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Washed out colours on a Super Takumar 55mm/1.8?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by coffeecat, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. coffeecat

    coffeecat Mu-43 Top Veteran

    708
    Aug 4, 2012
    SW England
    Rob
    Hi all,

    I currently have a G3 with the kit 14-42 lens, and also a Super Takumar 55mm/1.8. Have to wait for Santa to get more lenses...

    My not very scientific tests have shown the old lens to be a bit sharper than the Panasonic one, at conditions as similar as I can get them i.e. 42mm on the Panasonic (and stopped down a bit).

    Generally I have been very pleased with the Takumar, and have used it indoors in low light quite a bit where the better speed is very useful.

    BUT I was surprised when I used it outside in good light that the colours seemed very "faded" compared to the newer lens (see images attached, from unprocessed raw files).

    Is this just a typical feature of a much older lens design, or is it a duff copy of the Takumar, or maybe the famous yellowing caused by radioactivity?
    I was fairly sure my lens has not yellowed - if you look through it at white paper it doesn't look yellowed, and nor do photos of plain white surfaces.

    I was a bit dismayed how washed out these greens look :-(
    My LR4 skills have not managed to get the colours to regain as much vibrancy from the older lens.

    Any thoughts anyone?

    Cheers

    Rob

    View with kit lens at 42mm, f5.6
    P1020473.

    View with SMC Takumar 55mm at f5.6
    P10204752.
     
  2. woof

    woof Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Oct 18, 2011
    The present.
    I am familiar with these lenses. What you are seeing is not washed out but a color shift to the blue side. SMC coatings seem to behave this way with digital. I've noted that the earlier Takumars without the Super Multi-Coating seem to behave a bit better. Try running a custom white balance on this lens in the same situation and it should be better...

    woof!
     
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  3. coffeecat

    coffeecat Mu-43 Top Veteran

    708
    Aug 4, 2012
    SW England
    Rob
    Hi Woof, many thanks for that -

    I have had a go at what you suggested and it works a treat!

    Just goes to show how much I have to learn about Lightroom and post-processing. I've only had LR for a couple of months and the learning curve is steep (although not as bad as I feared).

    I was really pleased when I rediscovered the Takumar len in my attic after jumping into m4/3 this summer (and adding a £3 m42 adapter from ebay via China), but then I got a bit despondent when I came across this washed out colours "problem" recently. You have now made my day as I see can get vibrant colours from the lens quite easily! I guess the issue didn't show up before as I was mainly using the lens indoors where there were other WB issues caused by shooting in artificial light!

    So thanks again,

    Rob
     
  4. woof

    woof Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Oct 18, 2011
    The present.
    You are most welcome. Some cameras handle the AWB on lenses like this better than others, biut I figured a custom WB would work...

    The Takumar 55mm 1.8 is an excellent lens. I'd be pretty glad to find one as well and I'd hate to see it go to waste.

    If you like manual lenses, keep your eye out for some of the earlier screw mount pre-set Takumars and other screw mounts (in particular some of the German glass is really quite nice). These are excellent lenses...

    Regards,

    woof!
     
  5. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    The OP is shooting with a Super Takumar.. a simple coated lens not an SMC.
     
  6. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Think of the time period of the Super Takumar 55 f/1.8... the predominant film type was B&W negative.
    Think of darkroom... you used contrast filters that can only increase contrast.

    Now think of how a lens designed in those times will behave on a camera that was designed decades later with a different intention; color digital.


    There in lies your answer.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. coffeecat

    coffeecat Mu-43 Top Veteran

    708
    Aug 4, 2012
    SW England
    Rob
    These comments about the historical context of when the two lenses were designed are very interesting to me (and make a lot of sense with the observed behaviour)!

    I've been trying to dig out the exact version of my Tak but didn't realise it was such a complicated subject...

    Looking for example at these sites:

    SMC/S-M-C/Super-/Auto-/Takumar 55mm F1.8 Reviews - M42 Screwmount Normal Primes - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

    versions of f1.8/55mm Super Takumar

    ...I think mine might be a very early one (early 1960s). It certainly doesn't say "SMC" or "multi-coated" or suchlike on it. It was given to me by a now long-dead relative in the early 1980s. He bought it with a Pentax SV (which I still have somewhere) that has hardly ever been used. I suspect it would have been bought in the 1960s but I'll never know. His widow died aged 106 only a couple of years back!

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  8. woof

    woof Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Oct 18, 2011
    The present.
    Thanks, yes... my mistake. Either way, Super/SMC both have notable color shifts at times and WB helps correct it. The SMC does not seem to add so much to the shift but rather seems to have more contrast.

    BTW, just to add a note of confusion, there was a period where SMC coatings were being put on Super Taks without the SMC on the front bezel.

    Anyway, that's why I tend to prefer this kit actually...

    p465067726-4.

    The 55mm on the body above is an Auto-Takumar 55mm f/1.8 is really nothing more than an early Super-Tak without the words Super Takumar on the bezel. It seems to have the coating. The rest, are Autos and a little more neutral when shot digital. Photo of Auto 55mm f/1.8 here:

    p149231926-4.

    Favorite pre-set Tak is this old girl...

    p666228144-4.

    woof!
     
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  9. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    When B&W negative was widely dominant, its simplicity also meant that many more people did darkroom at home (including me). At least at the time, people often gravitated either towards optics that were either low contrast (high resolving) optics which allowed quite a bit of interpretation in the darkroom or optics that produced "punchy" contrasty images. Often the contrasty ones made printing easy as micro-contrasts also gave the impression of sharpness. Remember.... sharpness (at least by how humans view it) is an optical illusion.

    SMC = Pentax
    MC = various brands
    HMC = Hoya
    many even simply put "Color'

    were lenses that came when there was a shift from B&W negative to color negative. Less people were equipped adequately at home to process color and color slides especially started to enter the markets. This meant the demand for optics increased... a varied to meet the widening photographic tastes. Its no surprise a later SMC coatings in the Pentax lenses rewarded with high contrasts and more color correction.

    I have a pair Vivitar Auto - M42 lenses in 35mm and 135mm focal lengths of both f/2.8 max apertures. As far as I can tell, they have a very simple single-coated optics. I absolutely love how they render on digital.... soft but detailed with a warm vintage look that I have yet to see duplicated. I'm sure its not on purpose as I believe both lenses were designed prior to color negative. They have a distinct red/yellow markings and I've been looking for more of the set.

    Anyways.. I digress... I guess one point to take away, don't limit yourself just to Pentax Takumars. As much as I like to collect them, there are many examples of different brands out there to experiment with. This is coming from someone who has a collection of Takumars/Pentax numbering well past 50 lenses and a copy of every single Asahi/Pentax camera sold starting from the Asahiflex IIb all the way to the ME-F and LX.


    btw.. Love the black paint H3.
     
  10. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    621
    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    It's not so much that users weren't set up to print their own color. It was much more that color did not allow any practical method of adjusting contrast and hence there was no compensation available for the lower contrast produced by uncoated optics. While it was long considered that coating was good for but not essential for B&W work it was considered essential for color work. Hence the marketing association between "color" and "coating'.
     
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  11. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    thanks for the clarification dwig.

    You can tell that I did 99.99% of my time in the darkroom processing B&W rather than color. :redface: