The Takumar 55mm lens was produced in Japan by Pentax ( Asahi Optical) and went through a number of iterations (9 by reputable sources). My copies are the “super” version, specifically the “interim” designation, and the SMC (Super Multi-coated) version, the last series to be produced. I was curious to see if the super multi coating changed the image quality in any significant way to the earlier version, or if there were any other noticeable differences. These were shot on my Sony A7R2 camera.

In the first shot I set up, I focused on some dead leaves on a manzanita bush, a subject I previously has a lot of success with, and opened both lenses wide and two the shots one after another. There did not seem to be any significant difference between the two images.

The second set of shots gave a slightly different result, but part of it may have been that the aperture on the first lenses may not have been all the way open, having been bumped while changing lenses. The earlier lens appears to display more pink tones.

The Third Image shows the same slight (very slight) pinkish hue to the image but the difference is very slight.

The last image also shows the slight difference in hue, but the difference is so small as to be debatable. Never the less, the tonal rendition on the newer lens is more pleasing to my eye.

This was a very limited comparison, and if I’m feeling inspired I’ll do additional testing in more challenging lighting conditions, to see if the coatings have any other effects. For now, despite the lower build quality and less pleasure in use, I’m leaning towards the SMC lens for image quality.

Posted by Richard

writer | photographer | canoeist | contemplative | My highest value is beauty and excellence. I admire it in nature, ideas, and creations. My second value is truth. I seek it in thinking, relationships, and perception. My third value is kindness. I study religion, literature, and art -- tuned as they are for the heart. I marvel at the sparks of genius that come to all who set themselves a worthy task or question. It is through these values that I am made whole.

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