Pentax Lens tests Macro Zooms


I happen to have three lenses that purport to have some sort of macro ability and fit my Pentax Super Program.  From left to right are the SMC Pentax-M 1:2.8-4 40-80, Takumar-A 1:3.5-4.5 28-80 and the Vivitar 70-150 1:3.8 Macro Focusing Zoom.  For convenience I am going to refer to them as the SMC,Takumar and Vivitar for the rest of the post. Obviously they bring different qualities to the comparison with the SMC being the fastest, the Takumar the widest and the Vivitar the longest but they all claim some close focusing ability.

In the same order here are samples from each of the lenses set to their closest focus and f5.6.






The SMC Pentax-M wins this hands down with the best image quality and the least chromatic distortions.   When not at their closest focus and set to 70mm focal length it’s the Vivitar that comes out on top.  The Takumar comes last in all the tests but it also has the most ambitious and useful focal lengths.  The Vivitar sports an awkward set of focal lengths which might be suited to portraits but it’s not particularly fast at f3.8 It is compact though.  The SMC Pentax-M also has a limit range of focal lengths but within them is the best of the bunch and the fastest too.  The 28mm wide end makes the Takumar the most versatile but you give up some speed and image quality.  So my verdict is that none of these replace each other and I should use them all…the end.

When mounted on an APS-c DSLR such as the Pentax K-3 the Vivitar makes a nice medium telephoto that renders out of focus areas in a gentle buttery bokeh. Wide open at f3.8 it tends to be a bit soft but at f5.6 it does a decent job.





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