco lens—my first and only macro lens.

Overview

The lens is very heavy for its size and well built like all Takumar lenses: it's made solely of glas and metal. The focus ring is stiff, but runs very smoothly and makes the lens protude quite a bit. The aperture ring is even stiffer, which is good to prevent unintentional dialing.

The SMC Takumar 50mm Macro lens comes with an M42 mount. I bought an adapter to attach it to my Sony camera. This works great, because modern mirrorless cameras are much smaller than traditional film cameras, so an adapter can fit nicely between the lens and the camera body. Make sure to purchase one made of metal, though!

Image quality

The SMC Takumar 50mm Macro lens comes in three different revisions: the first model has a 1:1 projection, while later versions have a 0.5 maximum magnification. I have intentionally picked the second revision, as I do not require such strong magnification. Instead, the SMC version has better lens coating which might come in handy.

I've already used this lens for a quick fashion shoot and a walk in the woods. Although the lens has a maximum aperture of f/4, the depth of field is razor thin (as with all macro lenses). Stepping the lens down increases the depth, but also requires considerably more light.

The overall image quality of this lens is outstanding, as Takumar lenses were among the best contemporary lenses. There is good image sharpness in the center, good color rendition and quite nice and smooth bokeh of objects in the far background. The more in focus, the busier the bokeh gets. Overall, I am quite happy with this lens, especially considering its low price point. I'm sure to take some great images from an unusual vantage point in future shoots!

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