21 April 2014

the Beast arrives

The early-60s Asahi Takumar 300mm f/4 has arrived.  My first test images were hand held, and I'm exhausted - for a four-element design to weigh 1450 grams / 3/6# sounds all wrong, but the 82mm filter size gives a clue as to how that's accomplished.  Who needs barbells when one has this lens?

So it's huge, check.  It's also very well built, and my copy is in excellent shape with no sloppy feel or loose rattles.  The aperture ring is at the front section of the lens, and the blades are... well numerous, providing a nearly-perfect circular aperture as they close.  Eighteen looks about right, so let's go with that!

As to images, also check: great color, contrast, very sharp even hand-held.  Some color fringing can be found at f/4 when deliberately shooting to provoke it (power lines on a bright sky), and the colors fade with a couple of clicks down-scale.  Very nice.

The final easy check-mark is the $115 price tag.  Inconceivable!

This is cool because I wasn't really happy with my 100-300mm going to f/6.7 above 250mm.  The main alternative is the DA55-300 at f/5.8 (or something unaffordable like the Sigma 100-300 f/4) so this lens relieves any pressure on the big-tele side.  I also have a Hanimar 400mm f/6.3 around for emergency use, it weighs half of the Takumar so what a relief to use that instead!