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Takumar 50mm, Forty Years and I'm Still In Love

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Boatman, May 27, 2011.

  1. In the fall of 1970 I met a girl named Connie at Colorado State University. She had a Pentax Spotmatic camera and a couple of Takumar lenses. I worshiped the ground that girl walked on; she was pretty, she lived in Aspen, she knew photograpy, but she didn't have much interest in me.

    A year passed. We had no relationship but I did purchase an Asahi Spotmatic along with a 28mm and a 135mm lens from Sundry Trading Company in Tokyo, Japan. "Very pleased to receive your esteemed order sir. We are mailing you by air..." I had no better reason for the purchase than that was the camera and lens kit Connie had.

    I didn't get far at CSU but the camera was a good one and I used it for two decades. I cursed the 135mm lens. It was a useless length. 100mm? Nice portrait lens. 200mm? Good telephoto. But the 135 was a dog. The 28mm, on the other hand was a good lens and the 1.4/50 was always nice.

    Fast forward forty years. Just a few months ago I finally threw away the old, moldy, broken Spotmatic. But, I was wise enough to keep the lenses. I still don't have any use for the 135mm and its got serious fungus. It can't be sold. It's still useless. The 28mm is in good condition, though I don' t have a lot of use for it either. But the 50mm; this is a lens to die for.

    Moldy around the edges of the front lens, cranky aperture ring , and paint missing all over, I love this lens. It's hard to explain. I've picked up half a dozen lenses on eBay that are the equal to the old Takumar but they just aren't the same. There is a certain richness to this lens. A velvet feeling when you focus in on something. A creamy bokeh that just isn't matched. A memory of a relationship - even a life - that never happened; in the Rockies with a beautiful girl and fine photographic equipment. Sigh.

    But the old lens keeps on going. I've found it kind of fuzzy wide open for family party use. But stopped down a bit it's still as sharp as ever. Used as a semi-macro, it's richness and color are unequaled. I love it. It goes all the way back to my first SLR and every time I use it I dip into the memories of over forty years. Every camera, every girl. It's just love.

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    • Like Like x 12
  2. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    What a great post!

    I get immense pleasure taking photos of my grandchildren with a Rokkor 50mm that I bought when I was 18 years old....

    I know exactly how you feel, and you put it into words so very well.

    Thanks, Alan
  3. I don't have such a cool story about a particular lens, and certainly not from forty years ago :smile:

    I do however enjoy using Canon FD lenses in the knowledge that my late father would have loved using the then new lenses on the Canon FTb that he scrimped and saved for, that I now have for my E-P1.
  4. labcoatguy

    labcoatguy Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 23, 2011
    Cambridge, MA, US
    This is a great story! Hopefully us whippersnappers can have similar stories about camera gear in our riper years.
  5. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Thanks for sharing your story. Love the fourth pic down (maple (?) leaves with interesting bokeh).
  6. Kosta

    Kosta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 29, 2010
    thank you for sharing this beautiful story. very nostalgic, I felt like I was there!
  7. JohnMetsn

    JohnMetsn Mu-43 Veteran

    But but, what about the girl, you can't do this to us... It's been a long time I enjoyed reading something so much like your post, Boatman. Thank you :smile:

    I would be curious what she would think if she would find this article...
  8. tomrock

    tomrock Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 21, 2010
    Indianapolis, IN
    That was my question -- what about Connie?

    Look her up on Facebook!!
  9. I never saw Connie again after 1971. I'm sure her family is still in Colorado, but I've never been in touch with her and I would assume she is married with another name. It wouldn't be right to try and reconnect with her.

    Glad folks liked the story.

    Did anyone else out there get an Asahi Pentax through Sundry Trading? That was the hot deal of the early seventies. The Honeywell Pentax cost about $500, as I recall it, but you could get the Asahi version for about $150 direct from Tokyo. When I got that camera all the letting was blacked out and the beauty ring of the lens all scratched to remove the branding. The lettering on the camera was easily cleaned and returned to white but the lens still bears the scratches. I suppose I should watch on line for damaged lens and try and get a new beauty ring, but it really doesn't matter.
    • Like Like x 3
  10. ddegomez

    ddegomez Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 7, 2011
    My older brother had one of those cameras in the 60s. My father was a navy pilot and he brought back all kinds of stuff from BX's around the world; for us younger kids it was mostly junky japanese toys. For my older brother it was a Asahi Pentax.
  11. Your brother got the better end of that deal!
  12. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2011
    Just got the same camera with a 55mm f1.7 super tak from my mother, and your story got me as well. 1971 was a great year...the year I was born.
  13. 43hk

    43hk Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2010
    The first real camera I used was a Pentax Spotmatic with a 55mm Supertak. This was back in the early 80's my and girlfriend's father let me borrow it for a couple of months. It opened up a whole new world and I bought a new Minolta SLR with the last cash I had from a short contract.

    Back in the UK for a holiday at the moment and by coincidence was visiting the family that lent me the camera yesterday.
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