Super Takumar 35mm f/3.5 on Sony A7

Super Takumar 35mm f/3.5 on Sony A7

This is a classic lens approaching 45 years old, does it still deliver?

This old classic wide angle is extremely well built. It is nicely weighted and has smooth focus. The lens has hardly any coating compared to a new lens, only single coated. This means more flare, but I think they also provide a nice natural look to the images.

The lens is fairly compact and dense, weighing in at 150 g. It has 5 slightly curved aperture blades, and a long for the class minimum focus distance of 0.45m. It has a fairly basic 5 element construction and small max aperture of f/3.5.

SAM_0599 SAM_0603

Optical Performance

DSC00499__0.4 sec_YBR53_18_multi_cpp
Please click on the tab you want to view. Only 1 tab may be active at a time. MTF, Distortion, and Lat CA data acquired using Imatest
MTF20 Chart maxes at vertical resolution of the sensor which is 4912 LW/PH for A7R. Anything above that is meaningless. The MTF50 chart is set at the value where the best lenses perform in the center, or about 3850 LW/PH on the A7.
Note: 4k video is 2160 LW/PH
Note: HD video is 1080 LW/PH

Comments on the Results

Resolution follows fairly classic lens performance, improves steadily up to f/8 or so, with center leading corners. By f/8 the MTF20 is high across the frame, but wide open corners are fairly weak. The MTF50 is lower across most of the frame relative to the M20 vs what the Canon FDn 35mm f/2.8 was, maybe a sign of less efficient coatings.

Distortion is slightly worse than average at about 1.6% barrel.

Lateral CA is noticeable in the corners wide open, but is not severe.

Flare resistance: Haven’t checked, but probably not great.

Measured Focal length is 36mm at 1:35 magnification

Pros and Cons

Effective Resolution

The colors are selected based on overall MP, don’t compare the colors between systems. So relative to max sensor resolution this doesn’t do as well as the lens does on the A7 relative to its (lower) sensor resolution, but it still resolves more detail on the A7R then it does on the A7.s

Aperture Weighted Center Partway Corner
14.3 MP
19 MP
9.1 MP
10.8 MP
20.1 MP
23.2 MP
16.9 MP
17.5 MP

Bottom Line

This lens does surprisingly well given the age. It has a great feel to it and is very usable for portraits even wide open, or for landscapes if you stop down. It isn’t to the level of some modern lenses wide open, but not at all bad. In the extreme corners at f/8 it resolves better than the modern ZEISS 35mm f/2.8, but the ZEISS does much better at larger apertures.

Consider donating, it is about $50 a lens to rent.


  1. SnazzyD says:

    You can’t simply evaluate Takumar or other classic MF lenses from yesteryear based on MTF charts, etc. Those lenses are much loved for their unique character which varies quite a bit from one copy to another due to the manufacturing processes back then but also the march of time. Try one of the classic 50mm 1.4 SMC Takumar lenses with thorium-yellowed lenses next time and please include some actual photo samples (which is the main reason why anyone would come here)

  2. admin says:

    I primarily report MTF, photos here are important, but there are plenty of sites on the Web to find sample photos.

    I think the issue with many old lenses is they get a cult status associated with them without any technical backing. Viv series 1 70-200mm f/2.8-4 is such a lens. Legendary among some users, but actually a marginal lens with huge amounts of color fringing.

    Sure, thorium was used to correct lens aberrations, but that doesn’t mean it is better than current methods. I might have a thorium 50mm I can test.

  3. Neutron says:

    Thank you for the nice tests! I am to pick up one of this lens for $40.

    Many legends were created in film era. Digital sensors, especially some Sony ones that have thick cover glass, are giving these lens a hard time.

  4. Blurryeyed says:

    I don’t know if you are still doing these but I want to thank you for your reviews. I collect old vintage lenses and appreciate any information I can find these old lenses. Your MTF charts are very helpful.

    A couple of notes on this review, the Takumar 35mm f/3.5 is a great lens, but it was not their best, the 35mm f/2.3 is the best of the old Takumar 35’s, my experience is that the f/2 was their worst.

    As far as the Vivitar Series 1, that lens was manufactured by several different manufacturers, the Kiron and Komine copies were said to be superior to the others, the best according to many users was the Komine, I believe that is the same that you noted here in this review, my experience is that it is a great lens. Here is a link to more information on the “legendary” Series 1 70-210.