What follows is more or less what I have posted on the
Pentax Forums site
, it may spoil all the fun but since I'm not going to write a long review, I think
it is sufficient for the impatient reader and a quick evaluation:
I hate screw lenses, I love bajonets. I promised myself not to buy any more M42 lenses, never ever. And here I am. When I saw this jewel in pristine condition (I mean really like it just came of the shop, in spite of decades passed by), with the focus ring buttery, firm and precise (I mean better than my two Zeiss Distagons!), the mechanics incredibly tight, no sign of wobbling... the original all-metal cap and hood, etc. well, could I resist?
The lens is marked "Super-Takumar 85mm F1.9" and the minimal aperture is f/16 (there are three variants,
apparently they perform the same). Obviously, in the "f/1.9" lays the allure of this product, but there is more.
I have taken just a few shots, at f/1.9 and f/2 at close distance and f/5.6 and f/8 at a tower 200m away, more or less (let's say "infinity").
I did my best to carefully focus and the results are very satisfactory, much beyond my expectations.
The optic is very sharp in the centre even at f/1.9 and surprisingly sharp at APS-C corners in both scenarios,
and that's unusual since often lenses are better at short distance or far distance, not both.
Technically speaking, here sharpness comes from resolution, not contrast.
Sorry I cannot tell about full-frame performance.
The bokeh seems very good, too, even though I haven't really checked the different cases.
Bokeh balls are even but lack magic. You can expect that from the type and number of diagphragm blades.
Alas, axial chromatic aberration is not negligible and it is hard to correct via software.
There is some lateral CA but it's hardly noticeable.
I should better check as soon as I can, with a more contrasty image;
indeed, the long-distance shots are contrasty but the CA is practically absent there, good!
Microcontrast is not strong, I'd say just "fair" (which is not bad at all),
but it's something that can be easily dealt with at edit time, if you need more "pop".
In brief, there is nothing to complain about mechanics, this lens is a jewel.
Optically, it's not perfect but the actual shots are very pleasant, and one must definitely take into account the
age of the lens and the very wide aperture, that poses problems of its own, to the optic designers at least.
The main problem I see comes from its weight and bulkiness. The Fujifilm XH-1 is not a small camera like its siblings and
yet this 85mm is a bit on the heavy side for it, I think it's a better match for a full-frame camera or a heavier camera.
The M42 ring is an attractive option for many photographers, but I will probably resell this lens just because I precisely hate screws
(M42 or not) and since I own a Sonnar I can live without this Pentax;
it's a really tough decision. Definitely, it's one of the best Pentax/Takumar lenses I have ever put my hands on, in spite of its
flaws it exerts an inexplicable appeal on me.
If I had the same lens with the bajonet, also considering that the Sonnar is not so wide...
I'd possibly give away the German lens, instead!