Repair Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

Hello, everybody! I loved watching “The Three Stooges” when I was a child. Their acts were funny, they don’t need any plots to make something worth watching. None of their movies are sophisticated but they did gave us a lot of laughs. Sadly, I don’t think their style of humor works these days and the same could be said for slapstick as a whole. People and preferences change. I still remember them with nostalgia and fondness but I am not going to be as amused today as I was several decades ago. It’s not that I don’t like them anymore, it’s just that I’ve outgrown them. It doesn’t mean that they’ve suddenly became unwatchable, they will still remain as classics and somewhat of a “bible” for how to do a successful slapstick act. Today, I will show you something that I felt outdated but it’s still worth looking at because it’s considered to be a classic by many people. Just like slapstick it still has a niche in today’s world depending on who you ask and the context it’s used.

Introduction:

This version of the Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 was made from 1966 and its production continued for 5 years. I haven’t used the earlier version which has a different optical formula but this was made to replace the older one so it must be better, I assume. This series of Takumars were popular so they’re common in the used market. Some people love them while some don’t, they have a mixed-reputation when it comes to performance.

Its build quality is in-line with other Takumars which means that it’s good but not as robust as a Nikkor or Carl Zeiss of similar vintage. Its all-metal construction ensures that it will survive use by professionals. The beautiful engravings were painted well, too. Its smallest aperture is merely f/16 which is a shame because the older version goes down to f/22. It’s important when you’re shooting landscapes, that extra-stop means a lot when trying to shoot moving water, etc.

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Repair: Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 Ai-S

Hello, everybody! I was listening to “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles. The song aged really well, it’s just as good as the day I’ve first heard it. Despite being a rather old pop-song it still sounds fresh compared to the rubbish that’s made in recent years. I am sure that it had influenced many artists throughout the decades. Some things age rather well while a lot of things don’t. Today, I’d like you to see something that has aged rather well but there are some things about this that seem outdated. Despite that it was made for 36 years because people were still buying these, showing how this is still relevant in recent years.

Introduction:

The Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 Ai-S was sold from 1984 up until 2020, a very long time by any standard. It replaced the reliable Nikkor 20mm f/3.5 Ai-S which is a great optic. It’s now faster which helps when focusing in dim environments and also for shooting in lowlight situations. The implementation of CRC also made this the most-advanced manual 20mm in the Nikon inventory. Some folks will claim that the old Nikkor 20mm f/3.5 Ai-S or the even-older New-Nikkor 20mm f/4 are better in terms of sharpness, they may be correct but this one is one sharp lens at the center which you’ll see later. It’s also able to capture more light thanks to its brighter f/2.8 maximum-speed. It’s hard to pick a winner because they are different in many ways and it will all depend on your requirements when deciding which one is the best lens for you.

The construction of the lens is rather conventional by Ai-S standards. It will take some abuse but it’s not as tough as an older Ai-Nikkor. The scales and numbers are very informative, you could focus with it just by looking at it. The handling characteristics is excellent, you’ll have no problems identifying the rings by-touch.

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Repair: Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8

Hello, everybody! Did you watch the archery event at the Olympics? The accuracy of the contestants are amazing, I am amazed by how they could calculate the precise tension, direction and distance required to hit the bullseye. This is not easy because you will have to consider the wind’s direction and speed along with the weight of the arrow. People who could to this at the level displayed at the Olympics are extraordinary, you can say that they have “eagle-eyes”. Today, I will show you something that also bears the name “eagle-eye” or “das adlerauge” in German.

Introduction:

The Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8 featured here was made from 1950 up until around the mid 1950s. It differs a bit from the prewar version in terms of optics because this one was recalculated just after the war. The version we have in this article is considered by many to be the 2nd postwar version which is sought by many collectors for its looks. These were made in various mounts and were used in various systems including folding-cameras and other platforms. This is certainly one of the most prolific designs hailing from the postwar years and it was still made until the 1980s and some even claim that the Russians made copies of these up until recent years.

The barrel is aluminum, this makes it durable and resistant to stains but they won’t resist corrosion very well that’s why lenses that were stored poorly will develop crusty corrosions and discoloration. The lens looks a lot cleaner here but it was in terrible shape when I got it which you’ll see in a while.

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Repair: Cine-Nikkor 25mm f/1.4 (Early)

Hello, everybody! Have you seen the art of Chen Shu-Fen (陳淑芬) and Ping Fan (平凡)? They’re a couple from Taiwan, a country filled with many amazing artists and artisans. The couple are known for making amazing illustrations and the art they produce as a team are known for having a soft, dream-like quality thanks to the use of “mix-media”, it’s a term used in art circles to define something that was made using several different mediums. The art they make exhibits soft tonality that’s only possible with the use of watercolor, pastels or aquarels but the lines are bold so they juxtapose well with the softness. The lines were drawn with pencil or crayons which adds another interesting layer to the final result. I am a big fan of their work so I encourage you to check what they do. I will introduce to you something today that has the ability to render something with a painterly-look, it can both render soft and bold details quite well but it has some flaws so I won’t call it perfect. Whatever the case is this is still something interesting and I encourage you to read what I have to say about this little gem.

Introduction:

The Cine-Nikkor 25mm f/1.4 is presumed to be the first Nikkor made for the C-mount. I have no data as to when it was made but I assume that it’s around the later 1950s judging from the design of the barrel and its construction. This little lens was updated later with a larger barrel that’s more in-line with the rest of the Cine-Nikkors that were made for the standard 16mm format. The latter lens may have been made up until the late 1970s judging from the boxes that they came with. These lenses sort of function like “standard” lenses for the standard 16mm format akin to the 13mm lenses that were made for the smaller standard 8mm format which uses the D-mount.

It feels quite dense despite being the smallest C-mount Nikkor thanks to its brass barrel. It’s merely painted so you will have to be careful when cleaning it. It resembles the smaller D-mount Nikkors such as the Cine-Nikkor 13mm f/1.8 and you could accidentally look-past one because of the resemblance. If that’s not confusing enough there’s an even faster model called the Cine-Nikkor 25mm f/1.2 which is considered rare, that one looks nearly-identical to this lens except it has f/1.2 engraved on it. The differences are so subtle but an expert could tell them apart by looking at how the barrel looks because the slope of the rings look different.

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Repair: Asahi Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm f/1.4

Hello, everybody! Do you like Japanese corn? I like Japanese corn a lot because of the sweetness and the larger kernels that goes great with butter and salt. The color is also deeper, suggesting a richness of flavor that is absent in pale ones that were grown elsewhere which seems best as fodder. Japanese corn is nutritious, it has high amounts of potassium, I am sure that it also rich in other stuff that is beneficial for our health. Foods that are yellowish are known to be high in potassium which keeps our muscles supple, without enough of it we’ll get cramps. Today, I’m going to show you a lens that’s known for its yellowish-hue but unlike Japanese corn there’s nothing nutritious about it because who eats lenses anyway?

Introduction:

This Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm f/1.4 replaced the Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 in 1971 and its later variant was made until the mid-1970s. What’s notable about this one is it has a thorium-infused element which turns yellowish. It’s also known for being one of the sharpest Takumar of its time, creating a rivalry with the Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 for being the sharpest 50/1.4 from Asahi. There are many supporters of both camps and you could find heated discussions online.

Many people couldn’t distinguish this from the older Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 with an 8-elements design since they look rather similar. One sure way is to check the red-line in the depth-of-field scale, if it’s situated after f/4 then you are sure that what you have is the 7-elements version. Another way is to look at the rear-element but checking the where the red-line is situated will be the best way to determine which version you’re looking at.

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Repair: Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4 Ai

Hello, everybody! Do you know someone who looks normal from the outside but is actually rather special inside? That person may be talented or very intelligent to the extent that is not normally achievable by the majority. You can call the person a genius, gifted or any superlatives and they would all fit. I sometimes think that the root of all this is hard-work but maybe there’s more to this. Maybe they just process things differently so they could grasp something in a different manner and easily digest it mentally. Today, I will show you something that looks normal but is actually unconventional inside. You can’t call it a genius because it’s not a person but I am sure the person who made this is a genius.

Introduction:

The Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4 Ai debuted in 1978 and was sold until 1982 when this was replaced by the similar-looking Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4 Ai-S. It was hailed as one of Nikon’s most-advanced lenses and it opened-up new avenues for expressing creativity or research. Most macro-lenses at that time were limited to shorter focal-lengths but this one has a focal-length 200mm which was something that no other Micro-Nikkor have so this is its claim-to-fame.

It’s a very rugged lens, with a removable tripod-collar. It also has a built-in shade which I find quite useful. It’s smallest aperture is f/32 as typical with many Micro-Nikkors, this is a big-deal when shooting at higher magnifications but this is not ideal if sharpness is a concern because diffraction will certainly make your photos look terrible. I normally never use my Micro-Nikkors beyond f/16 since it’s common for them to lose sharpness just before that value.

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Repair: Asahi Super-Takumar 35mm f/3.5

Hello, everybody! I’m not someone who is concerned about eating healthy but I do stay away from really oily foods. It’s sad because I love to eat friend chicken, curries, stir-fried stuff and stews. However, I do treat myself occasionally and I will have a couple of juicy gyoza (pot-stickers) to satisfy my cravings. Today, I will show you something oily but it’s not something that you couldn’t correct. It’s common to find these with excessive oil and I will show you how to fix this.

Introduction:

The Asahi Super-Takumar 35mm f/3.5 is a rather popular lens that was produced from 1959 up until 1971 and it comes in several variants. The one we have here was made from 1966 until it was replaced in 1971 by an improved model. It’s worth noting that all variations of this lens have roughly the same optics, whether it was modified between models is something that we’ll never know.

The barrel is made from metal, it should be able to withstand abuse in the field. One interesting feature is the bulbous front element, it’s so curved that the curvature surpasses that of some fisheye lenses. Other than that the lens is rather standard-looking as far as Super-Takumars go.

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Repair: Ihagee Exa (Original)

Hello, everybody! I have a weak right wrist due to a training injury so it’s sometimes hard for me to grip with this. That makes it difficult when repairing cameras but thankfully my left wrist is still fine. I am not ambidextrous at all and I can not use my left hand as good as my dominant arm but it’s good-enough for a lot of things. Many things were made for right-handed people, I could imagine how hard it is for a leftie. Thankfully, there are some things that were made for a leftie and I will show you a camera that will be perfect for those of you who are married to your left hand.

Introduction:

The Ihagee Exa was introduced in 1951 and was made until 1962 as a cheaper alternative to the Ihagee Exakta. There’s a couple of variations and the one in this article is a later model from around the late 1950s. While there are later ones that were made many people don’t consider them to be true Ihagee Exas so these early versions were called “original”, the later ones don’t have the same charm and quality as these ones do.

It’s a very handsome camera, the chrome-trims look beautiful as the black leatherette contrasts with the shiny parts. It’s also charming thanks to the old-school design that looks like a jukebox. What’s unusual with this and most of Ihagee’s cameras is the left-handed ergonomics. The speed-selector and plunger are both situated on the left-side but the knob for film-advance is located at the right. If you’re a leftie I’m sure that you’ll appreciate using this camera. Rumor is that the designer for the original Ihagee Exakta is a leftie and that probably explains why this is the case.

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Report: Nikon Z fc

Hello, everybody! Do you remember the movie “Misery“? It’s Kathy Bate’s best performance in my opinion, a masterful portrayal of a psycho. Her ability to change her acting at-will is disturbing to watch because you don’t know which side of the character to expect in the next cut. It’s not an easy job, the only other actor I know of who could do this without any effort is Anthony Wong (黃秋生) in his several roles as a psycho. Today, I’ll show you something that’s able to shift its character at-will, is it a modern, high-performance camera or is it a hobby-camera for those who wants to shoot at their own pace? It’s both and it does either really well.

Introduction:

The Nikon Z fc was recently announced and the response was overwhelming in the sense that it’s mostly positive. Many people are expecting a replacement for the well-loved Nikon Df but we got something else instead, not quite like it but it’s close enough. It’s tiny since it’s based on the Nikon Z50 which is a tiny DX camera, the decision to go with DX is not something many people expected nor embraced but I guess there’s a reason for this. Its performance and looks turned most of its critics around and it looks like Nikon has another hit. In this article I will give you my impressions about this exciting camera and I will mostly focus on the context of shooting with it using manual lenses because this site centers around enjoying older equipment. This is not a review at all despite what the title says so don’t take all of my opinions as truth.

I like how this camera handles, the design-language is familiar to all who have used a Nikon so you it won’t take time before your fingers get familiar with its controls. I held it and I immediately got myself going, taking photos in no time at all. A Nikkor 24mm f/2 Ai-S is a nice partner for it as it offers you a field-of-view that’s similar to 36mm. Since it’s DX it works more like an f/3 lens with it.

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Repair: Asahi Super-Takumar 55mm f/1.8

Hello, everybody! I was enjoying some Vietnamese beers last weekend, the brands that I drank were light, smooth and refreshing. The beers were ice-cold and that helped make them taste a lot better. I love light beers, they won’t drown the taste of more-delicate flavors so they’re nice for pairing with seafood and vegetables or fruits. Just think of them as tasty palette-cleansers, preparing your tongue for the next bite. Today, I will show you something that’s just-as-smooth and like the Vietnamese beers I had they won’t cost you a lot and will definitely love you long time, too.

Introduction:

This version of the Super-Takumar 55mm f/1.8 was sold from 1965 to 1971 but this venerable lens family was sold from 1958 up to 1975 and were sold in under variations which makes them fun to collect. They’re quite popular so they have earned quite a following.

The barrel is all-metal which makes them tough, I’m sure they’ll survive some abuse in the field but they’re not sealed, I won’t recommend you using them in damp, rainy weather or anywhere dusty like the beach. The filter-size is 49mm, it’s the standard size for many Takumars and many M42 lenses at that time. It has a tab near the base so you can switch it from automatic to manual-aperture mode easily. It does have the tendency to be switched accidentally when you turn the aperture ring, resulting in inaccurate exposure.

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