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05-30-2010, 08:48 AM   #16
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OT: on the subject of camera porn take a look of what I bought for My trusty ME super that has put up with misuse and abuse from me all these years...


Last edited by Digitalis; 04-29-2011 at 05:10 AM.
05-30-2010, 12:42 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by JayR Quote
Is it really THAT much better than the FA 77mm ltd? Especially for portraiture/fashion now with 1.5x crop factor to consider?

Ive been intrigued by the legend of the FA*85mm and like the results ive seen with the 77mm ltd so I was thinking about posting a FA77ltd vs FA*85mm thread- feel free to post comparative images here!
IMO, yes. See below.

QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
the optical construction of the FA77 and FA*85mm f/1.4 are remarkably quite similar. though the optical properties of both lenses are rather divergent. The FA77 being slightly wider and utilizing FREE - fixed rear element has a tendency to become slightly wider in focal length as the focus gets closer to MFD I believe the FA* has that trait in common.

I have never tested both lenses head to head on digital though...but when I looked over each lenses resolution test charts that were shot on film, they both are pretty evenly matched.though I think the FA* has an advantage at wider apertures over the FA77. though the FA77 is more flare tolerant of the two lenses, the FA77 also has slightly better handling of distortion.
I was under the impression that they actually differed quite significantly. While the A* 85mm/1.4 uses the same optical formula as the FA 77mm limited (it's simply a bit bigger as it offers the extra half-stop), the FA* was tweaked to incorporate what you mentioned above, as well as IF. Thus, the resulting optical formula was quite a bit different.

The only issue with the FA* 85mm on digital is that it's very sensitive to overexposed areas, which end up generating CA at wider apertures. Stopped down, though, it's a beast even in that respect.

I haven't done a formal comparison with my FA 77, but obviously it's a bit longer, offers the extra half-stop, and should be just a bit sharper. I wouldn't be surprised if the 77 handles distortion a bit better, though. Perhaps sometime in the future, I'll have time to do a complete comparison!

Adam
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05-30-2010, 03:10 PM   #18
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Though I have never had the pleasure of using the FA*85mm I have certainly done my research and was all ready to buy it a couple of years back. But then I realised there was something better I could buy.

The FA*85 is specifically designed for portraits and so is optimised for that distance and a very particular focus. Basically, it front focuses so the subject is nearer to the back of the depth of field. This means that lovely bokeh begins directly behind the subject. The necessary by-product is that sharpness is sacrificed. This is known to all who have compared with the A*85, a sharper lens at the large apertures it would likely be used at (up until at least f/4, some say f/8).

The FA*85 has an 8 element in 7 group optical formula while the A*85 and FA77 have an almost identical 7 element in 6 group construction. They are also two of the few Fixed Rear Element Extension (FREE) focusing lenses Pentax has made. Basically the FA77 is the new 85, based on the best of the two previous designs. But half the size, half the weight, more convenient and better looks too. Some even prefer the bokeh.

FA77 also has better control of aberrations. And is a better field of view on crop sensor, IMO, being similar to 120mm FF.

FA77 Limited for the win!

Last edited by rparmar; 05-30-2010 at 03:17 PM.
05-30-2010, 05:55 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
I agree with all you have said above, although my preferences might turn out differently.

Let's, just for fun, see how the FA77 compares to the FA* 85 with regards to size:

The FA* 85's hood is enormous. I feel that this also helps to increase the contrast. Otherwise, the hood would have been smaller.


Wth the hood off the differences are not that big anymore, but the FA* 85 is still hefty.


I like how all FA*'s have the decal on the side showing the optical scheme:

So, how does the FA* 85 compare to your CZJ Pancolar 80?


Steve

05-30-2010, 07:04 PM   #20
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Where is that old post featuring Frank's dad where Frank took comparative portraits with the FA77 and FA85 f/1.4 with the same camera? I remember that they looked pretty close, with most people giving the slight edge to the FA85 f/1.4 on things like smoother bokeh. Others preferred the FA77 for other reasons like size. Typical of a lens comparison post.

Frank, are you out there? Do you remember the post I am referring to? (I've searched for it before and wasn't able to find it.)
05-30-2010, 09:35 PM   #21
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The pictures in that thread were removed.

I had a similar thread comparing the A* 85 and FA* 85 but I recently deleted the comparison pictures from my flickr account. In my comparison, the A* was noticeably sharper(only at 100%) from f1.4 to about f4.0. The A* had much worse PF. At the larger apertures PF was present even in not too contrasty situations, while the FA* is almost PF free except when taking a picture of something like branches against a cloudy sky. The FA* had a warmer, and I would also say more natural, rendition of colors, which I greatly preferred. The A* had better flare resistance. I have never had a problem with the performance of the FA* at any distance. When it came time to sell one of the 85s, I sold the A* because the PF was rather unbearable, and the color rendition of the FA* was so much better in my eyes.

Considering the fact that the A* 85 and FA 77 Ltd have nearly identical optical formulas, I would assume most of those findings would hold true, at least to a degree, for a comparison of the 77 and FA* 85. I have thought of selling the FA*, so I could buy the 77 and have a smaller lighter kit. Then I look at the pictures I've taken with it and decide against it. Plus, I always fear that the 77 will share the few flaws that the A* had, and that I'll always just want the FA* back. If I didn't hate post-processing so much it wouldn't be such a big deal though.

So that's my FA* 85mm testimonial. It's flaws are few and very minor, and it's performance otherwise is STELLAR.

QuoteOriginally posted by Urkeldaedalus Quote
Where is that old post featuring Frank's dad where Frank took comparative portraits with the FA77 and FA85 f/1.4 with the same camera? I remember that they looked pretty close, with most people giving the slight edge to the FA85 f/1.4 on things like smoother bokeh. Others preferred the FA77 for other reasons like size. Typical of a lens comparison post.

Frank, are you out there? Do you remember the post I am referring to? (I've searched for it before and wasn't able to find it.)
05-30-2010, 10:36 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The only issue with the FA* 85mm on digital is that it's very sensitive to overexposed areas, which end up generating CA at wider apertures. Stopped down, though, it's a beast even in that respect.
First, I love controlling my DoF. This lens gives me more flexibility at that than just about any other lens in my arsenal. It's OoF areas are amazing, and it's in focus areas just couldn't get any sharper.

Second, the idea of popping up my flash for anything other than fill flash has an entire lack of excitement for me. I'd rather do just about anything other than using flash, and this lens is the bomb for this.

I'm just going to add to what Adam is saying here. This lens is simply where it's at. It's amazingly good, and I can't believe there's not a DA* equiv of this lens. My only complaint is some purple fringing and over exposing of areas at wide open.

I wish I had a silver K-7 to compliment the coloring of the 85 when mounted.
05-30-2010, 10:55 PM   #23
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I've had A*85, FA*85 and FA77 at the same time, but now I only keep the FA77 for its much smaller size and good-enough optical performance. By good enough I mean it's hard to tell the difference from the other two 85s. A*85 definitely has the edge when used wide open, but its bokeh isn't as smooth as the other two (but by no means it's bad in this regard). FA*85 has slightly smoother bokeh but FA77 is just a tad behind, the difference is very hard to tell. FA*85 isn't the best lens for distance subjects compared w/ the other two, but it's not too bad as others claimed above.

Between these three, the only outstanding difference is the wide open sharpness of A*85, all the other aspects can be too similar to tell the difference.

05-31-2010, 12:08 AM   #24
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I also have the FA77 and the FA* 85/1.4 and while I haven't compared them directly I don't think I will sell either. They have both their own uses (the FA77 is in my travel kit and the FA* 85 is meant for everything else where weight is not a problem).

I concur about the sharpness of the A* 85/1.4. I had one on loan for a few weeks. But what put me off was the purple fringing at all f/stops I tried. I have one studio shot of a dark colored box against a white wall, and even at f/6.3 there was purple fringing around the edges of the box. Maybe it could be corrected in PP, but generally I hate PP so I decided against the lens. (But this does not mean I will never get one - it's just not high on my list ).

The PF in the FA* 85/1.4 is quite well controlled, that was the first obvious difference with the A* I noticed after I received it so I'm glad I made the right decision.
05-31-2010, 01:54 AM   #25
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I was walking around with my K-7 with the FA*85mm f/1.4 just doing a walk around comparison between the FA77 and I noticed the FA* focuses a lot faster....if the focusing throw was 5 degrees less the FA* could give the sigma 100-300mm f/4 EX DG a run for it's money. One advantage the FA* has over the FA77...but optically they are so similar in performance, however the FA77 has an edge (pun not intended) over the FA* when stopped down past f/3.5 - for what they are, they are both very good. I do prefer the bokeh of the FA77, but the focusing speed of the FA* should never be overlooked, also the AF/MF focus clutch mechanism came in handy - GOOD GOD WHY DIDN'T THEY PUT IT ON THE FA LIMITED LENSES IN THE FIRST PLACE?!?!?.

*I stand corrected on my earlier statement that the FA*85mm f/1.4 shared the same optical construction with the FA77;I meant the A*85mm f/1.4 - though to be honest all of pentax's 85mm lenses are based on the same design the FA* is a refinement of that design.

Last edited by Digitalis; 05-31-2010 at 02:01 AM.
05-31-2010, 07:36 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by frank Quote
Between these three, the only outstanding difference is the wide open sharpness of A*85, all the other aspects can be too similar to tell the difference.
In those example pictures, now gone, I very slightly preferred the bokeh on the FA*85 but it was certainly not enough of a difference from the FA77 for me to care in real life.

The FA77 also has some PF problems as others have noted. In fact, IMO that is its only flaw. But no lens is perfect.

QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
GOOD GOD WHY DIDN'T THEY PUT IT ON THE FA LIMITED LENSES IN THE FIRST PLACE?!?!?.
Perhaps there was no room? And personally this is one of those features I would never need. The body already has an AF switch. Or one can set up the rear button to allow quick switching. That is: press to AF otherwise MF.
05-31-2010, 08:44 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by arpaagent Quote
Now you know, you can't post a "* controls my mind" thread without posting any shots with the lens! C'mon, lets see the output of this baby!
Seconded! I mean come on!
05-31-2010, 10:37 AM   #28
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Sample shots! FA* 85mm





Pic by Julie:

Last edited by Clinton; 05-31-2010 at 10:58 AM.
05-31-2010, 10:50 AM   #29
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Since this thread has gone on a tangent of FA* 85 f/1.4 relatives, where does the DA* 55 f/1.4 sit on this family tree? I remember reading that the same person who designed the FA77 also designed the DA*55 before he left Pentax, and they do remind me a little of each other image quality wise. Was the 55's design based on the old 85 f/1.4 designs as well?
05-31-2010, 11:09 AM   #30
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Adam, this is your FA* 85mm controlling your mind. Ship me to Florida for a vacation @ Blue's.
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