In late April I took a punt on a cheap Asahi Pentax Takumar 35mm F3.5 lens on ebay. The first real opportunity I got to try it was a calm, sunny morning in early May when I had it mounted on my Fujifilm X-E3.
I really like the old Takumar lenses from Asahi Pentax, even mounted on modern digital cameras. From first buying the Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 55/1.8 in January 2017, I’ve picked up a few other Takumars and the hit rate has been pretty good overall.
Back to the 35/3.5: it was cheap and I thought I’d give it a try. It’s a nice small lens, so even with the M42-X adapter it feels a nice size on the little Fuji X-E3.
The morning I took this photo was one of those beautifully calm mornings we sometimes get at the coast: bright and sunny, a little haze, and a wonderful still surface to the sea.
The bright light lent itself to monochrome and I walked out on to the northern harbour wall at Cullercoats where at high tide you can really feel like you’re hovering over the sea.
I first got a nice portrait-orientated frame: a composition I’ve taken versions of before and that works nicely with the curve of the wall and shadows to create leading lines.
The Takumar 35/3.5 worked surprisingly nicely for these relatively harshly-lit conditions as it renders with detail but just a little soft.
Once at the end of the harbour wall I could get the wider frame, foreground filled by the sea and the cliff edge sloping down through the upper third of the frame; the Tyne river mouth pier and lighthouse sitting on the horizon behind.
I feel like this image really captures the sense of calm that morning when I sat on the edge of the wall and took in the peace and quiet for a little while.
Technically, as mentioned the lens is a little soft. It’s not necessarily unsharp, just not the razor-sharp per-pixel detail of modern lenses (or indeed some of the other Takumars to be honest).
That softness worked really nicely here though. Images like this are less about the fine detail and more about the feel, and for me this image has the right feeling.
A nice little bargain lens for the occasional outing when I want a bit more character in my images.