First new lens of the new year :)

First new lens of the new year :)

This just arrived last night from Japan- a Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4, and I’m super excited about this one!

In the early 60s the Asahi Optical Company wanted to try and make a standard lens that would best the current leader, the Zeiss Planar, and so they came up with this. This “Planar-killer” did indeed take the top spot, but if you believe the stories it was at some cost- the original 8-element version of this lens was so expensive to produce that Asahi lost money on every one they sold! I’m not sure if that is actually true, but after a couple of years they quietly changed the optics to a slightly simpler 7-element design.

But after some research and a lot of time on eBay I managed to track down one of the early, 8-element versions, and so far it seems to live up to it’s reputation (though Walter is not impressed).

From the serial number this is from one of the later batches of this original version, probably manufactured in 1965, but other than some very minor wear on the focus ring you really could not tell it is 56 years old: the focus is smooth and precise, the aperture ring has a nice, crisp click, and the glass is pristine 🙂

I’ve just done a few quick snaps around the church with it so far, but the colors, the bokeh and the sharpness are beautiful! The 100% crop from the center of this rather un-remarkable picture shows how good it is stopped down too…

I can’t wait to get this one out into the woods for a proper session, and then to compare it to it’s 7-element sibling (I found a cheap, but hopefully good one on eBay that should be here next week 😉 )

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