Lens #2: Pentax 67 135mm F4 Macro

Initially, I had no plans to buy this lens but could not resist the temptation when I saw it at a bargain price in a very good condition at a used camera gear online marketplace. I actually looked for a 165mm F2.8 lens, which could be a good supplement to my 90mm F2.8, but decided to first try 135mm F4 Macro.

Unfortunately, and, oddly enough, very few technical details can be found about this lens, except for the well-known facts which you can read on the relevant page of PentaxForums.com. Nevertheless, some information regarding its optical implementation can be traced.

Pentax 67 135mm F4  - helicoid extension at infinity and closest distances

Pentax 67 135mm F4 Macro – helicoid extension

It is an implementation of Voigtländer semi-symmetrical Dynar lens formula – a modification of Heliar lens which is also a variant of the Cooke triplet design. The Pentax lens is very close to the F3.5 Dynar that was previously renamed Heliar. The Dynar is an ancestor to all modern Heliars.

Close focusing and macro capabilities

This lens was developed specifically for close focusing. At the maximum lens extension of 42mm it gives only 0.31× magnification ratio with exposure factor about ×1.72. To achieve 1× magnification the lens should be extended by additional 93mm with full set of extension tubes #1+2+3. As a result, you get a very long lens with exposure factor ×4 which is equal to the actual lens speed F8. This results in focusing screen becoming very dark and makes the actual focusing very difficult.

Field of view

The focal length of a 135mm lens with the field of view 36.5° is close to that of the old 150mm F2.8 lens with field of view 33°. Well, I like to use it for close portraits, as for such image scale there is no need in extension tubes.

Size and weight

Pentax 67 135mm F4 Macro compared with 90mm, 105mm and 165mm

Pentax 67 135mm F4 Macro compared with other lenses

It is a portable, lightweight and very handy lens despite its size comparable to 165mm F2.8 lens but 200g lighter.


The lens has a deeply recessed front element, so it doesn’t actually need a hood. But in certain situations it still may be required. Original clip-on plastic hood PH-SA 67mm costs around $50. A cheap compact metal round hood for $3 can be a good substitute.


It has a 67mm filter thread which works fine with both screw-in and special bayonet mount filters.


Pentax 67 135mm F4 Macro - aperture opening

Pentax 67 135mm F4 Macro – aperture opening

The lens has 8 aperture blades, which is typical for most of the Pentax 67 lenses. I rarely stop it down below F16, so I will show several photographs of aperture opening up to this value.

Image quality and bokeh effect

The lens is very sharp throughout the entire aperture range. The key reason for this has to do with its nearly symmetrical design, thanks to the Heliar optical formula. It helps to almost completely eliminate lateral colour, coma and distortion. And there is one more bonus – it has a very pleasant “Heliar-style” bokeh effect and is sharp even when wide open. I like to use it for closeup portraits.

Pentax 67 135mm F4 Macro, Ilford HP5 Plus © Sasha Krasnov - Portrait Photographer
Pentax 67 135mm F4 Macro, Ilford HP5 Plus © Sasha Krasnov - Portrait Photographer
Pentax 67 135mm F4 Macro, Ilford HP5 Plus © Sasha Krasnov - Portrait Photographer
Pentax 67 135mm F4 Macro, Ilford HP5 Plus © Sasha Krasnov - Portrait Photographer


Well, it is a close focusing lens designed to focus closer than normal lenses, sharp and lightweight with the focal length between standard and portrait lenses. So, it is more convenient for me than a classic portrait focal length, as I do not like to stand too far away from a model when shooting close-ups and use extension tubes. In my opinion, it is an underrated lens in the Pentax 67 lineup of lenses.

Lens data

Pentax 67 135mm F4 Macro - optical formula

Pentax 67 135mm F4 Macro – optical formula

  • Focal length: 135mm
  • 35mm equivalent: 70mm
  • Optical formula: 5 elements, 3 groups
  • Field of view: 36.5°/29° (Diagonal/Horizontal)
  • Aperture: 4 ~ 32 (8 blades)
  • Close distance: 75cm
    • Magnification: 0.31×
    • Picture area: 23×18cm
    • Exposure factor: ×1.72 (+0.78EV)
    • Effective lens speed: 5.2 ~ 42
  • Filter: 67mm, screw-in and bayonet
  • Hood: Built-in, PH-SA 67mm
  • Case: S90-140
  • Dimensions: 91.5×95mm
  • Weight: 0.65kg
// Sasha Krasnov
SMC PENTAX 67 1:2.8 90mm

← Lens #1: Pentax 67 90mm F2.8

Lens #3: Pentax 67 165mm F2.8 →

SMC PENTAX 67 1:2.8 165mm


  1. Great lens with incredible sharpness even at non macro distances!

  2. tobias

    Are you still using the lens? I’m considering to add it to my 45 and 105 at the moment. The 105 at times feels a bit to short so I was looking for either the 135 or 165. The 135 is tempting as it lets me get closer, the 165 however I suppose feels more like a classical 85mm KB portrait lens. Both tempting – which one do you prefer to shoot?

    • Hello Tobias!

      Yes, I still have and use 135mm instead of 165mm by these reasons:
      a) weight;
      b) close focusing;
      c) focal length — I prefer “shorter” lenses for portraits because I like to be in touch with the model. As the lens “longer” the focusing distance is greater for the same magnification ratio;
      d) the hood is better for 135mm.

      As for me 165mm is too oversized for everyday usage. I’ve described the reasons in article about 165mm — http://skrasnov.com/pentax-67/165mm-f28/

      As for standard lenses — I’ve both, 90mm and 105mm. The first is very versatile lens. So, having 45mm it is better to keep 90mm instead 105mm. Also you will have gap about 17 deg between 90mm and 135mm instead of 9.5 deg for 105mm to 135mm jump. It is more convenent configuration 45mm — 90mm — 135mm.

      But you are right about classic 85mm lens on 35mm format. But you should use the lens that features your style of photography rather than to comply with the tenets.

  3. Sasha,
    Thanks for the info about your lenses. I sold my Pentax 6×7, but am acquiring 6×7 lenses to use in macro and telephotography of bees and birds. Your insight and technical info convinced me to take advantage of these great lenses and great deals to use with my Sony A7r2. I have already been using the Pentax 6×7 300mm f4 and 2x telextender to photograph Spotted Towhees in the birdbath as well as Quail and finches. I am even considering re-acquiring a 6×7 for a b&w portrait series. Cheers, Ken

  4. Dear Sasha,

    First I want to thank you for the very complete information about everything pentax 67. It really helped me a lot choosing my set-up. But my question is if you know what the red and white markings on the barrel mean? Thanks in advance.

    Kind Regards,


    • Thank you Jan! I’m really like to help you. White markings on the top of the lens means magnification scale, because it’s still a macro lens. So, if you focused on something and get number 15 by this scale it means that the subject will be 1/15 = 0.667× of original size. As you may note the maximum maginfication is 1/3.2 = 0.313×. To get the life-size enlargement this lens requires whole set of extension tubes (#1+2+3).

      Which red markings did you mean? I’ve used red colour to point attention to the certain characteristics.

  5. Renato

    Ciao Sasha, ho qualche domanda da porti: differenze tra le lenti smc Takumar e smc Pentax; conosci la lente smc Takumar 75 f. 4.5?. Poi volevo congratularmi con te per il bel lavoro riguardo a Pentax 6×7, con collegamenti web molto interessanti. Ho usato il sistema 6×7 circa 20 anni fa, ora sono nostalgico
    E vorrei riprendere in mano un sistema Pentax 6×7. Grazie mille dall’Italia

    • Hello Renato

      Thank you for the comment. Typically, there is no much difference between “S-M-C Takumar” and “SMC Pentax” lenses of the same focal length. There are some oldest Super-Taukmars with older lens coating. All of them were manufactured in 1969-1971. There are some “S-M-C Takumar” and “SMC Pentax” lenses of the same focal length but optically different. For example, S-M-C Takumar/6X7 200mm F4 and SMP Pentax 67 200mm F4 are completely different. Both of 75mm F4.5 are the same lenses with different finishing. I prefer latest edition lenses. They have a slightly better lens coating on my opinion. But there are two 55mm F4, “Pentax-6X7” and “Pentax 67” engraved. They are completely different two and have no Takumar predecessor. In another hand, Takumar/6X7 F90 2.8 and Pentax 67 90 F2.8 is not the same lens.

      • Brian

        What is the difference in 6×7 lenses and 67 lenses other than year manufactured? Appreciate your articles

        • Usually, the difference is only in lens coating. Super-Takumars are single coated lenses, Super-Multi-Coated Takumar, SMC Pentax-6X7 and SMC Pentax 67 are multi-coated lenses. Also, on later lenses, multi-coating were slightly improved. Only for some lenses, the optical formula was changed. It is Pentax-6X7 55mm F4 and Pentax 67 55mm F4, Takumar/6X7 200mm F4 and Pentax 67 200mm F4. As for Takumar/6X7 90mm F2.8 with a leaf shutter, it was replaced by completely different Pentax 67 90mm F2.8 with no shutter inside. There is another lens may be found with different aperture unit — 67 300mm F4 which may have 7 or 9 blades inside.

  6. MarianV

    Well…wow, I am absolutely amazed and excited! It is absolutely wonderful, that someone like you exists, who use this legendary mid-format camera, who is apparently ready with spending time by creating these very (in modern ages) useful pages. I own one Pentax ASAHI 6×7 as well and your blog/this article helped me right now to buy 135/f4 Macro lens.
    Well thank you and keep performing, you have absolutely wonderful photos.. respect!

    • Thank you, Marian! It is my pleasure to share the experience with people who love (and enjoy I hope) Asahi Pentax 6X7/67 system. The new articles will come soon.

      Have great shots with your 67 135mm F4 Macro 😉 See ya…

  7. Большое спасибо, Саша! Искала в гугле примеры фотографий для 150 mm f/2.8, в итоге нашла ваш блог и поняла, что если мне что-то и нужно дополнительно к 105 мм, то это 135 мм, а не 150-165. Очень информативно и полезно.

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