Saturday, 16 August 2014

Super takumar 50mm 1.4 on Fuji X-E1

Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 on Fuji X-E1

Hello ladies and gentlemen , post of the day will about another vintage lens I bought. I started my M42 journey by purchasing a Helios 44m-2 58mm f2.0. It was an awesome lens and I even wrote some review about it. You can see my review on my Helios 44m in Helios with Fuji X-E1 and another review as guest post in FindingRange. My journey in vintage lens does not stop at there. This time, I bought a Japanese vintage lens.The lens I bought is Pentax Asahi Super Takumar 50mm f1.4.

Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 is one of the faster lens in 50mm range vintage lens.This lens is also known as a radioactive lens. This lens is radioactive because the lens was coated with a radioactive material known as Thorium. Due to the radioactivity, the company then stop using thorium for coating. Anyway, lets mutate my Fuji X-E1 by mounting this lens on. Before anything, I would like to remind you that this post is basically my personal opinion on the lens and it will be all based on real life usage instead of a lab test.

black and white

The construction of this lens is awesome.It is entirely metal and you cannot see any plastic parts. Comparing to the modern lens, it is definitely build like a tank. It is also quite light and rather small for a fast 50. The huge size of the modern lens is probably due to the autofocus motor and probably the more complicated lens design. The design of this lens is rather simple and definitely without auto focus motor since it is a manual focus lens. It is necessary to use an adapter to mount Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 to Fuji X-E1. Due to the adapter, the lens look rather long after mounting it on Fuji X-E1.

it will give you wings

Next, let's talk about focusing. Mounting this lens on Fuji X-E1 will allow manual focus but you will be enjoying a fully mechanical manual focus. A real mechanical manual focus is actually a fantastic thing. I really hope Fuji X native lens will have full mechanical manual focus too. Mechanical manual focus will have no lag or whatsoever and this will make manual focusing to be really fast after the user get used to it. Hence, it is necessary to practice the ability to manual focus. If it is done correctly, I believe the entire photo capturing process can be really fast. Back to Super Takumar 50mm 1.4, using manual focus for this lens is a bliss. It it so much more smooth comparing to Helios 44m 58mm f2.  Even after the Helios 44m undergoes some repair,  the manual focus process in Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 is still much smoother.  Other then that, using Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 on Fuji X-E1 also make the focus peaking function more efficient. For example, when shooting with the Super Takumar wide open at 1.4, we can still clearly see the focus highlight but sometime it is a little hard to see the focus highlight when shooting with Helios 44m 58mm wide open at 2.0. Probably because the Super Takumar is tad sharper compare to the Helios. Still both lens are awesome with their own strength and weakness.


 CK smile

Next, let's talk about the bokeh and the sharpness. Shooting Super Takumar wide open at 1.4 definitely can give you awesome bokeh. The bokeh at f1.4 is very smooth and  pleasing to our eye. It is definitely Bokehlicious. Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 is sharp lens and I believe it is even sharper then the Helios 44m. Somehow, it will not be sharper then my Fujinon XF35mm 1.4.  Anyway, extreme sharpness is definitely not the reason we get a vintage lens hence I think it is sharp enough for me. Shooting Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 wide open at 1.4 is defnitely no a problem. The shallow depth of field will also provide a very good separation between the subject and and the environment. If I want sharper photo, I will just shoot it stop down around 2.8 or more. Still, most of the time I will shoot in wide open.

 Look there :)

Using Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 on Fuji X-E1 will also produce quite vibrant color. Some people said that the photo produce from this lens will have some yellow cast due to the radioactive coating. Somehow I think it is alright for me. Maybe because I like my photo a little bit warmer, hence the yellow cast will not be a problem for me. On the other hand,shooting this lens wide will definitely have some chromatic aberration problem under high contrast. We can clearly see this problem when shooting this lens wide open at a back lighting situation. I believe a lot of lens will also face this problem. So just don shoot under back light situation to prevent this issue.

This is the real lens flare guys

Lastly, let talk about the specialties of this lens. For me,I think there are not much unique characteristic in Super Takumar 50mm f1.4. Allowing me to shoot f1.4 at most sitaution is definitely a bonus but then this is not a unique specialties since there are so many other lens that allow us to shoot at f1.4 or even lower. The bokeh of this lens are smooth and pleasing but they are not very unique. In fact , I believe that the Helios is actually a lens with more unique characteristic and specialties even though it is not as sharp as the Super Takumar. But then the manual focus of Super Takumar 50mm 1,4 is brilliant. I really hope the Helios 44m will have such a smooth autofocus because if Helios 44m have such smooth manual focus, it will make the experiance of using Helios 44m on Fuji X-E1 much pleasing and wonderful.

So, I think Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 is a well balance lens and is definitely a great lens to be use with the Fuji X-E1.This combo actually allow me to at a fast speed due to its buttery smooth manual focus. Hence, I am actually using quite a lot for streets photo and loving the fast operation. Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 definitely make it's stand in my lens arsenal. I am looking forward to compare my vintage 50's with Fujinon XF 56mm 1.2 but I believe it will not be so soon due to the price tag. But I believe the Fujinon XF56mm will be a brilliant lens. That is all for this post. Good days ahead and stay tuned for more.

Super Takumar 50mm 1.4


  1. Hi Meng,

    Great review! It's so cool that you're getting more and more interested in these vintage lenses. Nice photos too btw! You have a lot of excellent examples to show what this lens can really do. I actually kind of like the lens flare too :).



    1. Hi Patrick,Yeah, vintage lens can be very fun but I am still not confident enough to use them for more serious job. They are great and have their own characteristic. That make them very special :), Well fuji X-E1 and the conming soon Sony A7 mark two also will put these vintage lens into limelight.




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