Super-Takumar 135mm f2.5

Takumar 135mm f2.5

I enjoy using my Pentax Spotmatic SP-F. It started with the camera and it’s 55mm f2 lens. It’s just so smooth to use, and I don’t use it often enough. I then found a reasonably priced 35mm f3.5. I say reasonably, but in my humble opinion, if the average selling prices for these lenses were double -they’d still be a bargain. I went for the f3.5 as it was not only cheaper but a lot less weight. My f3.5 weighs in at 152g while the f2 version is over double at a hefty 385g. I did not apply the same logic to my next “Spotmatic” purchase a 135mm. The fact is I came across this 135mm f2.5 at a stupid low price – it would have made no sense to say no.

Look at all those lovely lenses to buy! That’s of course, the point of the booklet that came with the lens in the box. The page above is scanned from it. I was interested to see that the person who originally brought the lens had noted the original prices at the time. Including the tax of the day, the f3.5 was £55 while the f2.5 was £90. I hopped onto google to see what that might look like in 2022 terms.. £722 and £1,182 respectively!

Another buzz for me, call me sad, was the stamp on the back of the book, above. When I was still at school, I’d save my money earned from a paper-round, and about once a month take the bus to Bournemouth, about 35 miles away. I had my route around the town.. the bus pulled in to Bournemouth at “The Triangle” almost directly outside “Victors Cameras”. I remember well the door was covered from top to toe in second hand filters, in poly bags, smallest top left, largest bottom right. More than one of my yellow filters, was un-clipped from that door! Then my route took me to Jessops, Burlington Cameras in the Burlington Arcade and then to the Bournemouth branch of LCE (London Camera Exchange) – all now gone. Only LCE survives as a company as was, but no longer has a store in Bournemouth. Those were the days! Happy memories.

This post is ultimately about the Takumar f2.5 135mm lens. As far as I can tell mine is the original version and has 4 elements, and 6 iris blades. Something that people seem to get very excited about! There were 3 versions of the lens made, one having 8 blades which people pay a fortune for! Kumao Kajiwara founder of Asahi Optical Corp, named this range of lenses in honour of his younger brother, Takuma Kajiwara, a Japanese-American photographer and painter. I had 5 or 6 frames left on my recent roll of HP-5 so gave it a little test…

I intend to use the lens at the Bournemouth Air Show in early September. I think it will be the ideal lens – I might even take it for a walk past the old location of Victor’s Cameras!

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