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08-18-2007, 11:22 AM   #1
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Good offer price for A* 85mm f/1.4?

Just wondering - what is a good offer price for a very good/excellent condition A* 85mm f/1.4? I know the FA* version is very expensive (and an amazing lens) but what would you guys say is a fair offer for this lens? The A* version I assume is also superb right? Would it be wiser just to get a new FA77mm f/1.8 Limited?

Cheers.

08-18-2007, 11:41 AM   #2
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The A* version is very similar optically to the FA 77mm, but the FA* 85mm is not. It's your call on which lens you get, but it might just be better to get the 77mm just for the autofocus.

Prices have gone up, so if you can get the A* for around $900, you'd be getting a bargain. I've seen them on eBay for as much as $1200 recently.

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08-18-2007, 11:49 AM   #3
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Wow - that's a lot!! Hmm, so I guess the FA* is better than the A* since I believe the FA* is better than the FA77. Maybe it is wiser to get a new FA77 since the A* seems to be even more costly and if it isn't really any better I see no point in giving up the AF.

EDIT: I don't need an FA77 now anyways (will eventually get one probably) but was wondering about the A* like if it was one of those "don't miss it if you ever can find one" lenses like the FA* version.

Thanks for the reply Adam.

Cheers.

Last edited by sft; 08-18-2007 at 11:56 AM.
08-18-2007, 04:45 PM   #4
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I had a chance to try A* 85 f1.4 while I was at Taiwan at second hand market.

Fringeing is a really big problem even stopping down to f5.6. The shots tend to over expose quite a bit especially spot metering on skin particularly.

I prefer fa 77 ltd anyway.

08-18-2007, 10:56 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
I had a chance to try A* 85 f1.4 while I was at Taiwan at second hand market.

Fringeing is a really big problem even stopping down to f5.6. The shots tend to over expose quite a bit especially spot metering on skin particularly.

I prefer fa 77 ltd anyway.
I've owned a copy of the A*85/1.4 since its introduction in the mid 80's, I also own the 77LTD, I've owned a CZ 85/1.4 and I've used but not owned an FA*85/1.4. The A* lens was better than the very well regarded CZ and from all my tests a better performer than the FA* lens. All the fast 85mm lenses promote some degree of fringing, I suspect that it's partially due to the unavoidable spherical aberrations in the large aperture designs. In any case the old A*85/1.4 appears to hold up very well against the $3k+ Canon 85/1.2L as well if that's any indication of its performance:

Zeiss ZF 85mm f1.4: First Impressions

Rob
08-19-2007, 04:28 AM   #6
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Cheers for the further replies and thanks for that link Rob. I must say I am impressed with the A*. It really does take on the Canon 85 L head to head. Hmm, I'll have to think about this one - I guess it's a little too expensive for me when the FA77 can be had for cheaper but then I guess I can always sell it if I want to at very little to no loss if for some reason I decide I prefer an FA77. That said I am not really in a rush to get a lens in this FL for APS-C - I just downloaded exposure plot to see my most used focal lenghts (it only works for Jpeg's though and I have way more RAW files that I haven't even processed yet) and it looks like my most used FL's are (in order of most used) 40-60,100,18-21, 200, 10 and 130-150mm. I guess when looking at like that a DA*50-135 makes sense I am holding out for the DA*60-250 though to see if it's performance will be up to par with the 50-135 (or at least very close). I can live with losing one stop then.

And even if I get the 50-135 I already have better lenses in the most used range of those focal lenghts at 50mm with the FA50 and 100mm with the DFA100. Many of those 100mm shots must be Macro's so in reality I think I may use 200mm just as much as 100mm so the 60-250 may indeed make more sense for me.

I am sure if I had a 77/85mm lens I would end up using that FL more probably Have to consider it.
08-19-2007, 05:54 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by distudio Quote
The A* lens was ... from all my tests a better performer than the FA* lens.
Rob
Hi Rob, just curious ... if you have the A* which in your view better than FA*85 then why do you also have the 77Ltd -- simply LBA or is there a good reason for both? Thanks.
08-19-2007, 06:31 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by sft Quote
I just downloaded exposure plot to see my most used focal lenghts (it only works for Jpeg's though and I have way more RAW files that I haven't even processed yet) and it looks like my most used FL's are (in order of most used) 40-60,100,18-21, 200, 10 and 130-150mm.
LOL, I can't help you any further with your lens buying decisions but there is an easy way to allow exposure plot to see all your RAW files (assuming they are recorded as PEF). There are a few utilities around which extract the embedded high compression JPG file from the RAW file with the EXIF info intact. So if you let it run overnight you can generate a small jpg version of each of your RAW files for analysis by exposure plot :-)

PEF2JPEG : Extract L* jpeg from *istD/K100D series raw data
Extract JPG from Pentax's PEF images on Mac OS X

Edit: I just noticed that Pentax Photo Browser 3.11 does it too (if you are into torture that is).

Cheers,


Last edited by distudio; 08-19-2007 at 06:39 AM.
08-19-2007, 06:34 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kguru Quote
Hi Rob, just curious ... if you have the A* which in your view better than FA*85 then why do you also have the 77Ltd -- simply LBA or is there a good reason for both? Thanks.
The 77LTD is a far smaller lighter lens and is also AF for when the need arises but the main reason is that once you own an A*85/1.4 it is very hard to give up (so yes a degree of LBA is involved) ;-)

Cheers,
08-19-2007, 04:50 PM   #10
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I would agree with Rob when he extolled the virtues of the A*85/1.4. It really is a fantastic 85mm lens (and remarkably well constructed/beautifully finished). In the US these are running $1000 or more. I searched for one of these lenses for a long time (based on the stellar reputation) and finally found one - ended up passing on it. When deciding whether or not to buy the *85 I took a couple of rolls with it and compared them to shots taken with a 77mm that I owned at the time. Here is my quick and dirty summary (I shoot black and white film - so I can't comment on color characteristics between the lenses) - the 77 is a bit more contrasty, the 85 has a slightly better bokeh, both are really sharp. In the end I didn't think the extra speed of the 85 was worth the huge price premium (In the states a used A*85 will end up costing you almost twice as much as a NEW 77mm). That being said - if I could find an A*85 for a reasonable price (the chance of this happening is between slim and none) I would snap it up pronto.
08-19-2007, 10:05 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by DAP Quote
Here is my quick and dirty summary (I shoot black and white film - so I can't comment on color characteristics between the lenses) - the 77 is a bit more contrasty, the 85 has a slightly better bokeh, both are really sharp. In the end I didn't think the extra speed of the 85 was worth the huge price premium (In the states a used A*85 will end up costing you almost twice as much as a NEW 77mm). That being said - if I could find an A*85 for a reasonable price (the chance of this happening is between slim and none) I would snap it up pronto.
Nice summary, and yes the A*85/1.4 is a bit less contrasty right open but by f2 it's delivering the same contrast as the 77LTD, there's not much between them optically. However you do physically get a lot more glass for the extra money too :-) Following are pics of the A*85/1.4 and 77LTD with and without their hoods fitted/extracted:

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y259/BigVdub/IMGP21526.jpg

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y259/BigVdub/IMGP21525.jpg

Cheers,
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