I'm experimenting with some vintage Asahi lenses and Fotodiox adapters. I have my father’s non-working Asahi Optical Co. Pentax Spotmatic II which, after he passed earlier this year, became even more precious to me. My first film camera was a Pentax P3 which I still own. Earlier this year (2019), as a tribute to my dad, I bought my own Asahi Optical Co. Pentax Spotmatic II on eBay with an Asahi Optical Co. Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 55mm f/2, and I have slowly started to re-learn film photography.

I also bought up a Fotodiox Lens Mount Adapter Compatible with M42 Screw Mount SLR Lens on Fujifilm X-Mount cameras lens adapter that I can use these on my Fujifilm X-T2.

Many websites keep propagating the “story” that a 50mm focal length on a 35mm full-frame camera is roughly equivalent to the field-of-view (FOV) of the human eye. The statement always seemed odd to me given that when I look straight ahead, keeping my eyes from moving side-to-side, I see “wider” than 50mm FOV. The “50mm is standard” mantra also seemed strange, given what I had learned about FOV in graduate school during my “vision” classes. We were being taught about the human eye because designing displays and image processing algorithms requires an understanding of the human vision.

The focal length of the eye is 17 or 24mm however, only part of the retina processes the main image we see. This part of the retina is called the cone of visual attention which is about 55º wide. On a 35mm full-frame camera, a 43mm focal length provides an angle of view of approximately 55º. The 43mm focal length closely approximates the angle of view of the human eye.

43 is not roughly 50. That’s a round-up of nearly 14%. And then saying 52mm, when using a 35mm focal length on a crop factor camera, is close enough to 50 mm compounds the error (20%).

Maybe it’s the engineer in me, but these sort of “errors” get passed around and become “truth”, and then we get stuck with them1.

It was with the 43mm focal length in mind that I purchased an Asahi Optical Co. Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 28mm f/3.5 lens. This 28mm lens, when mounted to a Fujifilm X camera, provides a 42.56mm (28×1.52) full-frame equivalent field of view which is near enough to the actual visible focal length of the human eye.

My purchase came directly from Japan with the lens in a leather pouch along with the lens hood in another leather pouch.

On my Fujifilm X-T2, this lens has a 42.6mm full-frame equivalent field of view which is within the range of the visible focal length of the human eye, making this an excellent lens for travel and street photography. Between 1962 and 1975, Asahi Optical Co., which eventually become Pentax, manufactured a various version of the Takumar 28mm f/3.5 for its range of Spotmatic cameras. This version of the lens was produced with a multi-coated layer designed to reduce lens flare. The lens was sold from 1971 to 1975 and was given the Super-Multi-Coated label.

The first time I used this lens was during my trips into Philadelphia for daily radiation treatments for my Graves Eye Disease. After each treatment, while I waited for the valet to bring the car around, I would stand on the street and take photos. I have used the lens mostly for street photography ever since. Street photography was something I hadn’t done much with other cameras and lenses, but learning how to use this lens was a big help. Instead of pointing the lens at people, I practised by looking down at the flip screen to use focus-peaking, which I think made me seem less threating as perhaps some people thought I was using a film camera.

Like most Asahi Optical Co. lenses from the era, the [Asahi Optical Co. Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 28mm f/3.5 is all-metal and glass construction. It feels solid in the hand and compliments the look and feel of the Fujifilm X-T2. The focus ring is silky smooth, and the aperture ring gives noticeable clicks as it moves through the half-stops. The lens has a 49mm filter ring and comes with a plastic lens hood. The lens has a maximum aperture of f/3.5, and the minimum aperture is f/16, with intermediate stops at ½ increments. This lens is not a lens for bokehlicious photography. The Asahi Optical Co. Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 55mm f/2 is a better choice for that. Most of my images were shot at f/5.6, which works well for street photography but also seems to be one of the sweet spots for sharpness in this lens. Because the lens is not able to communicate with the electronics in the Fujifilm X-T2, when I attach vintage lenses, I tend to shoot the glass at one aperture setting to make it easier for me to add that metadata to the image later.

I know not everyone will be as into vintage lenses, and losing access to auto-focus is a deal-breaker for some. Still, if you do have an interest in trying out older lense, the Asahi Optical Co. Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 28mm f/3.5 is highly recommended. The lens is inexpensive, and both the build quality and image quality are great. The Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 28mm f/3.5 is my second Asahi prime lens after the Asahi Optical Co. Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 55mm f/2 and probably won't be my last.

  • Name: Asahi Optical Co. Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 28mm f/3.5
  • Mount: M42
  • Tested on: Fujifilm X-T2 with FotodioX M42-FX adapter
  • Zoom/Prime: Prime
  • Focal Length: 28mm
  • Maximum Aperture: f/3.5
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Diaphragm Blades: 8
  • Price Paid: US$94.95
  • Product Ratings (1=miserable, 5=excellent):
  • Construction Quality: 4
  • Image Quality: 4.5
  • Overall Value For Price: 4.5
  • Recommended: Yes

Lens Photos

Holly Hedge Estate | Fujifilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 | f/5.6 | ISO 1250
Fujifilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 | f/5.6 | ISO 1250
Sansom Street, Philadelphia | Fujifilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 | f/5.6 | ISO 320
26 August 2019 | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 | f/5.6 | ISO 400
Fujifilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 | f/5.6 | ISO 400
Montgomery Friends Farmers' Market, Skillman, Montgomery Township, New Jersey | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 | f/5.6 | ISO200
Kiran | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5
New Hope, Pennsylvania. | 5 October 2019 | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5
West College Street, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5
Aug 26, 2019, West College Street | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5

  1. For example, the also erroneous statements that we all, regardless of size or physical activity, need to drink eight glasses of water a day

I'm experimenting with some vintage lenses and Fotodiox adapters. In a fit of nostalgia, I recently bought an Asahi Optical Co. Pentax Spotmatic II on eBay. It came with an Asahi SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 lenses. This lens has an M42 mount. X-photographers such as Jonas Rask and amateurs such as Ritchie Roesch are adept at using vintage lenses with a Fuji X camera. I wanted to give it a try. I bought a Fotodiox Lens Mount Adapter Compatible with M42 Screw Mount SLR Lens on Fuji X-Mount Cameras and mounted the Asahi SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 lens to my Fuji X-T2.

All shots were handheld, so any softness in the photos is probably because of my unsteady hand. Please keep in mind that this is more of a superficial look at the kinds of results I might expect from this lens and adapter combination. It is not a review. It is me just wanting to be curious and find a reason to go out and shot and have some fun. If attaching an old lens to my modern "digital photon capturing device" does that for me, it might do that for you. I'm just having fun. After all, one of the reasons why I switched to the Fuji X system was the retro experience.

The Fuji X-T2 has an APS-C sensor. The crop factor is 1.5. That means that the 55mm lens on this camera has the same FOV as an 82.5mm lens on a 35mm full-frame camera. Jonas Rask recommended the Mitakon Zhongyi Lens Turbo Adapter V2 for Full-Frame M42 Mount Lens to Fujifilm X Mount APS-C adapter.

The Lens Turbo Adapter V2 for Full-Frame M42 Mount Lens to Fujifilm X Mount APS-C Camera from Mitakon Zhongyi allows a full-frame M42 mount lens to be mounted onto a Fujifilm X mount camera. While doing so, the adapter approximates the lens's angle of view as if it were placed directly on a camera with a full-frame sensor while providing a 1-stop increase over the lens's aperture range.Jonas Rask

With the Mitakon Zhongyi Lens Turbo Adapter V2 for Full-Frame M42 Mount Lens to Fujifilm X Mount APS-C adapter, I could use the Asahi SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 lens like a 55mm lens. I am considering buying an Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 lens. On the Fuji X-T2, the lens would offer a ~42mm FOV, which is a normal FOV. This lens and adapter combination would be perfect for street photography.

The focus peaking feature of the Fuji X-T2 is handy for manually focusing this lens. The lens adapter does not transmit aperture settings back to the camera body. My biggest challenge is remembering which aperture setting I used to take the shot. The following sample photos reflect my unscientific testing: namely, attach the Asahi SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 lens to the Fuji X-T2 and shoot stuff around the neighbourhood. I shot using a modified version of Ritchie Roesch's Kodachrome II Film Simulation Recipe. The following is the result. The following JPEG images are straight out of cameras (SOOC).

Lens

  • Name: Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 55mm f/2
  • Mount: M42
  • Tested On: Fujifilm X-T2 with FotodioX M42-FX adapter
  • Zoom/Prime: Prime
  • Focal Length: 55mm
  • Maximum Aperture: f/2
  • Minimum Aperture: f/16
  • Diaphragm Blades: 6
  • Price Paid: US$45
  • Product Ratings (1=miserable, 5=excellent):
  • Construction Quality: 4
  • Image Quality: 4.5
  • Overall Value For Price: 4.5
  • Recommended: Yes

Lens Photos

Straight Out of the Camera (SOOC) | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 | f/5.6 | ISO200
Seiko 5 Automatic | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 | f/5.6 | ISO200
Ikigai-SIPA | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 | f/2.8 | ISO200
FujiFilm X-T2 | FAsahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 | f/5.6.0 | ISO200
Self Storage | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 | f/5.6 | ISO200
Eno Terra, Kingston | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 | f/5.6 | ISO200
Kingston Mill House at the D&R Canal | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 | f/5.6 | ISO200
Kiran | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 | f/5.6 &124; ISO800
Lunch at Aunt Chubby's, Hopewell Township, Mercer County | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 | f/5.6 | ISO500
Bokeh | FujiFilm X-T2 | Asahi Optical Co. Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 55mm f/2 | f/5.6 | ISO 400

Over the last year, I’ve rented a few compact interchangeable lens camera systems. Some were µ 43 and some were APS-C. Some felt just right, and some felt too small. None were full-frame (35mm FF format).

I don't care much about the debate over full-frame versus APS-C sensor size etc. What I want to know is the ease of use and a range of quality lenses for the camera system. All my photos live in digital format and are viewed online on a computer screen. The last time I made prints was in 2006. I share my pictures on social networks like Facebook and Google+. Image quality is very important, but the ease of use is even more important. All the cameras I've tested to this point have performed well.

My professional photographer friends Gevon Servo and Scott Wyden seemed to love the Sony a7 cameras. Gevon especially loves using his Sony a7 with his Nikon lenses. So I took advantage of the long weekend to rent a Sony a7s and Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70 mm F4 ZA OSS. I think I'm in love.

The Sony a7s and Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70 mm F4 ZA OSS feel solid. Professional. This was the same feeling I had when I used the Fuji X-T1. This is a modern-looking camera with a vintage camera build feel. I've hardly put it down since I unpacked the box from Lensrentals.

Last night I spent a few minutes poking around the menus and setting up the camera. This was not as easy as I would have liked. Setting aside the fact that I am used to Nikon's camera menu, finding things in the camera menus was more challenging.

One of the reasons I love the Fuji X-T1 was the access to manual controls for aperture, ISO and shutter speed. I didn't have to mess around with hard to read menus. The Sony doesn't have as many manual controls but and the menu system was quick but not as easy to navigate.

Confirming the Sony a7s to transfer images to my iPhone was very easy. I'm very impressed given how flaky doing the same thing on the Panasonic GM1 was. The Olympus OM-D M-1 and M-5 were not as hard to set up as the Panasonic but not as easy as the Sony.

Sony α7s + Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70 mm F4 ZA OSS @ 70mm, ISO 50, 1125 at f/4.0

Once I had the camera set up the way I wanted, I took it out to the local farmers market. One of my very first photos was of some colourful tomatoes displayed in a basket of produce from Chickadee Creek Farm. I shot these over to my iPhone via the built-in wi-fi of the Sony. The image is straight out of the camera.

Transferring photos from the Sony to my iPhone and iPad was easy. I selected the Send to Smartphone option from the WiFi menu and selected one or more or all the photos I wanted to transfer. The camera told me to connect my iPad or iPhone to the indicated Wi-Fi access point name and provided the password to use. Once my iPad or iPhone was connected, I launched the free Sony app, and the images were transferred. I am very impressed with how quickly the files transferred. In comparison, this seemed to take transfer more slowly on the Olympus and the and Fujifilm X-T1.

Sony α7s + Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70 mm F4 ZA OSS @ 70mm, ISO 50, 1500 sec at f/4.0

I love shooting with this camera. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) doesn’t get in the way, and focusing is fast. I love how the Sony a7s automatically switches from live view via the back LCD to the EVF as soon as my eye is placed in the viewfinder cup. Though I didn’t do any test, it feels faster than the Fujifilm X-T1 system. This isn’t as important to me as it was in the past – I shoot mostly landscape, and my kids are done with Tae Kwon Do –, but I still have little nieces and nephews who seem to move faster than a locomotive.

Gevon uses his Nikon lenses with his Sony a7. He has an adapter that allows him to attach his Nikon lenses to the Sony. Unfortunately, the Nikon lens electronics aren’t compatible with the Sony. Focusing must be done manually. Gevon has suggested that auto-focus wasn’t that import because of the focus peaking feature of the Sony α7s. I tested this out myself. It was easy to find and enable and worked like a charm. The Sony a7s highlighted yellow on the outlines of the object when it was in focus. Together with the manual focus assist – the α7s filled the viewfinder with a super zoomed-in section of the subject – I had no challenges manually focusing on my subject.

Sony α7s + Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70 mm F4 ZA OSS @ 58mm, ISO 100, 1200 at f/4.0

Another feature I like that I wish I had in my Nikon is facial recognition. Although I prefer photographing landscapes and nature more than people, my wife and I attend a lot of family gatherings. I’m almost always the designated photographer. The Sony α7s and Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70 mm F4 ZA OSS produced some bokehlicious images. Bhavna and I had lunch at World of Beer in New Brunswick.

This place is incredible! Hundreds of beers are available in draught or bottle. Bhavna and I were overwhelmed with choice. I washed down an interest interpretation of the classic Margherita pizza1 with an ale from Scotland that has kelp as one of the ingredients. World of Beer even has cocktails made with beer. I finished up my European style lunch with a "DON’T BE A JACKASS" cocktail2 and Bhavana had a "HOTI MOJITO".

This will soon become my favourite restaurant!

Sony α7s + Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70 mm F4 ZA OSS @ 65mm, ISO 32, 180 at f/8.0

We spent part of the weekend car shopping. Bhavana's mini-van is acting up. It's almost 14 years old, so this is expected. We test drove a new Honda CR-V and a new Acura RDX. A new RDX is outside our budget, but Bhavana liked the luxurious feel of the car. We tried negotiating for a 2013 certified pre-owned RDX. Alas, the dealer and we could not agree on a price, so we walked away without a new car.

Sony α7s + Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70 mm F4 ZA OSS @ 70mm, ISO 100, 180 at f/4.0

Tomorrow I have to return the camera to lensrentals.com, and I wish I didn't have to. Although I only had the camera for a weekend, I fell in love with it. Beautiful images. This is the Sony α7s. It's on my Amazon.com wish list. I finished up the weekend with a delicious and refreshing ale from the Williams Brothers Brewery in Scotland.


  1. Freshly diced tomato & mozzarella over a basil & pine nut pesto, drizzled with a sweet balsamic glaze & topped with fresh arugula. ?
  2. Tito’s Handmade Vodka mixed with fresh-squeezed lime juice and simple syrup, topped with Ginger Beer and a splash of a Citrus-Flavored Wheat Beer. ?