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09-11-2010, 12:49 PM   #1
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Is 77mm Limited magic worth the $$$ it is over the Takumars 85mm?

I am looking for a portrait lens.

I have read a lot of posts in this forum and both the owners of the 77 limited and the Takumars 85mm seem to be very happy with their lenses.

I know there are different versions of the Takumars, but their price difference is more or less controlled.

Having seen in this forum superb portraits taken with the Takumars and other Pentax 85 mm, when I see the price of the 77 Limited I really do not understand very well...

If you are a happy owner of the 77, this post is not intended to question the quality of the lens, but to help me decide whether it is worth buying the lens.

Thank you for your contributions.

09-11-2010, 12:53 PM   #2
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I only sold my 85mm Takumars because I got the FA* 85mm f/1.4. It is possibly the best lens I have. I still have the FA77 and I think it boils down to this: the FA77 is sharper and much more versatile (fully automatic and AF). Only buy a Takumar if you don't have problems with manual focus.
09-11-2010, 01:23 PM   #3
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I think the price of the 77 is due to it having COMPARABLE IQ in a very small package. I believe the 85mm would be a better deal for portraits if you are happy with MF and can control your situation.

Sharpness tests aren't really that useful, because you blow up / shrink your image when you print things. People don't see pictures pixel for pixel either (which is why we thought DVD looked great until blu ray came along).

I think the most important question is.... how much if photography paying you? How long will it take you to pay off that 77mm?
09-11-2010, 01:28 PM   #4
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The 77 is magic. Buy it.

09-11-2010, 01:32 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aegon Quote
The 77 is magic. Buy it.
That pretty much sums it up

That said, I've never used a 85mm Tak so I can't compare the two in any useful way.

I did recently buy the FA*85 and can attest the how incredible that lens is. However, given that it's almost twice the price and twice the size of the 77 that's probably not a viable option.
09-11-2010, 01:37 PM   #6
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for what it's worth, it would most likely be AF versus price kind of thing.
09-11-2010, 01:47 PM   #7
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I have also seen magic out of the Takumars and other Pentax lenses in this forum, so I sometimes think that probably autofocus makes easier and more often magic to show up. But not having owned any of them it is just a way of thinking.

Thanks for all your promptly replies.
09-11-2010, 02:01 PM   #8
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I think the main thing here is that all lenses are capable of producing great images as long as you are able to work within their limitations. Now that being said, when I was assembling my "new" kit as my other camera and the kit was stolen, I purchased the FA 77 1.8 Ltd. when I saw one for sale on the marketplace forum. The lens cost 3 times as much as my used K100D I had bought to assemble my new kit around. And to be honest, I don't regret purchasing it at all. I love the pictures that come out from that lens. Versus some of my new DA lenses, I just like the colors and the sharpness. At 1.8 the center is sharp and as you stop down it just gets beter.

I had the chance to borrow Nubi's DA 70 recently and it's a wonderful lens, sharp, great colors, lightweight, super sharp wide open. It doesn't have an aperture ring so that kinda sucks. I also shoot with a Pentax Super Program so I prefer to have an aperture ring so that I can have Av mode on it :-)

If you have the chance to buy an FA 77 ltd. 1.8 and wil not get in trouble with "the boss" or if you are "the boss", then go for it. If cost is a concern, then have a look at the DA 70. It's a great lens and without the hood on, it's a small lens. It's a bit cheaper than the FA 77.

09-11-2010, 05:04 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by theperception2008 Quote
I think the main thing here is that all lenses are capable of producing great images as long as you are able to work within their limitations.

If you have the chance to buy an FA 77 ltd. 1.8..., then go for it. If cost is a concern, then have a look at the DA 70. It's a great lens and... It's a bit cheaper than the FA 77.
Great advice.

I have an M-85/2, FA 77, and DA 70 paired to a K-7 and/or K-x. My experience is as an enthusiast. I'm not a pro and am very capable of producing a crappy shot with any and all.

Here's my 2 cents, your needs may differ:

The 85 requires quite a bit of fiddling around to produce images on par with the 77 and 70. It can, but its appeal is to the 'heirloom lens snob' in me. When I feel like going 'retro', I drag it out, clip on a square hood, head off to the farmer's market and shoot for a while, then return and put it away.

The 77 is my 'boutique' lens. When I'm looking for 'magic' I grab it and shoot for the best. I find it can be intimidating and somewhat unpredictable. Frequently, it requires me to aggressively work the setting and subject, but once I corner its sweet spot and we come to terms, it can really dance.

The 70 is my work horse. It's dependable and solid. It's my 'go to' journeyman, very flexible and an easy going street-smart lens that delivers beautiful color and crisp images. Unlike the 77, it does not demand negotiation before it delivers. As such, it's always with me.

[Image examples from each lens can be found in my PhotoJournal - link below - by searching its Label Search Index]

Each is special and I love 'um all.

If faced with replacment, it would be 70, 77, 85... in that order.

Whichever way you go, once you get one and work through it's learning curve, I'll be quite surprised if you find it disappointing.

Best wishes and cheers...

Last edited by Michaelina2; 09-12-2010 at 06:50 PM. Reason: added image search suggestion
09-12-2010, 02:50 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Consider a Tak 85 if you have a hard on for MF, or like dicking around for an hour before you actually get a shot off, or like to look retro when you are around other photographers.

DA70 is a fabulous all around performer. Worth every penny, but doesn't have "magic", or "pixie dust" of the FA limiteds.

FA77 is amazing. The little extra in cost over the DA70 (depending on where you live of course) is worth it for the magic that this lens produces. I can't imagine someone not loving this lens, although there are a few who don't. Add in FF support, aperture ring and you have a winning combo. This lens would be the ultimate if it had quick shift focusing.

Buy the FA77 and you will forget that you ever heard of the Tak 85's, or the DA70.

c[_]
09-12-2010, 03:27 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ll_coffee_lP Quote
Consider a Tak 85 if you have a hard on for MF, or like dicking around for an hour before you actually get a shot off, or like to look retro when you are around other photographers.

DA70 is a fabulous all around performer. Worth every penny, but doesn't have "magic", or "pixie dust" of the FA limiteds.

FA77 is amazing. The little extra in cost over the DA70 (depending on where you live of course) is worth it for the magic that this lens produces. I can't imagine someone not loving this lens, although there are a few who don't. Add in FF support, aperture ring and you have a winning combo. This lens would be the ultimate if it had quick shift focusing.

Buy the FA77 and you will forget that you ever heard of the Tak 85's, or the DA70.

c[_]
it's more of a focal length preference actually and how they render at such focal length.

cite image comparisons >>> Pentax 77mm und 85mm-Objektive: Test-Portrait
09-12-2010, 04:15 PM   #12
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I used to own a 77 and was hit in the head with a rock thrown by a Nikon shooter and ended up selling it. Then I bought DA 70, and had the seller's remorse. I am dumb. I did the same thing with DA* 300. Just dumb. That is not to say, however, that DA 70 is bad. In fact, in many ways I think it can possibly outperforms 77 in certain situation, perhaps.


I loved the 77 ltd. It is a classic. I still do. I actually tried to steal perception2008's copy but he would not let me. But, on the other hand, many many people seem to have that these days.


So I am going to recommend Zeiss 85/1.4 ZK. You do have to stop down below f/4 or so, but it is legendary, according to some. I don't have it (yet) but I will. Yes I will. Yes I will. Especially in light of the fact that Zeiss is going to stop the production of the ZK line up(how dare they!).
09-12-2010, 05:08 PM   #13
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I debated buying the FA77 because it was a lot of money for me (even at used prices before the price hike). Now I wonder why I even waited. It is the last lens I would sell.

Taks have smoother manual focus, however. That is their one big advantage... and it is a big one to me. But they do not have quite the same IQ. Coatings etc. improved and the FA Limiteds were made to a different set of optical specifications altogether. Taks were once a great deal but not for a few years.

However we are talking very small incremental differences. Not all will notice or care about these.

Aw, forget it, who am I kidding...

The FA77 is magic.
09-12-2010, 05:26 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aegon Quote
The 77 is magic. Buy it.
+1 the best advise you can get.
Micro contrast is excellent with this lens.
Took this shot of a fellow Pentax user a few days ago. Just look at the fine detail on the shirt and hair. I don't waste time shooting with legacy lenses.
I owned the DA 70mm too... just no contest compared to this FA Limited.

09-12-2010, 05:26 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
I debated buying the FA77 because it was a lot of money for me (even at used prices before the price hike). Now I wonder why I even waited. It is the last lens I would sell.

Taks have smoother manual focus, however. That is their one big advantage... and it is a big one to me. But they do not have quite the same IQ. Coatings etc. improved and the FA Limiteds were made to a different set of optical specifications altogether. Taks were once a great deal but not for a few years.

However we are talking very small incremental differences. Not all will notice or care about these.

Aw, forget it, who am I kidding...

The FA77 is magic.
The FA 77 is worth it to me. It has magic on both digital and film. I've been using Pentax lenses for 35 years, and this is one of the very best I've had.
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