If someone would ask me what my top three favourite lenses are, this lens would definitely be in it. If they would ask me what my favourite M42 lens is, this one would be the one for sure. The lens I'm talking about is the Super Takumar 50mm f1.4. This lens is incredible and in this blog I will tell and show you why this lens should definitely be in your collection.
The Super Takumar 50mm f 1.4 was produced in the mid 1960's until the beginning of the 1970's, by the Asahi Optical Corporation in Japan. In the fabrication of this lens Thorium was used. A radioactive element, which will give the lens a yellowish tint over time. The lens is pretty sharp like the Helios (another great M42 lens), and even wide open it shows lots of detail in the centre of the image. The edges of the picture are soft. I like that in a lens, as it gives character to the picture and puts extra focus on the subject in the photo. Which of course should be in the middle of the picture :) All the photos you'll see below were shot with this lens in combination with the Zhongyi lens turbo II M42 to M43 adapter.
The bokeh this lens produces is beautiful and plentiful. It doesn't produce a swirl like the Helios, but that's not a bad thing. As this lens therefore complements the Helios beautifully, giving the photographer something to choose.
The ultra shallow depth of field this lens provides, in combination with its sharpness, makes images possible you only thought were possible on a full frame camera.
It will produce lens flares, when pointed right into the sun. But even that can give some very nice results, as it doesn't loose all its sharpness and contrast, and the flare is red and rainbow coloured, which I like.
I hardly ever shoot this lens with its aperture closed down. Why would you do that, when it produces such nice results wide open. One of the few times I did take pictures with a closed down aperture (f8 - f11), I used it to create the panorama you see below. Not the most ideal lens for this purpose, as the edges stay somewhat unsharp. But it was the only lens I had with me. I like how it turned out.
I also used it for a black and white photo project, making one photo for each day of the week. Being "forced" to take a picture each day normally doesn't result (with me) in the best pictures. But these five are interesting and the old lens gives the black and white pics a bit of that classic film like authenticity.
In short, this beautiful little lens can often be found on my camera for al the reasons I mentioned above. Not convinced yet? Well maybe the photos below will win you over. I'm convinced you won't regret buying it! :)