Originally released in 1949 (East Germany), the M42 screw mount rose to real popularity with the Praktica camera brand. Known by many names (e.g. Universal screw mount, Pentax thread mount), this mount has gained new momentum in the digital era.
With so many adapters out there, it’s easy to adapt these M42 lenses to your mirrorless system. There are hundreds of great lenses to choose from, ranging from mediocre to outstanding.
These are some of the best value M42 lenses out there:
Wide Angle Lenses
- Pentax Super Takumar 24mm F3.5
- Vivitar 28mm F2.8 MC Close Focus:
Go for Komine version (Serial #: 28xxxxxxx)
- Fuji Fujinon EBC 28mm F3.5
- Pentax Super Takumar 28mm F3.5
(SMC, S-M-C, or Super Tak versions)
- Meyer Optik Görlitz Lydith 30mm F3.5
- Pentax Super Takumar 35mm F2:
Two models (earlier 67mm and later 49mm filter threads)
- Pentax Auto Takumar 35mm F2.3:
Exceptional bokeh (“artistic” lens)
- Pentax Super Takumar 35mm F3.5:
Outstanding value. Great (intense) colors, perfect for landscape work.
- Fuji Fujinon 50mm F1.4 EBC:
Very smooth transitions, magical wide open, very sharp by f/2.8
- Pentax Super Takumar 50mm F1.4:
Price is for version 1 (8 elements). v2 also nice! SMC, S-M-C, or Super Takumar.
- Yashica Yashinon-DS 50mm F1.4
- Yashica Yashinon-DS 50mm F1.7
- Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm F1.8 Pancolar:
- Meyer Optik Görlitz Oreston 50mm F1.8:
Alternative: 50mm F1.8 Pentacon is optically the same, with MC and cheaper.
- Yashica Yashinon-DS 50mm F1.9
- Yashica Yashinon-DS 50mm F2
- Carl Zeiss Jena Jena 50mm F2.8 (“Eagle Eye”):
- Pentax SMC Takumar 50mm F4 Macro
- Ricoh Auto Rikenon 55mm F1.4:
or Yashinon, Porst, Revuenon, Chinon, Mamiya Sekor, Auto Sears (all 55mm F1.4)
- Pentax Super Takumar 55mm F1.8:
SMC, S-M-C, Super Takumar. Radioactive.
- Fuji EBC Fujinon 55mm F1.8
- Mamiya Auto Sekor 55mm F1.8:
Amazing value. Look for this bundled with old Mamiya/Sekor SLR cameras.
- Pentax Auto-Takumar 55mm F2:
Also consider: Super Takumar / SMC 55mm F2.
- Fuji Fujinon 55mm F3.5 Macro
- Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 58mm F2 (Red T):
10-bladed version with unique swirly bokeh. Budget alternative: Helios 44-2.
- Pentax S-M-C / Auto Takumar 85mm F1.8:
Excellent portrait lens! Also see: S-M-C / Super Tak F1.9 (around the same price).
- Fuji EBC Fujinon-T 100mm F2.8
- Meyer Optik Görlitz 100mm F2.8 Orestor:
See also: Pentacon 100mm F2.8
- Pentax SMC / Super Takumar 100mm F4 Macro
- Vivitar Series 1 105mm F2.5 Macro
- Pentax SMC / Super Takumar 105mm F2.8
- Pentax SMC Takumar 120mm F2.8
- Pentax SMC Takumar 135mm F2.5:
Many prefer the 6-element version 2 (code 43812, serial 6xxxxxx +?)
- Steinheil-München Auto-D-Tele-Quinar 135mm F2.8
- Pentacon 135mm F2.8 MC:
15 blades. If you’re shooting wide open, save money and get the 6 bladed version.
- Carl Zeiss Jena 135mm F3.5 Sonnar
- Pentax Super Takumar 135mm F3.5:
Make sure you get a lens hood!
- Isco Göttingen Tele-Westanar 135mm F3.5:
Very fun with macro extension tubes (due to MFD of 1.3 meters – long!)
- Pentacon 200mm F4:
The infamous 15-bladed “Bokeh Monster” (see also: Meyer-Optik 200mm F4)
- Pentax Super Takumar 200mm F3.5:
For cheaper/lighter: get the F4 version ($50). Even cheaper: F5.6 ($35). This one still best.
Also: see our Best Value Soviet Lens page for even more great options in the M42 screw mount.