Lee in the Park w/ Super-Takumar 55mm f1.8

55mm super-takumar street photography

Images shot with the vintage Super-Takumar 55mm f1.8

“You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.”

The words there of one of the greatest thinkers of our time: Andre 3000.

Sometimes, photography is impossible to predict. Other times, it isn’t. And you never know when it will or won’t be.

Both street photography and manual focus photography are made up of elements that fall into two camps; the ones you can control, and the ones you can’t.

You can control all of your camera settings, and with practice master them, but you can never really control what people are going to do, or how they will behave. You also can’t control the light.

With practice and a little research, you can become better at guessing, or forecasting, but for the main part, you’re likely to spend more time being reactive than proactive.

This isn’t a bad thing at all. Learning how to react to situations rather than engineering them keeps things interesting.

Often, the best thing you can do is just get out there and get shooting.

Zhongshan Park, Shanghai

One time when I just got out there to go shooting, I went to Zhongshan Park, Shanghai with my Super-Takumar 55mm f1.8.

It was attached to a Sony mirrorless; a great camera for shooting street photography with manual focus vintage lenses, and the latest of which you can check out on Amazon.

I didn’t know exactly what I was going to find that day, but you can always take a good guess when you go to a park in China.

The elder generation.

Whether gambling, dancing, flying kites, singing badly, painting water graffiti on the floor, or looking after the grandchildren, they will always be there.

girl and grandmother in zhongshan park shanghai china

mobility scooter in zhongshan park shanghai china

chinese characters water graffiti

55mm Super-Takumar photography in the park

Shooting with the 55mm Super-Takumar means I wasn’t able to capture any wider vistas of Zhongshan Park.

But that doesn’t matter. It’s better to look for what you can shoot than worry about what you can’t.

No Swimming sign, some birds, and a few silhouettes.

It isn’t a list of classic subjects, but what is?

Photography is unpredictable, remember?

no swimming sign in zhongshan park shanghai china

birds in zhongshan park shanghai

bench in zhongshan park shanghai

dad and boy in zhongshan park shanghai china

Practicing pre-focusing on a distance

In my experience, the 55mm Super-Takumar – which you can always find on eBay – performs really well in black and white.

Only having manual focus means it’s also a good teacher.

Photo essays like Monkey TownOn the Road to Pai, and Chiang Mai Street Photography feature monochrome images taken with this 55mm Takumar that I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to shoot when I first started using vintage lenses.

On this day in Zhongshan park, the rollerblading kids gave me the chance to practice pre-focusing on a distance and capturing them as they passed through it.

Needless to say, there were a lot of missed shots.

As you can see though, even with manual focus lenses it’s possible to get sharp images of moving subjects with a little practice of certain techniques.

Just like the kids learning to skate though, improving what we’re capable of doing by deliberate practice is one aspect of photography we can safely predict.

shanghai zhongshan park rollerskating

chinese kids rollerskating

chinese kid skating


… p.s. If you’ve enjoyed these shots from Zhongshan Park with the Super-Takumar 55mm f1.8 and think others will too, why not share or pin them?

Zhongshan Park is one of my favourite public spaces in Shanghai. These shots are from a day spent there with the Super-Takumar 55mm f1.8.
written by
Hi, I'm Lee - creator of My Favourite Lens and the one whose work you're seeing whenever you read a post on here.
I shoot as much film as I can in as many different cameras as I can, and I enjoy playing with vintage lenses on digital cameras also.

Everything I do and what I learn along the way gets shared on here, to inform and inspire you to get out and shoot as much - and as well - as you can too.

8 thoughts on “Lee in the Park w/ Super-Takumar 55mm f1.8”

  1. Hi, I like the content of your blog, but viewing it as a webpage on an iPad it is very frustrating and difficult to read, as the ‘sharing’ icons on the left obscure the text 🙁

      • You’re welcome! I’ve switched to the desktop and everything reads fine, it is just the cramped space on the iPad screen that was a problem. Can you choose where to position the ‘sharing’ icons? Anyway, keep up the good work, you’ve got some great shots here 🙂

        • I believe it’s sorted now!

          FWIW – It was set to display them at the bottom of the page on screens 800 wide or less i.e. phones. Have upped that to 1270 so iPads will also have them displayed at the bottom, but they’ll still at the side on desktop. Hopefully!

          Thanks again for the heads-up. Hope it’s fixed now. Let me know if not. And thank you for the compliments re. the content too. It’s lovely to hear and much appreciated. 🙂

          • Hi Lee,

            I’ve just checked – and the page is now much easier to read on the iPad, thanks!
            I found your blog by searching for information about vintage lenses on DSLRs. I have a Super Takuma 55mm f1.8, too – as well as quite a few other lenses for 35mm film cameras. I haven’t used many of them on my DSLR, yet, but your work definitely inspires me to try them out 🙂

          • Thank you!

            That’s cool that you have some vintage lenses yourself. Do you have somewhere you’ll publish the photos you’re planning on taking with them? Would love to take a look if you do.

            Just also if you hadn’t seen – I’m happy to publish other people’s pictures and stories on here – with full credit and links of course. More details are on the contact page. 🙂

            Drop me an email at [email protected] if and whenever you have something you’d want to share!

  2. Hi Lee, I’ve just come across your site here – fantastic shots! I was wondering what might be the best way to contact you directly re using some of your images to accompany an essay submission for publication or even collaborating on a photo essay project. Cheers!


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