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Gareth Blackstock

Super Takumar vs. stock zoom lens

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I recently posted a query about prime lenses, and from the advice went out and bought a Super Takumar 55mm prime. I attached it to my K-3 and went shooting. My question is: with these lenses being quite affordable, and high in quality, should I stock my kit with a 28, 85, and 135mm lens?


I am guessing they offer better quality optics than my Zenit zoom lens, but are they substantially better? I do not intend to shoot film aimed at attaining the highest quality image for blow up to 35mm. For short filming purposes, is the Zenit lens more than enough? Is stocking up on primes over kill?


I intend on getting my footage transferred to digital eventually and editing on the computer. Would the difference between a prime and zoom lens knock me out, or is the difference only noticeable when you spend hundreds on 4K telecine from the best lab?


It may be a simple or daft question, but if I were commuting to work would I need a ferrari or a toyota...


Cheers, Gareth

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A set of good manual primes will be substantially better than your Zenit zoom. Whether or not they are worth the expense is a question only you can answer. Assuming you stay with the Asahi primes you'd be looking at:


28mm f3.5. Around $50. not bad, but there are cheaper and faster 28mm lenses available.

35mm f2. Around $150. Soft wide open open, although on a 16mm camera the softness may be mitigated by the smaller frame size

35mm f3.5. Around $80. Lovely little lens. Very sharp, great color.

85mm f1.8 or 1.9. Great lenses but expect to pay around $300 for a Super Takumar, and more for a Super Multi Coated.

135mm f3.5. Usually around $30. Not a bad lens. There is a f2.5 version which is much more expensive, at around $150


There are of course many options from other lens manufacturers. The other issue is that these are all quite long lenses on a 16mm camera. You really need to find some lenses in the 9mm-25mm range for short film work

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Thanks for the reply. I have already shot a roll of doubleX with the 55mm, I guess I will have to wait and see when I get it transferred. I would perhaps buy a 28 or 35mm next since prices are quite low.


Cheers, gareth

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