Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pentax 135mm f3.5 Super Takumar M42 Lens on Olympus O-MD E-M10

I reviewed this lens on Canon crop and full frame SLRs before and my conclusion was it is a very usable lens.  You can see how it performed on Canon DSLR bodies here.  It is an old M42 lens from the 70's which I purchased on eBay when I wanted a short telephoto lens on my crop body SLR.  It is a focal length I do not possess and reluctant to spend a lot of money on.  I am happy with it for occasional use.

The lens mounted on the camera

How does it perform on Micro Four Third camera?  It is easier to share the photos taken with this camera and lens combination.  All images here were shot with the Olympus O-MD E-M10.  Focus peaking was used for most of the shots, but quite a few were focus using the EVF without any focus aid.  On a M43 camera, the angle of view becomes 270mm on a full frame 35mm camera.  Quite a long lens.  With the IBIS of the E-M10  I did not find camera shake to be a problem in day light.  Even in darker places the IBIS was a significant help to produce blur free images.

Notice the length added by the adapter
Even longer with the hood

If you want to achieve shallow DoF, this lens is very capable.  The only issue I have is the working distance.  You will be a long way away from your subject.  For that type of work, I found the Olympus 45mm f1.8 to be just as capable.  For small objects, the minimum focus distance is longer than the Olympus 40-150mm f4-5.6.  I found the shorter focus distance meant I could get closer and achieved better background blur.

At f3.5 shallow DoF can be achieved

At f3.5 bokeh is quite smooth

You can shoot quite far from subject...

This was a quick grab shot.  It is a long way down if he falls...

Using the focal length to capture reflections on building

With 270mm angle of view, you can be quite a way from your subject.  I felt like spying which I was not entirely comfortable with.  I generally like to interact with my subjects.

Manual focus was reasonably easy once I got used to it.  This image of the cyclist below was shot without peaking as I did not have time to activate it.  Focus was spot on.  I only had time for a single frame before he was gone.

Manual focus of this cyclist was surprising accurate

Here are a few more shots using the 270mm angle of view to compress the depth.  Very useful to pick out selective element of a scene.

Image quality was again useful but it does not perform as well on a M43 sensor than a crop/full frame sensor.  If image sharpness is your primary goal, then this is not the lens for you.  Image quality was "OK".  There was often purple CA on the edge of high contrast areas.  The hood was essential, without it there can be significant lost of contrast in bright day.  Contrast is not up to modern standard and the colour rendering rather muted.  The nicely priced (but good) Olympus 40-150mm f4-5.6 lens will out perform it.  I found it to be a fun lens to use and like the experience.  Most people will be better served by the Olympus 40-150mm f4-5.6 lens,  It has silent auto focus, smaller, lighter and sharper.  I will reserve the Super Takumar 135mm f3.5 for the odd occasions when I need the combination of  focus length and faster f-stop.

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