Sigma sd14 - takumar 1.4

The Sigma SD14 and the Takumar 50mm 1.4 have the potential to form a truly fantastic duo. Both are slightly aged, but amazing pieces of technology. The Takumar is a sturdy built, high quality lens. It’s seen by some as the best 50mm that you can buy. The Sigma SD14 is also well built and sports the Foveon sensor and native IR capabilities.

So how well do they perform when used together? The short answer is… Not really that great. Overall, the SD14 and the Takumar fail to utilize each others strong points. The SD14 will never use the full resolving power of the Takumar due to its 4.7MP sensor. At the same time, the Takumar’s f1.4 aperture is especially suitable for low light situations, while the SD14 performs best in bright sunlight. Also, the m42 adapter can complicate things even more. My adapter goes ever so slightly beyond infinity focus, which means that I have to focus just before infinity to get a sharp image of anything over 10 meters distance.

This quick look is divided in two parts:
1. Large aperture and bloom
2. Small aperture and sharpness

1. Large aperture and bloom
I like the way this lens looks wide open. It produces a very soft image with lots of character to it. There is still plenty of detail though. Click on the below images to open an uncropped 100% sized image in a new window.

SDIM5239s SDIM5225s SDIM5176s SDIM5210s SDIM5214s SDIM5238s

2. Small aperture and sharpness
When the Takumar is stepped down, the bloom disappears and the image becomes real sharp. Not quite as sharp as the Sigma EX 15-30mm I think, but the image is still remarkable. Especially given the age of the Takumar.

SONY DSC SDIM5872s SDIM5221s SDIM5922s SDIM5884s

The below image was shot with the Sony a200 to give a better impression of the resolution of the Takumar 50mm. Click on the image to get display the unedited file in a new window. The a200 has a 10MP sensor, which is more then double that of the sd14. The Takumar has no problem at all resolving the image at this resolution. It probably works excellent at even higher pixel counts, but unfortunately I don’t have camera’s to test this with.