Takumar Lenses Back in Action – When Vintage Meets Digital

by planetMitch8 Comments

I love sharing what people do with ‘vintage' lenses and this is a ‘guest' post from our friends at DSLR Solutions

Using Takumar Vintage Lenses for Video with M42 to EOS Adapter

From DSLR Solutions:

Thinking about older lenses brought back memories of that buttery smooth focus ring on the old Canon FD 50mm prime used with my Canon FTB body. I can remember the moment I extracted the Takumar lenses from their leather cases and twisted the focus ring. WOW! I had forgotten how nice the older lenses were made.

Takumar Lens Set

Takumar Lens Set

I immediately bought an M42 to EOS adapter (without chip). Unfortunately, my current camera (Canon 60D) did not recognize that a lens was attached. I wound up needing to purchase the adapter with the chip, which worked perfectly. Keep in mind that these older lenses are completely manual and YOU will need to adjust the aperture and focus ring, the camera does none of it for you.

At this point I was getting really excited about using these older lenses for video, but it remained to be seen what kind of optical quality would be achieved. I assumed it would be pretty decent, but had not idea how nice of images from the older Takumar lenses would produce. One word “Fantastic!” The images are organic and the lens bodies are beautifully machined and they are truly a pleasure to use. Here is a shot testing lens flare on the Canon 50mm f/1.4 and the Takumar 55mm f/1.8

Shot testing lens flare on the Canon 50mm f/1.4 and the Takumar 55mm f/1.8

Shot testing lens flare on the Canon 50mm f/1.4 and the Takumar 55mm f/1.8

Read more about this article on DSLR Solutions: “Using Takumar Vintage Lenses for Video with M42 to EOS Adapter”

  Note: it is our policy to give credit as well as deserved traffic to our news sources – so we don't repost the entire article – sorry, I know you want the juicy bits, but I feel it is only fair that their site get the traffic and besides, you just might make a new friend and find an advertiser that has something you've never seen before  

(cover photo credit: snap from DSLR Solutions)


chief astronomer at planet5D LLC
Mitch "planetMitch" Aunger is the creator and mastermind behind planet5D.com

He's incredibly happy running planet5D and sharing so much joy of photography and filmmaking with his readers.


  1. If your camera doesn’t recognize a lens is attached, then simply press the movie/live view button to bypass. It wouldn’t have needed a chipped adapter.
    In any case Takumar has great glass.

  2. kahleem  True point as I learned this later. The non-chip adapter does work with the 60D, but there is no focus confirmation, which I like to have in certain situations. I recently acquire a 35mm Takumar and also purchased separate adapters for every M42 lens I own (up to seven now).

  3. I have a 55mm, 105mm and 135mm Takumar lenses. I bought them new when I bought my Spotmatic. I now use them with my 7D. They are a very, very good addition to my lens set.

  4. planetMitch  It really depends on which lenses you have as not all of the older Takumars are an issue. The one that seems to be the worst is the 50mm f/1.4 which is NOT one I own, rather I have the 50mm f/1.8 instead. Many old lenses have rare earth glass, used for less dispersion and can be radioactive depending on what element they used. Thorium seems to be the culprit and this is not limited to Takumar lenses. BTW, yellowing of the lens seems to be a sign of that it contains a radioactive glass element (rear element in the case of 50mm f/1.4 in the video you linked).

  5. planetMitch DSLR Solutions

    To put that into perspective, 1 flight from New York to LA per year is double the radiation dose (40 Microsievert aka 4 mrem)  of the higher 2 mrem per year photographer exposure noted in the article. Using the lower 0.7 mrem per year number, the New York to LA flight would be 4 times the radiation exposure than using the thorium containing lens on your camera.

    Used as references for above statement:

    1. upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/20/Radiation_Dose_Chart_by_Xkcd.png

    2. www.convertworld.com/en/equivalent-dose/Millirem.html

    3. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sievert

  6. only problem with takumar glass is it focus backwards, like nikon. I have a tai 50 1.8 with nice gold color to the glass. makes nice vintage shots, mechanics are GREAT, but the backwards focus throw messes me up all the time. FWIW, olympus glass is equally great and I use a 50 1.4 all the time

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