Lens Review: Takumar 135mm f3.5

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Lens Review: Takumar 135mm f3.5

The 135mm f3.5 Takumar is a medium telephoto lens made by the Asahi Optical Company. One of the best telephoto vintage lenses, the 135mm Takumar has several versions, such as the Super, Super-Multi-Coated and SMC. They all have the M42 mount and are basically the same in terms of optics and design. What’s different is the coating layer: initially they were single-coated, but later they had several versions of multi-coating.

The 135mm f3.5 Takumar has an excellent build quality and is one of the most reliable M42 lenses. Despite the fact that these lenses are at least 40 years, the crafting is impeccable. This is a true example of Japanese engineering at its best. In fact, the Takumar lenses seem to be the only vintage lenses that do not require (if properly stored) professional servicing for decades after being made! This is almost incredible, but from our experience they have the best build quality / reliability ratio of all vintage lenses that we tested.

The 135mm Takumar has a f3.5 aperture. Although it might seem to be a bit slow, it was standard at the time for premium lens manufacturers. The f3.5 allows the Takumar to be used wide open, without having to think about soft images and uneven colors. This is also true when speaking about some 135mm lenses such as the CZJ Sonnar, Jupiter-11, A.Schacht Ulm  or similar lenses made by Canon, Minolta and Olympus. The 135mm Takumar also has the advantage of being a rather light and compact lens making it easy to be carried around. Focusing is both smooth and precise, which makes it good for photo and video alike.

Naturally, the newer multi-coated versions are a little less prone to flair than older ones, but even the single-coated Super Takumar performs very well, especially when used with a sun cap. Normally the 135mm Takumar comes with its own dedicated hood and sturdy leather container. For the vintage stuff aficionados, all these accessories may be interesting. The 135mm f3.5 Takumar has a more expensive and harder to find sibling, which is the 135mm f2.5 Super-Multi-Coated Takumar. The 135mm f3.5 Takumar has a minimum focusing distance of 1.5m, it weighs 342g and takes a 49mm filter. It has a 6 blades aperture.

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