The Super-Takumar 135mm f/3.5 lens was made by the Asahi Optical Company in Japan in the 1960’s and 1970’s for Pentax M42 screw mount cameras. There were a few nearly identical versions of the Asahi Takumar 135mm f/3.5 lens manufactured, each with a different coating applied to the glass, but otherwise identical. I love pairing my Fujifilm X-T30 with vintage lenses, such as this one. You will need an M42 to Fuji-X adapter to attach it to your Fujifilm X camera. The Asahi-Pentax Super-Takumar 135mm f/3.5 lens is a long telephoto prime that won’t break the bank, but is it any good?
This lens, unsurprisingly, is all manual (don’t let the “A” and “M” switch on the side fool you). You will have to manually focus it and manually adjust the aperture. There’s nothing automatic about it. If you are not used to lenses like this, it might take some practice to get comfortable using it. Also, being a longer lens without image stabilization, you’ll need to use faster shutter speeds or tripod to avoid blur.
As I stated in my Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens review, the 135mm focal length used to be very common. It was one of the first primes you’d add to your bag. It’s much less common nowadays. Because of the APS-C crop factor, this lens has a full-frame focal-length equivalency of about 202mm, which makes it a long telephoto option. Fujifilm only makes one prime lens this long, in fact, but it costs a heck-of-a-lot, so if you want a long telephoto prime, you have to look elsewhere, such as vintage glass like this one, or buy a telephoto zoom.
The Asahi Takumar 135mm lens is fairly small and lightweight for how long it is. At 0.75 pounds, it weighs noticeably less than the previously mentioned Fujinon 90mm lens. It’s made of metal and feels pretty sturdy. Asahi made quality lenses, so this is not surprising. Even though this lens is quite old, it seems like it has a lot of life left.
Sharpness is a tale of two lenses, with the focus distance being the key factor. At near and medium distances, the Asahi Takumar 135mm is quite sharp. There is perhaps some softness, particularly in the corners, at f/3.5 (the maximum aperture), but by f/5.6 it’s pretty sharp across the entire frame. Peak sharpness is around f/8 or f/11, with diffraction setting in at f/16, and f/22 (the minimum aperture) being only marginally usable. Beyond medium focus distances, the lens becomes less sharp as you move towards infinity, and has only mediocre sharpness when focused at infinity, about what one would expect from a cheap zoom and not a prime.
There’s quite a bit of chromatic aberrations in the corners no matter the aperture, but the smaller the aperture the worse it seems to get; there’s very little in the middle at all apertures. I haven’t noticed any vignetting. There’s a tiny amount of pincushion distortion that will only be noticed when photographing brick walls. This lens does not control flare well at all, producing a hazy-type flare that significantly reduces contrast. Sunstars are medicore. Bokeh is not especially good looking.
The lens functions well. The focus ring is smooth. The aperture clicks at the f-stops. I have had no problems pairing it with my Fujifilm X-T30. There are good and bad points to the image quality that the Asahi Takumar 135mm lens produces. In fact, I would say that this is the worst Takumar lens I’ve used, but it is still capable of capturing good images. You have to understand its strengths and weaknesses, and use it accordingly.
Despite the negative points, this lens can usually be found for less than $50, and sometimes for less than $25, which makes it a great bargain! You can find cheap M42 to Fuji-X adapters that will allow you to attach the lens to your camera; mine was about $10. Considering the price, if you want a 200mm equivalent focal-length lens, it’s worth taking a chance on this one.
Sample photographs, all captured using this Asahi-Pentax Super-Takumar 135mm f/3.5 lens attached to my Fujifilm X-T30:
Industar 69 + Fujifilm X-T30
If my memories of old Pentax days are correct, the A/M switch is for the diaphragm, on camera which required stop-down metering.
You are indeed correct!
The Super Takumars are all top quality lenses, providing they haven’t suffered with age. I have a 28mm, 35mm, and 50mm. The 28 is a favourite for use on my Canon DSLR. The 35 would be too, except that its glass has yellowed over the years and so every image needs colour correction. I hope to find another one day that isn’t discoloured.
I hope you find a good copy of the 35mm, I have heard great things about it. Thank you for the input!
The yellow caste is not the coating but the thoriated (radioactive) glass itself. As the Thorium breaks down it causes the yellow tint. Set your 35mm under a UV light. When mine arrived, it was quite discolored and I put it on a small mirror and left the light on it for a few days. I left the aperture wide open. It cleared up almost perfectly. This can also be done by putting it in direct sunlight but you have to leave it sitting a lot longer, a week or more.
I run mine on my Pentax K1 and it gives me beautiful photos.
Thanks for the tip! 🙂
More of these type of posts please. Love it.
I hope to do just that. Glad you like it!
Loved your photos and style. can you please share which Adapter did you use? I’ve heard that an a adapter, even a cheap one, could make quite a difference.
It’s a very cheap adapter I found on eBay several years ago. It doesn’t have a brand name, but I’m sure it wasn’t more than $10. It works well, never had a problem.