A Buying Guide: How to Tell the Different Pentax 105mm 6x7 Lens Versions Apart 


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Pentax 67 Medium Format Film Camera with the Pentax 67 SMC 105mm f/2.4 Lens 

Pentax 67 Medium Format Film Camera with the Pentax 67 SMC 105mm f/2.4 Lens 

 

So, you've been searching Ebay and you've seen that there's obviously more than one version of the legendary Pentax 67 105mm f/2.4 for your Pentax 645 or Pentax 6x7 system. There's obviously a large difference in price, but does it really matter?

Well, in short... 

Yes, it does matter.

What's in this article

  • What's the same? 
  • What's the difference and why does it matter?
  • Are the differences with worth the cost?

Pentax 105mm f/2.4 Super Takumar vs Super Multi Coated vs SMC Pentax

What's the same?

All three versions of the Pentax 105mm f/2.4 are exactly the same as far as internal design. That is, the design, not necessarily the glass, is the same. 

What's the difference?

Let's start with a what's what:

In order from earliest (and least expensive usually) to newest (and usually most expensive):

  • Super Takumar (Introduced in 1969)
  • Super Multi Coated Takumar (introduced in 1971)
  • SMC Pentax (Introduced in 1989)
Super Multi Coated Takumar Pentax 6x7 105mm f/2.4 Lens

Super Multi Coated Takumar Pentax 6x7 105mm f/2.4 Lens

The original Super Takumar is easily recognized by the words "Super Takumar" on the front, while the words "Super-Multi-Coated Takumar" indicate the next version introduced in 1971. Both of these versions have a metal focus ring.

Each version featured an updated coating that provided better micro-contrast and sun-flare control. This means that each successive version will have a more "3d" effect than the one prior, as well as better overall contrast and light control. This is due to the improved coating on the lenses.

SMC Pentax 67 105mm f/2.4 Lens

SMC Pentax 67 105mm f/2.4 Lens

 

The newest version is typically quite a bit more expensive and can easily be recognized by "SMC Pentax" on the front and by the rubberization on the focus ring, vs the metal of the older versions. This latest version is also slightly lighter than the older versions.

Since older lenses are more prone to balsam separation, fungus, and yellowing, the newer the lens, theoretically the longer it will last. Yellowing, in particular, is an issue that the older versions encounter due to the radioactive material (sounds scary, but it's not that unhealthy) due to the use of thorium glass elements.

Thorium glass was cheaper, so that's what they used. If and when it yellows due to the radioactivity, it can cause the color transmission to be less neutral and, well...yellow.  The SMC Pentax version did not use thorium glass, but instead a high-index non-radioactive glass, which, again, in theory, should mean an improved image and no yellowing.

Another point to the SMC Pentax.

Is the SMC Pentax worth the extra cost?

So, is the SMC Pentax worth it? If you shoot backlit quite a bit, having the extra contrast and flare control is highly desirable. That, coupled with non-radioactive non-yellowing glass may just be enough to warrant the upcharge. 

Now, head over to Ebay and start trying to identify them! And if you would...

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Thanks in advance!

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