Pentax Asahi 55mm




Year: 1965 – 1971
Focal Length: 55mm
Maximum Aperture: 1.8
Minimum Aperture: 16
Aperture Blades: 6
Weight: 215 grams
Filter Size: 49mm
Field of View: 36 degrees
Minimum Focusing Distance: 0.45 meters
Mount: M42

(specs courtesy of Pentax Forums)

I was looking for a low cost, manual focus portrait lens for my Fujifilm XT2 that would yield approx 85mm full frame equivalent.  Having done some research online I learned that the Asahi Optics (before they changed their name to Pentax) Super-Takumar 55mm f1.8 is a great, low cost option.  At $60 Canadian I was happy to take a chance on it.

I purchased this lens sight-unseen from a Kijiji seller out of the Toronto area.  The lens hood was a separate eBay purchase via a photography enthusiast in the USA.  The lens suffered from the common Thorium yellowing condition, but several days under a LED desk lamp and most of the yellowing had cleared.  Here is a comical but informative Youtube video on the subject.

Like the other vintage lens pages I have on my website, this isn’t a full review of the lens but me sharing my experiences with this lens.  What I have experienced with this lens is more-or-less the same as many others.  The lens is small, light weight, built tough being all metal, has a super smooth focus ring and is a pleasure to shoot with.  I personally find the aperture ring to be a bit loose, but that may simply be my copy of the lens.  It’s never posed an issue however.

When shooting with this lens, there has been the odd time where I have found a bit of purple fringing on the background elements.  Nothing that a a bit of work in post is couldn’t minimize.  That isn’t uncommon with old lenses.  It depends on the scene and what is in the background.  For a cheap vintage lens, I find it to be quite sharp.  Naturally it shows its more soft characteristics when wide open, but it certainly is usable wide open.  Stop it down to f2.8 and the lens is great.

Here are a mix of samples I have taken with the lens mounted on my Fujifilm XT2 via the K&F Concept (M42 – FX) adapter I purchased off of Amazon for approx $35 Canadian.  The below images are JPG’s out of camera with minimal if any edits.  The colour images where using the Velvia colour rendition.  The B&W of the fungus on the log is a JPG out of camera using Acros+R.  The one of my kids sitting at the island in the kitchen was a colour JPG out of camera that I uploaded to my phones free Lightroom App and played around with B&W conversion.  For the purpose of testing a lens and sharing the results, I try to show images straight out of camera.