Only one year after the introduction of the M 42 Takumar, and with the K version of the Asahi Pentax, Asahi introduced the Auto-Takumar in 1958. Gone was the preset system and new was the pin at the lens mount and the handle on the outside, close to
the aperture ring. First, choose aperture value, move the handle downwards to open the aperture to full opening, focus and shoot. The K camera came with a plate just inside the camera mount that, when moved by the release button, would press the pin on the
lens to lock the aperture at the chosen value. In spite of the name, this was not an automatic aperture, but rather an improvement of the old preset system and another step towards the goal.
1958: Auto-Takumar 55/1,8:
A fast normal at the time, the Auto-Takumar 55/1,8. This -170542-version has been presented as the only Zebra design Takumar ever produced and thus easy to identify. This design was more common in Germany during late 50s and through the 60s. NB: However, there was at least two more Takumar zebras!
Note: The Asahi Pentax K was sold as Tower 29 at the american market. For this version, Asahi produced a zebra style Takumar 55/1,9 lens. It carries every measure and characteristics from the 1,8 lens, and is probably the same lens with another name. Was it just a trade deal to be able to sell it at a lower price?
Anyway, there are very few known samples of it, the one found having a s.n. from 1959.
Note: A reader has pointed out that he has purchased a rare 55/2 lens in Japan, also produced in zebra design. (Presented below.) So, the number of zebra lenses was at least three! The same lens came to follow the S2/H2 cameras from 1959, but in black design.
Filterdiameter 46, weight 174 grams. Aperture values 1,8 to 22.
Another Zebra 55/1,8 with sn. 189880.
1958: Auto-Takumar 55/2:
The Auto-Takumar 55/2 was a standard lens for the K of 1958 as for the S2 to be released in '59. This one has sn. 221967 and came on one of my Ks.
Filterdiameter 46, weight 175 grams. Aperture values 2 to 22.
Other Auto-Takumar 55/2 lenses of my collection: Sn. 270713 and 297850.
A very rare and interesting lens. While the common idea is that Takumar only produced one zebra design lens, the 55/1,8 of 1958, there are also some very few 55/1,9 made for the american market, shown above. What few were aware of, is that there excists even a third one: this 55/2 Auto-Takumar. Sn. tells us it was produced late 1959. As we know, almost all of these lenses that came with the S2 in 1959 were black, as shown on the other samples. So, this lens is of a very limited series, or produced as a limited special order, perhaps for one person? It was found in Japan. The question is: are there other Takumars in zebra design?
The lens is not of my collection. It belongs to Renato Repetto, who also brought some of the information together with the photo.
1958: Auto-Takumar 35/2,3:
The 35/2,3 of 1959 was a very fast and optically superb lens. This one has sn. 203248. Filterdiameter 62, weight 310 grams.
1959: Auto-Takumar 35/3,5:
Here is a 35/3,5 wide angle Auto-Takumar released in 1959, although this sample has the later aperture opening handle to push, substituting the first edition. Sn. 595391.
Filterdiameter 46, weight 147 grams. Aperture values 3,5 to 22.
1959: Auto-Takumar 105/2,8:
The Auto-takumar 105/2,8 was released during spring 1959. A very good portrait and landscape lens. Sn: 520517.
Filterdiameter 49, weight 280 grams. Aperture values 2,8 to 22.
(As a reader pointed out, this is in fact a Takumar, not an Auto-Takumar. Photos have been switched. Sorry. To be replaced.)
1960: Auto-Takumar 55/1,8 (Super):
This lens from 1960 carries the name Auto-Takumar, but it was in fact the first Super-Takumar, two years before it was officially introduced! It followed the new S3 cameras that were introduced the same year. Here one of my three copies. The others were 475736 and 626864.
Filterdiameter 49, weight 215 grams. Note that the usual way of setting the aperture values changed on this lens: Full opening to the left and smallest opening to the right. All Pentax sources claim this Auto-Takumar lens to be the only one with this setting, but look, it was not:
Super-Takumar from 1962 to the left.
1961: Auto-Takumar 55/2,2:
The Auto-takumar 55/2,2 from '61 were made for the less expensive cameras, like the S1 released the same year. But build almost identical to the 55/2, it had the same qualities.
Here one of my four, sn. 404700.
Filterdiameter 46, weight 164 grams. Aperture settings from 2,2 to 22.
My other Auto-Takumar 55/2,2 lenses: 403910 and 468460.