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05-29-2010, 11:12 PM   #1
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The FA* 85mm REALLY controls my mind

In response to the 15mm thread, and to provide you with some more lens porn, here's my two cents' worth:

IMO the FA* 85mm (or any Pentax 85mm for that matter, the Takumar is great too) is just an amazing lens. Seriously. I've found that I can use it for any task:
  • For landscapes, it's wide enough to be able to capture the essence of a view, while long enough to prevent the photo from being a mere 'documentation'
  • For portraiture, the bokeh is unbeatable
  • For close-ups, it's tack-sharp and very fast, which is a boon (wish it went down to a MFD of 0.5m rather than the 0.85, though- that would be my only complaint).
  • For tele shots, in nearly every case it's long enough to sufficiently capture what you want
So there's my rant as far as the ideal focal length goes.

Moving along...

It's insanely sharp, the bokeh is amazing below F2.8, and it looks pretty. It's not too heavy, and can easily be held on a K-7 with the grip (unlike the FA* 28-70mm zoom, FA* 80-200mm zoom, or DA* 60-250mm zoom). It's fast, and gives you the flexibility you need, when you need it. It's small enough to fit into the same Tamrac strap case as my 20-35mm zoom (without the hood). Finally, the hood means business, but it's still small enough to be reverse-mounted and stored conveniently in your bag. All this means that this lens is my permanent companion! Oh, and did I mention that the AF was lightning-fast?

I've also finalized by travel kit for this summer:
K-7 + Grip + Extra SD card (in case I forget my primary one in my card reader at home)
DA 35mm Limited Macro (primarily for use as a wide-angle. Call me crazy, but keep in mind that I think that 85mm is nearly ideal for landscapes)
FA* 85mm
FA* 200mm F4 Macro (primarily for macro shots, as well as tele's when that extra reach is really needed).

Conclusion:
Get this lens while you can and sell off everything else!

If I were to pick a single lens out of my cabinet right now, this would without a doubt be it (unless, of course, I took the F* 250-600, sold it, and bought 3 85mm's for the money)!!

And now for the fun part:
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Adam
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05-29-2010, 11:18 PM   #2
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TBH, I was really interested in the sigma 85mm but after seeing its price this lens has suddenly become incredibly intriguing. I hope to atleast hold one one day
05-30-2010, 12:05 AM   #3
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"Call me crazy, but keep in mind that I think that 85mm is nearly ideal for landscapes"

I actually prefer longer lenses for landscapes, ultra wide angle lenses make the foreground too dominant....I prefer my images to be proportional.
05-30-2010, 12:59 AM   #4
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if the Sigma 85 doesn't meet my expectations, I would seriously consider this. although such consideration would come only at $700-$750, otherwise no deal.

05-30-2010, 01:30 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
if the Sigma 85 doesn't meet my expectations, I would seriously consider this. although such consideration would come only at $700-$750, otherwise no deal.
There's more to consider than only the price IMHO. I gladly paid $1000 for mine and so far I have absolutelo no regrets, even if you consider which 75~80mm lenses I already have (see my signature).
05-30-2010, 02:46 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
There's more to consider than only the price IMHO. I gladly paid $1000 for mine and so far I have absolutelo no regrets, even if you consider which 75~80mm lenses I already have (see my signature).
I would consider the old FD 85/1.2 S.S.C optics, but would wish it was auto-focus. not really into the newer AF "L" mki and mkii. not to mention they cost a lot.

too bad CZ only made an 85mm AF exclusive for the Sony mount. but still I won't pay over a $1,000.

honestly, I was even nervous when the Sigma was initially priced over a $1,000. that made shift my eyes on the FA77, as a cheaper alternative. but anyways, if the Sigma performs as it is being advertised, I would be extremely to own a $900 lens which has a personal worth of $1500. I think this is the feeling you have with the FA*. the pricing of the Sigma 85mm is still sketchy, depending on the demand and performance of the lens. buyers remorse would either be spending money on a lens which is a disappointment, or buying too late for a lens which was cheaper before it reached it's peaked price potential.
05-30-2010, 03:00 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
I would consider the old FD 85/1.2 S.S.C optics, but would wish it was auto-focus. not really into the newer AF "L" mki and mkii. not to mention they cost a lot.
I converted a canon FD S.S.C 85mm f/1.2 to K mount a while ago, the results were decent but my copy of the Pentax FA*85mm f/1.4 wipes the floor with it. Especially in regards to corner resolution. In terms of contrast the FA* still beats the newer MKII version. With both lenses stopped down to f/2 you can still tell the difference between them. I don't use my FA*85mm f/1.4 much I prefer the FA77's smaller size and let's not forget that the FA77 has a less bulky lens hood.
05-30-2010, 03:09 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I converted a canon FD S.S.C 85mm f/1.2 to K mount a while ago, the results were decent but my copy of the Pentax FA*85mm f/1.4 wipes the floor with it. Especially in regards to corner resolution. In terms of contrast the FA* still beats the newer MKII version. With both lenses stopped down to f/2 you can still tell the difference between them. I don't use my FA*85mm f/1.4 much I prefer the FA77's smaller size and let's not forget that the FA77 has a less bulky lens hood.
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:


05-30-2010, 03:10 AM   #9
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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!
05-30-2010, 03:18 AM   #10
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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.

Last edited by Digitalis; 05-30-2010 at 03:27 AM.
05-30-2010, 07:51 AM   #11
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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.
Why do you own both? Answer to this may help me decide whether I should get the 85.

I have the 77, and I don't think I will be using the FA*80-200 that much, so I could sell that to get the FA* 85/1.4. The f1.4 is pretty nice, but other than that I wonder whether the 85 would be that useful for me.

To me the 77 is very difficult to shoot wide open for anything other than close objects. I am unable to control the focus point and the appearance of the image very well at f1.8 with the 77. It's a hit or miss for me. Also, I would like a closer MFD, which of course the 85 wouldn't give. (should check the sigma for this)

Do you feel like you have more control over the image with the 85? does this even make sense?
05-30-2010, 08:20 AM   #12
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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!
05-30-2010, 08:22 AM   #13
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yes I do own both, and I don't have a problem with focus control on the FA77. controlling the appearance of the image...i'm not sure what you are trying to articulate here but I use the FA77 primarily in the studio and I have no problems using it wide open with studio lighting. Depending on the apertures you are using, the 85mm f/1.4 will probably be worse for you due to it's even shallower DOF. With both lenses at f/2.4 it's a bust - both lenses are so sharp it's not funny.

It has been some time since I used my FA*85mm f/1.4, ever since I got my FA77 I have been enjoying the quality of the construction, and not fishing around in my camera bag for the lens hood - I think it is about time I became re-acquainted with the FA*85mm f/1.4 - though the clips that attach the lens lens hood on mine are getting loose...wear and tear. Another thing to take note of is I use the FA77 because I can use my AF160FC ring flash on it, On my FA*85mm f/1.4 I get some really nasty vignetting with the ringflash on it.

Last edited by Digitalis; 04-29-2011 at 05:10 AM.
05-30-2010, 08:40 AM   #14
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Thanks.

With the FA77, for objects at a distance the focus confirmation says the center spot is in focus, but it would either be BF or FF, and with the same setting trying another time will be spot on. The focus conformation is unreliable.

I just tested the lens at adjusted the focus adjustment to +8 and it seems to be more reliable. Only time will tell. I don't remember what I set it at before, but it wasn't that high.
05-30-2010, 08:40 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
"Call me crazy, but keep in mind that I think that 85mm is nearly ideal for landscapes"

I actually prefer longer lenses for landscapes, ultra wide angle lenses make the foreground too dominant....I prefer my images to be proportional.
.

I agree, I find WA good for extreme panaoramic type shots, other than that I use my DA 35, FA 50 1.7 for a lot of landscapes. I guess I should try my M 85 f2.

(Lustworthy lens porn, Adam )



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