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Sunny, brisk woods

Sunny, brisk woods

Just a few quick pics in the woods with the Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 this afternoon. The light wasn’t great, and there were lots of people about, but so far I’m liking what I’m seeing πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰ )

Sneaking one more in under the wire…

Sneaking one more in under the wire…

One more Russian lens that I had forgotten about πŸ˜‰ this is the Industar-61 55mm f/2.8. It arrived in the middle of all the Christmas rush and I had gotten such a deal on it and it had taken so long to ship I just put it to one side.

Made since the 70s (and apparently still in production today) this is a Leica 39mm mount, rangefinder lens, and according to the serial number mine is from 1993. It is amazing how “agricultural” the Russian lenses look against the Japanese ones- compare this to the Auto-Takumar from yesterday, which looks so much more sleek and refined despite being 30 years older!

But takes some nice pictures (again, it was very dreary today so I’ve gone mostly B&W), though it does have some odd focus defects away from center, especially wide open!

A new lens to end the year…

A new lens to end the year…

I have been watching a bunch of YouTube channels by other lens aficionados (in particular this one) and have started looking at some more of the vintage Japanese lenses that are available, in particular those made by Asahi-Pentax from the late 50s to the 70s for the Pentax M42 mount, the “Takumar” series.

I used a little of my Christmas money and, after much research on eBay to find some at reasonable prices, have bought a couple πŸ™‚

I bought this one on Sunday, and the seller in Japan messaged me to apologize that Fedex was closed so he would have to send it via DHL- and it arrived yesterday, less than 48 hours later!

This is an Auto-Takumar 35mm f/2.3 that I am very excited about! When it was introduced in 1958 it was the first and fastest retrofcus wide-angle lens available and cemented Pentax as the “must-have” camera for reporters. It was manufactured from 1958-1963 (or 1959-1962, depending on which website you believe), but based on the serial number on mine it was one of the last batches to be made so it is probably a 1963, making it the same age as me πŸ™‚

I took it out in the woods this morning, and though conditions were not ideal I got some quite pleasing shots:

But it is this one that excites me the most as it hints at what this lens is capable of-

Look at that lovely flare- and the extraordinary quality of the bokeh!

I took a couple around the Christmas tree yesterday when the lens first arrived to see this effect, they are not good pictures, but they do give an idea of what you can do-

It is going to take some work to understand this effect properly and see how to make this work when I want it to, but I can’t wait for some proper winter sunshine (and the spring to come) to play around with this πŸ™‚

Stuffed chicken breasts …

Stuffed chicken breasts …

… in Jackie’s new convection oven- delicious!

I was going to get her an air fryer, but my research told me a convection oven and an air fry basket actually worked the same and could do a lot more πŸ™‚