A Review of the 60-Year-Old Auto Takumar 35mm f/2.3

If you enjoy adapting vintage lenses to modern cameras, this review of a lens from the 1950s and 1960s, might be for you.

If you go into my studio you'll likely notice a couple of things, and one of those will be the presence of vintage cameras and lenses on a few shelves. If you walk to the bookcase at the back of the studio and open some draws, you'll notice there are more there too. If you walk to your left you'll see a large plastic container, and if you lift the lid you'll see there are a lot more in there. Underneath that large plastic container you'll probably notice that there's another identical container; don't bother lifting the lid, you know what's in there. We still haven't got to the container under my bed either.

As you can tell, I have a real thing for old cameras and lenses. I buy battered and broken examples for pennies, and I spend a little more on vintage lenses that work and have no clouding or fungus. If you can forgo autofocus, there is a world of affordable lenses out there for you to try, and when I first started photography, that was important. I was at university, I didn't have much money, and buying vintage lenses and adapting them to modern cameras meant I got to experiment with focal lengths and widest apertures that would have otherwise been out of my budget. However, as the years went on and I had more money, I still couldn't help myself; it's addictive and if you're a camera nerd, it's fun to play with the imperfections.

In this video, Mark Holtze reviews a somewhat famous lens made 60 or more years ago and is still revered by many today. So much so, in fact, that it can be tricky to get hold of them in good condition. The lens is the Auto Takumar 35mm f/2.3, and it's safe to say, Holtze is a fan.

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1 Comment

Joe Joe's picture

I had a case of GAS for vintage lenses a few years back, physically they are beautiful pieces of equipment. The one thing I noticed was on a high mega pixel camera they don't always resolve that nice. I think if your on a sub 24 mega pixel camera you'll appreciate them more, on something like a A7R III which is what I had or a even worse A7R IV they may leave you wishing for more. For the right shot they can be lovely.